The excited buzz of enticing conversation emanates from roughly 160 students who have gathered to tackle a topic that directly affects them – the new curriculum. This coming September will mark full implementation of the redesigned kindergarten to grade nine BC curriculum, as well as the start of the trial phase of the redesigned grades 10 to 12 curriculum.
“The new curriculum affects us. It affects us the most. It impacts our learning, so students need to have a voice,” said Christina Acton, grade 10 student at Argyle Secondary School.
The direct correlation between the new curriculum and student learning is why the North Vancouver District Student Leadership Council (DSLC) decided to focus their annual student forum on the new curriculum. DSLC is comprised of students from all seven secondary schools in the North Vancouver School District. Students meet monthly throughout the school year to tackle educational issues of interest to them and report out on district committees that they sit on as student representatives.
Their annual student forum brings a broader group of students together from across all of North Vancouver School District to discuss pressing issues. This year, nearly 160 students from all secondary schools were joined by several grade seven contingents, as well as principals, vice-principals, and school district management staff, including the superintendent and assistant superintendents, to address the new curriculum. Throughout the event, school district administrators presented on the new curriculum and questions were posed for the students to explore. In diverse table groups, questions were discussed and thoughts were captured in Tweets. These Tweets will then be compiled and the DSLC executive will be presenting the data to school board trustees and the executive management team of the North Vancouver School District at the June public school board meeting. The information will also be shared with the Ministry of Education and the North Vancouver Administrators’ Association.
“I had no idea what the new curriculum was all about until we started planning this student forum. This made me realize how important it is for students to know how their learning may be impacted,” explained Acton.
According to Cameron Carley, grade 12 student at Windsor Secondary School, the redesigned curriculum is quite different and will impact all students.
“The new curriculum promotes diversity and different ways of learning. A classroom is full of students who don’t learn the same way. The new curriculum is more inclusive and has something for everyone. It really does affect all of us,” he said.
Student organizers of the forum hope their feedback about the redesigned curriculum will be incorporated into the way teachers implement it. They believe that by using the DSLC to leverage student voice, their input will be viewed as an important part of the curriculum conversation.
“The District Student Leadership Council gives students a powerful voice. It makes it easier for us to discuss issues that affect us as students,” said Acton.
“The biggest benefit of DSLC is knowing we are heard and it lets us know that we have similar concerns as students. At all of the schools in the school district we have similar concerns and interests. DSLC gives students a strong voice at the adult table,” said Lauren Kellmann, grade 12 student at Windsor Secondary School.