Community Action Report: We are Learning

01

Schools should review current metrics for success (e.g.tests, exams, participation requirements) and find options or opportunities for youth to engage in different ways that align best with multiple learning styles. There should be an emphasis on understanding concepts, and greater access to “grade booster” opportunities.

More access to “grade boosters” (more chances to improve grades in you want to)
– Sense Making Session

 

Less reliance on tests and exams, more focus on projects that actually help youth learn
– Sense Making Session

 

Recognize different learning styles/approaches (not always written)
– Sense Making Session

 

Not forcing students to participate, or have grade ties to participation (redefine what “participate” means)
– Sense Making Session

 

I wish that my public school teachers explained things in multiple ways in all subjects.
– YIS Qualitative Data

 

School : limiting workloads and focusing more on understanding concepts
– Sense Making Sessions

 

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

02

Keep class sizes small so each student can receive the help of attention they need to succeed. Some students noted how quadmestering allowed for greater focus on fewer subjects and appreciated the structure

Make school class sizes small when we go back to school so everyone gets the help and attention they need
– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Keep quadmesters in high school. Taking only two classes at a time is easier to focus on. Doing things in short periods of time is easier and can be done faster.
– Feedback Survey

 

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

03

Review school start times and start classes later in the morning

School should start at 10:00am
– Sense Making Session

 

Maybe try to help the educational system by suggesting start times/workloads depending on the results of the quiz
– Feedback Survey

 

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

04

Be mindful of workloads and how assignments, projects, etc. are spread out across the school year. Youth have other commitments and priorities outside of the classroom and many feel overwhelmed with the amount of schoolwork given. Provide opportunities for tutoring or homework clubs to support students with this, and ensure these are accessible to students.

Maybe not having so many assignments, I am finding out teachers start off slow but by the end of the Quad, we have like 4 assignments due and it’s too much.
– YIS

 

Maybe try to help the educational system by suggesting start times/workloads depending on the results of the quiz
– Feedback Survey

 

Change the amount of homework we get as all my friends and I are overloaded with jobs and insane amounts of school
– YIS

 

More homework clubs
– Sense Making Session

 

Have our school work be smaller like not get so much of it
– From YIS Qualitative

Organization: Conestoga College

Conestoga College has discussions among some faculty to determine when assignments are due and spread out deadlines for students.

 

Learn more about Conestoga College here!

 

Organization: Carizon Family and Community Services

The Pathways to Education Program provides tutoring and supports to youth in the Kingsdale and Chandler-Mowat neighbourhoods. The program focuses on supporting students and families to overcome barriers to education, graduate from high school, and build the foundation for a successful future.

 

Learn more about Carizon here!

 

Organization: Carizon and Community Partners

 

Carizon is working with local organizations and the Waterloo Region District School Board to expand access to in-person and virtual tutoring supports for youth across Waterloo Region. All sites are free and most sites are drop-in and do not need registration in advanced and available to all high school students in the Region. Some sites might require registration and you can see further details in the link below. Students are welcome to use tutoring sites to work on homework and group projects, even if they don’t necessarily need support from a tutor.

 

 

To find a local site near you, check here.

05

Review curriculum and materials to bring in real world examples into the classroom related to different subjects. Connect the subject or what students are learning to what is happening in society and the world around them.

More real world examples brought into the classes (not just theoretical)
– Sense Making Session

 

Providing programs that help youth gain skills to feel more confident in starting into the workforce (peer/mentorship)
– Feedback Survey

 

Omg pleaseeeee change the school curriculum like I don’t need to know the radius of pie I need to know how to do [taxes] and like real life things
– YIS

 

Financial literacy programs
– Sense Making Session

 

Provide programs that help teens decide what they want as an occupation. Have a better support system in schools.
– YIS

 

More classes focused on life skills
-Sense Making Session

Organization: YMCA of Three Rivers

The YMCA has a financial literacy program where youth learn how to manage their money and make well-informed financial decisions, both today and in their future. From understanding the terms of a student loan, or the actual cost of a new cell phone contract participants will experience first-hand the impact of effective, daily financial management in achieving long-term goals. 

 

Learn more about YMCA of three rivers here!



Organization: Smart Waterloo Region

 

Smart Waterloo Region Innovation Lab piloted the GIMI Impact program with 200 high school students and 20 teachers in the Waterloo Region District School Board. The GIMI program is a global innovation training program that inspires young people to create innovative solutions to social challenges, building transferable skills. 

 

Learn more about the Smart Waterloo Region Innovation Lab here!

06

Create spaces and opportunities for students to gain and practise tangible, real-life skills that set up youth for success outside of school (e.g.financial literacy programs focused on taxes). This can be done in a peer-mentorship model. Hold more opportunities for interest and career exploration in earlier academic years.

