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Blog: Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Where to From Here?

By Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

At one of my recent school visits, a colleague asked me where I think the district needs to go next in terms of its goals. The question came out of a spirited discussion we were having about the intent of the curriculum redesign in our province, and the greater emphasis we have been putting on the core competencies and experiential learning. I told her that notwithstanding some course corrections, we needed to stay the course with the work we are currently doing.

The fact is that we know that the kind of change we have contemplated in modernizing our education system in BC will take longer than the time we have invested so far. While we have made some commendable progress, our work is far from complete. We must resist the temptation to jump onto something else when there is evidence to suggest that our aspirations for the education system has not yet been realized. For example:

  • While we have made significant progress in 0-6 early learning, we still have large numbers of students who come to school not ready to learn;
  • While we have made commendable progress with adult learning about a balanced literacy program using Daily 5, Café and Joyful Literacy there are still a troubling numbers of students who do not yet meet our expectations for reading;
  • While many students appreciate the increased opportunities to demonstrate their learning in ways that suit their interest and learning style, many do not have that opportunity;
  • While more and more teachers are adopting inquiry-based approaches, many have told us that they need time and support to deepen their practice; and
  • While our graduation rate consistently tops 90%, we still have a number of vulnerable students for whom school does not work the way it should.

I could go on, but you get the point that our work is not yet done, and we need to stay the course. 

But what changes SHOULD we make? Over the course of the next two months we will be inviting staff, parents, students and community members to join us in a conversation about our aspirations for the district in the next five years. As our 2016-20 Strategic Plan winds down, we are taking this opportunity to refresh and revise our key strategies as we develop a plan for the next five years.

As I note above, we need to keep focused on the main things as we have for the last few years, but there are also some areas we might invest in to more efficiently realize our vision for student success. In addition to celebrating our past successes, we also need to think about some of the changes society will throw our way, and consider how we should prepare our students for that world. This is where multiple voices will be helpful. What are the key things that we should consider to realize a brighter future for our students? We will use ThoughtExchange again, and I encourage all of us to actively participate in the conversations. Our students are counting on us.

By Dr. Kevin Godden
Dr. Kevin Godden
Dr. Kevin Godden

By Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.