Tuesday, November 22, 2011

North Vancouver City Library Seeks Parent Input

North Vancouver City Library would like your help to plan for the future!
There will be a focus group with parents of 9-12 year olds on Monday, November 28th from 7:00-8:30pm in the North Vancouver City Library Board room. The library would love to hear from you about your experiences and how the library can best meet your needs.

The discussion will focus on: Identifying the wants and needs of you and your family, including: Where do you go in the North Shore for entertainment and activities, how do you find information about educational experiences and enriching activities for your children, and what do you imagine an “outside-the-box” library might look like or provide for families.

The focus group will be made up of no more than 12 parents so we can have a relaxed discussion. There are limited spaces available upon request for activities for children ages 4-12,  including a family story time and a Manga club event, which will happen in association with the focus group.

You will receive a thank you gift of a $20 gift card to Starbucks or Chapters, an NVCL Library Tote Bag, and an “I Imagined the Future: NVCL Library” button as a thank you for your time. You can sign up for a focus group at http://www.nvcl.ca  , or by emailing imaginethelibrary@cnv.org<mailto:imaginethelibrary@cnv.org>  , or by leaving a message with name and number at (604) 998-3453.

The library will be holding eight other focus group sessions with other members of the community, including parents of pre-school age children, and spots are available in these groups as well. These meetings will inform our strategic planning process and help us offer relevant services, programs and materials. 

If you can’t attend this event but would like to be involved, please check out these other focus groups, and fill out a survey to inform the library about what you would like to see in the future!

The North Vancouver City Library is currently recruiting for the following focus groups:
Job-seekers / Career Transition Focus Group
Monday, November 21st, 3-5pm, Library
Retired Seniors 
Tuesday, November 22nd, 3-5pm, Silver Harbour
Home-based Business Owners 
Wednesday, November 23rd, 7-9pm, Library
New Canadians (this session is full) 
Thursday, November 24th, 6-8pm, Library
Individuals 20-40 years of age 
Thursday, December 1st, 7-9pm, Library
Parents of 9 - 12 year old children
Monday, November 28, 7-9pm, Library
Parents of pre-school age children 
Tuesday, November 29, 7-9pm, Library
Tech Enthusiasts 16 - 35 years of age
Thursday, December 8th, 7-9pm, Library

Monday, November 21, 2011

BCCPAC Lower Mainland Regional Conference - Saturday November 26, 2011

BCCPAC Lower Mainland Regional Conference - Saturday November 26, 2011
Parents as Partners – Building Success
The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils is hosting the second Lower Mainland Conference part of its new Regional Conference Series on Saturday November 26, 2011 at the Queen Elizabeth Secondary School (9457 King George Blvd) in Surrey, BC.

The conference is a perfect opportunity for parents from all across the Lower Mainland to learn and be involved in their child’s education.

Gary Anaka, a Brain-Based Learning facilitator, will be presenting the Parent’s Brain and also the Brain Power in Children and Youth.

Dr. Patricia Porterwill host an interactive workshop on why and how parents can get involved in their child’s education - Why Parents Don’t Get Involved and How They Can!

The FORCE Society for Kid’s Mental Health will be presenting the FRIENDS program on anxiety prevention and resiliency for children and youth.

Make sure your BCCPAC Membership is up to date, all BCCPAC  member delegates receive a 20% discount on their registrations.

Event Information:
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Doors open at 8:00am
Conference hours are 9:00am – 4:30pm
Queen Elizabeth Secondary School
9457 King George Blvd
Surrey, BC
(Lunch is included)

*BCCPAC members receive a 20% discount

For more details on all the exciting presentations, check out the program on the BCCPAC Lower Mainland Regional Conference webpagehttp://www.bccpac.bc.ca/index/event_calendar/2011RgnlConf.aspx 
Please feel free to forward this message.
BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils
Suite 200, 4170 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, BC V5C 6C6
(P) 604-687-4433  w Toll Free 1-866-529-4397 w (F) 604-687-4488

Our Vision: To improve public education for all students by including and supporting parents

Funding Available for North Van PAC

Having approved our budget for the coming year at Thursday's general meeting North Van PAC has budget to assist PACs with funding in the following areas:

  • Emergency Preparedness Grants: to help PACs acquire equipment for emergency preparedness
  • Speaker Grants: currently up to $150 contribution towards hiring speakers for PAC events
  • Foodsafe Grants: currently a $25 contribution each for up to 2 parents per PAC to get their Foodsafe certificates.
  • Family of Schools Grants: currently up to $200 contribution toward a joint event within a family of schools
  • BCCPAC memberships: North Van PAC will pay the annual membership fees for any of our PAC's, if you are enrolling for the year please state on your application to BCCPAC that North Van PAC will pay.
  • BCCPAC Conference Attendance: North Van PAC has funding to pay for parent attendance at BCCPAC conferences.

We are currently revising our guidelines for managing these grants but don't want to force people to wait so if you are planning an event or have use for these funds please contact us.

contact Treasurer@NorthVanPac.org for more information.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Parents sought for North Van PAC

The headline is always true, North Van PAC could always use more help to fulfill our role of informing parents on school district issues, informing the district of parent issues and helping all our individual school PACs keep up to date with what each other are doing.

But with the election of our current chair, Cyndi Gerlach and past chair, Mike McGraw, a significant portion of the team will soon move to a new role with respect to the school district.

To fulfill our role we need parents to represent parents on various district committees and to report on district public events such as the education and programs meetings and to facilitate communication between the district, parents and PACs.

Between the Ministry's new plan for personalized education and the School District's new strategic and operating plans we can see that both are embarking on an exciting changes to the school system. Involved parents are the best way to influence these efforts and ensure they work for kids.

If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about North Van PAC and getting involved even if it is to sit on just one committee then please let us know and we will find a way to get you involved.


Congratulations to the new school board

Congratulations to the winners of the North Vancouver School Board Elections.

