Friday, June 26, 2015

2014/15 Year At A Glance

The following is a list of some of the work undertaken by NVPAC on behalf of North Van parents during the 2014/15 school year:  

October 2014         Presented NVPAC Annual Report to Board of Education October 21      
                               NVPAC General Meeting October 22 2014
                               - Approval of 2013/14 Financial Statements and 2014/15 Budget
                               - Presenters:  Joanne Robertson and Kathleen Barter:
                                 Communicating Student Learning K - 12
                               Blog post: School Trustee Candidate Q & A responses
                               NVPAC General Meeting November 26 2014
                               - Presenters:  Carmen Farrell and Wendy Holtan, Friendship Groups;
                                 Cathy Jenkins, Conor McMullan, Cheakamus Centre;
                               - BCCPAC Fall Conference Nanaimo – Classroom Resources Funding

January 2015          NVPAC General Meeting January 28 2015
                                - Focus on safe and active travel to school - Presenters:  Harvey
                                  Kooner; ICBC, Tom Walker, North Shore Safety Council; Carol Sartor,
                                  Montroyal PAC
                                - Results of NVPAC 2014 Survey presented

February 2015        NVPAC General Meeting February 25 2015
                                -  Adopted changes to Policy # 103
                                -  Presenters:  Trustee Franci Stratton, Board Liaison to NVPAC;
                                   Tristan Crowther, Ilona Wardas, Janet Mclean, Windsor FOS, Topic:
                                   “Self-Regulation”; Kirsten Koppang Telford – ePact - Online
                                   Emergency Network

March 2015            Remarks on behalf of North Van parents to 25 Year Employee Reception
                               Presented NVPAC Budget Priorities to Standing Committee meeting
                               Hosted March Parent Education Event:   Christopher Burt - The Problem with Discipline

April 2015              Presented results of NVPAC 2014 Survey to Presidents Council            
                              Blog post: 2014 Parent Priority Survey Results
                              Assisted VCH to present Foods that Fit Workshop
                              Joint Advocacy Letter to Ministers of Finance and Education
                              - Advocating for adequate funding for public education in the 2015/16
                                provincial budget
                              NVPAC General Meeting April 22 2015
                              - Discussion of Parent-School Communication Processes

 May 2015             Attended the BCCPAC Spring Conference and Annual General Meeting;
                              additional Conference reports can be found here and here.
                              NVPAC Annual General Meeting

 June 2015            Joint Advocacy Letter to Minister of Education
                              -  Submission of 2015/16 Needs and Opportunity Budget
                              Conducted Annual Parent Perspective survey June 3 - 19

Chair's Annual Report for the 2014/15 school year

The 2014/15 school year was, as is usual for NVPAC, full of activity.

General Membership meetings were held in October, November, January, February, April and May.  Speakers at our General meetings covered a wide range of topics, including the School District’s Assessment Handbook, friendship groups, the Cheakamus Centre, safe and active travel to school, self-regulation, ePact, the online emergency network, and the BCCPAC Spring Conference and AGM.

NVPAC hosted two special events:  the School Trustee all-candidates meeting at Sutherland in November, and a parent education event, “The Problem with Discipline” featuring Christopher Burt, at Argyle in March.  Both events were well-attended.  NVPAC assisted Vancouver Coastal Health in presenting the popular “Foods that Fit” workshop at the Education Services Centre in April.

NVPAC offers several types of grants to support PACs.  Speaker grants assist PACs in engaging high-quality speakers for parent education.  Safety grants assist PACs in acquiring needed safety equipment such as supplies for emergency kits or crossing guard programs.  FoodSafe grants are offered to help support the training of parent volunteers who assist with hot lunch programs.  The Family of Schools grant supports communication and collaboration amongst the PACs within a Family of Schools.  In addition, NVPAC offers grants to support PACs who send representatives to education-related conferences, such as the BCCPAC Spring Conference and AGM.

NVPAC conducted its Annual Parent Perspective survey in June; we are grateful to the School District for distributing the link to the survey to North Van parents.

In my role as NVPAC Chair, I attended all but one of the meetings of the Board of Education, all but one of the Standing Committee meetings, and all meetings of the Presidents Council, as well as the one meeting of the Capital Planning Committee.  In addition, I served on the Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Communications Committee, the Class Acts Committee, and the Policy 412 sub-committee.  I assisted with the organizing of the Foods that Fit workshop, and helped out at the event itself.  I chaired the NVPAC General Meetings and Executive meetings, and acted as MC for our two special events.  I am NVPAC’s representative on the Children and Youth Safe and Active Travel Working Group, an initiative of the City of North Vancouver.

