Hearing student voice is a key priority of the Vancouver Board of Education. One of the many initiatives of focus this year was the Sister School Switch. In this project, 128 students from every secondary school in Vancouver participated by visiting "Sister Schools" across the district. The project is hosted by the Vancouver District Students' Council and this was the 7th annual Switch.
This year, the dialogue engaged the services of an external facilitator to support the project and to pursue a common theme which was "The schools I want"�the education I need." Bergen is a professional facilitator and Dialogue Associate with the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The intent of the dialogue focus was to highlight student voice and to make recommendations to the Board.
Held through the spring, and with follow up sessions including skits performed for members of the Board, the Switch and its resulting recommendations encouraged the Board to continue to pursue venues for authentic student voice in the district. The formal presentation including recommendations to the Board was made at the Management Coordinating Committee of the Board on June 27th.
Two key recommendations included collaborating with the Board and district staff on action plans to address the issues highlighted during the Sister School Switch Forum and finding ways to expand student voice and engage more students in meaningful dialogue with the Board of Trustees and District staff.
Trustees were very interested in hearing the recommendations and look forward to seeing how these student voices can translate to concrete results in the fall and coming years. The report will be discussed further at the July 4th public meeting of the Board.
The memo to committee can be viewed online here: Sister School Switch 2011