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Student Voice

Student Voice

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.

Students Imagine the Future of Ontario's Education System
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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.

I am... poem describes their vision for education
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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:

  1. Build a strong extra-curricular program that builds a sense of belonging, self-confidence and enjoyment of school, particularly for those students at risk.
  2. Encourage and support teachers to build strong relationships with students.
  3. Foster a teaching approach that includes designing learning tasks that are focused on students' interests.

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.

Transcript<a href="/eng/students/speakup/transcript2.html" title="http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/speakup/transcript2.html" style="display:none;">Transcript</a>

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The very first MSAC recommended increasing student engagement in school and hearing all student voices so that:

    1. The school culture becomes one where students feel that they belong.
    2. The classroom culture becomes one where the individual needs of all students are met.
    3. Improvements are made to the curriculum (e.g. Civics, Career Studies) to encourage greater student engagement in education and learning.
    4. School guidelines and policies become more student driven/centred and representative of students' educational needs.

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.

Transcript<a href="/eng/students/speakup/share.html" title="http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/speakup/share.html" style="display:none;">Transcript</a>

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Meet the members of this year's Minister's Student Advisory Council.


Still have a question? Email us at studentengagement@ontario.ca or like us on Facebook!

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I am…
I am from a place where there are walls, but no limits; a place where different cultures and natures meet; a place that no-one seems to have heard of.
I am from a community that celebrates strawberries; a quiet area where streets are simple but the people are complicated; a place of caring and giving people.
I am from hard work, bad jokes, and a life of quiet simplicity; from large gatherings, found memories, and far-away places.
I am from knockwurst and gateau chaumeur, from codfish and crab meat, from meat and potatoes and gravy, from goulash and pizza, from poli, baji and postizzi's, olives and rice, schnitzel and crumpets and tarte au sucre… I am from any home cooked meal.
I am from a place where it isn't always safe; an environment where education outside the classroom should be as highly supported as learning within those four walls.
I am from a slippery slope that tests my abilities; a place where teachers encourage us to follow our dreams.
I am from a place where learning disabilities should be acknowledged as much as achievement; a school where teachers and students should be respected by each other, and work together towards a common goal.
I am from a place where love flows free and equality is yet to be; a place of uncertainty and shattered trust, and a hope for healing; a place of determination and passion; a family who had beaten all odds.
I am from a vision in which students will open their eyes to see the potential they withhold; a place that needs to recognize its potential; a place where change is open and possible.
I am from a place that believes that discussion and experimentation leads to advancement and innovation; from a place where the focus needs to shift beyond just schooling.

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