Since 2007, St. James-Assiniboia School Division has been hosting a Youth Forum for staff and students to raise awareness of local and global issues and to promote sustainability, citizenship, student voice, social justice and action. Together, we have collaborated on and shared several initiatives that focus on making our world a better place. Our school division has recognized social justice and citizenship as integral values for students to develop in our Strategic Plan. Students and staff have been encouraged to be innovative and have developed several creative projects and activities to make a difference.
At this year’s Youth Forum, our 15 elementary schools gathered to listen to and interact with local organizations to discuss local and global initiatives and to plan for action. The collective vision to improve our world and the spirit of collaboration among the participants was inspiring and the idea to create a collaborative project with all of the schools began to develop. Principals were already involved in Professional Learning Communities with each other, and we began to imagine an exciting way to highlight our unique schools and to promote collaboration using music and technology.
For this project, we enrolled all of the Principals from each of our elementary schools to collaborate with students to develop a statement to represent their school. We then arranged to visit each school to record student leaders saying their school statements. A melody was created around their voices and we developed a chorus to unite all of the ideas. We taught the chorus sections and bridge section to student singers and recorded them as a collaborative sing-along.
As we visited each school, we collected images to create a video to accompany our original song. Students and staff were asked what images should be collected to represent their unique school communities. These images were then arranged to give a visual representation of the school statements to music. A blog-site was created to launch our special song project and to give students a forum to interact, share and collaborate with others.
This project was a true representation of collaboration and student voice in action. All of the schools enjoyed being part of the project and felt like they were involved
in the creative process of an authentic learning experience. Although each school has a unique vision and community, we recognize the importance of sharing ideas and working together to provide meaningful, safe and caring educational environments so that all of our students are prepared to become respectful and responsible citizens.
To be the best that we can be…
To grow and learn and dare to dream…
We’re better together.