LCS has the aspirational goal of becoming a school "known and recognized for our commitment to student voice" as part of our strategic direction. We equip our students to be participants in a process of school change and organizational life, seeking and listening to feedback to continually improve. Growing student voice and involvement is also part of our vision to inspire our students to become leaders who care, connect and contribute.
In Chapel, today, Anne-Marie Kee, Head of School and Foundation, shared the student feedback she received this fall. In the past, these meetings were held at her house. This year, through the rental of a pontoon boat, small groups of students enjoyed a scenic ride along Lake Katchewanooka and snacks while discussing the school year so far. This was a fun way for meetings to take place while putting safety first! Remote students had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Kee via Zoom for an engaging conversation.
This important tradition starts with two questions: what is working well this year and what can be improved. There are three ways in which we respond to this feedback: student action; staff action; or communication about the rationale for no action—in this way reinforcing that students are key players in the process of change, and that education about the school-decision making process is fundamental to the Lakefield experience. Initiatives such as the new LCS uniform and our integrated day and boarding house model which were introduced this year were the result of student feedback being incorporated into long-term change.
Students shared positive highlights including feeling safe and comfortable, the new study and WIN (What I Need) time, the co-curricular and athletic offerings, the outdoor spaces and trails, our new uniform, Wellness Wednesdays and the positivity of our staff. Some feedback heard from the meetings will be immediately implemented, such as the food offerings in our dining hall. Other comments will be discussed for short- or long-term changes, ensuring that we can put safety first.
Ms. Kee emphasized that we are all in this together and that this is our opportunity to build this school to be the best that it can be. While the pandemic has presented tough challenges, this is an opportunity to step back, look at the situation and work on being more positive. “Just like on the pontoon when we paused and take a big picture view of life, to see all of the reasons to be grateful... to focus not only on all that is not going well or what could be, but also, on all of the amazing things happening right now.”