On behalf of NVPAC, I extend sincere thanks to the Board of Education of the North Vancouver School District for their continued and generous financial support of our activities.  In addition, I offer thanks to the School District for providing meeting rooms at the ESC for our General membership and Executive meetings, and for providing the Sutherland Theatre and the Argyle small gym for our special events in November and April.

Respectfully submitted,
Jane Lagden Holborne
Chair, NVPAC

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Sessions Summary
“Happy Kids, Healthy Kids”, panel discussion
“Keynote:  Self-Regulation”, Barry MacDonald
“Temperment Matters”, Barry MacDonald
“Setting Boundaries”, Raj Dhasi
“Plenary:  Communicating Effectively”, Raj Dhasi

The theme of these sessions all related to how parents can understand and help in developing stronger, calmer, happier children.  In today’s schools, children are exposed to a much more complicated world than we were and anxiety in youth is increasing.  As parents we are at the forefront of setting boundaries for our children, witnessing their break-downs, teaching them to deal with uncertainty, competition and change.  We are blessed to be the ones they turn to share their daily highs and lows and we get to watch them grow into amazing, responsible, intelligent, assertive and engaging adults.

Barry MacDonald is a champion for strong families and schools, and we are fortunate that here in North Vancouver, many of our parents have had the opportunity to see Barry present before.  Barry is best known for his work with boys, his book Boy Smarts and even though his website is, Barry’s extensive knowledge applies to all children and is valuable for all families.  You can get access to much of Barry’s strategies on his website.  An overview of his presentation was included in the Spring 2015 BCCPAC Magazine.

In the sessions that Barry lead, he spent a lot of time addressing the types of stressors that are present today, especially those that result from technology overload.  He reviewed strategies for recognizing stress response patterns and provided simple tools to help parents work with their children to discharge stress.

He also spent time reviewing types of temperament and how through discovering and better understanding your child’s (or your spouse’s) temperament you can better manage times of stress.  Having insights into your child’s temperament and how it is similar or different to your own can be a huge tool for parents – and for educators as well.

Barry left us with 10 practical suggestions to help keep our kids calm, health & happy:
  1. Anticipate emotional needs
  2. Support your child’s temperament
  3. Lead the way with your own calm response
  4. Meet basic needs for nutrition and rest
  5. Limit & monitor technology use
  6. Be aware of how demanding eye contact can trigger reactivity
  7. Discuss how to manage anger
  8. Get moving
  9. Get outside
  10. Develop a plan to relieve stress
In addition to understanding stress and stress management, Raj Dhasi discussed how to how to better recognize those stressful moments, and how setting boundaries and communicating can greatly aid stress management at home and at school.  Raj is a leading expert in conflict management and has been providing valuable intervention services to workplace organizations, school districts, families and communities for over 15 years.  Many of Raj’s points and strategies can be found on her website

Before discussing additional strategies for dealing with conflict, we defined what makes a moment difficult and signs of heightening emotions… things like:
  • A sense of powerlessness or lack of control, buttons are being pushed, things like lack of sleep/food/water are triggers, starting to fidget or changing posture, disregard for relationships, heightened sense of fear, etc.. .
Raj also discussed how best to be assertive in setting limits with your children so that parents can be more effective in challenging situations.  What is being assertive?...  Standing up for yourself at the right time, with the right person, for the right reason.  At times being assertive can be confused with being aggressive, so Raj reviewed the pros and cons of passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour and how the brain actually works in a challenging situation.  We also discussed how effective communication is critical in dealing with our children, or anyone, in a stressful situation.

Raj left is with a 5-step self regulation plan, critical for helping in conflict resolution:
  1. Manage body movements
  2. Regulate para-verbal presentation (tone, volume, rhythm…)
  3. Manage self-talk
  4. Attune
  5. Respond
In support of all of these strategies, expert panelists including Jane Garland (Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UBC and Children’s Hospital), Christine Yu (Registered Clinical Counsellor), Brian Gluvic (Naturopathioc Physician), Farah Shroff (Public Health Researcher) and our own MLA, Jane Thornthwaite.  These panelists provided brief insights from their own fields on how best to deal with, and help our children learn to deal with, anxiety, stress and conflict with our children.

Jana Madill, Chair Montroyal PAC

Monday, June 22, 2015

BCCPAC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2015 by Jane Lagden Holborne

I attended the BCCPAC Annual General Meeting as one of NVPAC’s representatives, and I am grateful to NVPAC for reimbursing me for the registration fee, parking and mileage.  The 2015 BCCPAC AGM was held on Saturday and Sunday, May 2nd and 3rd, at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Hotel in Burnaby.

