On Monday 9 November, the TDSB’s Area D SuperCouncil held their monthly open meeting at Marc Garneau C.I. All students in the area were invited to this meeting. One of its main objectives was to address specific concerns youth have in their schools. Though the majority of attendees were from the hosting school, many SAC members from Lawrence Park CI, George S Henry Academy, Earl Haig SS, and Victoria Park CI were present.
Led by the executives of SuperCouncil, a variety of issues were brought up at the meeting. Participants were given time to discuss plausible solutions to issues, or to reject those proposed by the board. Students from SAC were encouraged to come to represent the voices of their peers, though due to the nature of the meeting, it was not limited to council members.
In addition to the executive members helping to voice their thoughts and opinions, Alexander Brown, a trustee, was in attendance. He took the time to answer some of the student’s questions regarding some issues that had been presented, with the intention of voicing our thoughts and opinions at board meetings.
One of the many issues that was brought to light concerned the property occupied by the closed Bannockburn P.S, which is currently up for sale. The open meeting was generally conducted through presenting issues and potential solutions, and then allowing groups of students to brainstorm valued points to present to Trustee Brown and the council executives. This discussion began to demonstrate a comfortable environment for students to freely express any ideas they had, such as using closed schools to reduce overpopulation at schools, and consulting the surrounding community, as it was not done formally before the proposition.
Along with action plans students generated for Bannockburn, a key discussion was focused around future changes in the gifted program across the education board. The current proposal is to establish the program in four more schools, to balance out school populations and help accommodate gifted students in various parts of Area D. In addition to this project, district-wide screening for all students is being considered. Currently, students who take the gifted test must either do so independently, or be recommended by a teacher.
As with all area meetings, there was a session titled “What’s your beef?” This was where students could bring up their “beef” with the school. Issues brought up included jay-walking, overpopulation, decreasing SAC budgets and the dissociation between different programs within the student body. Many participants were active in this session, communicating to Trustee Brown concerns that students have.
Khalida Elsadati, a SAC member at Marc Garneau C.I. and co-chair of Area D supercouncil stated, “People expressed their concerns openly and Trustee Brown happily answered all their questions. Everyone who attended got something out of it and came out a little enlightened. It’s incredibly important that non-SAC members attend Supercouncil Area Meetings, which are open to all students. The vast majority of the TDSB student population is not on their schools SAC, but that does not mean they’re not student leaders. Supercouncil is the voice of all TDSB students and in order to ensure we are properly representing the TDSB, all students must feel like they can share their concerns and contribute to our discussions, SAC members or not.”
For more information on SuperCouncil check out their Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Supercouncilaread/