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A Parent’s Voice

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School Board News

Horse-Assisted Education

There were three delegations to the school board this week. The students and staff of Robert Bateman Secondary described their new Equestrian Program. Principal Jinder Sarwora explained that Mr. Bateman has often said he is more of an environmentalist than an artist, and that kids should walk outside, take a deep breath, and appreciate and enjoy nature. The mission statement states: “Bateman Equestrian Education is designed to educate students through personalized learning; connecting students with horses to participate in a high schoolHorse-Assisted Education accredited course focusing on horsemanship skills along with the care and management of individual project horses.” “It’s a perfect opportunity to find passion and engagement for Aboriginal Students – and earn credit for that towards their graduation,” notes Aboriginal Education District Principal Perry Smith. The program is a first for the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, and fairly unique in BC.

Organizations involved in the partnership are: Robert Bateman Secondary, the District Aboriginal Education department, Cayley Wilson Performance Horses, Farm Credit Canada, and Horse Council BC.

English Language Learners Report

Principal Kanta Naik

Ms. Kanta Naik, District Principal-ELL Review/Immigrant Settlement Workers, gave the English Language Learners (ELL) Report for this year. I attended last year’s report as well, which I believe was called the English as a Second Language (ESL) Report. Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) is an outreach program that helps immigrant and refugee students and their families. There are 2000 ELL students in Abbotsford. Helping immigrant students who are late arrivals or who have no previous school experience requires teaching social english first. Eventually the goal is to improve academic english or schooleeze. Principal Naik and her impressive team train ELL teachers and create curriculum. They plan,Dr. Virginia Rojas teach, evaluate, review, and then re-teach. Her team shows teachers how to teach and then checks results to prove we are using a good system.

Dr. Virginia Rojas travels extensively around the world to develop language programs and will train ALL faculty at five Abbotsford schools: Harry Sayers Elementary, Ten-Broek Elementary, Roberta Bondar Elementary, Clearbrook Elementary, and Rick Hansen Secondary.

Principal Naik also talked about Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model, which is a research-based and validated instructional model that has proven effective in addressing the academic needs of English learners throughout North America.

Summer School 2012 Report

Paper-Based Courses

Vice-Principal Jasbir Singh reported that 10% of Abbotsford students took advantage of summer school last year, with 1700 students in 10 sites. In these real classrooms, made out of bricks and mortar, students devoted a month of their summer break to study for 5 hours per day for 20 days. Some of the more popular paper-based courses were Math, Calculus, Physics and Socials. All had over 92% completion rates. There is a $100.00 seat deposit for paper-based courses – refundable upon completion of two weeks of Summer School.

On-line Courses

Principal Brad Hutchinson explained that in the virtual classrooms, students still completed 100 hours of work, but they did it on their computers at home. Grade 8 and 9 students were eager to study On-line Planning 10, a Health and Career course to help kids connect learning in school to the demands of the workplace. This was the most popular course. Students must complete Planning 10 in order to satisfy provincial graduation requirements. English 11 was the second most popular virtual course. Twenty seven percent of online students were adults. In 2011, 30% of online students failed to complete or withdrew from their courses. In 2012, a $25.00 seat deposit was created for on-line courses, reducing course withdrawal to 2%.

The Principals are hoping to continue to increase completion rates and look forward to a time when students can be ready for university courses in five years rather than twelve. Already we see some Abbotsford students studying university courses by Grade 10.

Our teachers are also hoping to engage our community in a discussion about what some of these possibilities and opportunities will look like in our future summer classrooms. They are also recommending some school-based consultations. Everyone needs to be aware and involved in creating these types of changes.Bubbles of Love Corner

Bubbles of Love Day

Thursday, April 25

Thursday, April 25th 2013 will be a big day!

At noon I am going to Abbotsford Water Park to raise awareness about parental alienation and blow BUBBLES OF LOVE for our children. Take a moment, even if you’re at work, to think about kids by chewing some bubble gum or blowing some soap bubbles and joining with us in trying to find ways to help them have two parents in our changing families.

At 7pm, I will attend this year’s DPAC elections. Our parent councils have been such a big part of my parenting. I am looking forward to another great year. Come out and get involved in education and tell us your family’s ideas.

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About DPAC

What follows is an explanation of parent oversight entities from Vancouver parents. The Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) is a collection of parents (elected by PACs) working with the common goal of supporting education for all the children of Abbotsford.

Our purpose is to: Support Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) at the school level and to encourage them to share their parents views at the district and provincial levels. Represent the views of city parents to the Vancouver Board of Education through participation on school board standing and advisory committees. Advocate for Vancouver parent concerns at the provincial level through representation to the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC), Abbotsford Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) does not represent one voice. We try to represent the diverse views of Abbotsford PACs and parents. Recognizing that each student is unique, our goal is to attain the best education for all students in our school district (SD#39).

We strive to ensure that our input to various committees and levels of government will represent the diverse views of Vancouver PACs. We strive to ensure that the Vancouver Board of Education is communicating clearly with city PACs.

We invite all PACs to become informed and participate in the workshops and meetings with our DPAC hosts.

In Abbotsford, there are seven elected positions on the DPAC executive plus some appointed community positions (Special Ed, Abby Youth Council, Traffic and Safety). Please take the time to share your PACs views and concerns with your District Parent Advisory Council Executive members or myself. Read the original Vancouver DPAC version.

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Next DPAC Meeting Thursday, February 28, 7pm

Special Needs/Learning Support Services in Abbotsford Schools

Heidi Vinois, an Abbotsford Mom, came to the school board back in February 2012 and gave a presentation about how she felt it was important to increase the wages of Abbotsford Teacher Assistants to help special education students by bringing TA wages up to par with surrounding cities.

The Abbotsford DPAC website says that at our February 28th meeting the teachers will make a presentation on how Special Education is changing and where Abbotsford is today. Teachers will describe how many students we have with special needs and ask how we should change our staffing and programs to meet those needs. These questions will be explored with parents. This topic is both related to Heidi’s ideas for increased TA wages and an issue that touches many families. Come and hear the details.

As well, Learning Support Services (LSS) will be giving an update of the new ministry mandate of ERASE BULLYING, describing some supports for the victim and for the bully in a school community. Critical Incident updates will be another topic, showing parents the direction of Learning Supports in our district.

This will probably be our last public DPAC Meeting before our April 25th DPAC Elections. But in the meantime, it’s budget time. Our School Board is planning on holding a public meeting – the date to be announced – to explain our School District budget, which Trustee John Sutherland explains is approximately $155 Million. That’s bigger by far than our City budget because the city does not have 2000 employees.

Lindsay Blackstock uploaded this DPAC Agenda file to Facebook.

 2790 Tims Street, Abbotsford: Click To Enlarge Map

Abbostsford School Board Office 2790 Tims Street, Abbotsford: Click To Enlarge Map

BC First Family Day

La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2013
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 78 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!

Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2013
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 78 days till Awareness Day!

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