Thursday, December 30, 2010

Updating Your PAC Constitution

Are you ready for a show-down? If you're not sure, take a look at your PAC Constitution. Many challenges for PACs are about improving meetings and processes that will inform and involve parents. NVPAC is often asked:

· In what ways can parents give input at PAC meetings and to the Executive?

· Do SPC elections have to be by secret ballot?

· Can a school’s code of conduct be enforced on parents at our PAC meetings?

· How do we update a Secretary to a Communication’s role on the executive?

Many answers should be found in your Constitution and By-laws. Join NVPAC on Thursday January 20th (6:30-9pm) for an interactive workshop on PAC constitutions. We'll review, clarify and reform to get your constitution ready for the next few years!

Please be sure to bring a copy of your PAC's own Constitution & Bylaws and your queries to NVPAC’s Constitutional Reform Workshop on January 20 to the Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre. More details to come in the new year.

For planning please pre-register at:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Public board meeting Dec 14th

A reminder that there is a public board meeting this evening at 7pm, in the boardroom of the school board office. Details, location, and the agenda are available at:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Letter to Parents About North Van District's Official Community Plan

Hello friends of NVPAC,

I am a Learning Support Teacher in the district as well as the parent of a kindergarten student at Braemar. For the past 18 months I have been sitting as a volunteer on a community committee overseeing the development of the District of North Vancouver's Official Community Plan (OCP). The OCP looks at goals and targets for our communities in the areas of land use, economic development, housing, transportation, recreation, social supports and environmental issues. The plan currently under development has a 20 year outlook. What do we want our community to look like in 2030? I joined the committee because I was concerned that at District of NV meetings and events, I wasn't seeing many people who look like me - the parent of a young child, and the member of a family who would like to raise the children in the District. For me, like many other families, this plan will inform the District's directions and choices for the duration of my child's childhood.

During the process of developing the OCP draft to date, there have been numerous public events to engage the community. So far, about 3000 of the District 80,000 residents have participated in some form. I have been at most of these events, Despite the District's efforts at advertising and creative engagements strategies, I have still not seen significant representation from families in the development of this plan. A draft of the new OCP is now available for public review and in January there will be public open houses where residents can meet with planners and District staff to ask questions and provide feedback. There will also be an online feedback form in January.

During this same time, period, I like many of you, have attended countless NVSD meeting around issues of school closures, program changes and budget challenges. The parent turnout at many of those meetings has been strong. NV parents are passionate about what they want for their children and have been strong voices for the needs of the community. This OCP will have a significant impact on many issues that relate to schools - development of new housing areas, transportation hubs, jobs closer to home, etc.

I am writing to ask NVPAC to encourage every PAC to share this information with individual school PACs and to encourage every school to find three or four parents who will attend upcoming OCP meetings and speak on behalf of families. The plan is currently a draft; public feedback will inform the final document. District staff need to hear clear voices from the community about our vision for our neighbourhood. Please help get the message out so those voices can be heard.

I am happy to speak with anyone from NVPAC or any school PAC about this process and how the plan relates to our school. I have one page summary sheets that could be posted in schools for parents to view. Please let me know the best way to get these to individual PACs. I can be reached at

Krista Tulloch
Learning Support Teacher, Boundary Elementary

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Community Information for North Van Parents

Information from Translink Regarding North Shore Area Transit Plan

Planning and consultation to update and define a 30-year vision for transit service for the North Shore—the North Shore Area Transit Plan—are just getting underway. Your organization has been identified as a key stakeholder group, and I invite you to be part of the process and help shape this plan.

What is the North Shore Area Transit Plan?

The North Shore Area Transit Plan is a planning process that includes the District of North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, the District of West Vancouver, Bowen Island and the Village of Lions Bay. Building on the 2000 North Shore Area Transit Plan and on-going improvements made since then, the updated plan will not only define a 30-year vision, it will also identify priorities that can be implemented in the near and medium terms.

This phased planning process began in early September 2010 with early technical work, and will continue through to July 2011. Feedback from local stakeholders and the general public, in addition to factors such as land use and population density projections, will help us better plan for the future.

Your participation and input is invaluable

As a local stakeholder, your input will be invaluable to this planning process. In early December, you will be invited to answer an electronic questionnaire, asking you to describe the role transit plays for your members and constituents. This information will help us prepare for “visioning” workshops that are being planned for late January 2011, where you and other stakeholders will be invited to help shape the North Shore transit vision.

We have already started working with a Public Advisory Committee, and together with this committee, you will give TransLink the guidance it needs to plan for a transit future that best meets the needs of North Shore residents and businesses.

Visit us online for more information

Learn more about the North Shore Area Transit Plan goals, timeline and answers to frequently asked questions on our website. This site will be continually updated to provide you with the information you need to participate in this planning process.


Mark your calendars for the first workshops coming up in January!

Learn more about the North Shore Area Transit Plan, and help shape the future transit vision for the North Shore at our upcoming workshops. Two workshops are planned, and you are invited to attend the one that best suits your schedule.

Tuesday, January 25, Pinnacle Hotel, North Vancouver

Thursday, January 27, Gleneagles Club House, West Vancouver

Please email me directly at or call me at 604.216.3210 to confirm if you or a representative from your organization will be part of this process, or if you have any questions.