The Saturday session began with numerous and lengthy required procedures including a credentials report and establishment of quorum; a review of parliamentary procedure for the AGM; and approval of the conference rules, the agenda and the 2014 AGM minutes.  The President and Nominations Committee Chair presented reports.  The formalities concluded with brief speeches from the candidates for election to the Board of Directors.  Voting for the Board of Directors commenced and continued throughout the meeting.  The Treasurer’s report included the 2014 financial statements, the appointment of an auditor for 2015, and the 2015 Budget.  There was no change in the membership fee.

The balance of the Saturday session and most of the Sunday session was devoted to the discussion of, and voting on resolutions.  The approved resolutions are used by BCCPAC to lobby the government and other bodies with a goal of improving education in British Columbia.  BCCPAC maintains a searchable list of resolutions passed at previous AGMs.  A number of the resolutions approved at the 2015 AGM reaffirmed resolutions approved at past AGMs, the goals of which have not yet been achieved.  These are:
  • 2015.13 Reaffirmation of Resolution 2007.6:  Prohibition on Asbestos Removal
  • 2015.14 Reaffirmation of Resolution 2008.22:  Construction Guidelines
  • 2015.25 Reaffirmation of 1998.2:  Retribution

The original wording for most of the resolutions considered at the 2015 AGM can be found on the BCCPAC website.  Changes were made to the wording of many of the resolutions; but to date, BCCPAC has not published the revised wordings for the resolutions approved at the 2015 AGM.  Follow this link to find a summary of the 2015 AGM Resolution results.  A few of the more thought-provoking resolutions approved are:
  • 2015.17 Transfer of Special Needs Supports and Adaptations to Post Secondary Institutions
  • 2015.20 Funding for Private Schools
  • 2015.23 Regulation of Special Education Assistants
  • 2015.24 Standards for Special Educational Assistants

Board of Directors:
The following individuals were elected to the Board of Directors:
1st Vice‐President Farah Shroff – SD 39 Vancouver
Secretary Kendra Mann – SD 8 Kootenay Lake
Treasurer Gordon Byers – SD 33 Chilliwack
Director Shelley Courtney - SD 23 Central Okanagan
Director Darlene Campbell – SD 57 Prince George

The new directors listed above, together with the other four directors who are at the middle point of their two-year terms provide reasonably good representation from all parts of the province.  For purposes of continuity and to ensure a mix of experienced and new Directors, BCCPAC elects only a portion of their Board positions each year.

Committee of the Whole:
Unfortunately, the Committee of the Whole session scheduled for the Saturday afternoon was cancelled in favour of working on resolutions.  Eventually, an abbreviated Committee of the Whole session was held on the Sunday morning, immediately before the final adjournment.  BCCPAC Directors presented information and sought input on several topics.

  1. Regional representation/conferences:
The possibility of electing a Member-at-Large from each region of the province to the Board of Directors was explored.  There is at present no provision in the BCCPAC Constitution and Bylaws for such representation.  Before this idea can be put into practice, the membership will have to approve a change to the Constitution and Bylaws.

BCCPAC is considering forming regional branches, so that PACs and DPACs in neighbouring areas can work together on common goals and issues, such as organizing a regional fall conference.  The funds usually spent by BCCPAC on the single central fall conference would instead be used to support PACs and DPACs to present these smaller regional conferences.  A suggestion to hold video conferences or to broadcast a keynote speaker province-wide was made.  There will still be a single Spring Conference/AGM even if regional branches are formed.

  1. Member Benefits:
It was agreed that the information received and the opportunity to provide input is valued more than the “stuff” – pens, notebooks, etc.  BCCPAC urges DPACs to encourage PACs to join BCCPAC for the benefits of membership.

  1. Bill 11
School Planning Councils (SPC) have been removed from the School Act; the duties of the SPC have been shifted to the PAC but with no specific requirement to consult with parents.  There is a new Accountability Framework being developed; there will be something in place for the beginning of the new school year, which will be reviewed at the end of the year.

