June 30, 2015
Dear students, staff, parents and guardians,
Saying farewell for the summer with a few highlights from 2014/15
Just before we say farewell for the next two months, we are pleased and proud to share with you some of the progress and highlights from the 2014/15 school year.
Curriculum expansion has been particularly evident in the areas of environmental and outdoor education, new hands-on training courses to provide secondary students a head-start on career and employment opportunities, wider selection of Distributed Learning course offerings, expansion of the Basketball Academy and the introduction of the Field Hockey at Sutherland.
Queen Mary Community School has now received official authorization to offer the IB Primary Years Programme. This is a very exciting achievement for the whole school community, and arrived in time to coincide with the school’s centennial year.
The Board remains committed to realizing a full replacement school for Argyle Secondary. Progress has been made towards securing the funding needed to expand the project from a seismic upgrade to a completely new and modern school. Further developments on this priority capital project are expected in the fall.
Striving for a more sustainable school district resulted in a number of new energy-saving activities this year. We thank everyone for their additional efforts to keep organics out of the waste stream. This has represented a significant change to the way we manage our operations and we appreciate the leadership of our students and staff in making this change our new reality.
Over the past 10 months, students and staff led awe-inspiring and inclusive school events and community service that included: fundraising for earthquake relief in Nepal; peer mentoring; caring clubs; clothing swaps; Bike to School Week; Remembrance Day ceremonies; community gardens; acts of social justice; buddy bench building; upcycling; recycling; and environmental sustainability. In May, the student-led “Club G” received a National Inclusive Education Award to recognize the spirit of cooperation and compassion that the Club has inspired at Highlands Elementary.
Enhancing our schools as places of belonging continues as staff and students inspire and learn from each other how to create inclusive learning environments for all. A committee is reviewing the School District’s Policy 412: Homophobia for potential improvements and, for the first time, the “Rainbow Flag” will fly outside the Education Services Centre during this summer’s Pride Week in Vancouver.
The delayed start to the school year was a challenge we all shared. We would like to thank staff for their commitment to delivering the curriculum in a shortened timeframe, parents for their understanding of the circumstances, and students for their flexibility and patience during those uncertain weeks last fall. It was impressive to witness everyone come together and achieve so much in a shortened year. We thank you all and we are appreciative of the workplace stability that is now in place as a result. Further to this, through careful fiscal management, we have been able to present a balanced budget for the coming year and maintain a rich diversity of enhanced program offerings without teacher layoffs or reductions in supports to students.
Lastly, we extend best wishes and congratulations to our graduating students of 2015. We wish you much success as you further your studies, launch careers and make the most the education you have received. Your teachers are proud of you, we are proud of you, and we know that you’re ready for the road ahead.
Have an excellent summer, everyone!
BOARD OF EDUCATION