Grants For Playground Surfacing

Grant Available for Playground Surfacing

If your school is looking to renovate your existing playground or construct a new one, this information may be of interest to you. Our provincial parent organization BCCPAC had the following links which provide details regarding a grant available to schools interested in resurfacing their playground:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New NVSD Alternative Program Update

Based on the decision last May by the board education a working group has been formed to discuss the formation of a consolidated alternative program. The working group consists of representatives from the key stakeholder groups and has been meeting bi-weekly. The group’s main task have been to collect best practices and ideas from our existing programs, the professional industry literature, ministry reports, regulations and by benchmarking several programs in other school districts. All this information will be consolidated into a report by year’s end that will make recommendations for how to proceed with the design and implementation of the new program. Mike Sexsmith is your DPAC representative and if you have suggestions or comment please contact him at

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Earth Day Canada launches award and recognition programs

Earth Day Canada recognition programsEarth Day Canada celebrates and supports environmental initiatives year-round through a suite of recognition programs and financial support, including scholarships, grants and cash awards programs.
Help the Earth Day Canada Team celebrate and recognize these contributions by directly applying or promoting the programs to your volunteers, supporters and/or community network today!
Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program awards twenty $5 000 scholarships to graduating Canadian high school and CEGEP students entering their first year of post-secondary studies. Eligible students can apply now at The application deadline is January 31st, 2011.
Earth Day Canada Community Environment Fund provides financial grants of up to $20 000 to support local not-for-profit organizations, charities and schools in the development and delivery of environmental initiatives in Ontario. Please visit for more information. The Spring Grant Period deadline is February 28th, 2011.
Hometown Heroes Award Program rewards environmental leaders (individuals and groups) who have fostered meaningful, long–term community awareness and action in their communities with a $10 000 prize. Nominate a hero today at The application deadline isFebruary 28th, 2011.

Parent Series 2010/11 - December 2

Thursday December 2nd is the date of the next session for this year's Parent Series. The title for this session is "Getting to Know Your Community Support Networks". These sessions are hosted by the North Vancouver School District, and all parents are invited to attend. Registration is not required. All sessions will be held at the Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre from 7:00 to 8:30.

CBC/Radio-Canada opens its doors to support food banks

CBC/Radio-Canada invites you & your school to join us on Friday, December 3rd as we open our doors in support of food banks in BC.

This is a great opportunity to watch live TV & Radio broadcasts, meet on-air personalities, tour our state-of-the-art CBC Broadcast Centre and help your local food bank by making a donation.

It’s a day full of great entertainment, exciting activities and heartfelt generosity.

For more information: please visit:

If you are interested in joining us, we would be more than happy to set up a tour for your students visiting our broadcasting centre. Please feel free to contact myself, Joyce Wu, at / 604.662.6602. or Leo Damian at / 604.662.6620

Joyce Wu

CBC Communications

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2nd NVPAC General Meeting - Thursday November 18th

Our 2nd NVPAC General Meeting for the 2010/2011 school year will be held this Thursday evening, November 18th from 7:00pm to 8:30pm in the main conference room at the LMCC building. The address is:

Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre,

810-21st Street West, North Vancouver

Our meeting agenda is below, and all DPAC Reps are strongly encouraged to attend. By popular demand, once again we've included a thirty minute open forum discussion at the bottom of our agenda, centred around two suggested themes; (1) workshops & education, and (2) future discussion topics to support PACs. Please feel free to bring your own questions, thoughts, ideas, or concerns for discussion.
Light refreshments will be served. There will also be prizes this Thursday!
If you are not able to attend, please send someone in your place! We're looking forward to seeing everyone this Thursday.

Agenda - NVPAC General Meeting

November 18, 2010

Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre - Conference Room

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

7:00 Wealthy School Revolution (an exciting new fundraising program)- 15 minutes

7:15 Acceptance of Agenda

7:15 Approval of Minutes of October 21st General Meeting

7:20 BCCPAC Fall Conference report - Lisa Cartwright & Caroline Ramsay

7:35 NVPAC Constitution & Bylaws review - Lisa Cartwright

7:40 Community Forum report - Sandra Bridgman

7:45 School Planning Councils - Mike McGraw

7:50 Environmental Learning Centre Project update - Mike McGraw

7:55 Treasurer’s report - Jane Lagden Holborne

8:00 Open Forum Discussion - Suggested themes:

1. NVPAC Workshops - Workshop requests ad suggestions to support your PAC!

2. Future Discussion Themes - What topics do you feel would be great for open forum

discussions this year?

8:25 Prize Draw!

8:30 Adjourn

Friday, November 12, 2010

NVSD Strategic Plan Priorities Survey

NVSD is conducting a survey until Nov.16th to help prioritize the high level goals and values the plan is to be built upon. These are same set of values and overarching goals and directions that were discussed at the Community Forum.

All interested parties are being asked to provide input into these priorities until Nov. 16th. To participate in the survey go to:

The next public consultation on the strategic plan, reviewing the results of this survey, will be held during the upcoming "Towards the Future for Schools" Standing Committee Meeting.

November 23, 2010, 7pm
William Lucas Centre
2132 Hamilton Avenue
North Vancouver BC

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nov. 9th Community Forum: District 10-year Strategic Plan

The North Van School District's Annual Community Forum is this coming Tuesday (Nov. 9th)

This year the forum will focus on the 10-yr Strategic Plan currently under development by the school district. Parents and district partner groups and community members are being asked to review and provide input into the plan.

This will be an important opportunity to provide input into the plan. The district is also seeking comments online and at the next Toward the Future of Schools committee meeting.

More information can be found at
Nov 9th, 2010

William Lucas Centre
2132 Hamilton Avenue
North Vancouver BC

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1st NVPAC General Meeting - October 21st

Our first general meeting for the 2010/2011 school year will be held Thursday evening, October 21st from 7:00pm to 8:30pm in the main conference room at the LMCC building (Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre, 810-21st Street West, North Vancouver).

Our meeting agenda is below, and all DPAC Reps are highly encouraged to attend. The format for this Thursday evening is 'meet and greet', highlighted by a thirty minute open forum discussion centred around two themes; (1) advocacy and communication, and (2) effective support for parents and PACs across the District. Light refreshments will be served.

We're also pleased to have Superintendent John Lewis provide us with a personal perspective (and retrospective!) on the status of the school district - a bit of where we have been over the years, our current circumstance, and where we are now headed. This will be followed with a 15 minute presentation from Trustee Sheila Bouman, who will provide us with some insight into the Board's current undertaking to develop a long term strategic plan. We're also pleased to have Victoria Miles provide us with some insight into effective methods for positive parental advocacy, not just in her role as NVSD Communications Manager, but as a parent herself.

Your NVPAC executive will be debriefing immediately after the meeting adjourns, from 8:30-9:00, and we welcome anyone to join us in the discussion, or simply stay and enjoy refreshments and ask questions. We're looking forward to seeing everyone this Thursday!


