Official Trustee Dianne Turner and Superintendent of School John Lewis have written the following letter to parents, guardians and staff regarding the past school year and looking ahead to September.
Dear parents, guardians and staff:
The summer break has arrived and with it a chance to look back on the school year. We want to share with you a few details of the work that has been happening at the district level to maintain high quality education for your children and to enhance their learning environment.
We have completed the first year of our new five-year strategic plan that commits us to inspiring student success by providing an innovative, caring and responsive learning environment. Steps taken through the plan include a focus on instruction for the implementation of the new curriculum and the communication of student learning, new partnerships for youth training in trades, new growth opportunities to develop strong school leaders, increased support for students experiencing mental health challenges, and further success at reducing district energy consumption. The district has also developed a five-year business plan to create a more stable and predictable financial environment in which to support and deliver educational programs and improvements.
This year has seen significant funding announcements for seismic upgrades to Dr. Annie B. Jamieson, Lord Tennyson and Maple Grove elementary schools, while ground was broken on a replacement for Lord Nelson Elementary. We celebrated the opening of L'Ã‰cole Bilingue, General Gordon and Queen Mary elementary schools after seismic upgrading, as well as a new school, Crosstown Elementary, which welcomed students from the downtown Vancouver area. There is much more work to do in the years to come and the board continues to advocate for the funding necessary to rejuvenate our schools. At our final board meeting of the school year, VSB adopted a comprehensive five-year capital plan for submission to the provincial government with proposals to continue to achieve progress with our seismic mitigation plan to make all schools safe.
In February, the provincial government announced it was providing B.C. school districts with one-time funding for learning resources based on $50 per student to help cover some costs incurred by parents. We will be finalizing the distribution of funds to schools for September and look forward to discussions with PACs to put the school allocations to good use in addressing our learning resource needs.
The Supreme Court of Canada decision and Memorandum of Agreement between the provincial government and the BC Teachers' Federation regarding class size and composition is bringing more teachers into our schools and will result in reduced class sizes. The extra teaching support is most welcome, but will present some challenges as we make adjustments to accommodate more classes in our schools this September. We thank you for your understanding while we work to implement the Memorandum of Agreement.
This has been a challenging year at the Vancouver School Board, but we have been privileged and honoured to work alongside dedicated professionals, teachers, parents, staff and community members who have not wavered from our collective responsibility and commitment to deliver quality education to our students within a safe and caring working and learning environment. Our staff have continued to provide innovative, caring and responsive learning environments and we sincerely thank them for their dedicated work throughout this school year.
We hope that everyone in our school community has a wonderful summer break. We look forward to welcoming our students, parents, guardians and staff back in September, when we will continue our mission to inspire student success.
Dianne Turner, Official Trustee
John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools
View the letter as a pdf