Assuming the preliminary count holds, which isn't certain as Christie Sacre currently leads Chris Dorais by only 3 votes, the elected school board trustees for the next 3 years will be:

Franci Stratton
Barry Forward
Cyndi Gerlach
Mike McGraw
Susan Skinner
Lisa Bayne
Christie Sacre

With four new members this will be a new look to the board and we look forward to working with them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 School Trustee Election - Candidate Information

On Saturday, November 19th ... Vote for your school board

A new school board representing the people of North Vancouver will be elected on Saturday, November 19th. There are 12 candidates running, 7 for the 3 positions representing the City of North Vancouver and 5 for the 4 positions representing the District of North Vancouver.

To help parents understand and evaluate the candidates, North Van Pac sent 20 questions to each of the candidates prior to our All-Candidates meeting and gave each of them the opportunity to answer some of the questions at the meeting and to submit written comments for our website. The questions were derived from the main themes in last years parent survey along with a need to reflect current district events.

Below you will find links to the questions we asked of the candidates and each of the candidates responses as they were sent to us. We hope you find this information useful as you prepare to vote.

All-Candidate Meeting Questions
Questions from the North Van PAC and from "the floor" submitted at the All-Candidates Meeting (note: the floor questions were not available to candidates when they wrote their responses)

CITY of North Vancouver Candidate Responses (3 to be elected)
Christie SACRÉ

DISTRICT of North Vancouver Candidate Responses (4 to be elected)

All Candidates meeting - Floor and Prepared Questions

Two types of questions were asked of school trustee candidates at the North Van Pac All-Candidates Meeting. Prepared questions, sent to the candidates in advance and "floor" questions. 

North Van PAC asked all the attendees at the all-candidates meeting to submit written "floor" questions that could then be asked of the candidates. We received a number of questions and while we were unable to ask them all at the meeting we are publishing them all so people can see the areas of interest to the community. The questions varied significantly in length and for the sake of brevity we have edited some of them while trying hard to keep the original tone and intent. Our apologies if any questions were missed or changed substantially in this process.

Floor Questions Asked in the All Candidates Meeting
· There is a definite lack of funding resources for Gifted Children. What changes will you be making to address?

· How would you increase parent involvement, and integration in the schools and why?

· In 2009 the school trustees voted in favour of closing multiple schools due to budget shortfalls. If this situation should happen again, how will you deal with it. How will you be help accountable?

· There seems to be a growing perception among parents, student and teachers that the quality and diversity of educational opportunities in North Vancouver is falling behind Do you see this as a legitimate concern and why?

· Is education underfunded?

· Are you aware of the school boards history of a more than 3 million dollar deficit one year to be followed by a 1.6 million dollar surplus the next. How would you address this issue in the future?

· Do you agree with the governments current messaging that public education needs to be transformed. If yes what needs to be transformed and why?

· What do you believe are the most important principles of public education?

· How will you as a school trustee engage in public advocacy for public education to secure adequate educational funding for our district and the province

· Do you support BCPSEA’s Labour Relations Board application that would fine teachers up to 15% of teachers’ salary during the job action. Why or why not?

· As a parent of learning challenged child who attends Keith Lynn, I want to know how you will support alternative programs like the ones at Keith Lynn to offer non academic students to assist in them in moving to the workplace?

· My teacher wants sound tiles, ( acoustic damping)She has been asking and asking for them but they just won’t give them to her. How will you help teachers make their classrooms better?

Floor Questions for which we did not get time

· Given the ministry of Education top down approach, Can you explain/justify the need for school trustees?

· What is you experience or background with special needs students and issues?

· There exists a lack of trust between parents and the school district and school board. What will you do to rebuild this trust?

· How do you intend on representing the needs of teachers & students in terms of healthy and safe working and learning environment? Address: Increased Violent incidents, Decreased maintenance & custodial Services, Mould Growth , Inconsistent Joint Health & Safety Committee meetings in schools.

· How can the process and structure of district decision making change to improve parent integration?

· How can you help support and improve the process of dealing with a poor quality teacher and make the situation better for the students?

· How would you increase community involvement in the schools?

· What is your opinion about dress codes in the schools and the impact of such codes on student success/happiness?

· Where is the money going from the sale of the units behind the new School Board Office on Lonsdale?

· There are several examples of “Traditional Schools” in BC with impressive track records. How supportive would you be of this type of model in NVSD? Would you consider converting Balmoral into one?

· Given the reduction in provincial funding, would you consider looking for private funding for specific special projects?

· Are you willing to risk your political career to stand up to the provincial government’s efforts to undermine public education? If yes what are you willing to do?

· Could you explain why approving 5 million dollars to be spent on outdoor school is justified when we are having trouble balancing budgets?

· What is your position on the two week spring break?

North Van PAC Prepared Questions answered by All Candidates at the meeting
All 1. What in your mind is the most important goal in the new strategic plan for the district and what tactics do you propose to ensure it is achieved?
All 2. Under what circumstances would you consider the permanent sale of school district land and what would you want done with the resulting capital?

North Van PAC Prepared General Questions answered by 3 candidates at the meeting (randomly drawn)
1. The provincial government does not fund many important features in new school construction such as cloakrooms, teacher storage, covered play areas and stages for drama. How should the school district deal with these issues?

2. There are many types of children with special needs in our classrooms. What do you see as the biggest concerns facing this diverse group of families and what changes do you propose to address these?

3. The new community learning program is set to start in Sept of 2012. What steps will you take as a board member to ensure that the consolidation of the district alternative education programs gets off to a good start and then grows into a world class program?

4. What administration or governance changes, if any, do you see as necessary at the school district administration level?

5. The NVSD has many students with lofty or specific goals. What gaps are there in the district in terms of supporting these high-achieving students and what changes need to be made to close these gaps?

6. How should the school district ensure that every student receives a personalized education?

7. What should the school district change or keep the same to ensure that students have access to the best instructional practices available?