1. Guest Speakers

John Lewis, Superintendent, NVSD - 7:00 - 7:25

Sheila Bouman, Trustee - NVPAC Liaison 7:25 - 7:40

2. NVPAC - General Meeting 7:40 - 8:00

a. Approval of Minutes

b. Approval of Agenda

c. Approval of Budget

d. Appointment of Program Facilitator

3. Open Forum - Discussion: 8:00 - 8:25

Supporting parents & PACs

Strategies for Effective Communication

4. Parent Communications 8:25 - 8:30

Victoria Miles - Communications Manager NVSD

4. Adjourn

5. Executive Meeting 8:30 – 9:00 p.m. Open Forum

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence - nominations

The deadline for nominations is November 30, 2010 (Nomination packages must be date stamped no later than November 30, 2010.) For details on how to submit your nominations, please visit
The Prime Minister's Awards (PMA) for Teaching Excellence
These awards honour outstanding and innovative elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines who instill in their students a love of learning and who utilize information and communications technology (ICT) to better equip their students with the skills needed to meet the challenges of a 21st century society and economy.
Up to 15 Certificates of Excellence (national level), including a financial award of $5,000
Up to 50 Certificates of Achievement (regional level), including a financial award of $1,000
Nominators may be any person or group with direct knowledge of the nominee's contribution (e.g. parent, school principal, supervisor, fellow educator, etc.). Self-nominations or nominations received from a nominee's direct family members will not be accepted.
The Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education
These awards honour outstanding and innovative early childhood educators who excel at fostering the early development and socialization of the children in their care, and at helping build the foundation children need to meet life's challenges. Established in 2002, these awards are the only national awards that recognize the work of early childhood educators.
Up to 10 Certificates of Excellence (national level), each including a financial award of $5,000
Up to 15 Certificates of Achievement (regional level), each including a financial award of $1,000
Nominators may be any person or group with direct knowledge of the nominee's contribution (e.g. parent of child in care, supervisor, fellow educator, etc.). However self-nominations or nominations received from a nominee's direct family member will not be accepted.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"21st Century Learning" - Oct 5th, 7pm, Cleveland Elementary

Parents and students interested in "21st-century education" should attend tonights meeting

North Van School District Educations and Programs Standing Committee Meeting
October 5th, 2010
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Cleveland Elementary School
1255 Eldon Road, North Vancouver


Over the last year the BC Ministry of Education has been consistently talking about the need for BC to move to a "21st Century Learning model" but what does this mean, why is change needed, what changes can students, teachers and parents expect to see in BC schools.

The next meeting of the North Van School District Educations and Programs Committee invites the public to learn about and discuss these topics.

What is 21st Century Learning?
(a) Definitions,
(b) Small group discussion.

Why has Personalized Learning become the Vision for the 21st Century?
(a) International, Canadian, Provincial Perspectives
(b) BC Ministry of Education: A New Vision for our System
(c) District 44 – Instructional Institute Framework

Personalized Learning for the 21st Century – NVSD “Best Practices”
(a) Recognizing and Responding to the Uniqueness of Every Single Learner
(b) Teachers as Facilitators of 21st Century Learning
(c) Flexibility in Where, When and How Learning Takes Place

Personalized Learning for the 21st Century – “Next Practices”
(a) Suggested Characteristics
(b) Predictions for the Future

The following items on this topic were produced by the New Brunswick Ministry of Education, how much of it applies to the plans in BC has yet to be seen. They are quite interesting for anyone trying to understand these concepts.

The ability to think, learn, communicate, analyze and ask questions is always in demand. Kids should learn to ask good questions and recognize good answers

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Welcome to School Year 2010/11

Reminder to North Van PAC Chairs and DPAC Reps:
If you haven't already provided updated contact information of new Chairs and DPAC Reps, please email with your name, role and email address. Thank you.

Dates of Note:
NVPAC First General Meeting, Thursday October 21st, 7:00 pm
Leo Mashall Curriculum Centre, 810 West 21st Street, North Van

Education & Programs Standing Committee
(open to public, general discussions on district programs & curriculum)
Tuesday Oct 5, Cleveland School
Check for more details.

Does your school have a walking School Bus?
NVPAC would like to share your knowledge with other PACs in the District who are currently trying to start new programs. If you have information to help other schools, please email or add your comments to our blog.

FoodSafe UPDATE Sept 23:
Reminder that for lunch programs and PAC fundraising where food is involved, at least one on-site parent is required to have FoodSafe certification. FoodSafe Grants Available from NVPAC - please email for full details.

For general volunteers that are helping around food, a new free online course will give then some basic food safety information. This is not a requirement but good general info, details from Victoria:
VICTORIA - The Province has launched a new self-guided online course on how to safely handle and prepare food so you can reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses caused by contamination, announced Ida Chong, Minister of Healthy Living and Sport. The web-based, interactive course will benefit people who prepare food in work, community and home environments, where it is not always necessary for them to hold a food training certificate. It's available in multiple languages at, as well as on DVD. A short video about the course led by Kendall is available at
Ed. Note: This program does not replace FoodSafe certification, which is still required for at least one parent at each food related event.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Comments on the special advisors report on the VSB

The comptroller's report on the Vancouver School Board's budget management was released Friday June 4th. Below are my personal comments on the report.

Overall, the report blames VSB mismanagement for their funding challenges, identifying several unpalatable decisions they could have made to save money, such as increasing rent for non-profits and closing schools . I had hoped that by  looking at the VSB books the ministry would be forced to consider how they impact the context in which boards operate and whether they were actually under-funding education but sadly the report missed the opportunity to review the Ministry and its impact on schools.

In her subsequent comments related to the report Minister MacDiarmid has sounded vindicated in her assertion that the VSB's budget woes are of their own making. If this were one board, in one year I would be inclined to agree because boards make costly decisions and some of them may not be the best long term decisions. But boards across the province have been experiencing much the same issues all year and for multiple years and I cannot believe that every board in the Province is mismanaging funds on a continuous basis. Yes I know the ministry is spending more than ever, we all are, its called inflation, costs have also gone up. Is the ministry actually funding what it is demanding schools deliver?

