North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

In Memoriam: Tim Jones, North Shore Rescue


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.

Supporting the Transition: Grade 7 to 8 Information Night


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.



Education Services Centre signs on for National Sweater Day campaign

Keyboard sweater

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.

New Year’s Greetings from the Chair and the Superintendent

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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

School Choirs perform at the Education Services Centre

This year we were fortunate to have two elementary school choirs come to perform for us at the Education Services Centre! Last week students from Blueridge and this week students from Lynnmour filled the building with the splendid sounds of holiday classics. Lynnmour grade 7s performed an impressive Carol of the Bells on a myriad of instruments such as xylophones, bells, drums, electric guitar – click to listen (.mp3 file): LynnmourGr7

Blueridge Choir performs at the ESC

Lynnmour Choir and Grade 7s perform at the ESC


Argyle Music Students Continue in the Spirit of Giving

If the challenge was to see how many non-perishable food items they could collect for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Argyle music students can rest now that they have collected, boxed, and neatly stacked over 54 boxes of food in the music room. Thanks to the big efforts of the students and their community, those in need will benefit during this particularly challenging time of year.

Thanks to Argyle band teacher Chad Smith for sharing the great news!

Carson Graham Eagles capture 2nd place at AA Provincial Football Final

It was a heartbreaking 21-20 loss for the Carson Graham Eagles who won second place in the AA Provincial Football Final on November 30th at BC Place. The team had a great year and fought hard to get to the championships. Coach John Buchanan speaks most highly of his team and could not be more proud. Despite injuries, the team battled through, making it a close and exciting game right to the end.

The game’s MVP was Carson Graham’s AJ Blackwell who also played through injuries. Well done Eagles!

In the Spirit of Giving

This is the time of year when staff and students in schools around the District make time in their busy day to organize various donation drives to help those in need. We are very proud of these efforts and know it is making a real difference in the lives of others. One such fundraiser that Blueridge Elementary School embarked on this year is called Books for Me, a charity based in Vancouver. Books for Me collects gently used children’s books for deserving children in the Lower Mainland. Children and their families visit the Books for Me “store” and get to select one book to take home for free. Blueridge collected over 20 boxes of books and staff at the Education Services Centre (ESC) collected almost 70 books to add to the collection.

Artists for Kids held a successful toy drive for the Christmas Bureau and collected new toys for North Shore families in need. Many schools are collecting non-perishable food items for the Harvest Project and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Lastly, funds were raised at the ESC for the Canadian Red Cross to assist those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

In the spirit of giving, whatever you have been able to give will be greatly appreciated by those who will receive.

Community Partnerships – Vancouver Coastal Health

One of the six high-level goals of the Board of Education’s Strategic Plan is to strengthen and expand reciprocal community relations.  Working together for the benefit of our students and community is one of our key objectives.

I recently received a letter from Vancouver Coastal Health related to the recent opening of Mountainside Secondary that illustrates our combined commitment to support our students within our community in partnership with community agencies.  Our vision to provide ‘wraparound’ services within Mountainside facility is being achieved.

On behalf of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, we wish to express our sincere appreciation and thank you to the North Vancouver School District for providing the clinic space at Mountainside Secondary for youth health. 

The planning was a joint effort of many individuals. Space planning was coordinated between Mark Jefferson and our VCH public health nurse Linda Buchanan. The wrap around services spear headed by Jeremy Church in collaboration with Lisa Hogan, our public health nurse for the school, is exemplary. Lisa feels the atmosphere makes the students feel valued, worthy and increases their feeling of well being. The overall space strengthens the opportunity to provide care and services in a collaborative, multidisciplinary and multiagency manner. 

Through the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation we received a generous contribution from a donor to furnish the clinic rooms. Representatives from the Foundation will be present for the opening on November 15. 

We look forward to our ongoing partnership with the North Vancouver School District to enhance the experience of the students in this setting. It is an optimal environment for promoting their post secondary successes and healthy lifestyle choices. 


Laurie Leith, Operations Director and Donna Halloran, Manager – Public Health and Prevention

Sutherland Sabres Senior Boys Soccer Team win AAA Provincials

Please join me in congratulating the Sutherland Sabres senior boys soccer team who won the Provincial AAA final last weekend!  Claiming the title for the first time since 1986, the team has rejuvenated school soccer at Sutherland. Coach Bill Mahon along with the rest of the Sutherland Alumni are celebrating the success of this talented young team of mostly grade 11s.

The North Shore News and Vancouver Province covered the story:

Setting the bar high once again, this team is truly an inspiration for all…well done Sabres!