8. How will you ensure that School district #44 is an inspiring place to work for all employees?

9. School board meetings often drag on well into the night. What would you do to shorten the meetings and make them more accessible to the public?

10. What involvement have you had in the community that demonstrates you commitment to quality education?

11. What is the most important skill will you bring to the table that the school board needs and give an example where you have demonstrated it?

12. Have you participated in any school district or PAC events or committees in the recent past and if so what was you contribution to the outcome?

13. Private schools are growing in BC. What should the school district response be to this situation?

14. What challenges do you see working with the Ministry of Education and how would you advocate for North Vancouver Schools?

15. What is your assessment of the current quality of education in North Vancouver schools and how would you like to see it change?

16. The BC Ministry of Education is currently planning a number of changes to the school system to support more personalized learning. What do you see as the key initiatives the Ministry is promoting and how would you like to see them implemented?

17. The BC Ministry of Education and the BCTF are currently involved in a job action. What do you see as the main issues driving this and what would you advocate to help resolve it?

18. How can we afford to maintain the practice of including special needs student in mainstream classrooms?

19. The BC Ministry of Education is proposing increased parent involvement in education. What sorts of parent involvement could you foresee and how should the school district engage with parents to promote and enable this initiative?

20. The BC Ministry of Education is proposing to increase the amount of technology-supported learning in our schools and enable students to bring their own devices into schools to support their education. How should the school district respond to this proposal?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Public Board Meeting - November 15, 2011

During public comment period I made comments about the two week spring break and the impact on students and families that cannot afford the extra time off.
Another parent spoke to moving the alternative programs to Balmoral and lack of consultation with families in the area and also the traffic that would be created and asks that everyone in the area that could potentially be affected be consulted so that there is no ill will.
Artists for Kids Trust 2010/2011 Annual Report - presented by Yolande Martinello - discussion around being open longer in the new facility; will we have enough prints to meet the demand; open during the summer to attract tourists (summer time will be under the Smith Foundation); student program will remain the same;
Motion: moved & carried
Community Learning Program - presented by John Lewis, Mark Jefferson, Julie Parker, Monty Bell & Patrick (missed last name) background can be found: http://www.nvsd44.bc.ca/en/sitecore/content/Updates/~/media/PDF_uploads/BoardMeetings/2011_12/BoardAgendaPackage20111115.ashx
- Background given with board goals - strategic plan spoken to connecting to the BC's Education Plan Key elements
- three year operation plan
- students will be at the centre of the Alternative program
- Community Living Program (CLP) being used as an operating name
- Community support services
- District Support Services (Distant Learning/Continuing Education/High School Completion/Work Experience)
- NVSD Learning Centre
Philosophy - develop the best program for our kids
Criteria - flexible schedules for students - time of day, number of classes, full-time, part-time
Differentiated instructional methodologies
Integrated instructional approaches
- learning outcomes integrated across the curriculum ie applications of math through carpentry
15-20:1 students to teacher - one teacher and one youth engagement worker
Increased course options to meet students interest
Develop and promote innovative and sustainable program
- flexible programming integrating blended DL program with face to face instruction
opportunity for students to cross enroll at other schools for district specialty programs
- opportunity to participate full in career programs, work experience apprenticeships, ITA initiatives etc...
- smooth transitions from Choices and to Choices
- course selection is aligned with graduation requirements, enabling the students to select from a wide array of elective courses offered within the program, the Learning Centre or in the community.
Strengthen and expand reciprocal community relations
Wrap-around support services for students
- health & nutrition (food program breakfast/lunch)
- youth services for counseling, medical, physical & mental health services
Community Services wishing to partner
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- Ministry of Children and Family Development
- North Shore Neigh
- Capilano Youth Services, Parkgate Youth Services
- NS Multicultural Society
- Tsleil-Waututh & Squamish Nations
Patrick spoke to the drawings of the new facility and what was to be included.
School, counselling support services, administration, community learning support offices, resource management, parking
Sites looked at - Keith Lynn, Plymouth, Lucas Centre & Balmoral
New school - $15 mil; KL - $15 mil; Plymouth $6 mil; Lucas $5 mil; Balmoral $2.5 mil
Recommendation - Balmoral
Time lines Phases
Planning Consultation
Consolation Programs/PACS/students community partners
Design - schematic; detail; contract docs; tendering award
East side of the district is 25% of our student population
Exective Committee recommendation - Balmoral
Next Steps
- inform all parents, staff & partner groups
- continue to meet with alternative program staff, parents PACS and Students
- Engage consultant team
- establish facility design working group
- continue program development (district & choices)
- continue consultation with potential partners and community agencies
- proceed with implementation planning with reps for alternative programs and local PACs
- continue working with DNV & PACs regarding traffic management
How to pay for this.....IY - possibilities include - Annual Facility Grant (part of all of it), capital reserves (about $2 mil in reserves), or sale of land
Careers high on the agenda for these students.
Motion to approve Balmoral as the site for the CLP - Trustee Forward Moved; Trustee Bouman Second - motion moved - Trustee Skinner voted against.
Local School Calendar 2012/2013
Spring break for the 2012/2013 school year will be March 18 to March 28 2013 - Motion passed.
Trustee Forward; Trustee Skinner; doesn't support
Trustee Bouman; Trustee Tasi; Trustee Back; Trustee Buchanan; Trustee Stratton; support
Proposed Revised Policy 101: Board of Education - Role & Function
Proposed New Policy 107: Board of Education - Stipend, Resources, & Expenses.
Policies to be referred to the new board.
Proposed Revised Policy 303: Student Health Services and Medication Management
- housekeeping item to remove the word Oral
Motioned carried
10:00 - Motion to move past 10:00 pm - Carried
Community Use of School District Facilities - Final Report
Motion to receive the report and accept the recommendations - Carried
Field Trips - out of country
Superintendent's Report
Presentation to Outgoing Trustees to Trustee Bouman, Trustee Back & Trustee Buchanan
Future Meetings
Public Question & Comment Period
Again, this my interpretation of tonight's events.....for the official minutes please see the district website.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ministry announces a new plan for education

On Oct 28th, The Ministry of Education released a new plan for education that calls for transformation of the system to include a greater emphasis on personalized education and parent involvement.


