Blog Posts

March 10, 2022

Trust the Village

I visited the temporary Upper Sumas Elementary site this week to see how the staff and students were adjusting to their “new” environment (For those of you who have been around as long as I have been, this was the old Abby Elementary School site). As I approached the front doors, I saw a class of students standing in circle in a little garden patch. I made eye contact with the teacher, Ms. Marr, who invited me to join their circle. She told me that they had just finished sharing what they were grateful for and invited me to do the same.

February 28, 2022

Student Voice: Selling Hope

With all that has transpired in this country and in Europe over the last few weeks, it is easy to slip into despair. However, when you work with and in service of children it is both difficult and unhealthy to live in that space. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with a group of eight students from Robert Bateman Secondary last week, and true to form, they not only affirmed the importance of our work, but lifted my spirits about the fundamental importance of our ongoing journey to deepen student learning experiences in our schools.  

February 3, 2022

Why Celebrate Black History Month?

I have a hope that one day we will not have to celebrate Black History Month, that our society, discourse and school curricula will be redolent with the contributions and experiences of Black Canadians, that Black students in our schools will be proud of who they are, that they will see their history and culture in the ecology of their school experiences, and that they will not suffer the legacy of prejudice and racism as their previous generation had.

January 13, 2022

Renaming and Intertwining History

At the end of 2021, the Abbotsford School District approved changing the name of two of our schools - Upper Sumas Elementary to Semá:th Elementary and Matsqui Elementary to Mathxwí Elementary. This decision was made in consultation with the local First Nation communities as an acknowledgement of the traditional and unceded territory of the Stó:lō people, the Semá:th First Nation and Mathxwí First Nation and their longstanding relationship to the land. Stó:lō Elders describe their connection to the land in the statement "we have always been here." 

December 12, 2021

Generosity

This past month families experiencing flooding lost so much.  Having little to no time to respond, many lost items stored in the basement or crawlspace, especially seasonal items that were damaged beyond repair.  Considering much bigger loses occurred, why is it that losing Christmas decorations hurts so much?  The ornament made by our kids, the picture ornaments of special memories, family antiques carefully wrapped and placed on the tree each year.  Memories of better times lost in soggy basements.  Allison Gardner, Teacher for Indigenous Success (Supporting Indig

December 9, 2021

School is Where the Heart Is

When I was recently asked to share with some of my colleagues how our school district was handling the challenges related to the recent rainstorms and flooding, I could not help but reflect on the numerous calamities we have experienced as a community over the last decade. In addition to the pandemic and disastrous flooding of the last three weeks, our community has endured more than its fair share of tragedies. We have lost more students from a range of misfortune too difficult to recount here.

November 25, 2021

An Open Letter to Ethan (and his Classmates)

On the heels of our decision to open some of our schools last week, several high school students wrote a version of this letter below to me:

Dear Dr. Godden,

On behalf of several students in the Abby school district, we would like to request that you close the school district completely for the remainder of the week as well as thank you for your prompt decision making in this unfortunate situation. 

October 26, 2021

Knowing, Learning and Leading

Even though Canada recently observed the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts (ASIA) North Poplar campus began their journey of Truth and Reconciliation years ago by listening, collaborating, and acting. I, myself - Wenonah Justin (she/her) from the Pukaist community, a member of Cook's Ferry of the Nlaka'pamux Nation, and Cree ancestry - am one of the Indigenous Support Workers at the school that guides all that come across my path with Indigenous knowledge.

October 26, 2021

Distinguishing the Weather from the Work

As a way of keeping our focus on the teaching and learning in our schools, I have drawn a distinction between the “work”, our primary focus on providing for the educational needs of our students, and the “weather”, the conditions under which we do this work. In uncertain times if we are not careful, we sometimes confuse the two. While it is clearly important to ensure that we are following all the public health protocols, caution must be extended to ensure that this does not become the primary focus of our discourse and practice.