North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

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.






Canadian Federation of University Women – Part #2 – Morning Activities Programs at Norgate

Over at Norgate they have set up a Morning Olympics and Library Club. Although Canadian Federation of Women volunteers won’t be at Norgate until after Spring Break, these activities programs are in full swing and are very well attended!

Thank you to Fran Bourassa and Norgate Principal Lisa Upton for these details:

7:50am – They’re lined up outside the gym door at soon as the school opens.  A group of 10 or more intermediate boys jostle and laugh while waiting for one of the basketball instructors (Omid or Jamie) to open the door to begin the hour before school games. As the morning wears on more kids join in.

8:00am – At our morning program shooting hoops and throwing around the football just shows how sports have a way of breaking down all sorts of boundaries. And what a sneaky way to get them to come to school on time – get them sorted out before the day begins.

8:20am – Apples, bananas, oranges – all cut up, toast and jam and real cheddar cheese. A quick break to stop and eat. This may be breakfast for some. Omid says that this is the time the kids talk about their lives in a candid way. It takes time to win their trust before they will tell you what is going on. Jamie and Omid are hearing a lot more now. And time is what they get from the program.  Time is what this initiative has brought to Norgate School and the kids.

8:50am – The bell rings and the kids head to their classroom more ready to learn. School attendance is up and so is morale!

Norgate Morning Programs

Canadian Federation of Women Partners with NVSD – Part #1 Lynnmour School

We are delighted to welcome representatives of the Canadian Foundation of University Women (CFUW) into our schools as volunteers as part of our School District’s support for the North Shore Congress Child and Family Friendly Community Charter. This initiative began as one group’s pledge to make positive connections with students and has turned into unique programs of success and relationship building in our schools.

This is the first post of a three part series that features how the CFUW volunteers have made a real difference in the lives of our students.

Lynnmour School has created an Early Bird Club every Thursday before school from October to March. Students who show up for the club are fed breakfast – bagels, toast with jam, fruit, yogurt, juice and hot chocolate! Meanwhile, three dedicated CFUW volunteers engage in games, reading and knitting with the students. Lynnmour Principal Kelly La Roue and her staff are very thankful for the volunteers’ authentic engagement with the students, and have seen a remarkable increase in respect shown by the students. The students are also more attentive and engaged after having a warm breakfast - this truly sets their day up for success. The experience has greatly benefitted the students and staff at Lynnmour and they feel thankful for being a part of this initiative.


Speak Out Series – North Shore Restorative Justice

We are pleased to present another Speak Out Series for North Shore Youth hosted by North Shore Restorative Justice in recognition of Pink Shirt Day. This free event is taking place tonight (February 26, 2014) at Mountainside Secondary from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. Discussion and group activities will focus on Identity and the underlying issues of bullying.

NS Restorative Justice will be launching a photo contest through Instragram, giving youth on the North Shore opportunities to win prizes and participate in a Photo Mural project. Youth who participate in this event will earn three hours of community service.

To RSVP please email To learn more about how North Shore Restorative Justice connects with our youth, please phone: 604-969-7462 or email:

NS Restorative Justice Speak Out

Bullying Awareness Day – February 26, 2014

I am pleased to announce that February 26, 2014 has been proclaimed Bullying Awareness Day in the Province of British Columbia. Students will be participating in various activities such as Pink Shirt Day to promote Anti-Bullying in schools.

The Ministry of Education ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) Bullying website is a great resource on how to support youth who are experiencing bullying. It also includes an online reporting tool for students to report bullying, and information about speaking up and not being a bystander.

A student team from North Vancouver School District will be attending the ERASE Student Forum on February 28, 2014. The forum will include student presentations and a student panel to discuss the role youth can play in the school/community to establish a safe and positive school climate. This is a great opportunity for our students to share ideas and identify ways to prevent bullying.


Making the Challenge: fuelling learning with invention

MakerPhoto1 7Feb14

February 24, 2014

At the February 7th District-wide professional day, some 40 educators chose to take part in a “learning by doing” Maker Day experience to activate their creative imaginations and tap into their tinkering skills.

In true maker style, the half-day event challenged small groups to collaborate on inventing a prototype to assist homeless citizens with their needs for shelter, warmth, mobility, personal security, nutrition, hygiene or social connections. The prototype could address any one of these needs, or a combination of them at once.

Using the basic tools and resources provided, the groups created a number of purposeful prototypes including two transportable shelters (one even had a special place for a pet) and a mobile shower/clothes washing and washroom facility. A mock-up design for a parking metre featured a sensory grid so that if a homeless person wanted family to know they were safe, they could put their palm on the metre to relay a communication to their family.  The idea included an electrically activated thermal capacity for a blanket to be wrapped around the metre and warmed.

This inventive professional development event also featured presentations by Vancouver Mini-Maker Faire and an introduction to the book Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager.

With their own Maker Day experience under their tool belt, the educators who participated in this professional development option are now equipped to help spread maker-inspired project-based learning possibilities back to their schools.



Class Acts: a Celebration of Education in the North Vancouver School District


February 19, 2014

Traditionally, March has been the month that we have celebrated “Education Week” in the North Vancouver School District. In recent years, the festivals and special events have grown to span not one, but two weeks in March. Recognizing this evolution, a new name has been established for our celebratory season: “Class Acts: a Celebration of Education in the North Vancouver School District”.

This year’s “Class Acts” include primary and intermediate music festivals, our annual recognition event for 25-year employees; a reception for our partners in education hosted by our trustees; a student leadership forum; an Honour Band concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; a presentation from anti-bullying speaker Tad Milmine sponsored by the NVPAC; and a new limited edition print-unveiling in the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art.

Several of the events are open to parents and the public to attend. Please subscribe to this blog or watch the homepage for more information and the events schedule.


RCMP Youth Intervention Unit Works with NVSD on Addressing Safety and Community Issues

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

Jeremy Church, Cpl Arreaga, and Brad Baker

“Ticket to Your Future” brings professionals and students face-to-face

Dr. Tim Schouls from Capilano University with North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite at "Ticket to Your Future"

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.




Reading Activity on Family Literacy Day

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.

John L. send