The plan consists of five key elements:
  • Personalized learning for every student.
  • Quality teaching and learning.
  • Flexibility and choice.
  • High standards.
  • Learning empowered by technology.
Lots more information in this is available at www.bcedplan.ca

The plan appears positive at a high level but at the moment it looks more like a plan for a plan than a specific set of initiatives. What we see so far raises a number of questions; what specific changes are being contemplated to deliver these new objectives and how will these changes be funded.

We will be discussing the plan at our next NVPAC general meeting (Nov 17th, LMCC) along with the Districts strategic plan and look to gather parent perspective on the questions the Ministry is asking as they develop their plan:
  • What new competencies will students need to prepare them for graduation and the future?
  • What type of information do parents need on their child’s learning?
  • What do you think is important for our education system in the future?

All-Candidates Meeting - fast-paced & informative

I'd like to thank the 120 or so people that joined us for our all-candidates meeting last night for coming out and helping us make the meeting a big success. The Sutherland Theatre is a great venue for these sorts of events, especially when we fill the room as we did last night.

Along with their opening and closing remarks the 12 candidates gave us a total of 87 responses to 21 questions in two hours. We heard from each candidate multiple times on different topics (governance, funding, personalized learning etc) and I think the event gave everyone a chance to showcase their talent, interests, philosophy and experience for the audience. It was a fast paced event (no hockey game, but pretty frenetic for an ACM) and I thank both the audience and the candidates for putting up with our tight timing and active microphone management.

Still we didn't get to all the questions and not everyone was able to attend so for those that missed it and to try get answers to those questions we didn't get to we will be posting all the questions we received at the door and the ones we had prepared for the candidates on the blog. We have invited all the candidates to send us their responses, which we will post on the blog next week, in time to help you select the candidates you wish to vote for.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Public Board Meeting October 25, 2011

This is the 2nd public board meeting that I'm blogging at. These are my interpretation of what was said at the meeting and approved minutes will reflect the accuracy of the meeting.
Report & recommendation of the Career Education Development Advisory Committee submitted to the board. Steve Garland, Principal Carson Graham; Marcia Garries Administrator Learning Services & Monty Bell Director of Instruction Learning Services answered questions about the report. Trustee Bouman asked what would be the outcome and different from what is already being done. Career programs to be here for the long terms...increase in the number of students participating in careers program. Trustee Back wanted to know who is going to sit on the committee and what the vision is. Chair Stratton asked about the IB Careers and how this would work. Trustee Forward made a couple of comments on communication as did Trustee Skinner. Trustee Tasi wanted to know what the plan is for the school ie what career program might be where....Trustee Buchanan asked about the early grades. Careers in North Van, sounds exciting. Report received and approved.
Review of Trustee Remuneration - Trustee Buchanan was surprised that this is on the agenda; poor timing when two partner groups are in bargaining. Trustee Forward clarified that he felt that because Policy 101 is being reviewed it was appropriate timing. Trustee Skinner feels that it is good to highlight and feels it should be looked at. Trustee Bouman wants to know the process to increase or decrease the stipend. Chair Stratton agrees wouldn't be supporting a motion on this....this is an information purpose. Trustee Skinner - review it annually. Trustee Forward made comments about the big time commitment of the Chairs role. Trustee Back feels that it is bad timing and feels that the trustees are paid appropriately for the work done.
To be looked at the in the future.
Three Year Operating Plan - Supporting the 10 Year Strategic Plan - will be posted to the website. This is a three year plan. Board will highlight priorities.
Goals & Measures -
Improve 6 year completion rate from 87% to 90%
Improve 6 year completion rate from 52% to 70 for students of aboriginal ancestry
Increase completion rate for students enrolled in alternative programs from 30% to 50%
Increase course completion rates for distributed learning students from 65% to 85%
Increase student engagement by 10% (no baseline)
Expand the number & location of district programs by 3 within 3 years
Increase NV Distributed learning course offerings by 10%
Increase the Board Authority course offerings by 10%
Increase participation in programs based at the Outdoor School
Reduce energy consumption by 13%; electrical consumption by 16%; reduce carbon emissions by 10%
Reduce photocopying expenditures
Increase the number of centres providing Early Learning Foundation programs
Develop specific joint use agreements to facilitate community use of schools on weekends
Secure 5 additional partnerships with external organizations
Establish a community based volunteer program
Secure $3 million through the Environmental Learning Centre Capital campaign
Generate an additional $1 million per year for the each of the next three years through local initiatives to enhance the operating budget....
Full report will be on the website...
Community Learning Program & North Vancouver Learning Centre Update
Reviewing student files and looking what the needs are
Curriculum needs for students
Referral process
Communication - giving information as it comes available
Support Services from the community
Where will the site be: potential three sites are: lucas centre/lmcc; balmoral; plymouth
Sounds really exciting; wondering how the parents and students are feeling about this.
Student driven - sounds great
That's it for tonight...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Earthquake Preparedness

2 weeks of food, 4 litres of water * 5 days / person. I'm not as prepared as I thought.

Our October North Van PAC meeting featured a presentation by on emergency preparedness, both family emergency preparedness and school preparations. I considered our family relatively prepared for emergencies but this presentation tells me I have work left to do. In particular it helped me think more about what we should do in the event of an earthquake rather than what I might need to have.

