News / Edmonton

Edmonton public school pilot project adds student trustee to board

In what will be an Alberta first, a high school student will sit on the Edmonton Public Schools’ Board of trustees next fall.

EPSB trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to implement a student trustee pilot project beginning in the 2014/2015 school year.

The motion to add an elected student representative to the school board was brought forward by board chair Sarah Hoffman, who was contacted about the idea by 19-year-old Claire Edwards.

Hoffman told fellow trustees that the project would allow students to engage in a democratic process and add their voice to the board of trustees.

“A lot of the issues that we’re engaging with right now, we haven’t actually lived in the cultural or the climate that students are actually living in,” she said.

“The world has changed a lot from the time I was in high school.”

Edwards, an ambassador for Student Voice Alberta, which is working to get student trustees on boards across the province, urged trustees to support the motion at Tuesday’s meeting.

After nearly an hour of discussion, including questions surrounding logistics, compensation and the election process, trustees voted unanimously to support the pilot project.

“It’s been a long time coming and I’m so glad it’s unanimous. That’s so amazing,” an excited Edwards said following the vote.

Edwards admitted she would have loved the opportunity to serve as a student trustee when she was in high school.

“While I maybe didn’t have the channels to voice my concerns in high school I wanted to provide that opportunity to others,” she said.

The university student plans to work closely with the board as they set up the student trustee position and iron out the project’s details.

“I’m excited about making this our own and making this work here in Edmonton,” Edwards said.

Student trustees across Canada

  • The Edmonton Public School Board will be the first school board in Alberta to have a student representative
  • In Ontario, the government mandates student trustees and they have existed for more than two decades.
  • The Vancouver School Board passed a motion in June to allow a high school student to sit on the board as part of a one-year pilot project that began this fall

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