North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

September 1, 2014 Letter to Parents/Guardians

September 1, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Subject: Schools Not Opening for instruction on Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This letter is to confirm that North Vancouver schools will not be open for instruction on Tuesday, September 2.  We expect that teachers will not report to work and that our schools will be behind picket lines.  This is deeply disappointing news for our students, families, staff, and Board of Education.

Efforts over this past weekend to achieve a settlement of the ongoing labour dispute between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) were unsuccessful.  As the distance between the two parties continues to be significant, the resolution of this dispute remains uncertain.  We remain hopeful that progress will be achieved in the near future to work towards a settlement.

We encourage families to make alternate arrangements for their children, as necessary, during the continuing strike action. Although principals and vice-principals will be in schools, they will be unable to provide students with instruction or supervision.  We respectfully ask that parents do not bring children to schools for the duration of the strike.

It is our current understanding that pre-schools and daycares operating on school sites will be open and parents will be allowed to cross picket lines to escort their children to daycares and pre-schools.  Please contact your daycare and/or pre-school provider to review opening and closing times and procedures.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during these difficult times.

We will continue to keep you informed through direct messages and through our school district website at



Superintendent of Schools, North Vancouver School District

August 29, 2014 Letter to Parents/Guardians

August 29, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

RE: Preparing for September

This letter is a follow-up to my message of August 25th to update you on the current labour dispute and provide information about the potential for schools to open, or not, on Tuesday, September 2nd.

The possibility of mediation

Representatives of the British Columbia School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) met yesterday, and are meeting again today, with mediator Vince Ready. The intention of these talks is to assess the readiness of both parties for mediation. Depending on developments over the weekend, there is a possibility that school may open on Tuesday for our standard shortened opening day.

When will parents know if schools will open?

Please visit on Monday evening for an announcement to confirm whether or not school will be open on Tuesday the 2nd.

We realize and respect that teachers have not been at work for a long time and that schools are not fully prepared for our regular opening procedures. However, as soon as this year’s opening date is confirmed, we will welcome staff and students back, go through our first day and begin the work of the year ahead. Teachers and support staff are experienced and skilled in addressing the demands of this time of year, and principals and vice-principals have well-developed routines in place.  Attached please find a FAQ for further information on this year’s start-up procedures.

Keeping informed

I will write again next week and school principals are also in the process of sending important information and direction for the start of the school year. Whether or not our start date is delayed, please take the time to read these messages in order to assist us with our opening procedures and the smoothest start possible for students under the circumstances.

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding.



Superintendent of Schools, North Vancouver School District



September 2014 start-up


Q: Is it still possible that schools will open on September 2nd?

A: Yes. If an agreement is reached for a negotiated settlement, or a lifting of strike/lockout action while mediation is underway, then we will be ready to open schools on September 2nd.


Q: How will I know if school will open on September 2nd?

A: We encourage you to follow the media for any updates that may occur in the discussions scheduled for the weekend. We will also post any information to our website, as soon as it has been confirmed. Other information sources available to consult are:


Q: Who should I contact to voice my concerns regarding the current labour dispute?

A: You may wish to express your concerns to:


Q: If school does not open on September 2nd, can I bring my child to school anyway?

A: We cannot provide instruction or appropriate supervision without our full staff complement, and therefore ask that parents do not bring or send children to school until our staff teams are once again in place and school is fully operational.  Please make alternate arrangements, as necessary.


Q: How can I get more information on registering my child for school?

A: Student registration information is available at:


Q: If the labour dispute continues, can I still register my child for school?

A: Yes. Please ensure you have consulted our registration information for directions and guidance on what to bring to register your child/children for school.





A message to all parents and guardians of Grade 12 students

August 28, 2014

While uncertainty around the start date of the school year is ongoing, I have an important safety advisory for parents of students preparing to enter their senior year in our schools.

The Labour Day weekend has typically been a time when some youth, particularly those in their “grad year” participate in unauthorized/illegal social gatherings. These have been disruptive to neighborhoods and harmful to the young people involved. Youth vandalism and other risk-taking behaviours are some of the challenges our neighborhoods may be faced with at this time of year.

