Hundreds of students are expected to attend – and thousands more contribute to – the second annual Director’s Student Voice Forums which will capture and guide responses to HWDSB student input.
The forums will gather input from a cross-section of students, so that HWDSB can become a more responsive system. Each secondary school will select about 30 students to attend, but students across the Board will be encouraged to contribute in a variety of ways.
“Knowing our students is a priority in the HWDSB Annual Operating Plan,” said Director of Education Dr. John Malloy. “The upcoming forums will help us continue to listen to our students’ voices, so that we can better understand what they need and how we can tailor the most effective response.”
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There will be one forum held in each cluster.
• South Cluster – October 18 from 9 to 11 a.m at Sherwood Secondary School
• West Cluster – October 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Highland Secondary School
• North Cluster – October 25 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
Superintendent of Student Achievement Scott Sincerbox, who is overseeing the forums as a student engagement initiative, explained the variety of topics to be discussed at the forums.
“We want to hear from students about how we can strengthen student voice, how we can create safe, caring and equitable school environments, how we can create optimal learning environments, and how to ensure students tell us what they need so we can be more effective,” Sincerbox said.
The forums are all about student voice. This is why teachers will play a supporting role, and student leaders will be trained as facilitators to guide and lead discussions with their peers.
The three cluster events will use an ‘open space’ methodology, which is a meeting format that lets attendees spend their time on their most passionate issues. Ways to contribute at the forums include: group discussion, white boards, chart paper, photos, podcasting, blogging, tweets, video blogging and whole group discussion with the Director.
“Attending students will even be able to generate a new topic using a live poll at the forums, and are always encouraged to follow the Law of Two Feet, so they take themselves to the most engaging station for them, Sincerbox added.
The Director's Student Voice Forum blog will capture student ideas, work, and good thinking from that day. This will be open to all students – including those who could not attend forums in person.
Another way of contributing is via Twitter, which will collect forum-related discussion using the Twitter hashtag #HWDSBvoices.
Meanwhile, schools are being encouraged to spread the word about the forums through classroom discussion, school announcements, assemblies, or dedicated meetings and spaces so that all students can share their voices.
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