WHAT IS A STUDENT TRUSTEE?
A student trustee is essentially the same as an adult trustee but with a few subtle differences. Both trustees sit on district boards of education to pass policy and budgets to improve the quality of education in schools. Student trustees are responsible for representing students; adult trustees represent all taxpayers. Student trustees are responsible for acting as a link between students and the board. Student trustees are also members of their Student Senate, or Student Advisory Council. Student trustees may suggest motions to advance issues and may cast a non-binding vote.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A STUDENT TRUSTEE?
While the rights of student trustees are standard throughout the province according to the Education Act, there continues to be some inconsistent areas, particularly with regard to budgets and participation in meetings. On November 2, 2009, OSTA-AECO worked with the Ministry of Education on a memorandum to all school boards with details on student trustees’ rights. Please share it with officials at your school board to ensure that you make the most out of your role.
WHAT IS A “STUDENT SENATE”?
A Student Senate or the Student Advisory Council is the committee designed to establish the student vision in local school boards. These committees are normally composed of representatives of each high school in a board. Senates often organize board-wide events, fundraisers, leadership conferences and awareness campaigns. OSTA-AECO strongly encourages all boards to ensure such committees function to their fullest potential.
HOW DO I BECOME A STUDENT TRUSTEE?
The best way to become a student trustee is to get involved in your school. Gain an understanding of what needs to be improved. Maybe work in your students’ council or another group. Then inquire about how your board elects its student trustees. All boards hold elections in April; some require an application, or a speech before the student senate, and others require interviews. Talk to your principal, superintendent, or your current student trustee for more information.
I HAVE AN IDEA TO IMPROVE EDUCATION. HOW DO I MAKE IT HAPPEN?
If you’re looking to make an improvement just at the school level, begin by speaking to your Student Council President or Principal. Student Trustees’ are always accessible and ready to serve you, do not hesitate to contact your board’s Student Trustee. OSTA-AECO is always happy to listen to students across Ontario and act upon their ideas. To contact the Executive Council of OSTA-AECO, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Never be afraid to voice your opinions and ideas and know that you have a team amongst OSTA-AECO and Student Trustees’ across the province ready to support you in making your idea a reality.