As some of you know, I will not be running as a Trustee in the next cycle of municipal elections this fall. While I will still be very involved in the community, this departure naturally elicits a state of reflection. I would like to take this opportunity to share a few of those memories with you, after nine years of service at West Vancouver Schools.
Well before I decided to run as an elected Trustee, I became interested in the work of the school district by attending Board meetings as part of my Parent Advisory Council responsibilities. In those meetings, teachers and students kick off the monthly Board meeting by providing a glimpse into the learning taking place in each of our schools.
To this day, the ‘Board Highlights’ inspire me to do everything in my power to enhance the educational experience for students and staff. Those in attendance at the meeting are shown ‘what’ is happening in schools, and come away knowing ‘why’ it’s so important.
These demonstrations of learning show clearly how passionate and connected our students and teachers are –in each classroom and around the world. In terms of my own commitment to public education and service, these highlights have always been where the ‘rubber hits the road’. It really is about teaching and learning in every conceivable way, shape and form, and I have looked forward to this part of my work year in and year out.
The very first conference I attended as a new Trustee was the 2005 BC School Superintendents Association fall conference. We heard many inspiring speakers that day, including one who spoke about transformation, change and technology. The presenting speaker showed a video that concluded with a little girl in a pink dress, looking over her shoulder as she was running, asking the audience to “come with me”. I can still see the image very clearly.
For me, that image was an epiphany; it was then that I knew that embracing technology in our schools really was critical for our children’s future. At the time, computers were being adopted in every home, and while there were computer labs in our schools, I knew that it was up to us to take the lead. From personal experience, I believed we had to do more. We had to play a leadership role on ethics and safe access, while also providing students with the right tools to do research and take their learning to a new level.
I am forever indebted to the brilliant minds in this district so that we have been able and willing to take the lead in this area to make this happen for our children. Tomorrow belongs to our youth, and I am very proud that we work so hard to help them embrace it with confidence.
We have just been through some very challenging times in public education, but this makes it more important than ever to work together with a common purpose. Over the years, and most certainly in this school year, the Board has lobbied leaders in education, labour relations and government to enhance support for schools and our children. We need a sustainable public education system, and the West Vancouver Board of Education will continue to urge decision-makers to take clear actions to support our system.
I want to close with just a couple of things that I’ve learned along the way:
From a former Superintendent — never underestimate the value of breaking bread together.
From the students I have met — we are the future, and we’re depending on all adults to help us meet it with the optimism, skills, joy and resilience needed to last a lifetime.
Always surround yourself with positive people who are smarter than you! I have been so fortunate to be able to do so.
Thank you for your support all of the years, and my best wishes for another great year in the Premier Place for Learning.
Cindy Dekker, Board Chair