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News: Monday, June 24th, 2019

School District Signs Education Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students

After months of significant and dedicated consultation and dialogue the 2019-2024 Education Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students was signed on June 12th, 2019, by Chief Dalton Silver of Sumas First Nation, Chief Alice McKay of Matsqui First Nation, Lisa Hendry, President of the Fraser Valley Metis Association, Dr. Gwendolyn Point, advisor from Sto:lo Nation, Stan Petersen, Chair for the Abbotsford Board of Education, Superintendent Kevin Godden of the Abbotsford School District and Darlene MacDonald, District Principal for Aboriginal Education.

"Abbotsford School District has achieved some encouraging results as a consequence of our commitment to maintaining and renewing Enhancement Agreements for our Indigenous students," noted Stan Petersen, Chair for the Abbotsford Board of Education. "Our Indigenous students perform considerably higher than the provincial average for school completion, and we see this as a direct result of the work of our dedicated staff, and the strength of the partnerships we have fostered with our local communities."

The agreement is a collection of the voice of the Indigenous community, who communicated with the school district through numerous consultations their wants, needs and challenges for their children.

Three major goals of the 2019-2024 Enhancement Agreement include:

  1. Student Success
  2. Cultural Identity
  3. Equity and Access

During the signing of the Enhancement Agreement, attendees heard from Kecia Prevost, a Cultural Support Worker with the school district, who shared her hopes and dreams for her son Marcus who will be entering kindergarten in September.

"I want him to know that he is smart, he is important, and he can and will do everything that he sets his mind to. I want him to always remember Iyem Telmel ey thale – have a strong mind and a good heart."

A vital component of the Enhancement Agreement also recognizes that Indigenous students thrive in an environment that supports equity, acknowledging that there are biases and examples of racism students face and looking at ways to address these issues and remove barriers.

"The Abbotsford Board of Education's commitment to investing in our Indigenous students and staff has encouraged us to see great strides in our students' success rates," said Darlene MacDonald, District Principal for Aboriginal Education. "We continue to hire staff who are connected to culture, who understand the lived experiences and the challenges our students face."

In the past three years, the completion rate for Indigenous students in Abbotsford has increased from 72% in 2015-2016 to 80% in 2017-2018.

Abbotsford is one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Canada. The Sumas and Matsqui First Nations communities and the Fraser Valley Metis Association fall within the district's catchment area. The district also recognizes the Stó:lō people, placing special emphasis on Halq'eméylem language education.

Media Contact:

Kayla Stuckart, Manager of Communications
Phone: (604) 859 – 4891 ext. 1206