Some key things I learned:

  • Once a quake has passed, stay where you are. Don't rush to the school to get your kids. The schools will look after the children and will only release students once they are told the area is safe. A parents first responsibility is to ensure the home they would return to is safe. Then listed to the radio to find out if the route is safe to walk to the school to get the kid. Power lines could be down on the roads, fires raging etc and the kids will only be released if it is safe. 
  • The schools are looking after the kids, the neighbours are not welcome and will be locked out. Schools are not emergency shelters
  • Don't flush your toilets as the sewers may be broken.
  • The bridges could be closed for many days. Have enough cash to pay the entrepreneurs.
  • The emergency response routes are for emergency vehicles only. Stay off the roads!
  • The schools should conduct emergency release drills every two years to get everyone familiar with the system. If the PAC has provided emergency equipment or supplies then those should be included in the drill so the staff know what is there and how to use it. 
  • The North Shore has a very comprehensive emergency plan and every school has a plan. The North Shore Emergency Management Office have lots of resources and offer free workshops. 

More Info
North Shore Emergency Management Offices 
North Vancouver School District Emergency Preparedness 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

School Trustee Candidates

With a total of 12 candidates, 7 for 3 positions in the City and 5 for 4 positions in the District, North Van voters have a full slate of school trustee candidates to choose from in the upcoming Municipal elections.

City of North Vancouver candidates (3 positions). 
  • Lisa Bayne
  • Chris Dorais
  • John Harvey
  • Christie Sacré
  • Susan Skinner
  • Mary Tasi
  • Ian T. Young

District of North Vancouver candidates (4 positions)
  • Norm Binion
  • Barry Forward
  • Cyndi Gerlach
  • Mike McGraw
  • Franci Stratton
It should be an interesting election. Please join us for an all-candidates meeting on Nov. 9th. and stay tuned to the blog for further election info. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Public Board Meeting - October 11, 2011

This is my first attempt to do a live blog from the public board meeting. The comments below are my understanding what was discussed. Feel free to ask for clarification about what was discussed if I'm not clear.
Meeting started & 7:00 pm
Superintendent Lewis reported on the Organization of Classes.
Consultations re Bill 33 have concluded at the elementary schools. Consultations at the high school level take place all year long.
Impacts of Ministry Funding levels - limited flexibility due to legislative requirements. Add back budget has provide limited relief to the impact of Budget Directions.
Superintendent Lewis went through the high schools and showed the schools that were over 30 and the rational. These will be posted on the MoE website once approved by the BoD.
Argyle 77 classes over 30 (last year 92)
Carson Graham 113 classes over 30 (last year 110)
Handsworth 54 classes over 30 (last year 70)
Seycove 30 classes over 30 (last year 64)
Sutherland 9 classes over 30 (last year 50)
Windsor 52 classes over 30 (last year 51)
Trustee Bouman asked question regarding a math teacher having 6 classes over 30 students...How does this teacher reach every student.
Trustee Buchanan asked about advocacy to the ministry about more flexibility with class size
Trustee Stratton asked about how many teachers would it take to bring class size down....about 5 to the elementary schools and 15 teachers to the secondary schools if budget premitted.
Organization of Classes Report - The report is in compliance with the School Act Requirements.
Class Organization Fund - The district should receive about 3%. About $900,000 in the first year to offset Bill 27/28. This is outside of the negotiations.
Report approved.
Recap on the Towards the Future for Schools Standing Committee from October 4.
Recap on Education and Programs Standing Committee from this afternoon at 4.
- Career Education & Development Advisory Committee Report presented - 4 goals.
- Discussion on School Calendar for 2012/2013. The Executive will let us know by Friday if the district will move forward with the 30 day public consultation.
Oct 25 - Public Board Meeting - Board Office
Nov 1 - Finance & Facilities Standing Committee 7:00 pm - LMCC
Nov 15 - Public Board Meeting 7:00 - Board Office
Nov 22 - Education & Programs Standing Committee 7:00 pm - LMCC
Dec 6 - Public Board Meeting (Inaugural) - 7:00 pm - LMCC
Meeting adjourned - 8:30 pm

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kindergarten Information Meeting Oct 19, 7pm

This years Kindergarten Information Meeting for Parents for the 2012/2013 School Year will be held Oct. 19th, 7pm

The meeting helps inform parents of their options for the coming school year. More information can be found at:

School Trustee All-Candidates Meeting. Nov 9th at 7p.m.

North Van PAC will host a public meeting with all-candidates for the city and district school trustees position.

November 9th
7 p.m.
Sutherland Secondary School

Trustees have an active and important role in setting direction for our schools. Over this last term Trustees have dealt with $10 million in district budget cuts, closed schools, renovated schools, re-organized special programs and set in place a new strategic plan for the School District.

This is your chance to meet and ask questions of the candidates that could be deciding the direction of the school district for the next three years.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Education & Programs Committee

At the September 27, 2011 meeting of the North Vancouver Board of Education, the Board declared its intent to consider a variation of the standard school calendar for the 2012/13 school year.

An opportunity for discussion of the 2012/13 school calendar is now scheduled for the October 11th public meeting of the Education and Programs Standing Committee at LMCC.

Towards the Future of Schools - Oct 4

Meeting on Tuesday October 4. Todd & I attended the Towards the Future of Schools Standing Committee. Brief overview of the Strategic Plan. Discussion regarding TFS accepting ideas for programs for the school district. Closing date for submissions is October 28.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Help at the Highschool

In Aug 2011 the people living off the laneway above Argyle High school hosted a meeting in the school library to discuss some of the challenges faced by the neighbours. Since the students can no longer smoke on school property groups of youth have been congregating in the nearby laneways. These groups can become rowdy and sometime the behavior is disruptive. Drug deals and fights have been observed and sometimes the smoke has a rather odd smell. For families with young kids this is even more of a concern. Other issues raised we the amount of litter and the crowds of students spilling onto the roadways and blocking sidewalks. Several people raised concerns about the elementary students being forced on the road son their way to Lynn valley School

The meeting was well attended by our local MLA, the 3 school administrators, several school board members, the RCMP and several folks from North Vancouver district. After discussing the challenges faced by everyone involved ( funding, staff availabily etc...) several actions were agreed upon: The RCMP would observe the crowd and develop a plan to deal with the drug sales. The School administration would stress the need for student leadership and more neighborly behavior. The administration would spend more of their supervisory time in this laneway area during problem times. The District would examine opportunities to clean up the laneway and make is less "private' they would also look at the pedestrian safety issue. The neighbour agreed to try to build positive relations with the students involve and would organize a clean-up/face lift of the laneways to demonstrate their care for the local environment.

