The Honourable George Abbott, Minister of Education visited Vancouver School District today to meet with trustees and tour schools.
The Minister and Deputy Minister began the day at Elsie Roy Elementary school. During the first hour, the Vancouver School Board Trustees and Minister met to discuss items of common interest. From there, the group visited three Vancouver schools and met with students, teachers and parents.
At Elsie Roy Elementary, the Minister had an opportunity to see students using iPads and iTouch devices as a way to support and enhance their learning. Students from both Elsie Roy and King George Secondary were part of this school visit that showcased personalized learning in action.
On the route to the next school, Minister Abbott was shown the International Village site, which is the Vancouver School Board's top request for Ministry of Education capital funding for new school construction.
The next stop was Laura Secord Elementary where the tour of the on-going major seismic upgrade gave the Minister an overview of the complexity and urgency of seismically upgrading at-risk schools, along with the added challenge of upgrading buildings that have significant heritage value.
Later in the morning, students from John Oliver Secondary met the Minister in the Windermere Secondary auditorium and presented about learning projects that they undertake as part of the John Oliver Digital Immersion Mini-school. Each day these high school students use various technologies to access information, create and present their learning experiences. The focus on using technology motivates them to explore topics of interest and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways. Afterwards, the JO digital media students participated in an informative discussion with the Minister and school trustees and articulately described how technology has positively affected their active engagement in learning.
The Minister then met with teachers from Windermere, John Oliver and representatives of the Vancouver Elementary and Secondary Teachers' Associations. After meeting with staff, the Minister and trustees then visited with the Windermere Culinary Arts program. The students had prepared and served a wonderful luncheon for the Minister, trustees and representatives from the District Parent Advisory Council.
The visit concluded with an outdoor tour of the award-winning sustainability gardens at Windermere demonstrated by several student leaders. The Minister ended the day with thanks to all for his opportunity to visit Vancouver public schools and to see personalized student learning in action.
The agenda for the day underscored priorities of the Board, which included:
· an opportunity to speak directly about the need for adequate, sustainable and predictable funding;
· to show the necessity and urgency for capital projects in areas of growth;
· to demonstrate the scope and importance of seismic projects while retaining heritage value in our buildings; and
· most importantly, to highlight our outstanding students, staff and programs representing engaged learners, inclusive schools and caring communities.
The day provided an opportunity for beginning a positive relationship and for showing the great work that occurs every day in Vancouver schools.