Others have commented that boards have a tendency to defend the status quo and cry out for more funding to maintain the existing system without looking for opportunity to change and modernize the system to reduce costs. There is truth in this, but changing the status quo is hard. In particular it requires flexibility and resources that boards do not have available to them. Caught between provincial contracts, ministry defined educational mandates, standards and processes to support, static unstable funding  and parents demanding more programs, small schools and individualized instruction there is not a lot of room for a board to manuever. If parents and the ministry wish boards to do more with less then the boards need to be given the flexibility to change how they deliver education.

The report identifies several areas for savings but focuses on two main flaws at the VSB that I feel are inappropriate criticism. The first is a lack of management qualification and the second is a lack of strategic long term planning.

In criticizing the boards lack of management qualification the comptroller fails to recognize that School Board Trustees are elected officials. It is hard for the electorate to assess management skills so Trustees are elected as much for their positions on issues as anything else. Boards inherit the management skills of the people that are voted into the position. While I would prefer that Trustees be qualified for the job they are elected to fill, if that is the standard they should be held to then we should also be looking at the qualifications of the MLA's and Ministers who run the multi-billion dollar Provincial government to ensure they are qualified for their jobs. This is not how democracy works and so I feel this is an inappropriate comment seemingly designed to discredit the Trustees rather than provide usable input.

On the second major point, strategic planning I have also complained about the lack of strategic planning in school districts but in working with the district over the past few years it has become clear to me that while school districts may be weak in the area of strategic planning they are also operating in an environment that is entirely unsuited to long-term planning. Budgets must be balanced every year, funding rules and amounts change multiple times a year, the programs and services they are mandated to deliver change every year, rules on disposal of property change every year. School boards operate at the whim of the ministry and without a stable planning environment it is understandable that they focus on short term plans.

In this, the report agrees with me suggesting,
"The Ministry of Education could provide stronger leadership by preparing a long term education plan for the province, articulating the vision for education, and its objectives and strategies. Given that schools are a significant investment in public resources, the education plan should cover a period of 5 to 10 years. This would provide support to districts in their long term strategic planning and provide increased stability to districts and transparency to the public. "

I agree that boards need to do better long term planning but they need to be given the flexibility, experienced management teams and stable planning environment needed to accomplish this.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Introducing the NVPAC 2010 Executive

The NVPAC AGM elected a new executive for 2010/2011. I would like to thank all of the people that helped me in this role this year and would like to introduce next years executive team both the returning team members and three new members to next years executive. 

Chair: Mike McGraw
Vice Chair: Cyndi Gerlach
Treasurer: Jane Lagden-Holborne
Secretary: Lisa Mcdonald
Registrar: Mike Sexsmith
Program Co-ordinator: Open
Past Chair: David Whitehead
Members-at-large: Tina Meyer, Sandra Bridgman, Todd Dea, Susan Corcoran, Lisa Cartwright

NVPAC 2010 AGM Meeting - Minutes

NVPAC 2010 AGM Meeting

Date: Thursday May 20, 2010
Place: LMCC  7pm
Chair: David Whitehead

In Attendance:
NVPAC Executive: David Whitehead, Jane Lagden Holborne, Lisa Cartwright, Mike McGraw, Mike Sexsmith, Cyndi Gerlach, Susan Corcoran
PAC Reps and Parents: Sandra Bridgman, Lisa MacDonald, Judy Clarke, Sandra Ayling, C Paterson, Susanne Till, Tina Meyer, Janice Rukvina
Schools Represented: Braemar, Brooksbank, Capilano, Carisbrooke, Handsworth, Montroyal, Plymouth, Queensbury, Ross Road, Windsor House Elementary, Windsor House Secondary, Fromme, Seymour Heights, Westview

