During the last board meeting of the school year on June 10, student trustee Maya Treuheit reflected on her time at the board table.
“This year’s been amazing. I can’t believe it’s over already,” Maya said, noting she’s graduating this year. “It’s been just an incredible learning experience and I hope that the students in the school district now realize there is something like this out there.”
Superintendent of schools Patrick Bocking said watching Maya speak on behalf of students during a conference with Education Minister Peter Fassbender recently was “inspirational.”
“She advocated for student trustees in the province, and because of that we’ve had requests from other districts to ‘tell us more about this student trustee initiative,’” he said. “We are proud that along with Vancouver we are the two districts that have moved forward very assertively to make sure there is a student voice at the board table, so it’s wonderful that Maya’s been able to join us and we’re looking forward to continuing, of course.”
Bocking said he’ll make the role of the student trustee “a regulation in writing” during the summer.
Next year’s student trustee will be chosen from among interested candidates in the fall.
After trustees gave Maya flowers and a formal letter of thanks from the school district, the board and audience also gave the Sunshine Coast’s first student trustee a standing ovation.
Trustees learned about the success of the district’s SPIDER (Students Participating in Distributed Education Resources) program and they were encouraged to spread the word.
SPIDER is a flexible “home learners support program” available to all students in School District No. 46 (SD46).
Most of the coursework is done online through SPIDER; however, the specialized program allows students to meet with teachers for one-on-one support as well.
Through SPIDER, students work at their own pace, whether faster or slower than the regular classroom, allowing many to graduate early or achieve better grades.
“Our provincial exam results so far are a small sample, but they are in almost every case higher than the district average,” SPIDER teacher Nick Smith told trustees.
The only issue, he said, is that many students don’t know about the program.
Trustees were encouraged to spread the word and SD46 was asked to promote the program to students during their course selection for the next school year.
School board chair Betty Baxter thanked members of SPIDER for their presentation and noted “having more integration so students know you’re there is a good first step.”
Trustees added professional development to their job description June 10 when they voted in favour of changing the trustee orientation policy to say that both orientation and professional development are “necessary for effective leadership.”
The new wording states the board will provide financial support for trustees to attend “professional development activities through, but not limited to, the BC School Trustees’ Association and BC Public School Employers’ Association in order to support their own effective trusteeships, strategically plan priorities and any opportunities for improvement as identified through the board self-evaluation process.”
Trustees were unanimously in favour of the change and noted the chair would monitor the expenses to ensure trustees stay within budget.
© Coast Reporter