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Public school board seeking feedback on strategic plan

Submissions need to be in by Friday
Waterloo Region District School Board
CityNews file photo

It's the last call for parents, staff, students, and community partners to give their input on the Waterloo Region District School Board's strategic plan.

The Director of Education said they want to ensure they have a system that reflects the staff, community, and students they serve.

"As an organization, we are accountable to the Ministry of Education. Our work centres around student work, achievement, and well being. We know that there is some definite work that we have to do around achievement and well-being as we 'hopefully' come out of the pandemic and in general," said jeewan chanicka.

The board is not only focusing the concerns and feedback from parents, staff, and community partners, it is also focusing on understanding students.

The board asked students in grades seven to 12 to write a postcard to the future -- where they write a letter to one of their favourite educators about what education means to them.

"Students are at the heart of everything we do," chanicka added. The goal is to help the board understand what students want out of school.

"We want to hear from as broad-based as possible to help identify what the majority are saying. We want to amalgamate everyone's concerns and frame our response around that," chanicka said.

The board is also focusing on the even younger students for feedback. For example, those in kindergarten to grade six have been asked to draw a picture of their perfect day.

"It's imperative not to dismiss our youngest voices. We don't want to walk in and assume we know what is best for them. This process will help us shape a plan for the people we serve. It will help them grow, love themselves and rise to their highest potential."

From the parent's perspective, chanicka adds parents want their children to feel safe to be included. This includes parents and families from marginalized communities.

"We still have work to do to make sure schools are safe to show up as their full self." But, he adds, "We want to make sure we have the calls to action through truth and reconciliation. We need to make sure that education's legacy has played in the harming of Indigenous people that we work through that."

chanicka noted Waterloo Region is the innovation hub for Canada. Through this broad-based consultation with all levels of the community, the goal is to create innovative ways to begin thinking about what education could look like for students locally, nationally, and globally.

The deadline to complete the survey is this Friday. Feedback to the community will be provided in about two months. 

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