Most of these action have been taken or are underway. I was really impressed with the response of the school adminstrators who not only had to take o these action but also start this school year with the labour dispute. To me this whole event was an example of the type type of partnership we want to see across the community.

As these type of issues are a regular part of living next to a high school more ideas are needed to help improve the situation. if other parents have ideas or experience please let us know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Presidents Council Dinner

The President's council is a committee made up of the Presidents of the various School District stakeholder groups: NVPAC (Parents), NVTA (Teachers), NOVA (Principals), CUPE (Staff), Trustees, Senior Admin.

The President's Council dinner marks what has become the traditional kickoff to the year for the groups to meet and start discussing some of the larger themes the district faces in the coming year. Two years ago it was the budget challenge. Last year we kicked off the strategic planning process.

This year the focus was on how to communicate and roll out the 10yr strategic plan the district arrived at toward the end of last year. We discussed the challenge of communicating the overall framework, the supporting plans and the measurement objectives as the district begins to implement the plan. In many ways the plan recognizes many of the things already in place in North Van but in some cases needing  attention to ensure we are making the most of our resources to educate our children.


More will be seen of the plan and how it will be implemented and measured over the coming months but it is encouraging to see a plan and the goals the district is working towards. To start with the document opens up more questions than it perhaps answers but the more detailed action plans under development should provide greater clarity and more effective discussions for all stakeholders.

We look forward to helping the district communicate, measure and refine the plan over the coming years.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

PAC Discussion Board

Hello to all the returning and new Parents and PAC executive across the district

As we start this 2011/2012 school year NVPAC will continue blogging here but would also like to invite all PAC executive across the district to join our discussion group for PAC executive. 

At the district PAC we are often asked by school PAC executive to share discussions with other schools and to ask for the advice of other PAC executive. This discussion group is intended to foster those types of discussions and to help us to gather and share important district wide information. Questions like effective fundraisers and coordination of fundraising, Questions like good after-school care or presenters. This message board is for the PACs and we encourage you to make use of it to contact other PACs across the district as you see fit.  

We have started this discussion with a few topics of interest and have invited all the PAC executive we have contact info for. If your PAC executive or contact info have changed please let us know. If you know of others that should be part of this discussion please invite them to join us at http://groups.google.com/group/northvanpac

Enjoy the school year and we hope to have many fruitful discussions 

NVPAC General Meetings 2011-2012

All meetings, 7-9pm at Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre 

Oct 20, 2011 
Nov 17, 2011 
Jan 19, 2012 
Feb 16, 2012 
Apr 19, 2012 
May 10, 2012 

To keep up to date with our events subscribe to the NVPAC Public Events Calendar 

We hope to see you there.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

PAC Resources

NVPAC hopes you find the information below helpful in recruiting and informing parent volunteers for next year. Also, if you haven't yet reviewed NVPAC's report on the Strategic Plan Parent Survey, please see the post below of Thursday May 5.

General Job Description - PAC Class Rep: Elementary School

The following information is a compilation of responsibilities and optional duties gathered from North Vancouver PACs. NVPAC thanks everyone who contributed to this information. Please keep in mind these are only suggestions to help inform parents and each PAC will have their own needs for this volunteer role.

- Represent parents of your class at monthly PAC meetings.
The rep is the first contact for the PAC Communication Coordinator in the contact tree and will share information presented at PAC meetings and distribute important PAC notices to parents (generally through e-mail).
Facilitate communications between the teacher and the parents of the class. (Note: it is NOT the Rep's responsibility to solve individual situations that may arise between a teacher and a parent.)
Compile email list of parents in class and implement an Emergency Phone Tree for your class. (Note many PACs now do this in consultation with their school administration.)
To support community building events with teachers, parents and students, fundraising and social events.
Ambassador to new families.
Optional/Additional Activities:
These optional activities can be delegated:
Designated contact person for the classroom teach if he or she would like help organizing drivers for a field trip, for instance, or other practical matters. Many teachers make minimal use of this service.
To arrange a social function for the parents in the class i.e. a welcome tea.
To collect money and purchase items for teacher gifts or other occasions.
Screen Emergency Preparedness Packages for accuracy and completeness.
Recruitment Process:
At the start of each school year recruit class reps by advertising through sign-up sheets at classroom, in the school newsletters, on the bulletin board and on school web site.
A simple application form can be created or a single sign-up sheet at the office.
Provide class rep with welcome/introduction email from PAC Executive outlining duties and providing general timelines from PAC (when class emails will be provided, if student/family updates are provided by executive or if the rep updates the class list, PAC meeting schedule, special events dates, etc.).
Skill Set:
Email savvy, checks emails regularly, friendly.
Time Commitment:
Varies but is an ongoing role throughout the school year.
Contributes to the school’s sense of community and provides assistance to classroom teachers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

North Vancouver Parent Survey Report

Mike and David have completed their report on the Strategic Plan survey conducted in February

Please follow the SCRIBD link below to read this informative pulse check on the parents of North Vancouver

Parent Survey Report

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Notice of Special Resolution to repeal the current NVPAC Constitution and By-laws, and adopt a new NVPAC Constitution and By-laws

As many of you know, it has been a primary objective of your NVPAC Executive for the 2010/11 year to undertake a thorough review of our current Constitution and By-laws ("C&B"). A C&B Review sub-committee was struck for the purposes of undertaking this review, and they were tasked with authoring a revised C&B for presentation and recommendation back to NVPAC Executive. Our current C&B was adopted in 1992 - the year that NVPAC was incorporated as a Society under the Societies Act of British Columbia. After considerable work by this sub-committee, and upon careful review by your NVPAC Executive, this new C&B has been accepted by a voting majority of NVPAC Executive for adoption by special resolution at the upcoming NVPAC Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 7:00pm in the main boardroom of the Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre.

