Thursday, April 30, 2015

NVPAC 2014 Parent Priority Survey Results

North Van PAC conducts our annual Parent Priorities Survey each year in May.


The purpose of this survey is threefold:
  • To identify areas of concern for further investigation
  • To consider how the schools are changing over time
  • To capture parent suggestions to improve the system.


Our May 2014 Survey asked parents to rate multiple aspects of school activity including: Physical Environment, Social Environment, Educational Fit, Additional Support, School Communication, Teacher Communication, Parent Concerns and Overall Quality. 

With a shortened survey period due to the job action we received 1441 responses and 1053 written comments, representing about 8.5% of parents in North Vancouver.


From the survey results and comments NVPAC identified several parent priorities
Improve teacher communication about school work, homework and ongoing performance.
  • Improve mechanisms to enable parents to communicate with the schools when there is a problem with students, teachers or admin Increased support for students on the edge including gifted and special needs students
  • Improve teacher quality, grading standards, subject specialists to provide better personalized learning and educational fit to the student.
  • Develop stronger mechanisms to recognize and address bullying related issues


Based on this NVPAC has identified expectation setting and parent-school communication guidelines as two areas that need to explored further to find ways to improve this situation for schools and parents across the district.  The next steps should be to gather more parent and partner group input to help us identify and clarify different types of issues and different expectations and to identify the parent resources needed to help parents communicate with the schools better. 

Informal Reporting

What we see from the results is that 20% of parents feel poorly informed about what is going on in the classroom, with homework and expectations etc. The comments strongly reflect a desire for better communication from teachers on classroom activity and performance, many requests for blogs etc but with some specific requests against electronic communication. Parents want to know this so they can help their child, particularly if they are struggling in silence.

Parent-Teacher-School issue communication

The results of our 2014 annual parent survey tell us that 69% of parents need to contact the school to address different issues over the course of the school year. Most parents have good interactions but the survey also tells us that 13% of parents find the timeliness of the schools response poor and 19% find the appropriateness of the schools responses poor.

The comments we receive back this up. We see many comments thanking the schools for addressing their issues but we also see a fair number of comments describing the schools as unresponsive to parent needs and insufficient in their responses.

75% of parents are comfortable approaching the school with issues but the survey also tells us that 11% of parents are uncomfortable approaching the schools about their particular schools concerns. At the same time 34% feel they get at best partial guidance from the schools on where to start and how to address their concerns. 

When it comes to school issues, the resources, processes and guidance vary widely from school to school and there may little guidance available to help parents at the start of the process, when the issues are small and in need of communication rather than formal process. Getting off on the wrong path can impede issue resolution and clarifying these processes could potentially improve the success of many interactions.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reminder to Register BCCPAC Proxies for AGM

Proxies are due in the BCCPAC office by 4:30 tomorrow (Friday).  Please remember to send a copy to me along with your voting instructions.  AGM information and forms may be accessed at

Please contact me at with any questions or if you are having issues registering your proxy by the deadline.

Debra Dennehy
Registrar & BCCPAC Liaison

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Draft Minutes - NVPAC Feb. 25th General Meeting

NVPAC General Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
7:00 pm Mountainview Room, ESC, 2121 Lonsdale Avenue

Chair:  Jane Lagden Holborne (Sutherland)
NVPAC Attendance: Jane Lagden Holborne, Karen Nordquist, Homa Sorooshi, Debra Dennehy, David Whitehead, Heather Skuse
Attendance: 20
Guests:  Franci Stratton – Trustee , Tristan Crowther, Ilona Wardas, Janet Mclean from the Windsor Family of Schools, Kirsten Koppang Telford - ePact
Schools Represented:  Argyle, Brooksbank, Carson Graham, Cleveland, Handsworth, Highlands, Lynn Valley, Montroyal, Norgate, Queensbury, Ridgeway, Seycove, Seymour Heights,  Sutherland
Regrets: Carisbrooke

7:01 Called to order

7:02 Announcements:
No NVPAC Meeting in March - Instead a talk by Christopher Burt on Effective Discipline for Children. Free event for all parents. Please register for it on EventBrite

Foods the Fit Workshop, April 15th: Intro to health food options for PACs. The meeting will be held April 15th at 2121 Lonsdale and will include samples from local vendors plus info on how to have healthy, safe foods in Schools

7: 05 Approval of February Minutes: motion: Heather Skuse, second: Debra Dennehy,  all in favour - carried

7:06 Motion to adopt changes to policy 103.:

Moved: That NVPAC Approve the changes to policy 103 to be amended to the wording as presented at the NVPAC February meeting

Motion: Heather Skuse
2nd: Homa Sorooshi
No discussion
In favour: = 10, Opposed = 1 Motion is carried

7:09 Trustee Franci Stratton - NVPAC Board Representative:

NVSD is active at provincial trustee level lobbying for funding for increased support programs, to remove schools from anti-spam legislation, to seek funding for exempt staff, to increase funding rather than make cuts to administration staff funding.

