Organization of Ontario Secondary Students

The Organization of Ontario Secondary Students, or OOSS, is a network of students who want to address education issues in Ontario and beyond.

Activities

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The OOSS has one goal: to push students past what they thought was possible. We know there can be many hurdles ranging from school to finances with anything one does. We want to ensure that every student is successful in respect to their passion, be it science, business, social activism, athletics, sleeping, or anything else of their choosing.

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Currently, OOSS is placing a special focus on reaching more schools across Ontario, strengthening the student-School board relation, improving organization and challenging ambassadors to take on more leadership opportunities within their region.

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Ontario Minister’s Student Advisory Council

The Ontario Minister’s Student Advisory Council, or MSAC, is a group of approximately sixty students from all parts of the publicly funded education system and regions of the province. MSAC is a place where students have a voice and where they will be heard.

Details

The first council made an important contribution to Student Voice by identifying indicators of student voice. These indicators reflect the ideas of students from across Ontario about what helps strengthen student engagement in learning.

  • In 2008, the Ontario Minister of Education signed an order to create the Minister’s Student Advisory Council, under section 10 (a) of the Education Act.
  • Students grades 7 to 12 at publicly funded schools
  • No special qualifications are required.
  • Each year, approximately sixty students from across the province have provided advice to the Minister of Education on a variety of topics regarding the publicly-funded education system.
  • The Council gathers twice a year, once in May in Toronto and once in August at a leadership camp.
  • During their one-year term, council members may create sub-committees on matters of interest and meet virtually to discuss them.
  • Members are invited to participate in regional Student Voice programs and events like Regional Student Forums.
  • Students may also be invited to participate in consultations regarding policies or programs that have an impact on students.

 

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Students Commission

The Students Commission is based in Toronto, Ontario. Founded in 1991 with a mission to help young people put their ideas for improving themselves, their communities and their world into action, The Students Commission became the lead of The Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement.

An independent, charitable, non-governmental organization, The Students Commission is active across Canada, supporting young people to participate in the activities of local, provincial, national and international organizations and governments.

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3 Things Consulting

3 Things Consulting in Toronto, Ontario, seeks to “inspire and engage youth and their influencers everyday to make their lives healthier, their communities stronger and to have a deep understanding that they matter, they are important and they belong.”

They help organizations and governments create processes, programs and opportunities for young people to feel this, believe this and experience the power of sharing it with others. Sharing the 3 Things with young people and their influencers creates a resilient nation of youth who are secure in their roles with family, school and community.

Young people who believe they matter and feel important along with a sense of belonging will create a vision of a world that is better for all, and be active contributors to its development.

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The Goals of Education and Meaningful Student Involvement

SoundOut for Meaningful Student Involvement

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“You cannot prepare kids for living in a democracy unless they experience living in a democracy.” – Deborah Meier

Meaningful Student Involvement should be present throughout the goals of education and student success.

Intro

Defining the purpose of schools focuses the direction of schools, teachers, and students. (Brennan, 1996) While some originally intended for public education to provide basic learning for successful democratic citizenship, others saw schools mainly as a way to support the economic workforce. Today, educational goals and “success” have become defined by student performance on standardized tests, in addition to measures like student attendance and graduation rates.

While these might be part of the purpose of education, many school reformers are seeking ways to broaden the goals of education to include students’ social, emotional, and intellectual development, as well as helping students gain the skills needed to build a better and more democratic world. (Dewey, 1948)

Meaningful Student Involvement positions students as equitable partners with adults in order to identify the goals of education, and to determine what student success actually is. As explored other places on this site, that doesn’t mean they are handed the keys to schools and told to take education wherever they want it to go. In a democratic society, there should be lots of opportunities for lots of people to become thoroughly engaged in examining, re-examining and moving forward goals of education.

Example

For instance, students in Ontario have a variety of ways to be meaningfully involved throughout the education system. At a 2015 leadership conference, they designed the following graphic to illustrate what they thought the future of schools should be.

Ontario Students Vision for Education
Graphic recording created in Ontario from Meaningful Student Involvement in conversations about the goals of education.

Students attending the Ontario Educational Leadership Council’s camp helped create the visual above to represent the ideas of the students about their future (and others) in education. The students were asked to think about what they need from us to be successful. What kinds of things are they looking for to support them in their educational path. The students had some time to reflect, discuss and exchange ideas that they felt would help them, and future generations become successful citizens of Ontario. This graphic has been shared with school district boards and a variety of other people throughout the province. Its inevitably helped indirectly form new ways of seeing students, seeing schools and envisioning the future. More importantly though, it has directly informed formal policy-making, too. Learn more here.

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