Blog Posts

January 3, 2023

Three Wishes for 2023

It has been my practice for the last few Januarys to make predictions about possible changes in the K-12 sector. This practice goes back as far as 2015 when I highlighted the top ten issues facing our education system and some things to watch for as we sought to transform it.

December 13, 2022

Champions for Children: Clearbrook’s Path to Strengthening Personal and Cultural Identity

We walk into our schools each day and meet with faces, a multitude of beautiful faces behind which there are stories, personalities, interests, skills, hopes and values. And each day, we are lucky enough to have these children share pieces and layers of themselves in what might seem like surface-level interactions. A welcoming smile can draw someone in and engage them in conversation, and taking some time to listen to a child's story gives insight into their identity and, in turn, gives them the confidence they need to share with others.

December 13, 2022

Pausing for Gratitude

Many of you will know that I am a big football fan, (and an especially big Raider fan). The inspiration for my post this week does not come from Raider Nation, but from the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. If you follow the Seahawks, you will know that their Super Bowl winning quarterback, Russel Wilson was traded away and that most pundits thought that with back-up quarterback Smith at the helm, the team would be lucky to win half of their games this year.

November 24, 2022

Early Learning in our Community

The Abbotsford School District's Early Years learning team has been working to ensure that as many children and families have access to early learning support throughout our community. The following services and programs are currently available:

November 24, 2022

Celebrating Student Leadership

I had the pleasure this week of meeting with around fifty of Yale Secondary’s Leadership 12 students. They are an amazing and diverse group of go-getters who help to make their school and community better through service. In addition to the work they do, they are also curious about leadership and routinely invite leaders from various parts of the community to talk about their roles and perspectives on leadership. This week I was the invited guest. Among the things they wanted to learn more about were my background, how I became superintendent, as well as the joys and challenges of the job.

November 8, 2022

In Remembrance

Many of you will know that I am a student of the World Wars, and that over the years I have written about the profound respect I have for our veterans who have put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. As a teacher I carefully curated stories for my students about pivotal battles and Canadian heroes who helped to pave the way for the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. It was always a treat to welcome veterans into my classroom, and students always came away with a greater appreciation for the courageous lives of our service men and women, as well as the horrors of war.

October 14, 2022

Going Home

Harlem arrived at my school in September 2021 with a G4 file as thick as my fist. It stated that he had been in foster care for 11 years, rarely attended school, and could become violent if he became frustrated. He had been in foster care since birth and had been mainly homeschooled by his foster parents who did not value public school or his culture. When I first met him, it became apparent that we were not dealing with a violent or mean child but a soft-spoken, gentle, and curious boy.

October 14, 2022

Shadow a Student

As part of my personal inquiry into the student experience in our district, I have met with groups of students from each of our high schools over each of the last few years. Generally, I have asked our school leaders to ensure that the student group is diverse and represents a range in ages, gender, abilities, race and gender identities, etc. In a large high school, it is not difficult to get a diverse group, but I suspect it challenging to get a truly representative group of students who together can paint a fulsome picture of the student experience for me and the administration of their s

September 22, 2022

Irene Kelleher: Our New House of Learning

Irene Kelleher was born in Matsqui on December 16, 1901. Irene’s parents attended Saint Mary’s and Saint Anne’s Residential School in Mission. Raised in the Fraser Valley and eventually returning to the area later in life, Irene was a vital contributor to public education in British Columbia and a respected community leader.

September 1, 2022

My Hopes for This School Year

Now in my thirty-fifth year as an educator, I still look forward to the beginning of the school year with anticipation. It still feels like yesterday, but three and a half decades ago, I started my career in Peace River South School District as a grade 6/7 teacher in Devereaux Elementary School. I remember when I first saw the ad for the position, going to a map to see where the heck this place was. The principal, Mr. Evans, interviewed me over the phone and offered me the job shortly thereafter.