1. Welcome & Introductions
Digital Media Academy Presentation - Argyle and Carson students  Bianca, Megan, Jonathan & Evan presented to NVPAC. Bianca introduced the DMA program, an independent directed study program offered at Argyle, with four areas of focus: graphic design, film, sound design (for game & film team), and game design. The students presented their promotion film, followed by a brief questions period. The students spoke on the resources available through the program which includes a full lighting studio, resource library, computers with software - great teachers which guide but also peer to peer learning. The students have opportunities to meet industry professionals (EA, Vancouver Film School, etc.) and learn through client based work (video projects for clients). Program is offered to grades 11 & 12 and next year will take in a maximum 24 students in each grade.
2. Introduction to Parliamentary Meetings Lisa Cartwright introduced guest speaker John Noonan who compared the parliamentary process a bit like playing golf.  Play the ball where you find it.  Minimum requirements for an Annual General Meeting, is 1) a report to membership from the executive 2) report on the financial statements 3) place where you conduct session and 4) items deemed necessary. Notice needs to be provided according to your bylaws and stating date of event, the time, place and a general overview can be included in the notice. Meeting needs to have quorum, each PAC will have the quorum requirement stated in its bylaws. Discussed if quorum reached for this meeting, after reviewing the bylaws it was determined quorum was met. John suggested a voting card to each voting member should be issued upon signing in to the meeting. It was noted PACs are less formal because parents as members of school are members of the PAC.  It is important to have parents signed as proof of attendance. For Societies, such as NVPAC, reports need to be registered with Victoria annually.  It was pointed out that really there is no problem until someone contests it. Special committees which are appointed to deal with a specific issue make recommendations but don’t make decisions. John presented three rules to adhere to - 1) rule of clock - start on time and end on time - no exception; 2) rule of the compass - must have an agenda, needs to have indication of topics to be covered, include who is addressing topic (if necessary), and the agenda should be sent out five days before the meeting along with background materials; 3) fundamental principals - justice and courtesy for all, do one thing at a time, one speaker at a time - this is the job of the Chair (motion needs to be repeated three times before being adopted).  Also offered a suggestion that each PAC could adopt a set of 5 or 6 simple rules at the beginning of the year that will be followed and respected (i.e. do not have a second comment until everyone has had an opportunity to speak once), rule of the clock, etc. NOTE: NVPAC will coordinate a Fall workshop on Parliamentary procedure.
2. Official Business of the AGM - Call to Order
3. Approval of AGM Agenda & Minutes from 2009: Amended agenda to move board elections to next agenda item. Motioned by Lisa Cartwright, carried; motion to accept 2009 AGM Minutes by Mike McGraw. Question: do the people making the motion and voting have to have been present at the original meeting? No those in attendance do not need to have attended the actual meeting. Motion carried. 
4. NVPAC Executive Elections - convened by John Noonan.  Advised nominations would be taken from floor and that you can nominate yourself (volunteer), no seconder required. Question on the duties of Program Facilitor - the role is responsible for logistics of meetings and forums as required by Chair and executive.
Nominations open:
  • President - Mike McGraw, nominated, declared elected
  • Vice Chair - Cyndi Gerlach nominated, declared elected
  • Treasurer - Jane Lagden Holborne, nominated, declared elected
  • Secretary - Lisa MacDonald, nominated, declared elected
  • Corresponding Secretary/Registrar - Mike Sexsmith, nominated, declared elected
  • Program Facilitors - no nominations received
  •  Members at Large -  Tina Meyers, Sandra Bridgeman, Todd Dea (elected when notified), Susan Corcoran, Lisa Cartwright - declared all five elected as members at large
  • Past chair is David Whitehead
  • Lisa confirmed that Leslie U has indicated she is not able to sit next year and therefore is not a past-chair.
5. Table Year End Reports - written reports distributed, and received. David spoke briefly and mentioned highlight of improvement to process of district workshops and parent contribution.  Thank you to everyone.
Treasurers Report - Jane reviewed the budget versus actuals, actuals not final as year end is end of June and some additional expenses to come.
6. Approval of Preliminary Budget - spoke to anticipated changes and goal to spend more and proposed budget deficit. Question re: DPAC Exec allocation of babysitting for committee meetings. Will look at providing to parents sitting on committees representing parents, intention is to offer, the comment noted in budget is not binding.  Motion to accept the Treasurers report by Mike Sexsmith  carried.
7. Motion to accept interim report by Mike S, 2nd Tina Meyers, carried. (John Noonan suggested all that is required - The Treasurers report was received, discussed and filed.)
8. Mike McGraw, NVPAC Chair Elect, thanked the 2009/2010 Executive for their work, with special thanks to co-chairs Leslie and David. Mike welcomed the new executive
9. Final Notes from John Noonan on Parliamentary Procedures: i) Follow-up on concern about approving minutes of a previous meeting if you did not attend, suggested a committee be setup to review accuracy of minutes.  After minutes are distributed if there any corrections amend and motion to approve, if no corrections, minutes are approved. ii) Noted that the seconder doesn’t need to be recored in the minutes.  A seconder ensures that a motion is worthy to be on the floor.  iii) Treasurers report - how do you know that this is correct?  Suggest that a committee of parents provide internal audit duties (they should not be part of the executive). Also to ensure accountability if Treasurer writes cheques, bank statements should be sent to the President (or another officer for review and sign off).
10. Adjourned 9:05
NOTE:  Argyle Gallery Night - May 26th 6:30pm

NVPAC Treasurer's Annual Report

North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council

Treasurer’s Report to the Annual General Meeting:  20 May, 2010


The North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council is very grateful for its two main sources of funding:

School District #44 funding:  $ 7,500
Community Gaming Grant:   $ 1,250


BCCPAC Memberships and Conferences:

NVPAC paid $1,885 in membership fees to BCCPAC, its own membership, plus the membership of 28 North Vancouver school PACs.  In past years, NVPAC has usually sent three or more representatives to both the Fall and Spring Conferences of BCCPAC.  This year, only one NVPAC representative attended each conference.

NVPAC Grants:

North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council offers three types of grants to school PACs in North Vancouver.
  The $200 Family of Schools Grant is intended to foster cooperation between the seven secondary schools and their respective feeder schools, and can be used to help fund any event in which all schools in the FOS participate.
 Ten, $150 Speaker Grants are offered each year on a first-come, first-served basis.  The Speaker Grants are intended to help school PACs offset the cost of bringing in a speaker for parent education purposes.  Topics and speakers this year included Homework, Internet Safety, Terry Small and Saleema Noon.
  Twenty, $50 Food Safe Grants were offered to school PACs, with a maximum of two grants per school, per year.  Health regulations require school PACs to have one Food Safe certified individual on site while food is being sold or distributed to students.  The Food Safe grants are intended to help offset the cost of the Food Safe training courses.

The grants were not as fully-subscribed as we would have liked this year.  Next year, we need to do a better job of advertising and explaining the grants and their purposes to school PACs.

NVPAC has a substantial financial surplus.  The NVPAC Executive has prepared a budget for 2010/2011 which we hope will reduce that surplus.

In addition to my duties as Treasurer, I attended all General and Executive meetings, as well as many of the School Board meetings and Standing Committees on Finance and Facilities and Education and Programs, and the Budget Challenge 2010 series.  I served as an NVPAC alternate to the Restructuring 2010 Seymour Area Schools Working Group.

Submitted by Jane Lagden Holborne

NVPAC Executive Annual Reports

The following annual reports from the NVPAC executive were tabled at this years NVPAC AGM

Co Chairs Year End Reports: 

As co-chair of NVPAC I can say that 2009/2010 has been an "interesting time" in which to take the helm of NVPAC. The year seemingly started with budget issues from Provincial cuts to PAC gaming grants and the annual facilities grants and continued with more issues as the realization of the significant budget gap we are facing in 2010/2011 sunk in. Similar to many groups and individuals within North Van School District, North Van PAC's year has been dominated by budget driven discussions. 

Throughout the year North Van Pac has worked to ensure that these discussions as much as possible support a long-term plan and perspective for the school district, to ensure the district is working from a plan for our children's education rather than simply reacting to the changes the Ministry imposes on the district. From the first President's Council meeting where we met with other NVSD partner groups to discuss the upcoming year, through the Budget Challenge Meetings, the Policy 610 review committee, The Policy 610 Working Groups and the final Budget meetings I have been proud of the support and broad perspective parents and our team have given to addressing the many unpleasant issues the budget situation has created.

