The Chinook’s Edge School Division is encouraging its students to consider applying to sit on a new 32-student council designed to provide Alberta Education with student input on educational issues.
The Alberta Education Minister’s Youth Council will meet with the minister of education and Alberta Education staff during the 2017-18 school year to discuss and provide input around education issues, say officials.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for students,” said Chinook’s Edge superintendent Kurt Sacher. “It is great to see the government valuing student voices.
“We’ve always valued student voice in our school division. We’ve had a Students Matter committee for a number of years where we bring in representative students from across the jurisdiction at similar grade levels.
“We’ve found them invaluable in providing input into some of our key strategic directions.”
Chinook’s Edge head office has informed school administrators across the division about the council being formed, he said.
“With it (youth council) having 32 representatives from across the province, we will be fortunate to have one (student) in there,” he said. “So we will see who is interested.”
Students on the council will be chosen from divisions across the province and will be from both junior and senior high schools.
The council’s mandate is to allow students to “build positive working relationships, lead by example in school, provide input on education initiatives, participate in leadership opportunities, and engage as informed education partners,” officials said.
There will also be opportunities for council members to meet amongst themselves.
Students with “diverse interests, identities, backgrounds and perspectives” are encouraged to apply for the council by May 5.
“Student input is important to the success of the education system – and our government is committed to ensuring students have opportunities to be engaged,” said David Eggen, minister of education.
“The experience students will gain through the Minister’s Youth Council will serve them in future careers in a diversified economy.”
The council is part of the Government of Alberta’s Future Ready initiative that “co-ordinates training from kindergarten to work so that all Albertans have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a changing economy,” he said.
Arlene Hrynyk, president of the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta, added: “The Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta is incredibly pleased to see the minister’s commitment in leading such an important initiative focused on student voice.
“Inviting students to share their experiences, wisdom and insights will ensure a vibrant future for Alberta’s public education system.”
The Student Voice Initiative Canada is a federally-incorporated non-profit organization focused on working to strengthen student engagement.
Alex MacRae-Korobkov, the organization’s director of Operations and Research, said, “We believe that the Alberta Government’s establishment of a direct, Ministerial channel for student engagement is a significant step forward in building a province-wide dedication to student voice.
“Through our discussions with the government, we have been continuously reassured of their strong commitment to recognizing Alberta’s youth as legitimate stakeholders in their education.
“We look forward to the bright future that lies ahead for Alberta’s next generation of leaders.”
Information on how to apply for the council is available at www.education.alberta.ca/myc.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for students.”Kurt SacherChinook’s Edge superintendent