North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

Class Acts: A celebration of education in North Vancouver School District – Week 2

Further to my previous post…

25 year recognition event

On Monday, March 10 we held our 25 Year Employee Recognition event at the Education Services Centre. This year, a record 57 employees were recognized for achieving 25 years service in the school district. Collectively, these employees provided service to more than 30,000 students, their parents and our community. Regardless of their position or role in the district, we sincerely appreciate their dedication to providing for the education of our children.

District Student Leadership Council Forum

Our District Student Leadership Council (DSLC) Forum was held on Wednesday afternoon at the Education Services Centre. Students from each secondary school participated in activities and discussion related to the topic of Assessment. Thank you to the DSLC Executive who organized this event and to sponsors Brenda Bell, Greg Hockley, and Cary Hungle for pulling everything together. Assessing our Assessment featured a guest presentation by Kathleen Barter who facilitated the dialogue.


Tad Milmine

On Wednesday, March 12 our North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council presented “Bullying ends Here” featuring Tad Milmine at Queen Mary Elementary School. Tad Milmine, a Surrey RCMP officer, is an inspiring speaker who is committed to breaking the cycle of bullying through acceptance, tolerance, and understanding. Thank you to the NVPAC for sponsoring this event and for bringing this great presentation to North Vancouver.

VSO Honours Band and Honours Strings Concert

Also on Wednesday, March 12 our District Secondary Honours Band and Honours Strings groups performed in a concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Centennial Theatre. This is the 16th year we have partnered with the VSO to showcase our Honours music students and give them an opportunity to play alongside these professional musicians. A special thanks to Bill Piggott, Kevin Yang, and Sab Kabok for their role in putting together this concert, and to the members of the VSO who dedicated their time to rehearse with our students.

Trustee Reception

Thank you to our Trustees who hosted their annual reception on Thursday for our partners in education. Each year the Board of Education holds this event to celebrate those in the community who support our schools. This year’s event ended with a special video filmed and produced by Sheila Arellano and Wakana Shimamura, student filmmakers in our Digital Media Academy. The video project highlighted the work experience and career programs in our school district, and we are proud of the quality of work the girls produced. Thank you also to the Handsworth Sax Quartet who provided musical entertainment for this event as well as for Monday’s celebration.

AFK Print Release

Also on Thursday was the latest Artists for Kids Print Release by Xwalacktun (Rick Harry). Entitled Inchult Snaam, or “One Strong Spirit”, the work by native artist Xwalacktun is inspired by his stunning carving of the doors to the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art. This highly anticipated print was a sell-out in front of a packed crowd at the gallery. A collection of Xwalacktun​’s works will also form an exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery. More information about this print can be found on the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art blog:


Class Acts: A celebration of education in North Vancouver School District – Week 1

As Class Acts: A Celebration of Education in North Vancouver School District comes to a close it is time to reflect on the past two weeks of events and recognize the efforts of everyone involved in helping to make this a special celebration of the teaching and learning in our school district. A special thanks to this year’s Class Acts committee Chanin Leoni, Ray Bodnaruk, Yolande Martinello, Scott Stanley, Jane Lagden Holborne, Victoria Miles, and Bill Piggott. We sincerely appreciate the work of the committee in coordinating the many events held during this period of celebration.

Intermediate Music Festival / Band & Strings Festival

Last week we held the Intermediate Music Festival at Centennial Theatre and the Band and Strings Festival in the Lucas Gym. Both festivals were well received and well-attended. The Intermediate Music Festival featured groups from 16 different schools – thank you to Michele Denny and Margaret Inglis who spearheaded the festival and coordinated all the groups. The Band and Strings festival involved school groups from our elementary schools performing for one another over two days and was a great opportunity for listening and sharing and to receive feedback and suggestions from the Adjudicator, Lasse Leslie. Thanks to Bill Piggott for organizing this event. We recognize the many hours of planning that goes into these festivals, and of course the practicing that happens behind the scenes leading up to the performances. We are extremely proud of both these events which highlight the talents of our students and teachers. Congratulations to all who participated this year!

Exhibition of student artwork

Over 500 people attended the celebration of the Artists for Kids afterschool art programs and the exhibition of artwork created by students of the 2013-14 Art Enrichment Programs at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art. Thank you to Daylen Luchsinger and Yolande Martinello who organized both of these showcases of student art which were thoroughly enjoyed by the students, parents, and staff.


District Student Leadership Council Forum on Assessment – March 12, 2014

On Wednesday, March 12, 2014 student groups from our secondary schools participated in a forum hosted by our District Student Leadership Council called “Assessing Our Assessment”. This forum took place at the Education Services Centre and provided a unique opportunity for students to share their ideas and discuss how assessment impacts the way they learn.

Gathering student perspectives on assessment is timely as we continue to examine the processes we use to gather information on learning and performance. Assessment is one of our Four Pillars of Educational Practice and was recently the focus of our Designs 2014 professional development series. It was one of the main topics of discussion during Curriculum Implementation Day in January and the new Handbook for Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting was published in February. This handbook was developed to support teachers in developing consistent and effective assessment practices that will enhance student learning and achievement.

We were pleased to hear the student voice on how assessment impacts their learning and efficacy in the classroom as part of our Class Acts: A Celebration of Education in North Vancouver School District. Information gathered from this student-led forum will be presented to the School District, the Board of Education and the Ministry.

DSLC Forum 2014

Student Information System – MyEducationBC

The North Vancouver School District is well under way in preparing for the implementation of the new province wide MyEducationBC Student Information System which will replace BCeSIS.  Our staff is pleased with the new Follett- Fujitsu product that offers much more flexibility in recording and reporting for grades K-12.   Additionally the new SIS offers a full array of enrollment management features and is mobile friendly – allowing teachers to use a computer, a smart phone or an iPad for attendance.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 5.07.19 PM

Behind the scenes work is already well underway to prepare for the September 2014 implementation of the new SIS.  A district advisory group, made up of representatives from our partner groups, has been meeting on a monthly basis and has likely already passed along some information to you.

The NVSD CORE implementation team will be visiting schools throughout the month of April to provide staff with an overview of the new system that will be fully operational K-12, in North Vancouver in September 2014.  As we progress with our implementation process, we will keep you informed.

Designs Series 2014 – focus on assessment

Once again the School District’s Designs Series drew a record number of participants.  This popular series continues to grow each year as a mainstay of the district’s professional development in-service.  We were delighted to see so many school teams and Family of School (FOS) teams interested in pursuing discussions around assessment from Curriculum Implementation Day.Design 2014

The focus of the 2014 Designs series was North Vancouver School District’s new Communicating Student Learning: Handbook for Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting, a document which focuses on Ten Principles of Assessment and the year-long assessment cycle. Each of the three part series focused on one aspect of the cycle:  creating balanced and authentic assessments, stating learning targets, providing quality formative assessment and effectively using peer and self-assessment.


Teachers were provided with many practical tips and resources to continue their professional growth in the area of assessment.  Many thanks to the District Assessment Team, a very dedicated group of educators, who were instrumental in developing the plans for both Curriculum Implementation Day and the Designs 2014 Series.    Our staff are encouraged to watch for more information and in-service opportunities related to the Assessment handbook in the late spring 2014.

Teacher group

Teachers can access the Assessment Handbook on the portal  >> District >> Learning Services >> Resources >> Service Delivery Models.

My Health, My Community Survey closes March 31, 2014

There are only a couple more weeks to take part in the My Health, My Community Survey – a joint initiative by Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, and UBC’s Faculty of Medicine eHealth Strategy Office. The survey collects information about lifestyle, community involvement, and neighbourhood characteristics to see how they relate to health. Communities across the province are encouraging residents to participate in this survey as its data will be critical for future planning of health services and programs.

Back in October, residents on the North Shore participated in the Vancouver Coastal Health North Shore Community Wellness Survey, which was a pilot project for the current My Health, My Community project. Important information was gathered from this survey which was used to develop and guide future services. Data was also used to see how well our community is doing in meeting the principles of the Child and Family Friendly Community Charter. Results have been published by Vancouver Coastal Health:

The My Health, My Community survey ends March 31, 2014. To help contribute to making our community a healthier place, and to learn more about this initiative, please visit:


VCH Partnership – WrapAround Services at Mountainside

In December I published a post about the new clinic space for youth health at Mountainside Secondary School made possible by the efforts of Vancouver Coastal Health and our commitment to provide ‘wraparound’ services within the Mountainside facility. Funding through the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation has made it possible for our youth to see a doctor or nurse once a week in a fully equipped clinic room without having to leave the school site. We are extremely thankful for all the individuals involved in this initiative especially the VCH public health nurses Linda Buchanan and Lisa Hogan, and Mountainside Principal Jeremy Church.


In addition to creating this medical clinic space, Vancouver Coastal Health has partnered with our school district in providing mental health services to youth, again within the Mountainside school building. VCH Therapeutic Day Program (TDP) clinicians have moved over from the Lucas Centre site and are settling in with their students. Students in TDP benefit from working in a small group setting, combining academics with clinical support. Having dedicated space within Mountainside for these students provides them with the opportunity to be a part of the school population and participate in school activities while still receiving the individualized support they need. The goal of the TDP is to transition students to a full time school program in a supportive climate.

Clinicians from the VCH 15th Street Youth and Mental Health program and the Youth Concurrent Disorders program meet with students to provide onsite support, assessment, and referral services as needed. Students have provided feedback about the benefits of having these clinicians come to Mountainside for their appointments. Their offices are also located within the “support suite” area near the administration offices.

To complete the complement of support is the team of youth outreach workers and youth engagement workers, community health nurses, a registered physician, and many different volunteers who work with all of the students at Mountainside Secondary to provide such an amazing level of care and support.




Seaspan launches crane naming contest for intermediate students

Parts of the new, 300-tonne Gantry crane arrive for assembly at Vancouver Shipyards.

Parts of the new, 300-tonne Gantry Crane arrive for assembly at Vancouver Shipyards.

With Canada’s largest permanent Gantry Crane now safely offloaded at its new North Shore location, Seaspan announced today it has partnered with the North Vancouver School District to conduct an official “Crane Naming Contest.”

From March 3 – March 14, 2014, Seaspan is calling on all Grades 4 – 7 students in NVSD to put their thinking caps on, come up with their one best idea to name the crane in two words or less, and help cement their spot in the history of Vancouver Shipyards.

“The arrival of our new 300-tonne Gantry Crane marks a major milestone in Seaspan’s Shipyard Modernization Project and the future of the North Vancouver community as a whole,” says Brian Carter, President of Seaspan Shipyards. “No construction project is complete without creative inspiration, and I personally can’t wait to see some of the great names that are sure to be submitted.”

Once erected, the crane will be the biggest of its kind in Canada, towering 80 metres high and spanning 76 metres wide. Assembly, hook-up, testing and commissioning of the crane is estimated to take place over the next several months, with completion targeted for this summer.

The crane is a critical component of Seaspan’s Shipyard Modernization Project, a two-year, $200 million project, which began construction in October 2012 and is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2014. Once complete, the new state-of-the-art facilities will allow Seaspan to efficiently deliver Non-Combat Vessels for the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard.

“We’re pleased to be able to facilitate this contest for our intermediate students,” says Franci Stratton, Chair of the North Vancouver Board of Education. “Seaspan is a long-standing supporter of the School District’s work experience and career programs for secondary students. This is an exciting opportunity for our younger students, and we look forward to the creative thinking it inspires.”

One grand prize winner will receive an iPad Air for their idea, which will be presented at an official naming ceremony at Seaspan that includes classmates and family members. The winning name will also be permanently displayed on the crane.

Further details on the contest’s rules and regulations, including how to download the official entry form, are available online here.


Civic Youth Awards 2014 – nominations open

Youth and supporters of youth in the City and District of North Vancouver are recognized annually for their outstanding achievements, notable efforts, and contributions they make to their community. Several of our students receive awards each year, thanks to those who nominate them. Whether they participate in school clubs, volunteer in their community, or have overcome obstacles in their lives, these students attend a special awards night held in City and District Council Chambers as part of Youth Week.

In the District, there are the following awards available:

  • Youth Recognition Award
  • Youth Community Enhancement Award
  • Outstanding Youth Friendly Business
  • Outstanding Supporter of Youth Award
  • Outstanding Youth Team Award

In addition to these, the City of North Vancouver also offers:

  • Random Acts of Kindness Award
  • Youth Centennial Scholarship

To nominate a student from the City of North Vancouver, please visit:

To nominate a student from the District of North Vancouver, please visit:

We are extremely grateful for the Civic Youth Awards and so proud of all our students for doing great things in their communities.



Canadian Federation of Women – Part #3 – at Queen Mary School

Another school that has benefitted from the volunteer work of the Canadian Federation of Women is Queen Mary. As Queen Mary was in a transition from the Cloverley location to their recently re-built school, volunteers primarily assisted in the school library: packing, culling un-needed volumes, and categorizing books by language and culture.

According to Queen Mary Principal Bill Reid, this group also assisted with the unpacking at the Queen Mary site, where a smaller group of volunteers worked for the last several weeks in the library at fine tuning the collection, its organization, and set up. A few volunteers also assisted teachers in need of support as they unpacked and settled into their new rooms. These volunteers have put in many hundreds of hours in total, and have been instrumental in supporting the move of their print resources, in particular, into the new building.

Now that staff and students are fully moved in at Queen Mary, Canadian Federation of Women volunteers will be looking for other ways they can support the school. We will keep you posted with what new projects they take on at Queen Mary as part of the North Shore Congress Child and Family Friendly Community Charter.