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Fostering Connected Learners: Amplifying Student Voice at JVH

Dear JVH Students, Parents, Guardians, and the broader community

As we move forward in the school year, I am pleased to share some remarkable initiatives led by our students that embody the essence of our strategic goal of Connected Learners. At JVH, we are committed to developing learners who are curious, critical, and creative stewards of the natural world and the local and global community. A key aspect of achieving this goal is amplifying student voice in important decisions and initiatives within our school community.

First, I'd like to acknowledge the months-long inquiry project undertaken by 11th-grade student Rae Thomson. Rae has devoted considerable time and effort to studying the effectiveness of our Wednesday Exploratory classes, where students delve into specialized courses such as Woodworking, Dance, Culinary Arts, Furniture Restoration, and Outdoor Adventures. Through surveys and consultations with students and teachers, Rae has identified areas for improvement and formulated valuable recommendations to enhance the experience for 8th-grade students who are in their first year taking these classes.  As a result of Rae's research and collaboration with the students and staff, we have developed a draft timetable for next year that incorporates several key findings, ensuring a solid foundation for 8th-grade students in these classes. We express our sincere gratitude to Rae for her dedication to ensuring that student voice is heard and valued at JVH.

Additionally, two of our 11th-grade students, Abbie and Daisy, have embarked on a comprehensive survey project aimed at gathering insights within our school community of the ways we can make students' experiences and learning even better during their time with us. Their survey, distributed to all secondary students and their parents/guardians, explores various aspects of the educational system, including practices at JVH and the specific JVH education system. This initiative reflects our commitment to fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration, where the perspectives and feedback of all stakeholders are valued and considered in decision-making processes. Abbie and Daisy, along with the Leadership Education Students, express their gratitude to our community for its participation and support of this effort.

Finally, I would like to highlight our work on a project taking place in most schools across the province regarding new restrictions to the use of cell phones and other personal digital devices in schools, which will take effect in September. Recently, I had the privilege of hosting a lunchtime meeting with a group of interested high school students to discuss proposed changes to our Code of Conduct, which is where these restrictions will show up at BC schools. This meeting provided a platform for students to express their opinions and concerns, contributing to the development of policies that directly impact their learning environment. The items shared by the students in our discussion will now become part of a draft item to be added to the School Code of Conduct, and we will do one more revisit to this draft in June before it goes to the Board for approval in July. I am immensely grateful to the students who attended and participated in the discussion, demonstrating their commitment to shaping the future of our school community. Special thanks to Ms. Annie, Abby, Alana, Emerson, Daisy, Micah, and Ms. Lunn for their valuable contributions and ideas during the meeting.

Reflecting on these initiatives, it is evident that our school is dedicated to fostering connected learners who actively participate in shaping their educational journey. By providing opportunities for students to have a voice, engage, and explore their interests, we empower them to become lifelong learners and responsible members of our community. These efforts are aligned with our strategic goal of building knowledge, curiosity, and awareness, while promoting collaborative partnerships and preparing students for the challenges of a digital world.

In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our students, staff, and parents/guardians for their unwavering commitment to our school community. Together, we will continue to prioritize student voice and collaboration, ensuring that JVH remains a place where every student can thrive and succeed.

Thank you for your continued partnership and commitment to our shared goals.

Warm regards

Ron Sherman, Principal

JV Humphries K-12 and Jewett Elementary