Wednesday, Dave P. , four McRoberts students and I were at School Completion and Beyond the first in a series of three forums that will be held over the next two years where teams from all nine Metro Districts work on specific projects to improve the quality of students' high school experience. This event brought together students, teachers, administrators and parents from all the Metro school boards. We asked the students what they needed from high school in order to be successful. The answers were heartfelt and powerful.
The tone for the day was set by a group of students via a dramatized presentation that addressed their fears, hopes and ideals for secondary schooling. (They met earlier in the week and spent 2 days preparing for the conference. )
The following clip is from a similar gathering, and the messages are very much like those we saw Wednesday morning.
When asked what they needed from high school, Lower Mainland students told the participants that they want better connections with their teachers, they want to be treated as individuals, they wanted clear grading expectations, they want to address global issues, they want to know "why" they are learning the things that are being presented in class. In fact, many of the issues they raised can be found in this article Imagine a School (PDF) by Kathy Gould Lundy from the fall 2006 issue of Education Canada.
There will be opportunities here at the school over the next few weeks to extend this topic. A first step perhaps is for us as educators to reflect on the needs that the students have identified.
Imagine a School... making the play
From CEA's 2007 Workshop in Winnipeg, Rethinking Adolescence, Rethinking Schools (mp3 - 23:02 minutes, 23 MB)