RBSS Student Voice
Our secondary schools in the Abbotsford School District are in the initial stages of reimagining how high school should look and feel. Robert Bateman Secondary School has been working through a process with two student groups. Six grade twelve students started our student voice work last spring. We have a second group of six grade eleven students working on this project this year, with teaching staff joining. The groups are a cross-section of students who represent the student body’s voice in our building. One guiding question the group is working on is: "How do we foster inclusive, empathetic, trusting relationships that lead to inclusive spaces?" Our groups are working on opportunities for students to build connections to the school, raising awareness of community and school supports available, and hearing student voices.
The RBSS student group is meeting and working with other students across the district, having conversations about school transformation. Each school group works on a guiding question specific to their school culture and context. They are all participating in online discussions focused on equity in our schools. These sessions are facilitated by Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan (Authors of Street Data), where the students are challenged to dream and think outside of the box. One of the mottos we are embracing is "No one knows everything: together, we know a lot!". These discussions are inspiring as these youth are creatively engaging their peers in reimagining the education system's ways of being, learning, and doing!
The groups are presently working through a transformation cycle (listen, uncover, reimagine, and move) where they will collaborate and reflect on the information provided. We are purposefully gathering "Street Data" through peer interviews to collaborate with our school community around possible growth areas. We will use the YDI (Youth Development Instrument) survey in February 2023 to gather information. The survey will target grade eleven students across the district and allow our staff and students to reflect on the data specific to RBSS.
The following are quotes from RBSS students:
"I think what we are doing is just so amazing! I love that our student body is being given the opportunity to use our voices and speak on ways to make school a better place for everyone. It truly feels like greater things are coming out of the work we are doing :)"
"I am very honoured to be a part of what seems to be a movement; no matter how small the steps are, they’re there. Seeing the little changes being made and people willing to participate having their voices be heard from all aspects of the community towards a better school system is very heartwarming."
As we are very much in the early stages of this important work, it is very invigorating to have student voice at the forefront of our district discussions. These students are forging the way for school transformation and will forever be remembered for their wisdom, passion, and courage.
LANCE MCDONALD, PRINCIPAL
Robert Bateman Secondary