Abbotsford School District – Abbotsford School District Signs Updated Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students
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Abbotsford School District – Abbotsford School District Signs Updated Enhancement Agreement for Indigenous Students

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the academic success and cultural identity of Indigenous students, the Abbotsford School District signed the 2025-2030 Indigenous Student Enhancement Agreement. The signing took place at a luncheon on June 17, 2024, which included representatives from Semáth First Nation, Mathxwí First Nation, the Fraser Valley Métis Association, the Abbotsford School Board, as well as district leadership, staff and students.

“Building on the success of the previous agreement, we are excited about this renewed plan for collaboration to support the academic and personal achievements of Indigenous students in our district,” said Shirley Wilson, Chair of the Abbotsford School Board. “This new agreement reaffirms our commitment to our local First Nations and Métis community to provide equitable opportunities and supports to ensure all Indigenous students thrive.”

Over lunch, attendees heard from Allison Gardner, District Director of Indigenous Education, about the Enhancement Agreement updates. She highlighted the extensive consultation process, which included feedback from over 570 voices. Additionally, a group of Indigenous students from Chief Dan George Middle School and WA Fraser Middle School, called “The Agenda Gap,” played a critical role in providing student voice consultation and providing important suggestions to support the new Enhancement Agreement.

The four main areas highlighted during the consultation were staff, space, food and cultural wellbeing. Specifically:

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

The 2025-2030 strengthening agreement maintains the focus on three main objectives:

  • Student Success: Holistic support for academic, emotional and physical well-being.
  • Cultural identity: Strengthening ties with Indigenous culture and community.
  • Equity and access through advocacy: Prioritize equity and advocacy in all educational opportunities.

Carlos Julian of Mathxwí First Nation contributed to the agreement with artwork that visually represents 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 Director of Indigenous Education. “The recently signed agreement reflects the voices and needs of our community, ensuring our programs are both culturally relevant and effective.”

The Enhancement Agreement is a critical component for Indigenous students in our district and has a positive impact on the operations of our district, guiding our efforts to provide an inclusive and supportive educational environment.

For more details on the 2025-2030 Indigenous Student Improvement Agreement, visit the Abbotsford School District Indigenous Education website.