SRSC student voice idea gaining traction in Sask Rivers

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) SRSC Student Trustee Daniel Vidal, Saskatchewan Rivers Board Chair Barry Hollick and Student Trustee Tia-Lee McCallum pose before the student trustees were sworn in during the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board meeting on Monday.

A push to create student suggestion boxes in Saskatchewan Rivers School Division schools is gaining some traction.

Members of Sask. Rivers students for Change started developing the concept as a way to create a more efficient student feedback process.

The concept was back in front of the school board thanks to student trustee Tia-Lee McCallum, who gave an update during the board’s regular meeting on March 14.

“The idea is to have that capacity to have student suggestions and student voice,” Sask. Rivers education director Robert Bratvold said. “(It’s) to have that local student group meet with the administration or staff and say here are some things that students are saying, ‘how can we take action to address it.’”

The division currently relies on the OurSchool survey to get feedback from student, but Bratvold said adding suggestion boxes would strengthen the student feedback loop.

According to McCallum’s report, the idea has caught on at her school Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI). It is also active at WP Sandin in Shellbrook where rural trustee Daniel Vidal attends as well.

The concept has been around since the beginning of the duo’s term as student trustees.

“It’s active in a couple of our schools. The Sask Rivers Students for Change group is looking for ways to encourage other schools to do something similar,” Bratvold said.

The two schools have a student voice suggestion box where student ideas for improvement are submitted and then reviewed by a group of students and staff to determine actions that can be taken.

According to Bratvold, the submission of ideas and the visible action in response to those suggestions not only improves the school environment but also empowers students and enhances their sense of contribution to their school community.

In the division’s own report, it said that Trustees were impressed by this student-driven change.

“Sometimes it takes that evidence of success before others will say hey that sounds like a good idea and let’s try that,” Bratvold said.

Another feature of the SRSC’s report is outlining activities and happenings at the school level which student trustees report each regular meeting.