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Student Voice

This document was published under a previous government and is available for archival and research purposes.

Student Voice

The Work of Each Council

2008-2018 – Celebrating 10 years of the Minister's Student Advisory Council (MSAC)

MSAC marked its 10 year anniversary in March 2018 with a meeting of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 councils that was attended by the Deputy Minister, Minister of Education and Premier. At the meeting, a range of MSAC accomplishments were celebrated with a poster and handout that highlighted the impact that MSAC has made on Ontario's publicly funded education system.

2017-18 Minister's Student Advisory Council

The council greeted Minister Hunter in August 2017 with a poem that emphasised the diversity of Ontario's students, the places they came from and their shared experience in schools.

Meet the members of this year's Minister's Student Advisory Council.

Be the CHANGE in Education
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2016-17 Minister's Student Advisory Council

The council met with Minister Hunter in August 2016 to discuss, among other priorities, student engagement in mathematics. The students explored the following themes during an interactive World Café discussion activity:

  • Learning mathematics;
  • Developing mathematic skills;
  • Mathematical application in the real world; and
  • Motivating students to learn mathematics.

During these discussions, artists were on site illustrating the math-related ideas and emerging themes that the council identified. The result was this visual representation of the council's ideas:

Mathematics and Me
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2015-16 Minister's Student Advisory Council

The council met in August 2015 to participate in round table “World Café” discussions with the Minister of Education, consultations with many branches from across the ministry and leadership development activities.

Discussions between council members and Minister Sandals were focused on the theme of student well-being and covered topics such as:

  • What do you want the ministry to know about students and schools in order to support well-being?
  • What does the classroom and school look like/feel like when there is a sense of well-being? 
  • How can we share ideas among each other and find solutions to help make schools places of well-being?
  • Give some examples of what makes your school a safe and accepting environment?
  • What obstacles exist that might get in the way of well-being?

During these discussions, artists were on site illustrating the key messages and themes related to student well-being that the council identified. The result was this visual representation of the council's ideas:

Students describe what Student Well-Being in Ontario's Education System represents to them
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2014-15 Minister's Student Advisory Council

In August of 2014 this council shared their ideas on how Ontario can reach the goals set out in its new Achieving Excellence vision for publicly funded education. This graphic captures their ideas for implementing the 4 key goals of the vision:

Students imagine what Achieving Excellence in Ontario's Education System might look like
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Their To Achieve Excellence spoken word poem expresses the challenges students can experience and their hopes for Ontario's education system.

2013-14 Minister's Student Advisory Council

In August of 2013 the Minister's Student Advisory Council shared their ideas on the future of Ontario's education system during the ministry's Great to Excellent consultations. This graphic captures MSAC's big ideas and was used at all of the consultation sessions.

Students Imagine the Future of Ontario's Education System
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MSAC 2013 also contributed to a new resource for student councils. In the fall of 2013, the Student Council and Student Voice Toolkit was distributed to student councils at secondary schools. It provided student councils with resources and ideas to help integrate diverse student voices into decisions at school and board levels. The tool kit included: a discussion guide, a poster, ambassador buttons and a USB key with more resources and Student Voice videos featuring MSAC students.

2012-13 Minister's Student Advisory Council

The 2012-13 council met with the Minister of Education twice to share their perspectives and ideas about education in Ontario. Below is a visual snapshot of just some of their ideas. Their I am... poem describes their vision for education.

Students Ideas about Learning and Working and Living in the Future
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The 2011-12 Minister's Student Advisory Council created a video called Lending a Hand to share their ideas on how to make school more engaging.

They also wrote Dream to describe their vision for education. Furthermore, the council also established sub-committees on Curriculum and Student Government, Classroom Culture and School Culture, so that they could continue their discussions virtually.

The 2010-11 Minister's Advisory Council recommended changing the Community Involvement Hour Policy. As a result of this recommendation and supporting ideas from students attending regional forums, the Ministry amended the policy. Now students can start accruing their volunteer hours as soon as they have completed Grade 8. This means that they can count their summer volunteer work towards the 40 community involvement hours they need to graduate from high school – even before they start Grade 9.

This council also identified 3 priorities for strengthening student engagement:

  1. Build a strong extra-curricular program that builds a sense of belonging, self-confidence and enjoyment of school, particularly for those students at risk.
  2. Encourage and support teachers to build strong relationships with students.
  3. Foster a teaching approach that includes designing learning tasks that are focused on students' interests.

The inaugural meeting of the 2009-10 Minister's Student Advisory Council was held on May 12, 2009. Sixty students from across the province had their first opportunity to provide advice to the Minister of Education on a variety of topics regarding the publicly funded education system.

Transcript<a href="/eng/students/speakup/transcript2.html" title="http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/speakup/transcript2.html" style="display:none;">Transcript</a>

Read transcript

The very first MSAC recommended increasing student engagement in school and hearing all student voices so that:

    1. The school culture becomes one where students feel that they belong.
    2. The classroom culture becomes one where the individual needs of all students are met.
    3. Improvements are made to the curriculum (e.g. Civics, Career Studies) to encourage greater student engagement in education and learning.
    4. School guidelines and policies become more student driven/centred and representative of students' educational needs.

Read the results from the May 2009 MSAC meeting (PDF, 145 KB). These were reviewed and approved at their August 2009 meeting and formed the foundation for developing the Student Voice Indicators that are now used to gauge student engagement at schools.

In August 2009, the council had its second meeting. Members participated in discussions, team-building and leadership activities at the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre in Longford Mills.

Building on their work from the May meeting, they identified a list of the top nine ideas (the 9 Student Voice Indicators, PDF) that over 1,500 students in Ontario suggested would strengthen their engagement in learning and ensure all voices were heard.

Check out the video to see and hear what a few students had to say about their experience on the council.

Transcript<a href="/eng/students/speakup/share.html" title="http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/speakup/share.html" style="display:none;">Transcript</a>

Read transcript

Meet the members of this year's Minister's Student Advisory Council.


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