Supporting Aboriginal Students

Lessons in Learning: Ways to address the impact of mobility among Aboriginal students

The high-school completion rate for Aboriginal students continues to fall well short of the Canadian average. Recent research has highlighted student mobility as a major barrier to successful high-school completion. Low completion rates among Aboriginal students in families who move more frequently point to the need for greater school support for these students.

Motion Passed by U Hill Secondary PAC, Feb. 13, 2008

In a meeting that reflected the rich multicultural and linguistic diversity of our school, U Hill Secondary PAC passed a strongly worded resolution supporting the renovation of the NRC Building into a new high school and the conversion of the current high school into a new elementary.

The PAC also discussed the importance of communicating our needs to the Trustees and the general public. Notifications in Korean, Chinese, and English are currently being drafted.

Whereas there is a clear and pressing need for rebuilding and expanding the existing schools in the University Hill area, and

Whereas it is the responsibility of the provincial government, though the local governance of the Vancouver Board of Education, to provide capital funding for all educational facilities in the public education system, and

Whereas the University Hill Parents Advisory Council consider the equitable access to quality education in a child’s neighbourhood as the right of all children, and

Whereas the University Hill Parents Advisory Council has been lobbying for more than five years for improved facilities,

Be it resolved that the University Hill Secondary PAC support proceeding immediately, as per the VSB EFR-Phase 1 plan, with the renovation of the NRC Building for completion by September 2009, and the conversion of the current U Hill Secondary into a new elementary school

Moved and carried. February 13, 2008.

Family factors and School Achievement

BCTF Information Services — Research & Reports: Family Factors and School Achievement

“This report outlines family and home conditions affecting children’s cognitive development and school achievement and how gaps beginning early persist throughout life. Critical factors examined include single parent families, poverty and resources, parents talking and reading to children, quality day care, and parental involvement in school.”

Comparative Data on School Catchment Areas

The following entry examines basic data on household income in the UBC/Dunbar Study area .

Using the VSB location of QEA students as the basis to select a census tract I then pulled the data from the BC Stats page that shows, among other things, household income and % of families with low income. For the UBC area the census tract includes only UEL/UBC areas (which is the right area and thus makes my job easier. The census tract for the QEA area is fairly close (though not precisely) to the actual location that their students are drawn from,

These are 2001 data as the current 2006 census data is not yet released for this question. The population profiles have been released and that was what I used to get a sense of numbers of kids.In the UBC/UEL area the average household income is $85,000. There is a clear 50/50 income split here with about 1/2 of the 2001 households earning over $50,000 per year and the remaining households earning less than $50,000 per year. The overall incidence of low income, as defined by Stats BC, is 30% of households.

The QEA area is significantly different in terms of household income profile. The average 2001 household income is $104,000. In this census track about two-thirds of households earn more than $60,000 per year. The incidence of low income is 13% (about 1/3 of the UBC/UEL incidence of low income).

While both areas are relatively well off, there is a pronounced difference to the UBC area in terms of having a significant number of households living very close to the poverty line. There are notable differences between the low income households as well, with those in the UBC/UEL area more likely to have children.

For reference:

2006 Census data shows 40% increase in UBC/UEL Area

Data from the 2006 census shows that while nearby areas of Vancouver (Dunbar Heights, West Tench, and Spanish Banks) have near zero population growth, UBC/UEL areas have grown by almost 40%. Nearly one quarter of all housing (privately owned or rented) has been built since 2001. With further plans for housing in play it is likely that by the next census in 2011 the area population may well double again!

According to the 2006 census data there are 1,545 school age children living at UBC/UEL. There are an additional 680 children under the age of six.

Where are these kids going to school? Some of them (about 1,050) are in the two U Hills. But what about the rest of them? A few are in alternative programs like French Immersion at Jules Quesnel, a handful are even at Queen Elizabeth Annex. And, it is likely that a few are enrolled in private schools. But, the majority of these 500 children have to bus away from home to schools as far away as Bayview Elementary or Trafalgar.

The data shows what’s happening, growth in some areas stagnation in others. It’s time to Rebuild our Schools.

Download UBC/UEL 2006 Census Data.

U Hill Elementary PAC Blog

UHill Elementary PAC

On January 10, 2008, VSB announced its Educational Facilities Review and its plan to collect feedback through a series of public meetings, surveys, school team reports, and delegate presentations to the Board of Trustees. At stake is a proposal to:

  • Close Queen Elizabeth Annex;
  • Carry out seismic renovations at Queen Mary, Jules Quesnel, and Queen Elizabeth; and
  • Build 2 new schools at UBC.

On March 11, 2008, the Board of Trustees will deliberate and vote for or against the proposal in its current state or a revised version of the proposal based on feedback received.

Residents in UEL and UNA desperately need the 2 new schools recommended in the proposal. Although the provincial government, who is responsible for providing funds to build new schools, approved the expansion of the current UHill Secondary school from 325 to 675 student spaces, it did not approve funds to build a new elementary school due to excess space in the district.

UBC Responds to VSB Facilities Review

Over the past several weeks a variety of concerns and complaints have been expressed regarding UBC’s obligations toward building a new high school within the campus area. Some have argued that UBC is completely responsible to build any such schools west of Blanca. As previously noted, however, the responsibility for building schools is provincial and the local institution to do that is the Vancouver Board of Education.

Following a meeting with representatives of all of the affected UBC/Dunbar School Parent Advisory Councils Friday January 25th, Stephen Owen issued a letter outlining and clarifying UBC’s obligations. At the meeting itself (held in response to the parent’s earlier letter to Prof Toope) Mr. Owen was clear in expressing the desire of the University to work with all parties to facilitate a resolution to the current issues that can meet the very real needs of a school for children in the UBC area.