Franci has been hearing about communication issues and would like more help from NVPAC to understand the issues and seek ways to improve parent-school communication. Would like to understand, what are the challenges that need to be addressed - can NVPAC provide a short list of issues/recommendations

Comment from floor: anti-spam policy:  What guidance have Principals received from the District to ensure they know how to understand and know how to apply the legislation. It seems to be different in each school.

Comment from the floor: NVSD Website: contact information lacks org charts - hard to know who is responsible for what. Lack of telephone numbers. Only counsellors have phone numbers. Not very friendly. It used to give the contacts.

7:36 Presentation: Self-Regulation in the Classroom.

Presented by: Tristan Crowther, Ilona Wardas, Janet Mclean from the Windsor Family of Schools

General Concept: Rather than just teach self-regulation to special needs students, the team is applying self-regulation concepts school wide. At the school level and the teacher level to help all students develop the skills not just those with special needs designations.

·         Everyone uses self-regulation strategies, from a morning coffee onward.
·         Everyone needs to learn self-regulation, kids are trying to learn good behaviors.
·         Every student manages self-regulation differently - "figuring out what to do when you don't know what to do"
·         Some strategies are more acceptable and sustainable than others.

The intent is to help students to be able to recognize the start of difficulty and apply strategies to head them off in a healthy way.

In general, Self-regulation ability is the best predictor of school success.

More about awareness of personal state than control of personal state - kids need to be able to recognize how they are doing and respond appropriately not just control their emotions.

The Zones of regulation curriculum they use is designed to foster self-regulation at a classroom level for all elementary and even at high school level.

The program teaches students to recognize their state and that of others so they can self-regulate and gives them strategies/tools/practices (sensory, calming, thinking) to move from different zones to help alert and/or calm themselves. Building a personal toolbox for each student in a class rather than just for one student.  The strategies are always different for each child, a single strategy is never sufficient.
Self-regulation symposium.

The team is making visits to the family school PACs to introduce the program to parents at each school.

The self-regulation program is a resource available to teachers but not all are using it. Parents/PACs should ask the Principal and learning support teachers if you're are interested in it in your schools.

8:18 Presentation: ePact Online Emergency Network
Presented by: Kirsten Koppang Telford - ePact

ePact is an online emergency network - used for families to safely maintain and share emergency information to ensure it is accurate and effective when an event occurs.

Initial pilot with Capilano and Larson

The general idea is to Create 1 family emergency account and keep it safe
·         Help manage the lists of who are the emergency guardians
·         Gets the information online and working when schools starts not by the time all the paper is in and organized in Nov.
·         Increases the % of people completing the forms
·         $3 per child per year. Sometimes the school pays, PAC pays or a combination of both.
·         District has approved its adoption but Principals need to adopt it.

8:52 School District Budget Development: PAC Priorities
NVPAC will make a presentation to Finance & Facilities standing committee meeting, Tuesday March  3rd. We are recommending increased funding for Libraries, clean and healthy classrooms, assessment tools, special needs / grey area kids, equalizing advantage of schools.

Patty - Norgate - 157 students - small pool makes it very difficult to fundraise or get gaming grants. Reallocation of funds on a school basis or perhaps classroom basis rather than per student would help equalize the challenge for smaller schools.

Other suggestions for recommenations: Better technology funding. Not cut back on administrators.  Training to use the new communication systems.

9:03 Debra Dennehy - BCCPAC - preparing for the AGM

BCCPAC AGM: Hilton Vancouver, Metrotown - May 1 at 7:30 am till May 3, noon
Speakers: Barry Macdonald - Self Regulation, Raj Dhasi, many other sessions

NVPAC is  organizing voting by family of schools and looking for 2 reps from each family of schools to attend and vote for each family. 

Resolution books will be coming out. These are the guidelines that BCCPAC uses to guide its feedback to the province. Resolutions are voted on by the PACs. Proxies enable the holders to vote according to the instructions on the form. PACs should send delegates with their proxies and voting instructions

NVPAC will help fund attendee registration.

BCCPAC resolutions are what we as parents are asking BCCPAC to advocate for at the ministry level.

Motion to Adjourn: 9: 15

Next Meeting:     General Meeting
Topic: Parent-School Communication
April 22, 2015
7:00 pm
Education Services Centre,
2121 Lonsdale Avenue