Sunday, September 30, 2012

Considering the expansion of IB middle years programme

Parents interested in the IB program in North Vancouver may wish to attend Tuesday's Toward the Future of Schools meeting as the meeting will feature a discussion of potential expansion of the IB middle years program

Toward the Future for Schools Standing Committee Meeting

October 2, 2012 
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Education Services Centre – 5th Floor, Mountain View Room
2121 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver

Call to Order
School District Enrolment and Organization Update
3 Year Operating Plan: district priorities for 2012/13
International Baccalaureate Expansion - Primary Years Programme:
Table Activity/Discussion: Questions and Comments

Thursday, September 27, 2012

BCCPAC resources

BCCPAC (BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils) advocates for students and parents at the provincial level but they also offer a number of resources of use to parent and PACs on their website. 

For Parents useful resources include:
  • Speaking Up! A Parent Guide to advocating for Students in Public Schools
  • Common Education Terms Glossary
  • Common Education Acronyms & Organizations ("ABCDE") 
  • A guide to Individual Education Plans
For PACs available resources include manuals to help you run your PACs including:
  • PAC 101
  • Treasurer 101
  • SPC 101
BCCPAC also host forums for PACs to share and seek advice from others on PAC issues.

NorthVanPac encourages our member PACs to check out their website, to join BCCPAC (BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils) and help them advocate for students and parents at the provincial level. We will pay the membership fees for PACs that sign up. Either let BCCPAC know we will pay when you sign up or let us know and we will re-imburse you.

For those interested in "Speaking Up!" for their children, we have invited Ann Whittaker, Past President of BCCPAC,  to speak to us on the subject at our November 15th DPAC meeting.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

North Van PAC Meeting Calendar

We have setup a Google Calendar for all of our events as well as School District events of relevance to parents.

Unless otherwise noted, all North Van Pac general meetings will be held at the North Vancouver Education Services Centre, 2121 Lonsdale.

Meeting times are 7-9pm, 3rd Thursday of each month except December and March

Subscribe to our Google Calendar to see district PAC related events

Web Calendar
Basic Calendar Info
iCal Calendar

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

North Van PAC General Meetings Schedule

North Van PAC is pleased to announce our general meetings schedule for 2012/13 and look forward to working with all our member PACs this year.

After consultation with PACs and discussion with the School District we have decided to stick with our traditional 3rd Thursday meeting schedule for the school year with no meetings in December or March

Our general meetings for this year will be held on the following Thursdays.

  • October 18th, 2012
  • November 15th, 2012
  • December - no meeting
  • January 17th, 2013
  • February 21st, 2013
  • March - no meeting
  • April 18th, 2013
  • May 16th, 2013 (Annual General Meeting)
  • June 20th, 2013

We look forward to meeting with everyone that can join us.

September School Board Meeting Notes

Last Night I attended the September School Board meeting, the first of this school year.

The meeting covered a lot of board business quickly but several items caught my attention including the carbon capital projects, a revised capital projects plan, a board ethics policy and new surplus lands policy.

A new boiler for Brooksbank!
First of these was the $264,000 energy efficiency upgrade to a boiler at Brooksbank Elementary.  This is a significant event because the funds from this have come from the funds the District would have in previous years have to use to buy carbon offsets.  The irony of carbon offsets was that school districts were being required to using their funds to buy offsets, thereby paying for other organizations to reduce their carbon footprint rather than spending those funds on projects that could reduce that of the schools. As a result of lobbying by School District's province-wide, including North Vancouver, the Ministry has changed this policy to enable schools to use the funds for their own carbon-footprint reduction projects. This new boiler is the first of these projects approved under this new policy and we expect we will see many more.

Capital Projects Plan
The School District has been asked to submit its priorities for major capital projects to the Ministry. Due to the timeline for this given by the Ministry, rather than consult first, the board has taken the unusual of approving the tentative list of project priorities at this meeting with a plan to consult with the public to review the list at next Tuesday's Finance and Facilities meeting.  

The Ministry completed a Provincial seismic risk assessment for all schools this summer. 

The guidance from the Ministry is that they want to focus on smaller capital projects first (buses, mechanical upgrades) and then on high-risk seismic upgrades with a plan to upgrade all high-risk facilities over the next 10 years.

Based on this guidance the School District has moved Argyle and Handsworth upgrades/replacements up to their top priorities while Seymour Heights replacement has moved down to third on the list. The full list will be discussed at the Finance and Facilities meeting and is available in the board meeting package

Board Ethics Policy
The School Board is a public body and has a high behaviour and ethical standards. After long review the board has approved a formal standards document to help everyone understand what the expectations are of board members. This is a very helpful set of guidelines as each new board every few years needs to ensure its members can work together effectively and respectfully and with a document in place it will be easier for each new board to establish its standards of behaviour and for the public to understand what those standards are.

Land Use Policy Revisions
The public land use discussions last year have lead to a revised policy and set of guidelines for how the school board should evaluate the options for the use of surplus lands and facilities.  The new guidelines more strongly reflect a desire to consult with the community, retain the lands if possible and to allow the proceeds to be used for long-term funding as well as capital needs.