Section 50 of our current C&B states "No part of these by-laws shall be repealed, amended, or enlarged except by special resolution proposed in writing thirty-one (31) days in advance and passed by a three quarters (3/4) majority of the voting members."

On April 11, 2011, a letter was emailed to all member PACs providing written notice of our intent to vote on a special resolution at the May 12, 2011 Annual General Meeting, the wording of which shall be:

"Be it resolved by special resolution that the Constitution and By-laws currently in effect be repealed; and be it further resolved by special resolution that the attached Constitution and By-laws attached hereto, Schedule "A", be approved and adopted."

Copies of both the current and the proposed new Constitution and By-laws were attached to this April 11th email. If anyone would like to receive copies of the current and/or the proposed Constitution and By-laws for review prior to the May 12th meeting, please email your request to chair@northvanpac.org.

As a registered society under the Societies Act of British Columbia, our membership is comprised of the North Vancouver Parent Advisory Councils. It is therefore very important that each and every PAC ensure that an authorized, designated PAC representative attend the May 12th AGM in order for this special resolution to be voted on. Without a 75% majority, this resolution cannot pass.

A number of PAC's have asked whether proxy voting is allowed, or who they can send to the May 12th AGM in order to vote on this special resolution. PAC's may send anyone who is a member of their school PAC (this doesn't have to be a PAC executive, as long as it's a parent or legal guardian of a student enrolled in their school). This person would be your PAC's "designate", so technically a proxy vote is not necessary, as long as your designate attends the AGM and votes in person. It is strongly recommended that PAC's provide this person with a written note of designation, signed by a PAC executive. Section 4a) of our current Constitution and By-laws states:

"All PAC's in school district #44 are voting members. One parent elected by each local Parent Advisory Council from every public school in the district to represent that school as a voting member of the Society and/or their designate."

If there are any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at chair@northvanpac.org.

Thank you, and many thanks to the C&B Review Committee for all their hard work!

Mike McGraw
North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award

Sabrina Shannon Award

Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the second annual Sabrina Shannon Memorial Award.

The award is dedicated to the life of Sabrina Shannon, an inspirational teenager who tragically suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction in 2003. Her parents, Mike Shannon and Sara Shannon, have kept Sabrina's spirit alive by advocating for safer school environments. Sabrina's Law, landmark legislation passed in Ontario in 2005, has continued to influence school board policies in Canada.

Two awards of $1,000 each will be granted: one for a student entering the first year of post-secondary education, the other for a student who is already enrolled in a post-secondary program.

Applications will be evaluated on a submission essay which describes the student's efforts to raise awareness about severe allergies and anaphylaxis in their schools or communities.

The application from can be downloaded from Anaphylaxis Canada's youth website http://www.whyriskit.ca. All applications must be submitted by June 22nd, 2011.

Read about our 2010 award winners Davidea Houston and Erika Ladouceur and their accomplishments in raising allergy awareness in their communities.

For more information, please contact Anaphylaxis Canada at 1-866-785-5660 or info@anaphylaxis.ca.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Important News for North Van PACS

Barry MacDonald will be presenting his Boy Smarts – Effective Strategies for Parenting Boys
Tues. May 3rd 7-9pm at Delbrook Community Recreation Centre
Tickets are $10 plus HST until April 27th.
If tickets are available after that date the price will increase to $15 plus HST
Barry will have his books for sale and signing.
More details and to purchase tickets visit www.NorthVanRec.com

BC School Fruit and Vegetable Program deadline has been extended to April 15th. Participation in this program is at no cost to schools. Students and school staff will receive a fresh fruit or vegetable snack once-a-week every other week. Click for information or visit

Provincial Satisfaction Survey Deadline extended to April 22nd - Some schools have indicated that they need a little more time in order to receive parent responses to the Satisfaction Survey. For this reason, the deadline has been extended by one week.

Are you a parent of a student in grades 4, 7, 10 or 12 and want to have your voice heard to effect change? The Provincial Satisfaction Survey gathers opinions from parents, teachers and students on aspects of the BC education system such as student safety, student achievement and the school community environment and culture. The Satisfaction Survey will be administered,giving you as a parent the opportunity to have your experience and voice counted. Survey responses help to identify areas of success, best practices and areas needing improvement in the K-12 education system.
Information from the survey is used by School Planning Councils, Boards of Education, and the Ministry of Education to set goals and determine areas for improvement in student success. All responses remain anonymous and confidential for participants at all times.
How do I participate in the survey? - Each school throughout the provincewill be provided with logon information for their parents to participate in the survey. Simply go to the website at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/sat_survey/ enter your logon number and complete the ten minute survey. Do not miss your chance to be heard!

Extra Money for DPACs = $625 On March 31, all DPACs in the province who received gaming funds in September 2010 received an additionaldeposit of $625 to their gaming account. Every DPAC that applies receives $2500 each year. This extra $625 is due to a government increase of gaming grants by 25% to all PACs and DPACs and the continued advocacy of parent leaders at all levels in support of PAC/DPAC funding. For PACs this equates to $5 per student, for DPACs this equals $625. This funding will be of great assistance to DPACs who support and send district delegates to the BCCPAC Spring Conference/AGM. If you did not receive this deposit please contact http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/gaming/contact/index.htm

BCCPAC 2011 Spring Conference Update - Make sure you check out the information on our website for the upcoming conference - The Parent Voice:
Connecting for the Future - Friday, April 29 and Sunday, May 1, 2011 at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel, Richmond, BC. Click here http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/UserFiles/File/2011springAGM/2011_Spring_Program.pd for the Conference Program or visit the Conference page for additional information. A recent email with "money saving offers" was sent out this week, as was a request for parent volunteers to help out. Don't miss out on the Early Bird Discount - the deadline is only 8 days away!

