Abbotsford, BC – What are the top skills and attributes the students of today need? According to parents and guardians of students in Abbotsford School District, these include: interpersonal and communication skills, character development, critical thinking, accountability and respect.
These are just a few of the findings in the district’s most recent parent/guardian consultation and engagement process. Other emergent themes show high levels of appreciation for teachers, staff and leadership, and the quality of programs in Abbotsford schools. On the other side, parents also communicated the need to improve school culture, classroom management and district facilities.
Almost 2,000 parents/guardians of Abbotsford students participated in a public consultation in May and June utilizing the online Thought exchange process. This was a way to understand shared concerns and positive aspects of schools and programs. The consultation follows a similar process undertaken in 2013, whereby parents responded to general questions, and then returned to prioritize thoughts contributed by participants. The process allows the district staff to learn about the things that are most important to the participants.
The questions asked were:
1) What are some concerns you have about our school this year?
2) What are some things you appreciate about our school this year?
3) What are some examples of the key skills/capabilities our young people need to attain in schools
to develop into responsible and productive adults?
Over 4,200 discrete ideas were contributed.
“In an effort to consult with parents and guardians of students in the Abbotsford School District, we engaged in the Thoughtexchange process this past spring. The Board of Education and staff across the district work to deliver on the priorities within the strategic plan. ‘Parental and Community Engagement’ is an important of our strategic plan,” said Abbotsford Board of Education Chair Cindy Schafer. “We want to thank everyone who participated. Their insight will help us continue to deliver on our vision of a world-class, innovative, and individualized education experience for every student.”
The Board has embarked on a three year plan to have an annual engagement with its employees and parents, via Thoughtexchange. The new results are now available online at http://sd34.thoughtexchange.info.
Results are displayed at a district level, and at individual school levels. (Eight schools do not have results due to low participation.)