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Blog: Friday, September 25th, 2020

To Equity...and Beyond!

When Covid-19 throws us into chaos, there are still those who choose to rise above, and find the way to do the seemingly impossible.  If we want our kids to dream the impossible, we have to first get them to Equity -  equal access in the Abbotsford School district. It is about giving ALL our students the opportunity for success, despite the obvious (or not so obvious) roadblocks in our way. So, first, let’s talk about my travels, and what I saw this summer…

I rode the Kettle Valley Railway.  It’s an old railroad trail that goes all the way from Hope to Castlegar, about 650+ km if you go all the way.  The nice thing about a railway trail is that it is never too steep to go up or down, and you can even rent an electric bike to help you. I rode hard uphill for a couple of hours, then had the pleasure of coasting downhill all the way back. My kind of fun day.

I tried to go surfing on Vancouver Island.  Not Tofino—I was trying to find the road less-travelled, at Sombrio Beach & Jordan River, just south of Port Renfrew.  I talked with a gal who was surfing in the morning, and had to get to work in Victoria, two hours away.  She worked in the Coast Guard…cool.  I asked, and she shared that she started working for the Coast Guard because of her love of the ocean in previous fishing jobs, and she wanted to do something meaningful, so she went back to school to learn enough to apply to the Coast Guard.

On the way back from my holiday, we stopped into a small town bakery, waiting in a (socially distanced) line for a giant sized doughnut (bigger than my head!).  Standing behind us was a family in cycling gear eyeballing the treats, just like me. I struck up a conversation and joked whether they deserved a treat this early in the morning; they shared they had been cycling for 53 days! Their starting point? Canmore Alberta!  It’s hard enough for two healthy adults to ride this distance (almost 1100 km), but they completed this ride with a 7 & 10 year old.  What did YOU do this summer?

A colleague shared about a kid he was tracking; both his parents are drug addicts.  Two years ago he missed 100 days of school.  With supports from a care worker, he missed 0 days during 2020, our Covid-interrupted year, and he now helps teach elders on the First Nations Reserve learn about technology.

Covid-19 has been, and continues to be a huge interruption to our lives, let alone the education of our children. It has changed our daily decisions, our behaviours and our levels of anxiety. But in the breather of space I call Summer, I have found people who decided to do something different, to make a difference for themselves and for others. We could order online and stay home until we find a cure for Covid-19, or take stock of what we have and commit to do more. These people I met this summer—they certainly chose to do more. And so can we.  Our goal in Abbotsford, and at Mt. Lehman Elementary, is to give our students an opportunity to succeed, especially when Covid tells us to stay home.