  1. Lobbying for Educational Needs, and Effective Lobbying:
This was a brainstorming session; the ideas I was able to take down are as follows:
-Literacy -Mandate on free education
-Addressing childhood poverty -Funded transportation
-Equity across districts -Field trips
-More support for IEP processing -Parent engagement
-Capital funding -Adequate supports in class for special needs
-Health education and sexual health education in general
-Support for teachers to provide sexual health   education
-Support for English Language Learners and new immigrants
-Provincial assessment tools for K – 9 on numeracy & literacy

Lobbying effectively:
-More collaboration -Referendum on education
-Working groups

Jane Lagden Holborne
Chair, NVPAC

BCCPAC Conference 2015 Report by Karen Nordquist

In addition to the Keynote address and the Plenary session, I attended two other sessions at the BCCPAC conference.

The first was session B “BCCPAC: Who we are and what we are doing” which, as the title indicates, gave a general overview of the activities of the BCCPAC.  The main focus of the discussion involved a description of all of the committee work, on both external as well as internal committees, undertaken by the executive of the BCCPAC, as well as a discussion of the volunteer opportunities available to the parent community.

Members of the BCCPAC executive serve as parent representatives on a large number of external committees with the Provincial representatives of other education partner groups, including the BCTF, School Administrators, the Superintendents and School Board Trustees, among others, as well as with the Ministry of Education.  Some of these committees include the: BC Standing Committee on Curriculum; BC School Based Mental Health Coalition; BC Teachers Council (BCTC); ERASE Bullying Advisory Committee; Education Partners Group and many others.

The BCCPAC executive also serve on a number of internal committees including: Finance, Awards, Nominations, Resolutions and Publications.  There are seven Standing Committees: Curriculum; Employee Services; Formal Role of Parents; Provincial and Federal Policy; Inclusive Education; Student Safety; and Support Services and Funding.  In these standing committees, parent volunteers work along with members of the executive to put forward resolutions at the AGM and follow through on resolutions which have been passed with the Ministry of Education and the other partner groups.

I am serving as a parent volunteer on two of the standing committees and I helped to put through three important resolutions at the AGM this year.  If other parents are interested in volunteering, they can fill out the volunteer form on the BCCPAC website and they will be contacted.
The second session was Session E: “Understanding the Classroom Resource Framework.”  This workshop involved a brief overview of the new model for funding education which is being proposed by the BCCPAC.  Rather than the Ministry of Education providing funding for students on a per pupil basis, the Classroom Resource Framework suggests looking at the support and resource needs of each individual classroom based on its composition.  Resources for classrooms include teachers, education assistants, classroom equipment and fixtures, education supplies, as well as student and staff support services.  Resources must be determined by analyzing both the individual needs of each student and staff as well as the overall needs of the class as a group.  The model proposes that the funding and resources necessary for each classroom be determined through collaboration between teachers, administrators and parents at each school.

At this point the Classroom Resource Framework remains a broad concept, but the BCCPAC has already organized some promising meetings with the other educational partner groups, and there has been interest expressed in exploring and defining this model further.

Karen Nordquist
NVPAC Vice-Chair


Once again I ventured off to the BCCPAC Conference.  This year it was held at Metrotown in Burnaby.  It was a great location whether to drive or take transit.  Once again the speakers and workshops were informative and entertaining.  I met some new people and reacquainted with others. Thank you to NVPAC for financially supporting me to attend the conference and AGM.

Thursday, April 30
BC Ed Plan and Board Meet & Greet
Question and Answer Session on the new BC Education Plan
  • Rod Allen, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education was scheduled to speak but he has resigned his position with the ministry and has accepted a position as Superintendent of the Cowichan Valley School District
  • Paige MacFarlane, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education took questions from the floor about the new BC Ed Plan
  • the new BC Ed Plan will:  be personalized, retain foundational skills, enable students to explore their passions, equip students with skills and knowledge to adapt to the rapid changing world, engage students, be goal oriented, be enquiry based, cross curricular learning such as learning about the skeletal system in dance class
  • teachers have been collaborating with the Ministry to develop the new plan
  • plan is available for use and some teachers and school districts are already implementing the new plan; use of new plan has not been mandated
  • the new plan changes the approach to teaching/learning not the curriculum
  • BCCPAC Board of Directors along with candidates were introduced and accepted questions from the audience

Friday, May 1
Exhibitor Trade Show, Keynote Address, Plenary Session & Workshops

Welcome Address:  Dave Byng, Deputy Minister of Education
  • importance of parents:  have right to be meaningfully involved in their children’s education
  • BCCPAC is an important and valued partner
  • BC is a global leader in education; Japan and Finland are top performing jurisdictions in the world
  • curriculum redesign:  flexibility and choice while focusing on writing reading and numeracy; emphasis on competencies; Aboriginal perspectives and content built in
  • BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint:  double number in youth apprenticeship programs; reform grad requirements; develop new careers and applied skills curriculum; raise awareness of career options
  • quick mention of abolishing school planning councils; see Education Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 11)

