School District No.46 (Sunshine Coast) was one of two school districts out of 60 to first have a policy that supports having a student trustee as part of the Board of Education. Although the student trustee does not vote or participate in closed meetings, the student trustee represents the voice of students and the District Student Leadership Team (DSLT). The DSLT is composed of two student representatives from each of the four secondary schools: Pender Harbour Secondary, Chatelech Secondary, Elphinstone Secondary, and Sunshine Coast Alternative School. The student trustee has the opportunity to have his or her voice at the table, share ideas from the DSLT, and ask questions.
Pearl Deasey from Chatelech Secondary is our fifth student trustee. A student trustee is elected by the DSLT annually. Soon after her election, Pearl presented with former Board Chair Betty Baxter, Superintendent Patrick Bocking, and Early Learning Coordinator Kirsten Deasey at the 2017 BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Academy. She spoke about her experience as a student trustee and fielded questions on her role on the board and how other school districts could adopt a similar model of student leadership.
To connect with students, members of this year’s DSLT decided to moderate a closed Facebook page for students to access and share their thoughts with the DSLT. Other DSLT initiatives include the district-wide talent show and North vs. South hockey game. Both events are well attended and very successful. The DSLT also facilitates a student leadership forum where several secondary students from each school meet with the DSLT, senior management, and school trustees to discuss important topics identified by the DSLT.
Student leadership is not isolated to the DSLT, student trustee, or student forums. Schools offer leadership classes, extracurricular sports and clubs, WE Day experiences, student councils, and exchange opportunities. The Board of Education is proud of our students and student leadership in our school district. Students can and do make a difference. Next month, the Board of Education will be moving three motions regarding student leadership, supported by our student trustee and DSLT, at the BCSTA Annual General Meeting.