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Education: Additional Language Study Makes Eight Recommendations
Submitted. Offering a variety of additional languages in Abbotsford schools will require the community to think differently about how we meet the emerging needs for language learning.
That’s one of the key observations in a feasibility review of expanding additional language instruction in the district. The review undertook comprehensive surveys and a focus group session over the past 9 months, to determine the level of interest in specific additional language choices to be offered in grades 5-12. The report, presented to the Board by Assistant-Superintendent Mary-Anne Smirle contains eight recommendations.
• Explore expanding Spanish at grades 5-8 levels and Mandarin Chinese at grade 10 level outside of the timetable;
• Establishing an Elementary/Middle language task force to review current model of second language instruction in grades 5-8 and provide recommendations for a new model;
• That the district not expand the Punjabi language program at this time, but secondary schools should work together to maximize access to existing programs;
• Providing professional learning opportunities in Punjabi language and culture for employees;
• Pilot an additional language camp during summer school
A proposed implementation plan and budget will be brought back to the Board in the fall.
Annual Achievement Contract and District Literacy Plan presented
The Board approved two significant annual reports:
• The District Achievement Contract for 2012-2013 maintains two key goals: improving overall achievement and improving graduation rates. A key success for the District has been its graduation rate, which over past five years has moved from a 78% student graduation rate – below the provincial rate – to an 88% grad rate in 2010-11, well above the provincial average. The Aboriginal student graduation rate has also climbed significantly, to a rate of 68%, which is above the provincial average. The District Achievement Contract is an annual document required by
the Ministry of Education by July 15th of each year.
See the full Achievement Contract at:www.sd34.bc.ca/district/reports/achievement-contract
• The District Literacy Plan 2012/2013 was developed by Abbotsford’s Literacy Matters Association (LMA). The Board heard that positive outcomes from the past year include:
- the Raise a Reader funding program, where funds have provided the ability for programs to increase their capacity to serve families;
- the creation of an Adult Table and the Aboriginal Table that has brought together services providers and community members with interests in specific areas of literacy;
- promotion and branding of Literacy Matters.
The report also identifies challenges or issues that have arisen in the community, including that based on a rise in unemployment in Abbotsford, workplace/employment literacy challenges may be of concern; and that recent provincial changes to Employment Insurance and Social Assistance programs will have the greatest impact on the adults with literacy/basic and essential skills. The full District Literacy Plan is available at: