North Vancouver School District is very fortunate to work closely with the North Vancouver RCMP in addressing safety and community issues that involve youth. Together we strive to maintain a learning environment where students can attend without fear or threat of unsafe conditions, violence or harassment (Policy 301: Student Safety). The RCMP not only enforce school zone speed limits and distracted driving; they are involved in a number of initiatives to specifically support youth in our schools:
- Anti-Bootlegging Campaign
- Safe Schools
- Boys and Girls Clubs
- Lock Down Drills
The North Vancouver RCMP Youth Intervention Unit has a special role in our schools. This unit’s mandate is to establish and foster positive relationships with our students, and intervene before acts become criminal. Each secondary and elementary school in our district has a designated Youth Intervention Unit Constable (School Liaison Officer) who helps identify youth at risk, participates in the Threat Assessment process, and becomes a resource for youth who are looking for help. According to Brad Baker, Safe and Caring Administrator, our students continue to have positive interactions with their School Liaison Officers both in school and out in the community.
Jeremy Church, Principal of Mountainside, emphasizes how schools can take a pro-active approach to having their School Liaison Officer become a friendly and familiar face around the building. He notes that youth are comfortable speaking to their School Liaison Officer and often request them by name when they are seeking information or want to discuss issues in a non-threatening environment. Positive connections with their School Liaison Officer have become a valuable support for students on and off campus.
Members of the RCMP often participate in class discussions on various topics of bullying and other issues that relate to youth around making good choices. They have also been invited to speak at various in-service at the school district on criminal offences, bylaws, and how they can support staff in their discussions around alcohol and drugs.
We greatly appreciate the partnership we have with the North Vancouver RCMP and in particular their Youth Intervention Unit. With a shared goal of maintaining a safe and caring environment the RCMP and North Vancouver School District will continue to ensure the safety of students is a top priority.
Jeremy Church, Cpl Arreaga, and Brad Baker
Dr. Tim Schouls from Capilano University with North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite at “Ticket to Your Future”
The first annual “Ticket to Your Future” event for students in grades 9-12 and their parents filled the gymnasium at Mountainside Secondary on Wednesday, January 29th.
In delivering his keynote address at the event, Larry Espe, BC Superintendent of Careers & Student Transitions, noted that “one million new jobs will be created in British Columbia by 2020 and 43% of them will be in trades and technical fields.”
Following the very compelling keynote, professionals working in a wide variety of trades and careers hosted a lively hour of 15-minute rotating conversations with parents and students. Many of the guest professionals “on the ticket” for this event are longstanding supporters of our school district. We are grateful for the gift of their time at this special event and for the sincere encouragement they gave to so many students and parents. Guests found themselves answering questions about post secondary education, the current employment climate, private and public sector opportunities, managing employees, entrepreneurial possibilities, salary ranges, and suggestions for getting started along a particular path.
“The future needs creative, passionate people who show initiative,” says BC Superintendent Espe. The students who attended “Ticket to Your Future” showed the initiative to be there on a dark and chilly January evening when it might have been easier just to stay home. And the parents who accompanied them understand the importance of supporting their interests.
My congratulations to the organizers and everyone involved.
On Monday, January 27th, I was pleased to be a guest reader at two elementary schools as part of their literacy activities for Family Literacy Day. The year’s theme was “15 minutes of fun” with a focus on increasing literacy skills through fun activities. At Upper Lynn School I read to the Grades 1, 5 and 7 classes. At Lynn Valley School, I read “Lego Man in Space – a True Story”, by Mara Shaughnessy to two different classes. This book is based on a true story of two Toronto teens who launched a Lego man into Space (click HERE to view YouTube video). It was an enjoyable day and I thank both Lynn Valley and Upper Lynn for the opportunity to connect with students.
Whether you participated at school or at home, hopefully you were able to fit in “15 minutes of fun” on Family Literacy Day.
The goal of ERASE Bullying is to ensure that every child in British Columbia feels safe, accepted and respected regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion or sexual orientation.
- Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response
North Vancouver School District hosted basic threat and risk assessment training using the ERASE Bullying strategy earlier this month. The ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) training initiative was introduced by the Ministry of Education in June 2012. In partnership with School Districts 45, 46 & 48, two staff members from each school attended this year’s training at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre.
Participants received instruction on identification, intervention, assessment of risk, and safe site planning.
The establishment and maintenance of safe learning environments for all students is a high priority for the School District.
For more information about the ERASE Bullying strategy, please visit: http://www.erasebullying.ca/
January 23, 2014
At any age, exercises in literacy and learning are vital to our quality of life, but may not always feel like fun. With a little inspiration, families can turn everyday learning opportunities into improved literacy skills, and have a good time in the process.
While we understand the importance of literacy, it’s possible to lose sight of the power of “fun” in learning. The emphasis of this year’s Family Literacy Day is finding “15 minutes of fun” to inspire families to learn together.
