Student leadership conference promotes dialogue and engagement

Article Posted: Friday, November 02, 2018

​Approximately 100 student leaders from around New Brunswick attended the 33rd annual provincial student leadership conference held on Nov. 1 in Fredericton. 

District Education Council members and Superintendents were also invited to attend  to hear the concerns of students, while also celebrating their successes unfiltered.

"We are unique in New Brunswick as we are the only provincial conference in Canada that provides this unique opportunity for our students and core leaders from the district," said Carolyn Barnhart, teacher, provincial student rep council advisor and past president of the New Brunswick Student Leadership Association. "We are also unique in that we have a representative from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development who also meets with the students for a question and answer session."

Barnhart said students talked about the positive and negative aspects of current issues facing their schools such as provincial Policy 711 (Healthy School Food Environment), community support for schools, building school spirit, engagement in school assemblies, events and activities to support cultural diversity in schools, and more courses in certain subjects such as sex education.

Barnhart said the conference served to promote dialogue and engagement between students, teachers, district staff, and District Education Council members toward the development of meaningful policies and curriculum.

"The conference is an opportunity to share ideas, successes and failures," Barnhart explained. "We discuss policies and emergent educational issues which impact students. We bring in non-profits to provide students with opportunities to serve within their communities. We also support and provide professional learning for our student leaders and our student leadership advisors."

By sharing experiences and demonstrating leadership in action, students learn key skills and knowledge to apply to their work on a larger scale. The conferences are also designed to encourage students to integrate leadership into their real life experiences going forward.

Shown in the photo below are student leaders with Kimberley Douglass (second from left), chair of the Anglophone West District Education Council.

During the conference, Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton was recognized for creating the best yearbook in the province for 2017-2018 for schools with a population of 650 students and over. Chris Browne and his team of editors received congratulations for producing the award-winnning yearbook.