BONNYVILLE – Board trustee members and the superintendent from Lakeland Catholic School Division (LCSD) went back to school to hear directly from students on what they believe the priorities of the school division should be when it comes to improving student learning and experiences.
Grade 7 and 8 students that make up Dr. Brosseau School’s Leadership Team met with the division’s trustees in the school’s library on Jan. 18 for a semi-formal meeting.
The intergenerational collaboration was focused around four main topics, including what the division and school can do to help students foster their faith, learn more, improve their social and emotional well-being, and create a safe and caring school environment.
Dr. Brosseau students were in no short supply of ideas they would like to see implemented around the school.
In a round table discussion, students discussed wanting smaller class sizes, they requested more help with reading and vocabulary, continued integration of technology into the classroom, increased physical education, and the inclusion of a wellness block to improve mental health.
The students also touched on what they expect from their teachers and substitutes. They shared characteristics they felt would help foster a safe learning environment.
As the conversation jumped around the table students said teachers hired by the school division should have strong empathy skills, be approachable and compassionate. Teachers should also have strong classroom management skills to increase stability for their students.
Surprising some trustees, students directly referred to trauma-informed professional development days for teachers and Mental Health First Aid.
To this, LCSD Superintendent Pamela Guilbault shared with students that the division has already allocated funding to have all its staff members, teachers, librarians, custodians and more, complete Mental Health First Aid by the end of the 2022-23 school year.
As students continued to share their thoughts and ideas, trustees were busy taking notes, ensuring nothing was missed.
When it came to creating a safe and caring school environment, students said they wanted more presentations on stopping racism and preventing bullying. Students also shared with trustees that members from the Leadership Team have already started giving presentations on those topics to their peers.
More than that, the group said students want to learn more about other cultures and religions in order to promote inclusion and diversity in the school.
LCSD’s board of trustees has planned another engagement session on Feb. 1 to take place at École Notre Dame High School. The one-hour engagement session will be open to the whole community and is set to begin at 7 p.m.