Creating a new recipe (and sharing it!), or reading a book together, are just two of the fifteen suggestions for fun literacy activities from ABC Life Literacy Canada that families can enjoy together. You can practice an exercise of your own in digital literacy by finding, following and sharing even more ideas using their #15MinutesofFun hashtag on twitter.
January 20, 2014
We are deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death this Sunday of Tim Jones, the long-time team leader of North Shore Rescue. In the short time since the tragic news was released, I know that Tim’s passing has been felt across our school district, our community and throughout the Province.
Tim’s leadership in search and rescue was greatly appreciated by everyone who knew his name. I had a conversation in December with Tim, and thanked him personally for the dedication and service of North Shore Rescue in their unparalleled work to locate lost individuals—some of them students. I know that there are countless families and individuals who feel a debt of gratitude to Tim that words alone can never adequately express. His contributions to the community, to safety and his advocacy for greater awareness of personal responsibility in outdoor recreation, have made a profound and positive difference in many lives.
Beginning with Tim’s guidance and encouragement, we have begun work to further increase student awareness of outdoor safety across our school district. I want to assure everyone that this work will continue, and we consider it a part of Tim’s legacy that will positively impact students for years to come.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Jones’ family at this time.
January 20, 2014
The transition from Grade 7 to 8 is an important one. Having more information and support can only make it better.
—Trustee Christie Sacré
Congratulations to the organizers and student and staff representatives who made our 2nd annual Grade 7 to 8 Transition Information Night such a success. Approximately 1,000 parents and students attended the event to hear speakers review the steps involved in a smooth transition and the opportunities available to students to enhance their secondary school experience.
The North Vancouver School District pays particular attention to the transition from elementary to secondary school. We recognize it can be a difficult change, as students move from a relatively close-knit and familiar environment to a larger and unfamiliar one. Knowing this, we have established a specialized Grade 7 to 8 committee that is dedicated to developing and sharing best practices and creating common transition protocols to support the student experience.
Making connections throughout the year between our feeder elementary schools and their secondary “parent” schools is part of this process. Between now and June the focus is on providing information to parents, ensuring the registration process is well understood and providing tours and events for students to become more familiar with their high school.
In September, schools will host welcoming activities to include all students. Fall interim reports as well as parent/teacher interviews will provide opportunities for teachers and parents to meet and evaluate how the transition is going for every student.
January 16, 2014
I’m pleased to announce that this year, we’ll be taking part in National Sweater Day on February 6th here at the Education Services Centre (ESC). The dress code of the day will be knitwear, and we have planned some special activities to make the event memorable.
Championed by World Wildlife Fund Canada, National Sweater Day asks Canadians to dial down their thermostats on February 6th by at least two degrees Celsius below their typical temperature. Here at the ESC, we’ve decided to up the challenge and drop a few more notches: to 18 degrees Celsius for the entire day!
We’re proud of our sustainably designed and energy efficient building here on Lonsdale, but there are still energy costs involved in its operation. As we prepare in British Columbia for significant increases in electricity costs over the next few years, we all need to hone habits for energy-saving. National Sweater Day is a timely acknowledgement of our efforts as individuals to manage our energy consumption – an essential strategy in sustainable living.
This is the fourth annual National Sweater Day, and the first time our ESC staff have taken part. Here in “the natural place to learn”, we’re looking forward to joining knit-wearing Canadians, including many students, in this celebration of energy-saving activities.
Welcome to 2014! We hope your holiday offered a balance of rest, recreation and social time with friends and family, and that you’re looking forward to what the New Year has in store.
Today marks a new chapter in the history of Queen Mary Elementary. Teaching and learning has now begun in the newly rebuilt, restored and seismically upgraded Queen Mary School. Staff and students have now returned to Queen Mary from their temporary location at Cloverley and we are delighted to have them begin the New Year in a new school.
The process of pursuing high priority rebuilding projects for Argyle and Handsworth Secondary will continue this spring. Over the coming months, the Board will lead efforts to encourage community awareness and input regarding the Cloverley and Lucas Centre sites and their potential repurposing to support the ongoing revitalization of facilities in our school district. Regular updates on our surplus properties will continue to be provided through our website under Land, Learning & Livability.
We continue to make strong progress in relation to our 3-Year Operating Plan 2011-2014.
The Operating Plan provides strategies for achieving specific objectives that are identified within the 2011-2021 Strategic Plan’s Goals. Together, the Operating Plan and Strategic Plan serve as reference points for the future direction of the North Vancouver School District.
We look forward to sharing highlights of our progress and accomplishments with you in March, when we publish our annual Community Report.
We wish everyone the greatest of success in 2014!
Franci Stratton John Lewis
Chair, Board of Education Superintendent of Schools