There were a lot of new consultation processes this year, representing a significant effort by the District and the Trustees to involve stakeholders in broad consultation about the coming changes. I don't know what the outcomes will be for the final budget but I do think the processes, as frustrating as they have been at times, have been well supported by the district, trustees, teachers, staff, parents and students. Despite the teething pains NVPAC is thankful to the district and the trustees for insisting that the community have the ability to engage in these discussions throughout the year. The processes have been a big improvement from the past and there are lots of opportunities for further improvements to the processes but if we are to take one thing positive from this year it is that many people care deeply about public education and that commitment, despite financial difficulties, will be what enables NVSD to adapt and succeed.

I have two regrets from my term as chair of NVPAC and these revolve around advocacy and parent engagement. We started the year supporting parent advocacy at the Ministry level over the cuts to PAC gaming grants and the Annual Facilities Grant. Having seen these restored in full and in part it is possible that this early advocacy helped. What I regret is that we were so focused on responding to the financial challenges of the district that we were not able to put significant energy for advocacy around long-term stable funding of public schools that respects the true cost of education. This the true advocacy challenge and as we see the impacts of the cuts that will be implemented next year it is important for us to document these impacts and advocate for a return to realistic funding.

I also apologize for NVPAC's diminished role in terms of parent engagement. The NVPAC executive has spent a lot of time supporting District committees and discussions this year but has not spent as much time reaching out to the community either to inform or gather feedback. We implemented a blog to communicate with parents about issues but cut back on communicating many of the community events and other items of interest to parents previously shared in our newsletter. Too often we have spent our meetings primarily on discussing the current NVSD budget process and little on building PAC's or educating parents on other issues that impact the quality of education and opportunity our children receive. I thank all the PAC reps and PAC chairs that have stuck with us through this and hope that next year we can do more to share in the areas of PAC and student support rather than just budget process.

As I said, it has been an interesting year and next year will be another one as students, staff and teacher adapt to implement the budget cuts. Communication is an essential pillar supporting the changes that are to come. If my experience with the great team within the NVPAC Exec and all the PAC chairs and DPAC reps that dedicate their time to working with us is any indication I'm sure we will be up to the challenge.

Dave Whitehead
NVPAC Co-Chair 2009-2010

* * * *

I was very pleased to represent NVPAC as co-chair 2009-2010.

The year began with much activity surrounding government funding and joint advocacy. As co-chair, I sat at the President Council meeting together with our education partner groups. This involved speaking on behalf of parent interests in our district in front of the presidents and chairs of the NVTA, CUPE, Secondary School Group President, Elementary Principals, the Board of Education Chair and the Superintendent. The purpose of this group is to be open and to recognize points of view as well as common issues. Throughout the year this has been an important voice for parents in our district.

My role this year has been to coordinate our committee representation within the school district. Our executive has been very busy stepping up and offering their time and expertise on these committees. In particular there has been tremendous involvement in the budget meetings and the working group meetings. Although the year has been very challenging in terms of budget cuts and school closures, parents have become engaged and have brought themselves to many of the district public meetings. I have personally enjoyed speaking to parents and our district PAC reps on the phone and in person to discuss the issues at hand. In terms of communication and public awareness it was good to see much in our local papers this year with comments from David and myself as co-chairs of NVPAC.

In January we hosted our general meeting with two well-received topics: the “Olympic Torch Relay” and “Meaningful Assessment and Reporting” with excellent speakers. The Olympic Torch on February 10th was enthusiastically celebrated by many if not most of our schools and surrounding communities. Three amazing teachers from our district shared with parents their expertise in student assessment-a topic that parents do not know much about but wonder every time their child brings home a report card. This talk showcased to parents the thought, effort and construction that teachers bring to each of their students and their learning.

Our February NVPAC general meeting was specifically designed to encourage parent participation in a forum format on the topic of budget and district plans. This was our first attempt at this particular meeting format and it was very successful in gathering in parent opinion and input which gives our executive the membership direction. All of our general meetings and communications serve in this capacity as well. Our communications extended outward in our springtime survey: “School District Restructuring”. Once again, parent input is invaluable to our organization.

In conclusion, the year ends with challenges as it began. I am confident that NVPAC plays and important role for parents in our district. Our DPAC members and our executive form a diverse group of people –each bringing with them unique skills and abilities. Our job has always been to unify and utilize these attributes cohesively: respecting differences of opinion and recognizing our strengths. Thank you to everyone for your time, your input and your enthusiasm for education in our school district.

Leslie Uhlenbruck
NVPAC Co-Chair 2009-2010

* * * *

Executive Reports: 

In my role as the Past Chair of NVPAC and the BCCPAC Liaison, I have participated at both the district and provincial levels.

At the District level, I have sat on the following committees:

Policy Review Committee, Sustaining Schools Working Committee, Communications Committee, Inclusion Committee, Restructuring 2010 - Working Group on Elementary French Immersion Reconfiguration, French Planning Advisory (on behalf of Canadian Parents for French/North Vancouver Chapter). I have regularly attended the District's public Board meetings and standing committee meetings, have participated in all public consultation sessions and have kept in touch with many parents who contact me for information and advice about PAC issues and individual concerns.

At the BCCPAC provincial level, I have participated in the Fall and Spring conference and AGM on behalf of NVPAC ad other North Vancouver school PACs who designated me as their proxy holder for the AGM with respect to voting on resolutions and for electing the BCCPAC board of directors. I am a member of the Governance Audit Implementation Committee conducting a full review of BCCPAC's Constitution and Bylaws for presentation to the membership, initially at the AGM in Apr'10, but since deferred to an Extraordinary General Meeting in November'2010. I encourage PACs to keep active memberships with BCCPAC and work to keep both our own NVPAC Executive and our local PACs aware of provincial issues.

Submitted by,
Lisa Cartwright, NVPAC Past Chair and BCCPAC Liaison

* * * *

As Vice Chair of NVPAC for 2009/10, I’ve participated in some committees, I've taken an active role as a working group representative in District public consultation processes, and I’ve been actively representing North Vancouver parents as a member of the Advisory Committee for the North Vancouver Outdoor School – Environmental Learning Centre campus revitalization project.

I sit on the Capital Planning Committee and the Restructuring 2010 – Elementary Schools – Fromme School Working Group.

As a member of the Advisory Committee for the Outdoor School, I also sit on the Marketing and Re-Branding sub-committee, and the Fundraising sub-committee. The overall objective of the Advisory Committee and the various sub-committees is to guide the development of a revitalized Outdoor School into a financially self-sustaining Provincial Centre of Excellence for environmental leadership and sustainability, while continuing to preserve and enhance the rich diversity of programs delivered to our elementary school population. This is a long-term project involving approximately $25m in capital, and includes the development of a new business model and new revenue streams, the development of a fundraising strategy through donors and sponsors, and involving the development of new programs and the establishment of an endowment fund.

I participated in the President’s Council as a 3rd representative of NVPAC (in support of our Co-Chairs) to the other Partner Groups, as well as the Music Academy Study Group.

I also participated for the 2nd consecutive year at the school level as a member of the School Planning Council for Handsworth Secondary.

Mike McGraw, NVPAC Vice Chair

* * * *

As Secretary for 2009/10 I attended all of NVPACs General Meetings this year and captured the minutes for each. I was NVPACs representative for the Education and Programming Standing Committee which had presentations on topics like: The Core Essential (curriculum for K-12); the new programs of the Ministry of Education’s expanded mandate; sustaining the District’s focus on world class instruction; success for every student; meaningful assessment; the diversity of programs in the district such as French Immersion, International Baccalaureate, Distributed Learning, Full Day Kindergarten, to name just a few; and have begun to review the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement.

I also sat on the Communications Committee for the second year. We began the school year with a review of the implementation of the new branding of the District however the major focus of our meetings this year was looking at the potential of social networking to enhance the District’s educational and communication needs.

Finally I sat for a second year on the Calendar Committee, which received a mandate from the Board to review the standard school calendar for 2010-2011 for any potential revenue savings.

Susan Corcoran, NVPAC Secretary 09/10

* * * *

As member at large, I participated in the following NVSD Committees:

Alternative Working Group (610)

Cyndi Gerlach, NVPAC Member at Large

* * * *

As a NVPAC Member at Large this year I was honored to serve on the Administrative Procedures Working Group which reviewed and made recommendations on the Policy 610 criteria process, in addition to serving as an NVPAC representative in the Restructuring 2010 - Elementary Schools working group (Fromme) process.

In addition to the aforementioned committees I also attended all but one of the regular monthly school board meetings and a majority of the Finance and Facility meetings. I learned much and posed many questions. I very much enjoyed working with and beside the dedicated members of our North Vancouver PAC Executive team this year and am looking forward to a new year which will bring with it new goals for the Executive.

Todd Dea
NVPAC member at Large
Seymour Heights DPAC Rep

* * * *

Committees: School Planning Council
Alternative School Working Committee
Attended 1 of the all Day K Sessions

As a new member at large to the organization I was only participant in a few activities. The largest impact was in the public consultation process around the possible changes for alternative schools. In this work group we explored possible new configurations for the alternative programs and the factors that would influence these changes. The outcome of the working groups was an analysis of the pros and cons of five different alternative configurations and a list of transition issues that would need to be addressed should a change be made. For the SPC committee we reviewed the SPC process and discussed possible improvement to the deployment and analysis of school plans. These were placed into a survey for the participants. Since the SPC process is not yet complete there is no conclusion to report. In addition to the committee work I attended most of the NVPAC meetings and have organized a process by which the digital medial academy students will film and post our meetings to the internet make them more accessible.

Mike Sexsmith Member at Large

Friday, May 28, 2010

Board approves calendar changes and $6 million in budget cuts

At the May 25th Board meeting the Trustees voted to approve both the budget for the 2010/2011 school year and the proposed local calendar changes.

At the meeting the board approved a final budget for next school year. Having been forced to respond to the Ministry funding limits and to a surprise $540,000 special needs audit fine the Trustees were forced to essentially approve all $6 million in cuts proposed in the Districts 21 Budget Directions document.

Relative to the anticipated cuts, savings from the school closures were able to support 0.5 FTE's of aboriginal support, 0.5 FTE's for counselling, a casual budget to provide some flexibility with special needs support, one library technician and smaller increases in class sizes.

Schools will be closed an additional 6 days next year, November 12th and a two week Spring vacation March 14 - 25, 2011. More info on the calendar changes can be found on the district website. The expected  $180,000 in savings from this measure are to be put into a contingency fund to help the district respond to issues that arise from the restructuring needed to adjust to the $6 million in cuts also approved on Tuesday.

Schools, teachers, services, staff have all been cut for next year. We will see a $1 million restructuring of student services delivery along with many other cuts across the district next year.  Despite the cuts the district must reinvent both its student services model and the alternate school programs and must do so with limited teacher support and training resources. The hard decisions may have been made but the hard implementation is still to come. As parents we will need to be supportive and understanding of the difficulties faced by teachers, staff and administration but also demand creativity and quality as these changes are made. We may be called upon to help create, enable and support new models for our children's education and I hope we can all respond positively to help.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Please Join us for the NVPAC Annual General Meeting - May 20th, 2010

May 20th will be the NVPAC AGM and our final meeting for the year.

We will have a number of special guests (to be announced)

But most importantly this is the time of year we will elect the executive for next year. We will be electing all of our executive positions: chair, vice-chair, secretary, treasurer, registrar, program facilitator as well as 5 members at large.

This is the team that will facilitate and represent parent participation for you at the district level next year and is a great team to be involved with if you can play a role in broader the discussions and decisions that impact students and families across the district.

For job descriptions and more details view the Constitution and Bylaws at

Nominations for executive positions will be accepted from the floor. Hope you can join us for our yearly wrap-up and an opportunity to offer advice ;to the new executive and let them know how they can assist your PAC next year.

Budget and Calendar Input Sought

The school boards May 4th Public Finance and Facilities meeting gave NVTA, CUPE, The secondary and elementary administrators and NorthVan PAC an opportunity to make a short (5 minute) submission with regard to the upcoming budget decisions.

