The 2015-2016 school year is off to a great start, and on behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome all of our new and returning students and families to West Vancouver Schools. While families were enjoying the last few weeks of summer, in our schools staff were preparing classrooms and grounds for our students. Last Tuesday we had our first public Board meeting of the year, with a full agenda, which included highlight presentations from two of our schools as well as updates on a number of operational areas of interest to our school community. Parents, staff, students and anyone interested in how our district is governed are encouraged to attend these public meetings, which are held monthly throughout the school year.
One of my favourite parts of each board meeting is the highlight presentations that open the meetings. Each meeting brings a group of new people, programs and students together, and it is here where we are treated to a glimpse of the magic happening every day in classrooms throughout the district.
Last week, we were updated on the status of the new Advanced Placement Capstone program which just finished its inaugural year at Sentinel Secondary. In September 2014 Sentinel was selected as one of 10 schools in Canada and one of 135 schools worldwide to implement the AP Capstone program. This program, run through the College Board, is designed to provide students an opportunity to engage and challenge themselves in core academic as areas, providing them with the skills necessary for success at the post-secondary level. AP Capstone students engage in two year-long courses: AP Seminar 11 and AP Research.
Last year 28 students enrolled in the first half of the program the Seminar course. The program has become a point of real pride for the school; with 27 of those enrolled successfully writing the College Board AP examination. It is quite an achievement, as Sentinel’s students ranked among the top schools around the world. Thank you to Teachers Aaron Fuller, Christian Obeck and Vice-Principal Kathy Grant who oversee this program. It’s fabulous to see that twenty four of the students have returned to complete the second half of the program. It’s also exciting to see that enrolment has doubled for this year’s intake of the AP Seminar 11 course.
In addition to highlighting the Capstone program we were also treated to a comprehensive review of the work taking place in Aboriginal Education throughout the district. Since the formal signing of the Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement in 2014, with the Squamish nation, our journey towards a partnership in Aboriginal Education has come a long way.
We heard that authentic education on Aboriginal issues is not just about First Nations people, but embedding their perspective into all parts of the curriculum in a meaningful way. In addition to developing Aboriginal Education plans in each of our schools, we now have a Skwxwú7mesh Language Instructor on board and an Aboriginal success teacher who supports Aboriginal learners. This is a learning journey for all students and staff in the district, and I am proud of the work we are doing to support this important learning in our schools.
I look forward to continuing to share some of our successes and stories with you each month, and as always, I am grateful for the support of our parent community as we begin another exceptional year in West Vancouver Schools.
Carolyn Broady, Chair
West Vancouver Board of Education