Student Voice Helps Shape the Future of High School

Dec. 30, 1899

The CBE launched high school engagement May 15 with two surveys – one for parents, staff and community members, and one for students. More than 1,100 people at 96 schools participated in the student survey. The 10 schools with the greatest participation were:

  • Captain Nichola Goddard School
  • Rideau Park School
  • Lester B. Pearson High School
  • Ernest Manning High School
  • Alexander Ferguson School
  • Western Canada High School
  • F.E. Osborne School
  • Forest Lawn High School
  • Tom Baines School
  • Sir John A. MacDonald School

As the school with the highest participation, Captain Nichola Goddard School shared some of the ways they encouraged students to complete the survey. “Staff shared the link to the survey and provided time in class for responses. They also shared the survey link on their blogs, emailed students the link and kept it visible in the classroom,” said Principal Ross Bushell.

Rideau Park School and Lester B. Pearson High School also provided students with time at school to do this survey and provided reminders to students while the survey was open. Rideau Park School made it easy and convenient for students to access the survey by putting up the QR code in their Learning Commons. At Lester B. Pearson High School, they also showed the high school engagement video to students, put posters up in the school and promoted the Cineplex prize draw to students.

In any community engagement initiative, a key to success is helping people to understand why they should participate. Kenneth Chee, principal at Lester B. Pearson High School, said, “When you help the community as a whole understand the ‘why’ then it makes it easier for everyone, including students, to get involved.” At Captain Nichola Goddard School, staff helped students see that if they didn’t say anything then they were losing their opportunity to be heard.
The ‘why’ also becomes a bit easier when extra incentives are provided. In addition to the great work principals and school staff did to encourage survey participation, students had the opportunity to win one of two $100 Cineplex gift cards. Congratulations to our two lucky winners!

  • Cameron S. at Ernest Manning High School
  • Ahnaf M. at Tom Baines School

At many CBE schools, participation in engagement initiatives like this has direct connections to what students are learning about in school. Judith Hadden, principal at Rideau Park School said, “Talking with students about their responsibilities and their role as engaged citizens is ongoing at Rideau Park School. Students are responsible for leadership hour which teaches them the importance of connecting and being engaged in the school and community.”

Bushell also sees real learning opportunities embedded in the engagement process. He says, “Middle schools have a real opportunity to support their current students in participating in engagement and becoming more involved. There are direct curriculum links in the humanities to demonstrate participation and opportunities to emphasize the CBE Results as a meaningful part of learning.”

We’d like to thank all the students who completed the survey and all the school staff, students and parents who encouraged participation in the survey as well. We look forward to continuing the conversation in the fall and hearing from even more students as we move through this engagement process. Students will be directly affected by decisions that are made. Their ongoing participation is extremely important.