Because of the $760,000 saved through school closures and a potential $180,000 saved through calendar changes and possibly a little more gained through leases the board has gained a bit of flexibility in deciding where to make cuts next year.

Still, they will still need to make $5 million worth of the $6 million cuts proposed to balance next years budget. Even a cursory glance at the list of proposals (Budget 2010 Cost Saving Proposalstells the reader that there is little in there we can actually afford to lose. 

We were asked to suggest where the board should use the $760K to avoid making cuts to the system. Should it be class sizes, librarians, student services, maintenance staff, maintaining a full calendar or some combination of each.

A lot of discussion was concentrated on the proposed calendar changes. what was clear in the discussions was that 6 days change in the calendar impacts people disproportionately. For some its a relatively minor issue but for the significant number of families and students that need the time, the support and the structure of the school system the struggle to find the resources to deal with this change will be significant. The sense I got was that the school district thought they could find a way to make the 6 day calendar change while still supporting those that need the school system at that time. Its hard to say if this would work not knowing the family situations, what the district is proposing to do to help them or what the cost of that support might be. It is not clear whether the disruption is worth the savings but this should definitely be part of the boards due diligence on this issue.

If you have comment you would like to make on the budget proposals or the calendar it is best to send it to the trustees ASAP as the decisions on these issues will likely be made at the May 25th board meeting

Trustee Email Addresses 

NVPAC submission to Finance & Facilities Meeting

Below is a written version of the NVPAC submission regarding proposed budget cuts made to the May 4th Finance & Facilities meeting...

In recent months we have spent a good deal of time looking at school closures and in the past few weeks have decided to close schools and alternate programs in an effort to save money and gain the flexibility to avoid some of the cuts to programs and services being forced on us by the current financial situation.

Most of the cuts look innocent as they get at indirect services such as professional development, LAC and administration.  These cuts however will place more burden on the front line teachers and the few remaining admin folks.  Both of these effects will reduce the ability of the District to help all our kids learn, to plan properly and to manage the limited resources well.

There is not much time left to properly consider all the proposed cuts and I do not have the knowledge that would enable me to assess the impacts on students, staff and teachers for most of the specific proposals. For that we must all rely on the professionals to explain the impact.

What I will speak about are some general concerns and thoughts about how to approach this complex decision under three headings: Meaningful comparison, Erosion at the margins and Capacity to adapt.

Meaningful Comparison
My first recommendation is to ensure you take the time to compare the options in terms of their actual impact on students. If we look at the proposal document and at the budget discussions so far we have concentrated a lot on abstract numbers (FTE's etc.) and I think this makes weighing the options virtually impossible. We see a number and think we could cut that, but can we? Few people know what the numbers mean, and in many cases what the current #'s are and what they mean. What is needed for each proposed cut is for you as trustees to ask the questions that will let you understand the impact the changes would have on the ground to kids in the schools. Not as an aggregate number in total for the district, or as a change from last year. What does it take to deliver those services today, what is the demand for the service and what would kids that require those services find they would get next year?

In particular, we are concerned about the significant cuts and reorganization of student services included in "instructional practices #2" there are a lot of different student supports captured within that one recommendation. Student Services have been hit, time & time again and it does affect the classroom learning of all children. This one item needs to be looked at deeply to understand the specific impacts of cuts to the different services rather than generically grouping them all in under one big "student services" line item.

In order to ensure that people really understand the gravity of the cuts and can make a meaningful comparison between the options it is essential that the numbers and cuts be presented in a way that is meaningful to the community. Every option should be presented in some form of "this cut (example) would look like this (example) at the district, school, and/or classroom level...."  The key is to not shy away from the real impact of what effect the cuts have on students, staff, and community at all levels but to capture those impacts so tradeoffs can be weighed in understandable language that relates to the everyday experience of parents, staff, teachers and most importantly, students.

Eroding the margins
Many of the proposed cuts could impact each schools capacity to respond to the individual needs of students especially those that are on the margins of the normal system. There will likely still be support and time for students that are failing to fit into the regular program to get them back into the system. But I am concerned for students that are struggling, the cuts will likely reduce teacher, staff and administration time needed to identify and assist students struggling to stay with the regular program and provide suitable early intervention to meet their needs before a struggle results in failure. Our recommendation is that Trustees carefully consider the needs of students on the margins for a responsive, adaptable school system and ensure that despite any cuts we continue to enable schools to identify struggling students and apply school and district resources to help those students regain a stable position in the school system.

School Plans typically identify a schools strategy to improve reading, writing, and math through intervention to assist marginally performing students using a variety of methods but the practicality of this depends on anticipated cuts. Trustees should look to school plans for guidance as to the specific areas where the district needs to focus secondary services.

Capacity to adapt
The third important factor is to relate the options taken today to the effects we will feel tomorrow as we look ahead to future planning and our resulting ability to stay the course versus reacting to every financial or policy bump along the way.

North Van school district is a place of constant change. Between declining enrolment, new alternative programs, all-day K, new ministry guidelines, school closures etc. the district needs to respond to many changes now and into the future. My concern is that by focusing all resources on individual schools and delivering education only for today that the district will lose the institutional memory, shared learning and common resources needed to continue to adapt, develop, maintain, and support our staff, teachers, curriculum etc. and thereby maintain high quality education in North Vancouver.  Our recommendation is that Trustees carefully consider cuts to district support to make sure that any short-term cuts do not eliminate the districts ability to adapt our teaching to the long-term needs of students.

For example cuts to professional development may be expedient for a year or two but this could be catastrophic if allowed to continue for too long resulting in lost capacity and lost morale. We should be careful to have a plan to ensure we maintain the practices and resources needed to keep North Van Schools strong.

In conclusion, we are concerned that given the short time for discussion cuts may be made without meaningful comparison of the impacts, especially cuts that erode supports for struggling students and eliminate the districts capacity to adapt to change. But we are also confident that as trustees you will do your due diligence and we encourage you to make sure that before you make cuts you know what those people do, why that service is needed today, who will be impacted, how they will be impacted today and tomorrow and what staff, students and parents will need to do (if anything) to reduce that impact.