Black Gold School Division


  • Valuing student voices at Black Gold

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    On April 10, 2024, grade 7-12 student leaders from schools across the Black Gold School Division, along with their teacher leaders, gathered at the Division Office in Nisku to take part in leadership training and discussions. 

    “The day-long event provided many opportunities for the students to share their thoughts with each other and the Board of Trustees about their successes and challenges, and on how to make our schools even better,” said Division Principal Raymond Cable.

    Session facilitators Raymond Cable and Pam Verhoeff.

    In sessions facilitated by Cable and Division Lead Wellness Teacher Pam Verhoeff, the students spent the morning working together to foster leadership skills, engagement, and collaborative problem-solving. 

    They listened to an amazing speaker, Jesse Lipscombe, who advised them to not only use their passions and strengths to burn brightly and inspire others, but also to speak up when they see discriminatory behavior taking place.

    In the afternoon, the students engaged in face-to-face dialogue with the Board of Trustees, and gave their honest answers on the pressing questions and issues surrounding their schools. Their responses are being compiled, and will be used to inform future decisions and the structure of next year’s planned student leadership symposium.

    “This event allowed us as trustees to actively listen to the students and demonstrate respect for their opinions,” said Vice Chair Angie Charpentier. “By doing so we hope to empower them to become leaders in their own learning journeys.”

    “While the Board can seem far removed from the classrooms, every decision we make boils down to what’s best for kids,” said Trustee Devonna Klaassen. “What students have to say gives us a clearer picture of the concerns they face. Gaining understanding of their values and perspectives gives us a better frame of reference for decision making.”

    “We hope too that having the opportunity to share their voice with us helps to empower our students,” she added. “Just as important as hearing their perspectives, we need the students to know how much we value hearing from them.”

    “The event was a real eye opener,” said Trustee Michelle Martin. “We got to hear from students first-hand how our schools are operating. Most comments were positive; however, there were some heart wrenching stories that were shared about being bullied, not being heard, or not given enough time – but for the most part it was pretty positive.”

    “This was an amazing and inspiring day,” said Verhoeff. “These students are working so hard to create change in their buildings and inspire their peers, and today they were reminded of the strength of their voices and the stretch of their impact, especially when they work together.”

    “I had goosebumps constantly listening to both the students and the teachers, who were completely open and vulnerable in their sharing,” she added. “The day could not have gone better, and we are so very grateful to all who were in attendance.”

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