Over the last month, I have actually had the opportunity to speak to 700+ graduates from Rockridge, Sentinel and West Vancouver Secondaries. While each speech reflected the uniqueness of each school, there were a few common themes I thought were important to share with all of our West Vancouver graduates. Here are the three themes I spoke about at the ceremonies:
We have an Excellent System
This past fall the PISA results were another external measure of the strong system we have in British Columbia, and in Canada. Once again, BC placed among the top jurisdictions in the world. When we look at provincial measures, we also know that West Vancouver students are academically strong. It is fair to say our graduates are some of the top-performing secondary school students in the world.
We also know that when we celebrate the success of our students, we need to celebrate the outstanding teachers and administrators in our system. We continually hear about the pivotal role school leadership and the relationship with the teacher plays — and we are in great shape in both areas.
Thank You for choosing West Vancouver and Public Education
There are a lot of choices for schooling, particularly in West Vancouver where private schools have a long history in the community. I want to personally thank the students and parents for placing their trust, faith and partnership in our schools. We are very proud of our accomplishments. In West Vancouver, more than 1,000 students attend our schools on a daily basis from other communities, and over 500 students come to our schools as International students. There are lots of choices, and parents want the very best for their children — so thanks for choosing public education and choosing West Vancouver.
Hopefully, we didn’t replicate your Parents’ Education
Most parents have fond memories of their schooling, but if we educated their sons and daughters the same way today, we would be doing these students a dis-service. There is nothing wrong with the education of a generation ago, but the education of today needs to prepare students for the world tomorrow. Hopefully, beyond memorizing facts and regurgitating details from a textbook, our graduates are leaving with a series of powerful skills including collaboration, cooperation, communication, creativity, organization, problem solving, self-regulation and technology fluency. Our graduates are well prepared to be the leaders and role models of the world tomorrow.
It is an exciting time of year and attending graduation festivities is one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects of my job. All the best to the graduates of the West Vancouver School District, and all graduates around the province.