Underage drinking is of particular concern as alcohol is a drug that can negatively impact thoughts, moods and judgments. With young people in particular, it can create a sense of immunity or invincibility that is the prelude to a host of risk-taking behaviours.

These types of social activities are not sanctioned by schools and we want to support law enforcement in their work to keep our communities safe. With this in mind, we are joining the RCMP, local fire departments, the District of North Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver in sending this advisory.

The RCMP has expressed a zero tolerance and straight enforcement of all laws and regulations pertaining to social gatherings over the Labour Day weekend. Penalties for youth who violate laws will include, but not necessarily be limited to, being directly ticketed with fines of $115.00 or more.

In closing, thank you for your attention to this important safety message, I hope it helps facilitate family conversations about youth social responsibility and safe celebrations.


Two Carson Graham alumni in women’s World Cup rugby final

Congratulations to Team Canada and especially to Carson Graham alumni Andrea Burk and Hilary Leith, who both started in the women’s World Cup rugby final on Sunday.

Andrea Burk graduated in 2000 and continued her studies at Acadia University.  After graduating from Acadia she moved back to North Vancouver to play for the Capilano Rugby Club and has been a fixture on national teams over the last 6 years.  She continues to give back to the game by volunteer coaching at various levels of rugby including Carson Graham.

Hilary Leith graduated in 2001 and continued her studies in the USA on a wrestling scholarship. After graduating from university Hilary also returned to North Vancouver to play for Capilano Rugby Club. In recent years she has been playing at Saracens Rugby Club in England.  Hilary has been a member of national teams since 2000. She also volunteers her time coaching girls’ rugby.

Finishing second place in the World Cup final was a great moment for Carson Graham and Canada. As district administrator Brad Baker shared with me,  “I coached both Andrea and Hilary while they attended Carson Graham, and I am extremely proud of how hard they have worked to achieve their dreams of playing for Canada in the World Cup.  The Carson Graham Girls Rugby program is proud of what these players have accomplished. They are an inspiration.”

hil #1

Hilary Leith and her dad

andrea 2

Andrea Burk

Artists for Kids Receives Generous Donation

At the Public Board Meeting on June 17th Board Chair Franci Stratton was presented with a cheque in the amount of $50,000 by Richard Savage, Smith Foundation Board of Directors Vice President. Founded in 2002, the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation for Young Artists was established to support the North Vancouver School District’s Artists for Kids Program. To date, the foundation has directly contributed over $750,000 toward this quality art education program. We thank the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation for their ongoing support of Artists for Kids  and its enrichment opportunities for our students. For more information, please visit:


Board Chair Franci Stratton, Smith Foundation Board Vice President Richard Savage, Smith Foundation Exective Director Astid Heyerdahl

International Aboriginal Day Celebrations

Thank you to Brad Baker for providing this post:

Queen Mary, Norgate and Westview hosted the first ever combined schools Aboriginal Day Celebrations on Thursday, June 12th. The event took place at the new Queen Mary Elementary School with over 800 people in attendance which included students, staff, community members and elders.

The day opened with all participants gathering in the gym to hear a traditional welcome from the Squamish Nation.  Students were then led through workshops hosted by various First Nations and Metis people. Student leaders from Carson Graham assisted the younger students as they moved from station to station.  Workshops included: lacrosse, bracelet making with beads, cedar necklaces, story- telling, drumming and singing.

The afternoon ended with a performance by the Eagle Song Dancers followed by the Metis performance group Compaigni V’ni Dansi.

It was a great event enjoyed by all. Special thank you to the planning committee, Bill Reid, Barbara Leigh, and Lisa Upton, and to all those involved in the celebrations.


Results from 2014 Sea to Sky Regional Heritage Fair

North Vancouver is a community that places a high value on history and heritage. Every year, students from our schools demonstrate their historical knowledge, research and presentation skills at the Sea to Sky Regional Heritage Fair. Their topics range from local family history to defining world events and their resulting projects often earn special recognition at the Fair.

