Our Future is in Incredible Hands

Posted On Wednesday May 05, 2021

By Shelley Sim, Trustee

May 5, 2021

If you want to know what is happening in schools, just ask the students.  In 2018, SD73 launched the District Student Advisory Council (DSAC).  The Council consists of two representatives from every secondary school in the District including Twin Rivers Education Centre, the Four Directions Program and Brock Middle School.   

The Council meets five times throughout the year to discuss issues, contemplate circumstance and share input that each member gathers from their respective schools.  This input is collated and shared as advice to the Board of Education. 

That’s the technical part of the Council.  As a Trustee, I have the privilege of sitting on this Council along with my colleague Trustee Heather Grieve.  This is an amazing group and their insights are extremely thoughtful and honest.   

Prior to each meeting, the representatives of each school are tasked with some questions.  In turn, they take these questions back to their student body and get feedback.  This feedback is shared at the Council meetings.   

Here is a sample of what I have “heard” this year: 

The students were relieved to be back in school after months of ZOOM.  They missed their friends, the structure, the learning and they missed their teachers.  The transition was challenging.  They shared concerns about how to get their peer groups to take mask wearing seriously.  They miss sports and other activities but they are deeply appreciative of opportunities that each school is offering to create safe connections.   

What else helped with the transition?  Teachers.  Teachers are heroes.  Consistently we hear that the students are feeling more connected thanks to the extra effort of teachers who find ways to reach out to their students.  

That’s not to say all students feel this way.  We’ve heard reasons why sometimes students disconnect.  We’ve learned that the loss of sports and extracurricular has been challenging and left kids feeling adrift.  We need to listen to our students to find how we can help bring them back into the fold. 

In terms of overall wellbeing, students feel that there is room to expand on doing “check ins” with students.  This is great feedback.  

There was positive feedback around meal programs offered at schools.  Being “fed” and “nourished” is appreciated by the students as the feel more mentally alert.    

Their voices are also being heard in regards discussions around school dress codes, vaping, addiction and racism.   

On behalf of the board, I would like to thank our students, Director Keinlein and Principal Sdoutz as well as all teachers, administration and staff who work as part of SD73.  The pandemic has been incredibly unkind and yet, within our schools, there is great work being done by all. 

If anything, I hope that this article leaves the reader with two thoughts.  The first is that our future is in incredible hands given the calibre of our youth.  And the second thought is that we have some amazing staff that is helping our young caterpillars get ready for flight.

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on May 5, 2021

Contact Us