A day of learning and sharing! VSB hosts an international delegation.

Community, Schools & Students

Last week, Vancouver School Board staff welcomed a six-person delegation from the Netherlands to share information and exchange ideas about how to improve outcomes for students. 

With the theme Teachers: the key to the future, representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in the Netherlands asked District staff about their education policies and approach to the changing public education landscape. Their visit was inspired by the British Columbian ministerial delegation to Europe in the early spring, which included VSB director of instruction, Adrian Keough and superintendent Suzanne Hoffman. 

“With Minister Fleming in Europe in early April, I was struck by the common challenges and opportunities for public education regardless of country or continent,” notes Hoffman. “Yet the real eye opener for me was the commonalities we share in working collaboratively and thinking progressively on behalf of the students we serve.” 

“Learning from colleagues in other jurisdictions strengthens schools in Vancouver. Local educators gain new, fresh perspectives on everything from educator recruitment and retention, to teacher professional development, to innovation in curriculum,” explains Hoffman. “I am thrilled we are able to extend the collaboration we began with our visit to The Hague earlier this spring.” 

The daylong Vancouver gathering began with a traditional Indigenous acknowledgment by the District’s vice-principal of Indigenous education, Chas Desjarlais. In addition to sharing her story and family history, she provided context on the Indigenous cultures and history of Vancouver. She also welcomed visitors to the traditional lands of the Coast Salish People with a song and traditional welcome. 

The next several hours passed with vibrant learning exchanges. Numerous VSB staff participated in a round table. Topics of discussion included Indigenous Education, career pathways for teachers, literacy, inclusion for students with special needs, additional language learning and career education for students.  

“Any opportunity to exchange with colleagues - locally, provincially or internationally - always has the potential to add value to the work we do,” says Keough. “Although our models for development of curriculum differ significantly, there is tremendous excitement in both jurisdictions as we embark on a new phase in public education.” 

Excitement to share and learn resonated from everyone throughout the day. 

“We greatly enjoyed our visit to Vancouver to learn about the education system and school boards in Vancouver,” says Rosa du Pré, a delegate from the Netherlands. “Naturally, we also wished to share our own experiences. We believed this could be a mutual learning experience,” she adds. 

Following the round table discussions, the delegation took a field trip and spent some time at Strathcona Elementary.   

Learn more about the District’s participation in the Minister’s education delegation to Europe.