June 19, 2019

Sun West's amazing student leaders

Sun West Learning Consultant Vanessa Lewis and Sun West Distance Learning Centre (DLC) teacher Kristin Sampson completed another very successful year mentoring a large group of students through Sun West’s amazing student leadership programs.

Each year students from all Sun West schools with a 7-12 component are given the opportunity to participate in several leadership initiatives that not only help the students enhance their own skills but also enrich the educational experience of many of their fellow students and contribute to a stronger Sun West School Division.

Each year starts with a meeting of all interested students who learn about the different aspects of student leadership available to them through Sun West. The primary groups are Team Sun West, who plan an annual leadership conference for all grades 7-12 Sun West students; the Board Consultation Group, who gather information about the issues of concern to their fellow students and bring this information to the Board of Education for their consideration and action; and a group that partners with a student tutor program from Bullis School in Maryland, USA to produce educational videos on a wide array of topics.

This makes for a very busy year for the students, many of who serve on two or more of the groups. They not only gather monthly during Sun West Administrator meeting days (they catch a ride to Rosetown with their principals) but also work together via distance collaboration and through the TEAMS software.

This year Team Sun West staged the “SHOOT FOR THE STARS” conference in Biggar that attracted over 150 Sun West students. The conference was in April and the students had only months to pull together the logistics for the event including food, entertainment and venues but most importantly to develop a strategy to make sure the conference had a lasting impact on the delegates that they would take back to their own schools.

The task of the Board Consultation Group is to solicit the views of Sun West students on educational issues and bring their views to the Board of Education. They gathered student views with an online survey and interactive group sessions in most Sun West schools to develop their presentation to the Board. At the May Board meeting, the student presentation focused on: increasing the arts in school; finding ways to improve students and teacher, and student and student, communications during online (DLC) learning; all with the overall goal of increasing student engagement and improving mental wellness. The Board was blown away by the students’ thorough work and their ability to articulate each issue.

The Sun West student leadership program partnered with a student tutor program in Bullis School in Maryland. Students develop and produce short videos that help their fellow students learn about a wide diversity of subjects. Everything from the Slope of a Tangent to Hammurabi’s Code. Sun West student leaders produced 17 of these videos that were then reviewed by professionals and then made available online to help other students learn. Click here to view all these videos.

Sun West students also teamed up with Bullis students to co-present at a major educational conference in the United States. They really put Sun West on the map!

Next year promises to be an even bigger year for the leadership program as it is time for the bi-annual Sun West Career Fair. Career Fair is the largest event Sun West holds and Sun West student leaders will be front and centre to make sure it is another resounding success!