Group of Leaders from local First Nations, Metis community and district representatives, hold up their signed copies of the new enhancement agreement Indigenous Enhancement Agreement Signing 2024

Abbotsford School District Signs Updated Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students

July 3, 2024

In a continued commitment to supporting the educational success and cultural identity of Indigenous students, the Abbotsford School District has signed the 2025-2030 Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students. The signing took place during a luncheon event on June 17, 2024, attended by representatives from the Semáth First Nation, Mathxwí First Nation, Fraser Valley Métis Association, the Abbotsford Board of Education, and district leaders, staff, and students.

“Building on the success of the previous agreement, we are pleased with this renewed collaborative plan to further the academic and personal achievements of Indigenous students within our district,” emphasized Shirley Wilson, Chair for the Abbotsford Board of Education. “This new agreement reaffirms our pledge, our commitment to our local First Nations and Métis community, to provide equitable opportunities and support, ensuring all Indigenous students thrive.”

During the luncheon, attendees heard from Allison Gardner, District Principal for Indigenous Education, about the updates to the enhancement agreement. She highlighted the extensive consultation process, which included feedback from more than 570 voices. Additionally, a group of Indigenous students from Chief Dan George Middle School and W.A. Fraser Middle School, called "The Agenda Gap," played a crucial role by providing student voice consultation and making important suggestions to support the new enhancement agreement.

The top four areas highlighted during the consultation were staffing, space, food, and cultural wellness. Specifically:

  • Staffing: The need for more Indigenous staff members who can serve as role models and mentors, and provide culturally relevant support to students.
  • Space: Creating dedicated spaces in schools where Indigenous students can gather, feel safe, and connect with their culture.
  • Food: Ensuring access to nutritious food, including traditional Indigenous foods, to support the overall well-being and academic success of students.
  • Cultural Wellness: Integrating cultural practices and teachings into the school environment to promote a sense of identity and belonging among Indigenous students.

The 2025-2030 Enhancement Agreement maintains the focus on three primary goals:

  • Student Success: Holistic support for academic, emotional, and physical wellness.
  • Cultural Identity: Strengthening connections to Indigenous culture and community.
  • Equity and Access through Advocacy: Prioritizing fairness and advocacy in all educational opportunities.

Carlos Julian from the Mathxwí First Nation contributed artwork to the agreement, visually representing the cyclical nature of student development and achievement.

“Our commitment to investing in Indigenous students has yielded positive results, and we are excited to continue this journey,” said Allison Gardner, District Principal of Indigenous Education. “The newly signed agreement reflects the voices and needs of our community, ensuring that our programs are both culturally relevant and effective.”

The Enhancement Agreement is a vital component for Indigenous students in our district and positively impacts how our district operates, guiding our efforts to provide an inclusive and supportive educational environment.

For more details on the 2025-2030 Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students, visit the Abbotsford School District’s Indigenous Education website.