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The Board Connection

October 19, 2016

Can you believe it’s already halfway through October? It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming students back to school. But here we are, with classes well underway. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and kids are already starting to look forward to Halloween! All the while, of course, they’re working hard and learning new things every day.

The Board of Trustees has also been hard at work. We held our annual Organizational Board Meeting earlier this month and elected the Board Chair and Vice-Chair for the year. I’m very happy to be continuing in the role of Board Chair, and I want to congratulate Trustee Michelle Draper on being re-elected as Vice-Chair. I look forward to continued engagement with parents, community members and government stakeholders.

Student Achievement Results Remain Strong

Our student achievement results were released on October 7. I’m pleased to report that they are strong again this year. The results show how our students have done on Provincial Achievement Tests and high school diploma exams. They also show high school completion rates.

We saw an increase in the number of students completing high school. This includes an increase in the number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students graduating from high school, from 31.7 per cent in 2010-11 to 38.3 per cent in 2014-15. I’m happy this number is going up, but we still have a lot of work to do in this area, to close the gap between these students and the rest of the population. As a Board, we’ve worked diligently, and in a spirit of reconciliation, to develop policies that will help us achieve this.

Some of the other highlights include:

  • Participation rates in the “dash one” streams for language arts, math and social studies that are higher than the provincial average. This means more students have a wider range of post-secondary options open to them.
  • Accountability Pillar results from the province show improved performance, scoring good or excellent in all categories.

All of us on the Board of Trustees are proud of how District staff have continued to meet the educational needs of an increasingly complex student population. Last year, our District served more than 92,000 students, including almost 12,000 who require specialized learning supports.

We had just over 22,000 English language learners last year. This represents a 54 per cent increase in English language learners in five years. All of our District staff – whether they work directly with students or provide behind-the-scenes support – have worked tirelessly to ensure every student has the supports they need to succeed in school. It’s truly remarkable and they deserve our thanks.

Naturally, we’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us. We will continue to strive for improvement and work to get even closer to meeting our strategic goals. But I’m confident that, as we look at our successes and talk about what’s working well and what we can do to improve, we’ll get even better at turning the learners of today into the leaders of tomorrow.

I hope all of you – parents, families, students and staff – will continue to engage in this conversation and will remain strong partners in public education.