This year, five of our students will continue on from the regional fair to present their projects at the provincial heritage fair in Kamloops at the end of June. They are:

Ben Nicholson, Ross Road Elementary; Elliott Riches, Dorothy Lynas Elementary; Linnea Irvine, Ross Road Elementary; Alicia Ranahan, Ridgeway Elementary and Tiana Vogt from Windsor Secondary.

A number of other students distinguished themselves with honours at this year’s fair:

Student’s Choice Award—Colby Tom, Windsor Secondary for “Histoire de le Cirque au Canada”

Veteran’s History Award—Michelle Wang, Canyon Heights Elementary for “Norman Bethune”

Canada’s History Award—Sarah Chernenkoff and Maya Sardari, Ross Road Elementary for “Solving the Mysteries of Emily Carr”

District of North Vancouver History Award—Samantha Mark and Olivia Young, Braemar Elementary, for “Lions Gate Bridge”

Family and Personal History Award—Makenzie Shannon, Ridgeway Elementary, “The Story of Eric Liddell”

My congratulations to all the students who participated in this year’s Sea to Sky Regional Heritage Fair and best wishes to our students who are continuing on to Kamloops.

HERITAGE FAIR 2014 War of 1812


HERITAGE FAIR 2014 Websters Corner

Concours d’art oratoire 2014

The Canadian Parents for French Concours d’art oratoire (French public speaking competition) is a long-standing tradition in our school district.  On April 14th and 15th 2014, 37 Early French Immersion (EFI), Late French Immersion (LFI), Francophone and FSL students from across North Vancouver participated in the North Vancouver School District Concours d’art oratoire final.  Over two glorious spring mornings, students came with great enthusiasm to present a wide variety of well-prepared and entertaining speeches.

Winners from the district competition will go on to compete with students from across BC in the Provincial Concours d’art oratoire held at SFU Surrey Campus on Saturday May 3th 2013. We wish them best of luck and look forward to hearing about their experiences.

This year’s Concours d’art oratoire was a very successful event.  We are proud of the effort and dedication of all students who took part in the district competition.  The speeches were well written and well presented to an audience of their peers, teachers and parents.

For more information about Concours d’art oratoire, please visit the Canadian Parents for French website (  Félicitations à tous et bonne chance à ceux qui avancent!

Concours Elem

May 13th update: NVSD Students win top awards at provincial French public speaking competition

Soaring Career Conference – Indspire

I would like to thank Brad Baker for coordinating the Indspire Youth Career Conference Soaring on May 13th. Twenty-eight students plus staff from Argyle, Sutherland, Carson Graham, and Eslha7an secondary schools attended and were excellent representatives of the North Vancouver School District. Students showed great leadership during the workshops and participated with enthusiasm in the Q&A sessions. During the career fair, students had the opportunity to explore post-secondary and career options. We are fortunate for the dedication of Brad and the Aboriginal Education team who encourage students to set high goals for themselves and seek out opportunities for personal growth.

 NVSD Students at IndspireIndspireStaffphotoIndspire photo

Foods that Fit Workshop

North Vancouver School District Parent Advisory Council in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health hosted the annual Foods that Fit workshop at the Education Services Centre on May 7th. The workshop was open to lunch coordinators and parents from schools on the North Shore. Over 80 guests came to sample foods from 16 different vendors. After the food sampling, Helen Yeung (VCH), facilitated the workshop on food programs in schools and the new Provincial Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools. Speakers from Vancouver Coastal Health, HealthlinkBC, Edible Garden Project, and North Shore Recycling gave presentations on topics such as incorporating healthy produce into school food programs and recycling and reducing waste in school lunches. With the organics ban in waste facilities coming to Metro Vancouver in 2015, communications will be sent out on how we will be making changes to waste disposal in our school district. More to come!

We are pleased to support Vancouver Coastal Health in promoting health and wellness in our schools, and thank Helen Yeung, Community Dietitian (VCH) for her guidance and expertise.


Public Health Dietitians Margaret Broughton, Charlene Wood, and Helen Yeung


NVPAC Executive Members: Karen Nordquist, Jane Lagden Holborne, and Debra Dennehy