I hope that the amazing summer weather has given you the opportunity to rest, relax, recharge, and spend time with family and friends. Now, as summer draws to a close, I hope that you are as excited as I am about the start of an outstanding new school year. We have much to anticipate as the year begins.
The opening of the school year is different for every learner. For many of our Kindergarten students, the first few weeks of school will be an exciting new experience, but it will also bring some uncertainty - as it will for their parents. For older elementary students, the return to school will provide a welcome opportunity to reconnect with friends and launch into a year of learning filled with creative, engaging and dynamic experiences. For our secondary students, back to school will mean an opportunity to become involved in the school community and participate in the wide variety of excellent school programs, clubs, sports and other activities available in our public system. For our Grade 12 students,this is a particularly special time as they prepare for the final stretch of their secondary school experience before graduating and moving on to post-secondary education, the world of work, or perhaps travel - as engaged, compassionate, and caring young adults.
The coming school year will provide rich learning experiences for every child. At the same time, key district priorities and directions will move the district forward in positive ways. The Vancouver school district is committed to fostering engaged learners, inclusive schools, and caring communities. We will continue to work hard to improve success for all Aboriginal students and expand Aboriginal cultural awareness throughout the school district. We will enhance student learning and district planning by increasing student engagement and meaningful voice. We anticipate holding student forums and look forward to launching the student trustee pilot project with the election of the first student trustee in October.
In our classrooms, students and staff will notice a growing emphasis on access to technologies designed to unlock our students' creativity, while providing them with an opportunity to learn in both personalized and collaborative ways. The district will seek to increase interest and enrolment in skills training, trades and transitions. We will also continue to consult with and support our staff in determining how best to implement elements of the BC Education Plan.
Clearly, a successful school district relies on the relationships established with parents, our partner groups and the larger community. The district will work with DPAC to assist in engaging parents in all aspects of our schools. A supportive and meaningfully involved parent community ensures the success of our system.
These initiatives would not be possible without the ongoing support of a deeply committed and invested staff. In Vancouver, we are fortunate to benefit from some of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable teachers in the world. With the help of our dedicated support staff, it is no wonder that the Vancouver public school system continues to stand out globally as the place for students to study. Our administrators from our schools to the district level serve our system as no other. We are truly fortunate to have such a fine organization supporting teaching and learning for each and every child.
It is with these thoughts in mind that I want to wish our students, parents, staff, and all other members of the education community a very successful and memorable school year.
Steve Cardwell, EdD