The Work of Past Councils
2013-14 Minister's Student Advisory Council
In August of 2013 the Minister's Student Advisory Council shared their ideas on the future of Ontario's education system during the ministry's Great to Excellent consultations. This graphic captures MSAC's big ideas and was used at all of the consultation sessions.
MSAC 2013 also contributed to a new resource for student councils. In the fall of 2013, the Student Council and Student Voice Toolkit was distributed to student councils at secondary schools. It provided student councils with resources and ideas to help integrate diverse student voices into decisions at school and board levels. The tool kit included: a discussion guide, a poster, ambassador buttons and a USB key with more resources and Student Voice videos featuring MSAC students.
2012-13 Minister's Student Advisory Council
The 2012-13 council met with the Minister of Education twice to share their perspectives and ideas about education in Ontario. Below is a visual snapshot of just some of their ideas. Their I am... poem describes their vision for education.
The 2011-12 Minister's Student Advisory Council created a video called Lending a Hand to share their ideas on how to make school more engaging.
They also wrote Dream to describe their vision for education. The council also established sub-committees on Curriculum and Student Government, Classroom Culture and School Culture, so that they could continue their discussions virtually.
The 2010-11 Minister's Advisory Council recommended changing the Community Involvement Hour Policy. As a result of this recommendation and supporting ideas from students attending regional forums, the Ministry amended the policy. Now students can start accruing their volunteer hours as soon as they have completed Grade 8. This means that they can count their summer volunteer work towards the 40 community involvement hours they need to graduate from high school – even before they start Grade 9.
This council also identified 3 priorities for strengthening student engagement:
The inaugural meeting of the 2009-10 Minister's Student Advisory Council was held on May 12, 2009. Sixty students from across the province had their first opportunity to provide advice to the Minister of Education on a variety of topics regarding the publicly funded education system.
The very first MSAC recommended increasing student engagement in school and hearing all student voices so that:
Read the results from the May 2009 MSAC meeting (PDF, 145 KB). These were reviewed and approved at their August 2009 meeting and formed the foundation for developing the Student Voice Indicators that are now used to gauge student engagement at schools.
In August 2009, the council had its second meeting. Members participated in discussions, team-building and leadership activities at the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre in Longford Mills.
Building on their work from the May meeting, they identified a list of the top nine ideas (the 9 Student Voice Indicators, PDF) that over 1,500 students in Ontario suggested would strengthen their engagement in learning and ensure all voices were heard.
Check out the video to see and hear what a few students had to say about their experience on the council.
Honourable Minister, we are from a breed of youth that wants to make a difference.
We have a dream…
…where every student sees their potential and feels a sense of belonging in school. We dream that students with addictions will receive support so they can overcome this challenge and achieve their dreams and that students' voices will be heard and respected and will find support in peers, teachers and families. We dream that teachers will be open to teaching to a variety of learning styles and overall students will become more engaged.
…that the well-being of each student is recognized and assured through a variety of health and physical education classes tailored to each student's needs.
…that standardization doesn't exist, where students are taught to their learning styles, where students go to class because they want to, where extra-curricular activities not only exist but are encouraged. In this dream, students are truly involved and engaged, attending school with a positive manner.
…where students will feel free to dream about their futures, where they are able to connect their passions with possible career options, and that the opportunities and resources needed to support these decisions are provided.
…of having all resources available electronically for anyone and everyone who may want or need them, especially for those who are visually impaired.
…that every secondary school in Ontario will have a students' council that will have a universal constitution that serves as a mould for their structure and purpose and that the councils will grow beyond their current role and represent the student voice in tackling the issues they face.
…where the big or small, the quiet or loud of Ontario can become leaders no matter what the circumstances. Where leadership is encouraged in schools by both peers and educators. Where students have the opportunity to live meaningful experiences. Where no one is afraid to take initiative and where leadership creates positive changes in our communities.
…in which all teachers would be able to use technology with ease. That the use of items such as smart boards, iPods, iPads, laptops and tablets occurred in every classroom, and that every student across Ontario would have equal access to technology in their home schools.
…where schools are equal and void of stereotypes, that it takes a community to raise a child, where there is an apparent unified and accessible community identity, and that the curriculum involves native studies for everyone.
…to create a network between schools, medical centres and research institutions that would be promoted by celebrities, athletes and politicians with the purpose of raising awareness and support for students dealing with mental illnesses through open and comfortable student-councillor relationships with the use of personalized resources.
– Composed by the 2011-12 Minister's Student Advisory Council