Overview

Students are the most important partner in our education system and the Alberta government believes student voice should play a critical role in shaping every level of it.

With that in mind, it is important to give students opportunities to share input and perspectives on provincial programs and initiatives.

Student engagement initiatives:

  • empower students as leaders of their learning
  • provide opportunities to build positive working relationships with education partners
  • engage students as leaders of change in their communities
  • support leadership development for students at school and community levels
  • honour the capability and capacity of students to engage as authentic education partners

Benefits

When students have meaningful opportunities to be engaged, it can have a positive impact on them, their schools and the province as a whole.

Benefits for students

  • Practice and acquire skills for a successful future.
  • Ownership and sense of responsibility for learning and learning environment.
  • Understanding of diverse opinions.
  • Dialogue and negotiation skills.
  • Greater understanding of governance within Alberta’s education system.
  • Increased leadership ability.
  • Role in driving change.
  • New relationships with a diverse group of students and adults.
  • Improved critical thinking, knowledge application and problem solving skills.
  • Develop the skills to become effective participating citizens.

Benefits for schools

  • Improved relationships between students, teachers, parents, school leaders and education system leaders.
  • Programming and policies informed by student input.
  • Students take responsibility and ownership of their learning and school community.
  • Supports and promotes a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment.

Benefits to system and province

  • Collaborative relationships with education partners.
  • Access to valuable input provided by students with a diversity of opinions, ideas and lived experiences.
  • Improved decision making with a better understanding of students’ varied needs.
  • A more responsible education system that reflects greater diversity and inclusiveness.

Minister’s Youth Council

The Minister’s Youth Council consists of approximately 32 junior and senior high students with diverse interests, identities, backgrounds and perspectives from all regions of Alberta. Students on the council provide their perspectives on educational issues.

Students are members of the Minister’s Youth Council for a 10 month term which aligns with the school year. During the school year, the council attends 3 meetings and engages in ongoing communication and / or engagement opportunities.

The council will meet:
October 25-28, 2019
February 7-10, 2020
May 1-4, 2020

District-level councils

Some school authorities have district-level student councils. These are teams of students who represent the student population from elementary to high school. Usually, the councils work with their school authority leadership and board trustees on educational issues and topics that impact students.

Not only is a district-level student council another opportunity for student engagement, the councils provide meaningful input to school authorities and schools.

District-level councils play different roles depending on the level of engagement students have with system leadership, and on desired outcomes. Councils can:

  • serve an advisory role offering advice to school boards or senior leadership on policies or initiatives
  • help create policy or lead design projects at their schools
  • play a collaborative role with their school authorities by participating in decision-making processes

Regardless of the model or role, the intent is that students are able to provide input on initiatives that impact their educational experiences.

Setting up a council is a collaborative effort requiring support from school authority leaders, school leaders, teachers, parents and students.

Contact

To connect with the Student Engagement Team:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-644-8328
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: edc.studentengagement@gov.ab.ca