As presented at the 2019 AGM by Maureen Steltman, Head of School
At Fraser Academy, we pride ourselves on a model of continuous improvement.
Year-by-year, our organization continues to grow and prosper, fiscally and operationally, and this past year was again completed with a record number of students being assisted – 259 – in the full-time day school program. An additional 85 families from in and around Vancouver accessed services in the inaugural year of FAx (Fraser Academy to the power of x), our new user-pay outreach center.
In fact, this past year has been a springboard for our trajectory going forward.
It’s been a realization and recognition that Fraser Academy is not simply a school where students come and go every day, but a blueprint for something more. Our vision of Changing Destiny by Changing Minds, is about something more. It is the recognition that we have the awesome and exciting responsibility to share what we know as educators and experts on dyslexia with the world.
We know that our students are the game changers of tomorrow;
We know that our role is to champion their strengths and successes;
We know that an optimal learning environment unleashes the potential of each student; and
We know that personalized education is the key to their success.
We know the importance of delivering evidence-based best practice. And we’ve pushed ourselves to take it a step further in building the thinking skills and cognitive process of our students. To do so, we’ve used data, quantitative and qualitative, to assess our practice, driving forward with more power than ever before. Our own research provides strong evidence of effective remediation in specific academic and cognitive areas using the Orton-Gillingham approach and Educational Therapy. We’re encouraged to continue this “interdisciplinary approach” that incorporates neuroscience, linguistics, and psychology.
We know that holistic wellness strategies are key to nurturing healthy individuals. With this in mind, we’ve researched, and tested a prototype for our school-wide Wellness Program that is being embedded in our curriculum. A healthy state maximizes a child’s ability to learn effectively.
Perhaps this is why we’ve continued to see more demand for our program, and is most certainly why we aspire to be accessible to all students who need us.
We know we must increase our accessibility, reach and impact.
Last year, through donations to the Bursary Fund (and other revenue), we provided financial aid to 32 students in our full time day program.
We developed, FAx, which was born out of Fraser Academy’s commitment to extend access to the 1 in 5 individuals with learning differences. Our expertise is now available through services such as educational consulting for families and schools, remedial after-school programs, executive function coaching, and professional development for educators.
I would like to thank our entire professional team, especially those in leadership positions who through their dedication and expertise, have fostered so much student success, and who have reached even more students by training other educators and presenting at provincial conferences.
To endure, we know we must continue to develop and share our expertise.
Giving our faculty team the information and tools to truly be the best that they can be is crucial to the continued success of our organization.
In addition, our faculty development program and cross-curricular collaboration has continued to be strengthened. All of this training represents an incredible commitment (which one faculty member likened to an Olympic level sports team) that yields outstanding results.
In June, our graduating class of 28 students received 134 acceptances and over $279,000 in scholarships to schools including UBC, UVic, University of Calgary, McGill, McMaster, Queen’s, University of Waterloo, Mount Allison, Dalhousie, University of Glasgow and more.
When we think about these graduates and the early stages of their school careers, we know we are Changing Destiny by Changing Minds.
And all of this has required strategy and a strong, passionate vision for the future.
To that end, we were excited to welcome our new Director of Advancement, Neil Johnston in January of last year.
Advancement is key towards helping us realize our strategic priorities and positioning our organization – raising awareness about our impact, and raising understanding about learning differences, in the greater community.
Securing a campus where we can serve more families both through the school and FAx is an important component of that strategy. Our professional team is working hand in hand with the board, parents, and the Campus Committee to find a site.
We know that it is partnerships both with our immediate community as well as the larger community that will enable us to realize our goals.
Our Strategic Priorities, outlined in full will be published later this year. I hope that like me, you all feel proud of Fraser Academy and its contribution to society.
In closing, I’d like to thank:
Onward, Fraser Academy!
Art is a universal language to express a connection with the environment, community, and human emotions.
This collection of artworks showcases our students’ ability to translate their lived experience into unique, visual expressions.
FA students, alumni and faculty come together, though physically apart, to spark joy and unite us as a community through the power of their voices.