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Students provide feedback to the Board

Over 50 NLPS students in grades 5-12 had the opportunity to tell trustees what is working and what could be improved in schools during the first Student Advisory Council to the Board meeting of the 2023-2024 school year.

“It is important to the Board that we hear from students about what their priorities are and the issues that are affecting them,” said Board Chair Karen Packard. “Being aware of their perspectives and what they want for their future is valuable when we are making decisions that will impact their learning.”

Trustees met with students on Thursday, December 14th at two locations: J.A. Williams HIgh School hosted students from the Lac La Biche region, and students from the Bonnyville and Cold Lake region met at the NLPS Division Office in Bonnyville.

The focus of the meeting was to collect input from the students that will be used to help the Board set priorities for its next Three-Year Education Plan. The Board plans to consult with multiple stakeholder groups throughout this year, sharing data and collecting feedback on what areas the division should focus on moving forward. The students were the first group to participate in the consultation process. They were asked to identify successes and challenges, review assessment and exam data, and make suggestions for areas that could be improved.

“It is always interesting to learn what students feel is important and to see how that aligns with what the Board is hearing from staff, parents and people in our communities,” explained Packard. “The students are quite insightful  and they often identify challenges and solutions that are different from what we expected.”

For instance, last year, students participating on the council identified that cleanliness in schools was an issue they felt needed to be addressed. As a result, the Board adjusted this year’s budget to include increased hours for custodians.

Other actions taken as a result of last year’s feedback include: revitalization of Positive Behaviour and Intervention Supports programs in the division’s schools, increased academic and career counselling, a focus on assisting students who are making transitions between schools, enhanced student leadership programs, establishing a high school redesign model in high schools, and revitalization of Policy 22 - Board Supported Projects/Initiatives.

The Board will meet with the Council at least one more time during the 2023-2024 school year.