Abbotsford school board voted to focus the district’s Community Matters Awards on organizations this year with hopes to drive more engagement with nominations. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News file photo

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Abbotsford school board seeks more engagement in Community Matters Award

This year’s awards to focus on organizations in effort to reverse two years of declining nominations

The Abbotsford School District hopes to garner more engagement in its Community Matters Awards by limiting this year’s nominations to organizations and leaving out individual nominations.

The decision came with some debate at school board, which heard the result of a study into declining nominations over a couple of years of the school districts Community Matters Awards, which celebrate those who do a service for Abbotsford School District students.

A sub-committee was struck to review the award last year, and ultimately recommended that the school board decide that, “consider recognizing organization (sic) as opposed to individuals for all future Community Matter Awards.”

RELATED: Bakerview Music Academy receives Community Matters Award

But that point garnered some level of disagreement between school board members, with trustees Shirley Wilson and Korky Neufeld opposing the removal of individuals from the awards.

“I recognize that there has been some decrease in the number of … names submitted, put forward. However, not really significantly, because we never had a significant amount in the beginning,” Wilson said, adding that when she sat in on the committee, there were 11 nominations and few were individuals.

“I think that by removing individuals, we’re doing a disservice to the significant number of students that are impacted directly because of an individual that’s contributing to the education system.”

Neufeld added that he found removing an element from the nominations to increase the number of nominations would be counterintuitive.

However, the remainder of the trustees were hesitant to alter course so late in the process, as adding individuals into the mix would require adding criteria and other necessities into the mix for awards that were already getting a late start this year.

“It didn’t seem to me like the end of the world say we can revisit this next year,” Trustee Rhonda Pauls said.

“I would like to clarify that by focusing on groups for a year, it in no way implies that individuals are not relevant or important.”

School board voted 5-2 against amending the awards for this year.

The committee also laid out a three-month promotional plan for the awards, which started on April 10, and will include a news release, email campaigns, traditional advertising and social media advertising this month.

That’s followed by further email campaigns and advertising in May, with nominations to close on May 17, 10 days before the awards committee meets to review the nominations over four days, from May 27 to 31.

Finally, the award winners will be notified between June 3 and 7, and the awards will be presented on June 18, with a news release to follow.

Find more of our coverage on the Abbotsford School District here.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter


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