Call for teacher nominations for the Canadian Home and School Federation Dr. Samuel R. Laycock Memorial Award

Do you know a special teacher? Here is an opportunity to honour them. We are currently accepting nominations until Monday, April 25, 2011 for this award. Please provide the name and contact information for the teacher along with a written submission (250 words or less) on why this teacher is deserving of this award. Please be sure to also include your name and contact information. See background and criteria below.

Dr. Laycock is remembered as a person who lived his life for children. The Canadian Home & School Federation has chosen to honour his memory with presentation of a special award plaque at each CHSF Annual General Meeting.

The Dr. Samuel R. Laycock Memorial Award is presented to an educator who:
Loves Children and is interested in the education of all children. Relates well to children, teachers and parents, enlisting their cooperation. Has dynamic leadership qualities and inspires others to achieve; and has made a real contribution to relations between the school and the home

Submit nominations by April 25, 2011 to
events@bccpac.bc.ca or fax to

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Presenting Roberts Rules Simplified Workshop for PACs

NVPAC presents John Noonan's

Monday April 4th at Lucas Centre

In this hands-on seminar you will walk through the process of organizing, leading and participating in a board meeting. By the end of this module, you will have a clear knowledge of meeting procedures and possess the confidence to be a full participant in all board decisions.


Processing the main motion
Amending the main motion
Referring business to a committee
Postponing business to a later time
Close, limit or extend debate
Tabling business
The Privileged Motions
- Orders of the day
- Raise a question of privilege
- Recess
- Adjourn
- Point of Order/Information/Procedure
- How to appeal a decision made by the Chair
- How to process an appeal to the Chair’s decision when you are the presiding
- Rules of Debate
- Decorum for the presiding officer
- The Strategy of Presiding
- Bylaws, Rules of Order, Special Rules of Order, and Standing Rules

This seminar will be hands-on, practical and will contain a number of carefully structured role-
plays; each designed to help reinforce the program concepts and tailored to PAC organizations.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

CANCELLED - Running Committee Meetings That Work

Due to low registration, this workshop has been canceled. Keep an eye out for details on our next workshop in April, 'Roberts Rules Simplified' facilitated by John Noonan, Registered Parliamentarian.



Wednesday March 2 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre, North Vancouver, BC
Running Committee Meetings that Work

Cost: $75.00 per registration, includes 2 seats
Includes: Light dinner, handouts, networking with PAC Chairs and DPAC Reps
Register at info@northvanpac.org with your PAC name and contact information for 2 PAC members to attend session.

NVPAC subsidy available to North Vancouver PACs, $50.00 for the first registration. Registration closes Friday Feb 25th.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Workshop on Running Effective Meetings

Running Committee Meetings that work


Wednesday March 2 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre, North Vancouver, BC

Cost: $75.00 per registration, includes 2 seats
Includes: Light dinner, handouts, networking with PAC Chairs and DPAC Reps
Register at info@northvanpac.org

NVPAC subsidy available to North Vancouver PACs.
Register by Feb 21st for a chance to win the workshop for free.

They are run by people, attended by people, conducted for the benefit of people

Good meetings bring out the best in people, the best ideas, the best decisions, and the best follow-up.



Process and people combine to make an effective meeting. In this hands-on program, you will experience the process of organizing, leading, participating in and reporting on a committee meeting. You will feel confident knowing that you have mastered a process, which is fair, and allows full participation for those in attendance.
Learn about all of these together

Preparing for Success
Role of the Meeting Leader
Role of the Meeting Participant(s)
Close with an Action Plan
Prepare Meeting Minutes

NOTE: This is not a Robert’s Rules of Order program


How to set focused meeting objectives
How to prepare the meeting agenda
How to identify & distribute critical background material
How to prepare the meeting room

Provide focus
Stimulate positive discussion
Control the process
Summarize & close the discussion

Prepare in advance
Contribute positively
Communicate effectively
Be optimistic ... look for the good

Its not over until it’s over
What’s next?
Meeting evaluation
Action minutes

YOUR FACILITATOR: John Noonan, PRP, CGA is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, the President of the Parliamentarians Association of British Columbia and an Internationally Accredited Speaker. He is a former International President of Toastmasters. In 1999 John was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Parliamentarians where he served four years, two as its National Treasurer, Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, and as a member of the Executive Committee. Today, John practices as a communication consultant offering services as a registered parliamentarian, presentation skills trainer, and coach to association, government and corporate clients.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NorthVanPAC survey on the School District 10yr Strategic Plan

The North Van School District is currently developing a 10-year strategic plan to guide the ongoing development of the school district. This plan is built on a set of 6 high-level goals along with a set of DRAFT Objectives and sample strategies to support these goals.

In order to provide feedback on the strategic plan to the school district NorthVan PAC is seeking public input through a survey on the high level goals and each of the identified objectives in support of those goals.

The survey asks respondents to rate and comment on the relative importance of the 6 high-level goals to the success of the school district and then to elaborate on the objectives within each of the goals by rating the importance of those objectives to meeting that particular goal.

Please answer the questions as best you can and encourage other parents to so as well.

The survey will be open until Feb 20th, the results of the survey will be posted on this blog and discussed at the Feb NorthVanPAC general meeting

To help parents complete the survey we have summarize the draft objectives w
ithin the survey . Complete info on the strategic plan, including the full draft objectives document can be found on the North Van School District's website

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pink Shirt Day - Feb 23 - Anti Bullying Day

For inspiration check out this excerpt from Janet Steffenhagen's blog ' Report Card' and remember to wear pink on February 23rd:

Check out this YouTube video of an anti-bullying flash mob by students from David Lloyd George elementary and Churchill secondary at the Oakridge Centre late last month. It is sure to bring a smile on an otherwise grey day. The anti-bullying Pink Shirt...(read more)
View article...

Also, check out the Pink Shirt Day web site for more information on the day: http://www.pinkshirtday.ca/