This handbook outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Student Trustee(s), Student Senate and the Trustee Mentor in the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB).

Responsibilities of the Student Trustees:

  1. Receive and review agenda packages and attend public and In Camera sessions of the Board and Committee of the Whole, as well as other committee meetings, when invited by the committee Chair, except for those In Camera meetings excluded under the Education Act s. 55 (5);.
  2. Participate in public discussions of the Board;
  3. Have their vote recorded for the purpose of public record and for accountability to the student body;
  4. Prepare motions or amendments to motions to be submitted by a Trustee on their behalf;
  5. Serve on ad hoc committees of the Board, as invited;
  6. Act with decorum and expectations of all elected Trustees;
  7. As appropriate, be provided with resources such as secretarial support, telephone voice-mail and internet electronic communications (Gmail);
  8. Notify the Board during public meetings of any direct or indirect conflict of interest they may have in any matter being discussed by the Board;
  9. Comply with legislation governing the attendance of Trustees at public meetings of the Board;
  10. Provide co-chair leadership throughout the year to the Board’s Student Senate including calling meetings no less than four times per year, including the meeting to elect Student Trustees for the following term of office;
  11. Provide a verbal report to the Board of Trustees after each Student Senate meeting;
  12. Review with the Student Senate the Student Trustees and Student Representation Within the Board Policy and Student Senate Terms of Reference annually to ensure they best reflect the work of the Student Senate and Student Trustees;
  13. A Trustee mentor and their alternate will be identified each year in December, but they will assume their responsibilities at the end of the following June in alignment with the election of the new Student Trustees. Their role is to guide the Student Trustees throughout their term of office. For meetings held in person, the Trustee mentor will be assigned seating next to the Student Trustees at the Board table.
  14. If the Student Trustee is unable to perform the duties of the role due to unexcused absences, a meeting will be scheduled with the Student Trustee Mentor, Chair, and Director of Education to discuss plans for the remaining term of office.

Candidate Process

  1. All qualified secondary students that meet the requirements of Policy 3006 are eligible to put their names forward as candidates for the position of Student Trustee.
  2. Candidates must be committed to:
    • Upholding Human Rights and equity at all times
    • Advocating for all students, especially those that experience marginalization
    • Ensuring that there are ongoing conversations, using a variety of tools to communicate with students
    • Working and collaborating with students, staff and Trustees
    • Making time for committee meetings and the preparation involved
    • Building their leadership skills
    • Maintaining confidentiality where required
  3. Each student who put their names forward as candidates will provide the Board with the following information by the deadline:
    • A letter of permission from the candidate’s parent/guardian for candidates under the age of 18 (including image permissions)
    • Confirmation of attendance at the Student Trustee pre-election seminar (or watched recording)
    • Confirmation that the applicant has informed their school principal or vice principal they are running for the position through signature of acknowledgement on the parent permission form
    • A short biography with 250 word limit – including name, school and grade, and any experience relevant to the role of student trustee
    • A candidacy video (not to exceed 3 minutes and completed in a single take, with no additional editing i.e. text or animation) responding to the prompt provided in the candidate meeting.
    • A full script for the candidate video for closed captioning purposes
  4. This information will be reviewed by the Candidate Review Panel consisting of the Trustee Mentor(s), Director of Education or their designate to ensure all candidates have fully met the information requirements.
  5. No later than the last day of February in each school year (unless an extension has been granted by the Ministry of Education), an election shall be conducted at the direction of the current Student Trustees for the sole purpose of electing incoming Student Trustees.
  6. When one of the two current Student Trustees is running for re-election, they will not participate in the meeting or any prior preparation. The remaining Student Trustee will chair the election process.
  7. When both of the current Student Trustees are running for re-election, they will not participate in the meeting or any prior preparation. The Trustee Mentor(s) and/or an identified Superintendent will chair the election process.
  8. When there are no applications submitted for the position of Student Trustee, the Director of Education, the Board Chairperson and current Student Trustees will take steps to communicate with the students, Senators or school administration where applicable at each secondary school and encourage them to invite students to apply. The vote will be postponed until applications are submitted and the Ministry will be informed of the delay.
  9. The Board shall have at least two Student Trustees. These Student Trustees will be introduced to the board before the end of June at a Board/COW Meeting.
  10. If only two complete Student Trustee candidate packages are received and these candidates have met the criteria as outlined in board policy 3006, these two shall be acclaimed. There shall be no vote in cases of acclamation, but each candidate will be invited to deliver their prepared speech and answer questions;
  11. Within 30 days after the date of the election or by-election of Student Trustees, the Board shall provide the Ministry with the name(s) of the elected candidates(s).

