Student Engagement

Student Voice is an important strategy to support achievement. At HCDSB, we do this by creating, enhancing, and promoting opportunties for student leadership and engagement.

Student engagement is a long-term disposition towards learning—viewing learning as fun, seeing it as important, seeing the value of working with and functioning as a part of a team, being a part of a social institution—critically important lifelong skills (Willms, 2011). and each dimension is an important outcome in and of itself.

Student Engagement is comprised of three dimensions: institutional engagement, intellectual engagement, and social engagement.

Institutional engagement refers to students participation in the formal requirements of schooling. This can be measured through a student’s positive sense of belonging at school – whether they feel accepted and valued by their peers and others at school. The chart below reveals what we learned from the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) Student Survey, conducted during the 2013-2014 school year.

Institutional Engagement chart

Intellectual engagement is students’ emotional and cognitive investment in their learning. This can be measured by whether students find their learning interesting, enjoyable, and relevant. The TTFM Student Survey found that 60% of HCDSB students in Grades 7 through 12 are intellectually engaged. The Canadian norm for these grades is 50 percent.

Intellectual Engagement chart

Social engagement represents students’ sense of belonging and participation in school life. This can be measured through positive relationships at school – students feel they have friends at school whom they can trust and who encourage them to make positive choices. The TTFM Student Survey found that 84% of students in Grades 4 through 6 reported having positive social relationships (Canadian norm: 80%).

Social Engagement chart

Our Strategies:

  • Develop and maintain strong, positive learning cultures in schools to promote and sustain student well-being and positive student behaviour in a safe and healthy, faith-based learning environment;
  • Sustain teaching and learning environments that are inclusive, reflecting individual student strengths, needs and learning preferences while retaining each person’s dignity;
  • Provide curriculum materials, digital tools, programs, pathways and resources that reflect the needs, interests and demographics of our student population;
  • Support opportunities for student leadership and engagement in school, board, parish and community initiatives to foster strong citizenship skills such as leadership, teamwork, advocacy, and witness to Catholic Social Teaching;
  • Create mechanisms to increase student engagement and consultation, as well as students’ sense of belonging and well-being, while maintaining high academic and behavioural expectations for students;
  • Pathways programs which assist all students who are bound for workplace, university, apprenticeship or college to make informed decisions about career and life planning;
  • One of our System priorities for Belonging in 2013-14 is to ensure student engagement by developing forums to access Student Voice at a school and system level;