Despite a challenging year, the Abbotsford school district and board of education have many successes to celebrate, said Trustee Cindy Schafer on Tuesday evening during her inaugural address as board chair.
Schafer said the district should be proud of the achievements of its students, teachers, support staff and administrators.
“We will continue to do our best to provide the finest educational opportunities we can – for every student,” she said.
Schafer was speaking at Abbotsford Senior Secondary during the inaugural meeting of the board of education voted in during November’s municipal election.
Schafer, who has been a trustee for nine years – six of them as board chair – was again elected as chair for the next year, with Trustee Shirley Wilson elected vice-chair.
The evening included the seven trustees taking their oath of office, overseen by Judge Ken Skilnick.
The 2014-18 board of education consists of five trustees returning to office: Schafer, Wilson, Rhonda Pauls, Stan Petersen and Preet Rai.
Two new faces also join the board: Freddy Latham and Phil Anderson.
The evening also included some festive songs performed by the Grade 4 choir from the North Poplar campus of Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts.
In her speech, Schafer said the board will continue to stay focused on its “strategic direction and student achievement.”
She said highlights from the past year include a revised strategic plan for the district; a balanced budget; the release of the “Community in Schools” review, which included highlighting areas to improve services to families; and a comprehensive strategy to support young students.
Schafer also noted achievements that included Abbotsford’s graduation rate hitting 90 per cent for the first time, the district being one of only of 12 in Canada to receive the College Board’s AP Honour Roll distinction, and outstanding successes by students in sports,academics and the arts.
“We occasionally hear concerns about public education and yet it is our experience that there is so much to celebrate within the Abbotsford school district,” Schafer said.
(Below: Cindy Schafer, elected as the chair of the board of education for the 2014-15 year, gives her inaugural address during Tuesday’s proceedings at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.)