January 7, 2013
A warm welcome to 2013. We hope your holiday offered all the best of the season and that you’re feeling rested and ready for the continuation of the school year.
The tragedy in Connecticut remains at the forefront of our thoughts. We thank all our staff for their professional, compassionate responses to the questions and concerns of students and parents. We would also like to provide reassurance that our safety and security procedures are reviewed regularly as we work to create schools that are safe and welcoming. This balance requires constant attention and we will keep you informed of any new procedures that might be required.
Many supports are in place for students struggling socially or emotionally, and we are helping to promote initiatives to help students become more involved in expressing their concerns. Reporting programs like erasebullying.ca are part of the answer, as well as additional training for our staff. Our upcoming January 18th Curriculum Implementation Day will include a presentation by Dr. Stuart Shanker, the author of Calm, Alert and Learning.
Aligned with this second year of implementing our Strategic Plan, this spring will see an increased focus on instructional skills to raise our literacy teaching capacity. New techniques and resources make this an exciting time to be an educator, and we are committed to seeing that our staff and students have access to the resources that can help promote continuous learning and inquiry.
Looking ahead, we’ve established April as “Learning in Nature” month in the North Vancouver School District. Please watch for details on our website of various initiatives and special events leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd.
We’re pleased to continue the community engagement work of “Land, learning and livability” in 2013. It’s anticipated the Board will make decisions regarding the Plymouth and Ridgeway Annex school properties before Spring Break. We will also facilitate community awareness and input to open the dialogue and engage with our municipal partners regarding the Cloverley and Lucas Centre sites.
We made excellent progress on our seismic review at Argyle Secondary in 2012, and have recently communicated with the Ministry of Education a recommendation that the building be considered for full replacement. We look forward to a response from the Ministry by early Spring.
As you may be aware, new flexibility has been provided by the Ministry regarding local school calendars. A School Calendar Review Steering Group, with representatives from all our partner groups, has begun the process to consider our calendar for 2013/14. A survey will be launched in late February to solicit your thoughts on next year’s calendar.
In reviewing this message, it’s clear to see that education is full of progress and achievement, but also challenges. We hope you share with us the feeling that 2013 offers many reasons to be hopeful and appreciative. We must never lose sight of the good that happens every day in teaching and learning.
Superintendent of Schools
BOARD OF EDUCATION