Keynote Speaker:  Barry MacDonald
Educator and Registered Clinical Counsellor, Mentoring Boys
“Cultivating Self-Regulation to be Calm, Alert, and Happy”
  • self regulation:  the ability to calm oneself when dealing with stress
  • 10 keys to Self Regulation:

  1. Needs:  anticipate needs; isolation/seclusion not effective
  1. Temperament
  2. Lead with calm response
  3. Basic needs:  nutrition, rest
  4. Limit technology:  monitor use; set healthy limits
  5. Eye contact:  need break in eye contact
  6. Discuss how to manage anger:  ex breathing
  7. Get moving:  no chairs in classroom stay on task better when standing; sitting is the new smoking
  8. Get outside:  playing in nature reduces stress
  9. Game plan to reduce stress:  5 shoulder rolls; make a fist-look at it-squeeze watch water drip (5x); slowly count cards-on each side say “John” relax, I can handle this

Workshop Sessions:

“Happy Kids, Healthy Kids”

Dr. Farah Shroff, PhD, Public Health Researcher, Educator and Policy Analyst
  • panel moderated by Farah
  • questions were gathered from the audience and then asked of the panelists

Jane Garland, Clinical Professor, Psychiatry Faculty of Medicine, UBC-BC Children’s Hospital
  • “anxiety” is not really a problem, it is how we deal with it
  • anxiety is normal; there are normal fear at each age level
  • anxiety is physical
  • why is anxiety increasing?:  delusion that we can control everything; low tolerance for discomfort; abstract thinking and imagination
  • Need basic life skills including a routine
  • Role of parents:  “brave practice”

Jane Thornthwaite, MLA North Vancouver-Seymour

Christine Yu, Master of Arts Degree, Counselling Psychology and a Registered Clinical Counsellor
  • listen to internal alarm system
  • use breathing
  • talk about emotions
  • face fears:  involve them, ask them to plan, do in small steps

Dr. Ryan Gluvic, Naturopathic Physician
  • problem foods:  refined carbohydrates, refined sugars
  • magnesium may regulate blood sugar, is a muscle relaxant, may help with sleep issues
  • B vitamins help regulate blood sugar and brain function
  • fish fatty acid

“Temperament Matters!”
Barry MacDonald
Educator and Registered Clinical Counsellor, Mentoring Boys
  • understanding core temperament may reduce parent/child conflicts
  • appreciating differences in temperament enriches interactions with others
  • Mr. MacDonald gave examples of 17 different temperaments
  • the audience paired off and answered questions to determine what type of temperament we had

“Setting Boundaries with Your Children”, Raj Dhasi
  • defined assertiveness
  • taught us to recognize the difference between passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive responses
  • assisted parents to identify causes of loss of assertiveness with our children
  • taught us how to apply assertion tools to set limits on a child’s objectionable behavior
  • shared ways to manage defensive responses to our assertion

“Communicating Effectively in Difficult Situations”, Raj Dhasi
  • engaged the audience in defining and assessing what are difficult moments for ourselves
  • shared a 5-step self-regulation plan:  manage body movement; regulate para-verbal presentation; manage self-talk; attune and respond
  • discussed skills for dealing with defensiveness:  normalize; agree where you can; question and reframe

An Evening with the Candidates
  • appetizers were served as we met casually with the Board of Directors candidates
  • candidates were available to speak with one on one
  • Karen and I interviewed candidates to give us more voting knowledge

Saturday, May 2 - evening
Tim Nutt, Comedian

Saturday, May 2 to Sunday, May 3

Jane Lagden Holborne, NVPAC Chair; Karen Norquist, NVPAC Vice-Chair; Jana Madill, Chair, Montroyal PAC and myself (Debra Dennehy), NVPAC Registrar and BCCPAC Liaison attended the two day Annual General Meeting.  Between us we held proxies for thirteen PACs and one for NVPAC for a total of fourteen.  

Committee of the Whole (see Jane’s report)

BCCPAC 2015/2016 Executive:
President – Nicole Makohoniuk
1st Vice President – Farah Shroff*
2nd Vice President – Ayesha Haider
Treasurer – Gordon Byers*
Secretary – Kendra Mann*
Directors – Darlene Campbell*, Angie Carlyle, Tracy Wright, Shelley Courtney*
*newly elected board members

Debra J. Dennehy
NVPAC Registrar & BCCPAC Liaison