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TLDSB gathers feedback at their first Student Voice Summit

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is taking students’ opinions into consideration with respect to improving learning at the board’s schools.

At a board meeting on Tuesday, June 13th, student trustees Alexia Evans-Turnbull and Logan MacInnis told trustees about the first Director’s Student Voice Summit, held in May.

“The student voice summit happened two times. One on May 4th here at the Muskoka Education Centre. Muskoka and Haliburton schools came. Then, on May 31st, we made our way down to Fenelon Falls, where the City of Kawartha Lakes took part in our student voice summit. This summit was designed for students in grades seven to ten. Over the course of four activities, we got [an] insight into what we, as a board, can do to improve student voice,” Ms. Evans-Turnbull explained. Student senate representatives led the activities at the summit.

“The first activity was called design your own school day, and I can say this one was a big hit,” Ms. Evans-Turnbull said. “Some students went about it making schedules, while other students drew a picture and used some of the creative elements we had on the table.”

There was also a roundtable for students to be able to share experiences and talk about how they’d improve their school experience.

“A lot of students made reference to things such as bullies or that they would like to learn outdoors or more art courses or gym courses. So we got a lot of insight,” Ms. Evans-Turnbull stated.

The third activity involved students filling in the blanks in questions on a board under sticky notes such as learning in my school could be improved if ___, and it’s helpful when my teachers ___.

“A lot of current stresses for students at TLDSB were things like exams, EQAO tests, hallways and bathrooms,” Mr. MacInnis explained.

“Learning at TLDSB can be improved if students could learn outside, and that was probably the biggest thing students pushed at both summits. And a big thing heard in [Kawartha Lakes] for what would be helpful for teachers would be building a more personal connection.”

The last activity was a “student voice thought exchange,” with students filling in comment cards and then discussing the answers amongst each other. “That gave us a better idea of what students want to see at TLDSB,” Mr. MacInnis said.

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