REVISED Guiding Principles (September 2012)
The North Vancouver Board of Education will consider the following guiding principles in
the management of its land assets:
1. Recognizing that all School District properties are valued community assets, we
will consult with the community as part of our process to realize the maximum
social and financial value of these assets.
2. Balancing current and future School District needs by aligning our decisionmaking
with our Strategic Plan and implementing options ranging from short,
medium and long-term leases. Retaining properties and limiting outright sales will
provide flexibility to accommodate potential future enrolment growth.
3. Obtaining maximum financial returns while pursuing creative, holistic solutions for
broad-based community objectives of affordable housing, recreation, green
space, childcare and other emerging community needs. We will do this with
consideration of the Official Community Plans of the respective municipality.
4. Repurposing School District lands through the strategic use of long term land
leases to address evolving community needs such as affordable housing,
recreation, green space, and childcare.
5. Giving preference to proposals that support the Board of Education's strategic
goals and priorities, where all other criteria have been met, for the lease/sale of
6. Managing proceeds from land leases and sales to further enhance the student
learning experience. We will do this, in part, by directing proceeds to support a
significant endowment fund for the School District.
7. Directing proceeds and endowment funds, where necessary, to adequately fund
capital projects that are not eligible for government funding.

Based on my experience of last years consultation process these revised guidelines strongly reflect the community input given to the Board while providing them with the flexibility to consider all options and needs where necessary. With the RFP process underway to find uses for Monteray, Plymouth, Keith Lynn, and Ridgeway Annex the board will soon have a chance to apply these new guidelines.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

North Shore Safety Council - school traffic management

PAC's and/or Traffic and Safety Committees interested in school traffic safety should plan to attend this meeting.

Last November's Safety Council AGM presentation by RCMP Sgt Peter Devries, titled "The Driven Mind", was the impetus for several PAC's to invite this and other parent and student presentations. It also initiated the development of a "menu" of programs and strategies that schools could choose from to deal with the ubiquitous traffic issues in and outside of school zones.

The regular Safety Council meeting of October 4 will be an opportunity to learn more about the strategies that have been tried, and encouragement to choose your next steps in controlling, and hopefully reducing, vehicle traffic while increasing walking and cycling to school.

The meeting will be held at the Delbrook recCentre, 600 West Queens Road, in the Oak Room.

This is a "brown bag" meeting, coffee and tea will be available.

RSVP to:

or call 604-983-6444 (x7233 - SAFE)

Parents as Career Coaches Workshop

This session is now fully booked, if you have been unable to register please consider attending our November session. (November 14&21 at Sutherland School)

Date:  October 17th; and 24th (2 Wednesdays) at 6:30pm to 9pm
Location:  2121 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver BC

North Van PAC is once again offering this free workshop to parents. Please inform parents of the availability of this event, especially those with children in grades 7-9 starting to investigate potential careers. 

We are inviting all parents interested in learning how to help their children select and progress toward their future careers to attend a free two evening training session, in conjunction with Capilano University, to help parents develop their career coaching skills so they can better help their children prepare for their futures.

The "Parents as Career Coaches" interactive workshop, presented by Marion R. Haythorne of Capilano University, is a two session workshop designed to help parents become more effective career development allies for their children. Parents are introduced to the concepts of career coaching and given practical tools and research skills to assist them as they coach their children.

The workshop was full last spring and very well received and we are happy to bring it to you once again.

***Registration is required.  Please contact Vivienne if you are interested in attending the workshop at

Welcome to 2012/13

Hi All 

I'd like to welcome all parents and especially our PAC chairs and DPAC reps to the 2012/13 school year. We know you've all been out getting things started at your schools and if my kid's school is any indication it is certainly starting off on a positive and, as usual, busy note. 

Below us a quick update on what to expect from DPAC this year. From speakers, to district initiatives and available grants we are hoping to work with you in a variety of ways to ensure North Van students have a great place to learn. 

Meetings Schedule Update
At the request of the School District we are considering moving our meetings to Wednesdays but a number of PACs reported conflicts with the new day so we are working with the District to see if it is possible to stick with our traditional Thursday meetings. We will let you know ASAP how it works out. Either way our first meeting will be the 3rd week of October.

With the start of district events (1st board meeting is on the 18th) we will be getting our blog ( underway again to report and discuss district activities throughout the year. Hopefully you will all subscribe. We are also hoping to get active on Facebook and get the website up to speed. We are currently looking for volunteers interested in helping us with our reporting and web activities, there is much that could be done. 

DPAC reps
We are asking all District PACs to nominate two DPAC reps for your schools so your reps can share the load and share the fun!

We are planning to bring in a number of speakers to make our meetings more interesting this year. We will be sending more information on these as we fill out our schedule. 

Food Safe
All PACs planning to serve food at any events in the schools must have Food Safe certified people present to ensure you are maintaining proper food handling procedures. This is the time of year to look into this and ensure this doesn't become a barrier to your events.  All PACs should make sure they have PAC members certified. North Van PAC offers grants ($50 per person, 2 per school) to pay for any individuals taking their food safe certification. Contact us if you would like to take advantage of these funds. 

BCCPAC Memberships
North Van PAC has an arrangement with BCCPAC to pay the membership fees for all of our district PACs. To take advantage of this you need to renew your BCCPAC membership and indicate on the form that North Vancouver District PAC will pay. If you have already paid it yourselves please contact us and we will reimburse your PAC for the funds.  

Other Grants
North Van PAC will once again be offering Speaker, Family of Schools and Emergency Preparedness grants this year. Please contact us if you are interested in making use of these funds.

DPAC Initiatives
We are working on a number of initiatives this year including: District Survey, PACs and IT, District Speakers look for more information on and requests for your assistance with these as the year progresses. 

North Van PAC = Your DPAC
North Van PAC is looking for your ideas on how we can help in the areas of concern to your PAC and parents. Please feel free to raise any ideas or issues where you think things can be done at the district level. To aid in this discussion we asking each of the executive to meet with individual schools and are hoping we'll be able to come to you and meet with your PAC at your PAC meetings. 

As I said welcome to the school year, I'm looking forward to working with you as it progresses.


Dave Whitehead
North Van PAC Chair 2012/13