Omg pleaseeeee change the school curriculum like I don’t need to know the radius of pie I need to know how to do [taxes] and like real life things
– YIS

 

Financial literacy programs
– Sense Making Session

 

Provide programs that help teens decide what they want as an occupation. Have a better support system in schools.
– YIS

 

More classes focused on life skills
– Sense Making Session

Organization: Strong Start

Strong Start works in partnership with school boards to train high school students to be volunteer coaches with young children in letters, sounds and word programs (via co-op students, leadership programs, volunteer hours). High school students work one to one with the child to develop early literacy skills, they are fully trained 4 hours and receive a certificate when they complete the work

 

Learn more about Strong Start here


Organization: Community Justice Initiatives

The Root to Rise program provides youth with opportunities to gain skills as facilitators, researchers, and in conflict management. They are also provided with training about how to plan and implement community events/conferences, with some youth taking leadership roles within events.  

 

Learn more about Community Justice Initiatives here

 

Organization: Adventure 4 Change

A4C programs focus on building youth capacity to be future ready. This includes focusing on topics like financial literacy, presentation skills, how to select subjects (gr. 9), work ethics and professionalism, etc

 

Learn more about Adventures 4 Change here!

 

Organization: Kind Minds Family Wellness

The Black Youth Impact: Leadership and Entrepreneurial program provides culturally-grounded programming designed to empower and foster resilience and wellbeing among Black youth ages 15-21. The program includes workshops, trips to local businesses, hands-on learning with mentors and instructors.  

 

Learn more about Kind Minds Family Wellness here!

07

Have greater representation of youth voice in the education system overall. Students should be aware of how school boards and schools operate, and have a greater say in policies and procedures that impact them (e.g.dress codes). Review the student trustee model to make space for more youth voice in school board decision making spaces.

More youth voice in the education system overall
– Sense Making Session

 

Better understanding of how to start your own club at school
– Sense Making Session

 

Let students have more of an opinion on how schools run, and involve more awareness in social issues, let mental health impact how schools work, and make teachers become more involved and understand each student’s (personal connection) understanding of people’s disabilities, or personal guidelines.
– YIS

 

Change the dress codes and sexist rules we have been forced to obey.
– YIS

 

Reviewing the student trustee models – more youth voice in school board spaces (2-3 youth representing hundreds doesn’t make sense)
– Sense Making Session

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

08

Since young people spend a great deal of their time in school settings, schools should encourage and recognize the cultural and ethnic diversity of its students by:
  • Creating spaces for peer-to-peer conversations around cultural practices
  • Clubs dedicated to sharing cultural backgrounds with the aim of increasing awareness and breaking stereotypes
  • More options for world religion classes and/or classes focused on cultural learnings.

Encouraging schools to push/encourage sharing cultures/ethnicities to increase awareness and break stereotypes
– Sense Making Session

 

There should be clubs in school where students can share their culture and background
– Sense Making Session

 

Spaces for youth to host peer to peer conversations about religion and cultural practices (without adults leading it)
–  Sense Making Session
Teach those under 18 how to be more diverse (for cultures and races).
– YIS

 


More options for world religion and cultural learnings at school
– Sense Making Session

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

09

Mental health should be integrated into school spaces. This includes:
  • Creating spaces for youth driven (peer-to-peer) conversations about mental health and coping strategies
  • Formalized mental health services accessible in school
  • Allowance of mental health days built into the school year
  • Mental health focuses classes, or building mental health into existing classroom structures and spaces
  • Focusing on creating a culture of prevention rather than intervention

Create space for more youth driven conversations about mental health and (peer to peer) coping strategies
– Sense Making Session

 

Creating more positive environments in schools (has a huge impact on mental health)
– Sense Making Session

 

More mental health support services in schools
– Sense Making Session

 

I think we should get mental health days and physical health days and maybe class should start a bit later even an extra 30 minutes would be helpful
– YIS

 

Allow time off each month for mental health days. Schools love to talk about helping our mental health but then overload us with work and seem to think that is okay!? Give us some mental health days to do what we want to relax or socialize without having to stress like we do for the other 6 days in the week.
– YIS

 

Mental health is so very important, self-confidence needs to be taught from a young age.
– YIS

 

More mental health workshops and programs for youth
– YIS

 

Maybe we could have mental health classes in school and learn how to get over the hurdles and getting outside is a good thing as it clears the mind…mine
– YIS

 

I think that teachers and school staff should look at the answers and understand how they are directly affecting the mental health of students by giving us too much school work and not enough time to complete it. No one likes the feeling of being overwhelmed and failing, and so it takes a big toll on mental health to feel as though you are always doing something wrong
– Feedback Survey

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

10

Create intentional processes for accountability and accessibility. Ensure that what’s being said in school spaces matches the action taken by school staff, and the expectations of students. Students spoke to the performative nature of assemblies where topics are discussed, but then day-to-day actions don’t align or students feel brushed-off when issues related to the topic are raised in classroom settings (e.g. bullying, discrimination). Other youth noted that while some staff in school spaces do a great job accommodating students or “walking the talk”, others don’t and student experiences can feel inequitable. Develop clear processes for holding both staff and students accountable, and ensure these accountability processes are clear and understood by all involved.

Assemblies can feel performative – saying one this in assembly but then in the classroom when students express issues or concerns teachers brush it off
– Sense Making Session

 

Make school more accessible. Some teachers will accommodate you, some will not. We must enact and enforce a stricter quality of treatment given to students.
– YIS

 

Extracurriculars and activities that are not always focused on competition of “being the best”
– Sense Making Session

If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with jlincho@carizon.ca

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