Renewing Community Councils

Reviewing School Community Councils

Presented by Ted Amendt

“Youth engagement; that is our number one job.”

In the brief history of School Community Councils in Canada, SCC’s have acted as an important bridge between schools, families, and communities. The goal of an SCC is to develop shared responsibility for the learning and success of youth, and as Ted Amendt made clear through his presentation, the current system that SCCs are using is not doing enough to achieve the planned mandate. This does not mean that they are not doing a good job in helping students learn and grow; SCCs work extremely hard to improve the wellbeing of the youth in their communities and are doing just that; however, Mr. Amendt believes they could be doing more.

The obvious question we should be asking is how. How can we take the current system that SCCs utilize and develop a more innovative and effective system? SCCs changing the way that they work within the education system is not a new concept. A large portion of this session was dedicated to reviewing the history of School Community Councils, and why they changed. They started with a group of concerned citizens that wanted to increase the communication between schools and the community to better the education and growth of the students, and all changes to the system have happened thanks to the concern of its members. In fact, during his presentation, Ted Amendt held a table sharing session as to find out more about how different SCCs work and the ways that their members think they could be improved. If systematic change happened thanks to the concern of citizens, than that raises another question: who is the next group of change makers?

The answer is youth. Students are the main demographic being affected by the decisions of the SCCs, so it only makes sense that the next change to the way SCCs function is including student representatives into the voting process. In the interview that is attached to this article, Mr. Amendt explains that there are SCCs that have student trustees on the board. This is a good start, be we are far from done. If the main goal of an SCC is to develop shared responsibility for the learning and success of youth, than there is no better way of ensuring this growth than making the youth part of that shared responsibility.