After two years of dedicated consultation and dialogue, the Abbotsford school district signed their second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement today.
The district’s longstanding Aboriginal Advisory Committee includes representation from the Sumas First Nation, Matsqui First Nation, Stó:lō Nation, the Fraser Valley Metis Association and the Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Families Services Society. The committee is focused on holistic student development - academically, culturally and spiritually.
An Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement is a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education, to work together to support Aboriginal student success.
District programs place emphasis on supporting student’s individual needs. Grade one students receive literacy kits to help them read at home and every middle and secondary school has a dedicated Aboriginal support staffer.
In support of the agreement, family gatherings are held regularly at the local Aboriginal centre. Over dinner, families experience a non-threatening space to talk about their children’s academic success. They can also access health screenings, immunizations and library services - all provided by community partners.
Abbotsford is the third most ethnically diverse community in Canada. The Sumas and Matsqui First Nations communities both fall within the district’s catchment area. The district also recognizes the Stó:lō people, placing special emphasis on Halqemeylem language education.
In the past five years, the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students in Abbotsford has increased from 61% in 2009-10 to 75% in 2013-14. The provincial six-year completion rate has climbed to a record high of 62%.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
“Abbotsford’s second agreement not only strengthens the positive work they’ve accomplished in the past, but emphasizes their commitment to Aboriginal language and culture for years to come.”
Cindy Schafer, Abbotsford board chair -
“Abbotsford school district has achieved some encouraging results as a consequence of our first Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement. Our Aboriginal students perform considerably higher than the provincial average for school completion, and we have realized positive gains in reading achievement, sense of belonging, and cultural pride. This is no doubt the result of the work of our dedicated staff, and the strength of the partnerships we have fostered with our Aboriginal communities. We remain committed to even greater levels of achievement, and the goals within this new agreement will provide a roadmap for the continued success of Aboriginal students in our district.”
- The Abbotsford school district recognizes and acknowledges the traditional territories of the Sumas and Matsqui First Nations.
- The district has an Aboriginal student population of 2,145 which represents 11% of the total number of students in the district.
- The district signed their first agreement in 2007.
- Provincial funding for Aboriginal education in the B.C. public K-12 school system is $64.1 million for the 2014-15 school year, more than $1,160 per student.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education