Election Process For Student Trustees

The election process will be conducted as follows:

  1. Interested students will submit a candidate package as laid out in Step 3 of the Candidate Process
  2. The Board will be split into two voting areas as per the chart below. Voting areas will be located on each side of a boundary marked by Highway 8, portions of Ottawa Street, and Highway 7 (see map below) which divide secondary schools equally in half.
North of Highway 7/8 and Ottawa St. South of Highway 7/8 and Ottawa St.
Bluevale Collegiate Institute Eastwood Collegiate Institute
Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute
Galt Collegiate Institute
Elmira District Secondary School
Glenview Park Secondary School
Forest Heights Collegiate Institute Grand River Collegiate Institute
Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School Huron Heights Secondary School
Laurel Heights Secondary School Jacob Hespeler Secondary School
Waterloo Collegiate Institute Preston High School
Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School Southwood Secondary School

A map of Waterloo Region with a line dividing north and south running from the west along Highway 8, Ottawa Street to Highway 7.

  1. Based on the secondary school which candidates attend, those who complete the candidate package will be eligible to run in one of the two designated voting areas and will be directly elected by secondary school students in their area.
  2. Students attending secondary schools will have the opportunity to view the candidate videos and read the short bios for all candidates in their area during a campaign phase of the election process.
  3. Students will not be permitted to attend other school sites for the purposes of campaigning and will be asked to rely on the videos and bios to make their decisions.
  4. Voting will be concluded by ranked ballot with each elector (student) indicating their top three choices in preferential order.
  5. Schools will engage in their own process of determining scrutineers for the Student Trustee election (candidates running for Student Trustee may not participate as a scrutineer).
  6. Scrutineers will engage in counting the first, second and third choices of all ballots and will submit results to the Candidate Review Panel
  7. The candidate from north of the boundary line and the candidate from south of the boundary line who earn the most votes are elected as the Student Trustees.
    1. If there is a tie in the number of votes in either area, the second place votes for the tied candidates will be counted and the candidate with the highest number of second place votes will be elected.
    2. If there remains a tie in the number of votes after the second place votes are counted, the third place votes for the tied candidates will be counted and the candidate with the highest number of third place votes will be elected.
    3. If after (a) and/or (b) a tie continues to occur, the scrutineers will draw lots from the tied candidates to select the Student Trustee.

Student Senate

The purpose of Student Senate meetings, co-chaired by the Student Trustees, will be to:

  1. Assist the Student Trustees in determining student issues, gathering student opinion and communicating with students;
  2. Providing students with an opportunity for larger, more cohesive voice and a forum for the exchange of ideas;
  3. Connecting student voice by working toward dialogue between all students in all schools of the Board concerning advisory matters pertinent to the Student Senate and to the Board;
  4. Allow for discussion of students’ interests and concerns related to Board issues;
  5. Providing staff with the opportunity to present to student leaders from each school;
  6. Review relevant and applicable policies of the Board that impact students with the purpose of providing feedback to staff and the Board.
  7. Liaise with the Student Senate contact/school administration to inform staff and students about the work that happens at Student Senate.

Student Senators

  1. In May or June of the previous year, Senior Staff will communicate with secondary school administration and/or Student Senate contacts and ask that they identify two candidates to be Student Senator representatives for the following school year. At the beginning of each school year, an orientation and goal setting session will be organized and offered.
  2. Identified Board staff will provide assistance to the Student Trustees in meeting this objective.
  3. Any interested students who are not nominated or elected by their school contact are still invited and welcome to attend all Student Senate meetings and may be asked to act in an official capacity as a Student Senator for their school.

Responsibilities of Trustee Mentor(s)

Responsibilities include the following:

  1. Appointed to serve as a mentor to the Student Trustees and to the Student Senate;
  2. Provide guidance and orientation to the role of Student Trustees;
  3. Aid in understanding of Board meeting procedures;
  4. Answer relevant questions from Student Trustees;
  5. Help to create a welcoming atmosphere, such that Student Trustees feel more comfortable speaking at the Board table;
  6. Encourage Student Trustees to share thoughts at the Board table;
  7. Inform Student Trustees as to who to contact in the event of absence from meetings;
  8. Provide Student Trustees with objective and pertinent information about topics discussed at the Board table;
  9. Meet with Student Trustees regularly throughout their term;
  10. Help Student Trustees to better provide student voice to the Board;
  11. Debrief after any meetings where Student Trustees wish to discuss the contents or course of the meeting;
  12. Assist Student Trustees to prepare agendas for Student Senate meetings;
  13. Attend Student Senate meetings;

Related References

  1. Board Policy 3006 – Student Trustees and Student Representation Within the Board

Handbook Revisions

Any changes to the Student Trustee Handbook must be approved by the current Student Trustees, Student Trustee Mentor, The Chairperson of the Board and the Manager of Corporate Services.

Last revised December 2022.