Students and staff across the school district are taking part in activities and lessons to acknowledge National Aboriginal Day. Celebrating Aboriginal culture, history and language has become part of our daily practice as we continue to move forward with incorporating the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and demonstrating our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. I would like to thank Brad Baker and the Aboriginal Education Team for their leadership and guidance in continuing to Go Forward with Courage.
On June 20th, the Education Services Centre was gifted with the Squamish traditional name Chílhiṅup, meaning ‘High Ground’. The event was celebrated with a special blessing ceremony involving the Metis, Skwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Staff and honoured guests witnessed this important event and traditional blessing.
Another successful elementary schools track meet was held on Tuesday, June 7 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. Nearly 1400 students qualified through Zone “mini-meets” to earn the right to represent their school and zone to compete at the School District’s Annual meet.
The Swangard Track and Field Meet is one of the highlights of elementary school athletics and involves thousands of students from Grades 4 through 7. This event is only made possible through the tremendous volunteer efforts of our dedicated staff, parents, and community members, many serving as coaches. The day of the meet is further supported through ‘alumni’ volunteers who assist with the officiating and technical support.
A special thanks goes to Tim MacLeod, Principal of Boundary, Heather Duncan of Queensbury, and the student “zebras” from Queensbury, who provided leadership and support to ensure another very successful track and field meet for our elementary students.
The North Vancouver School District Aboriginal Education Team, led by Brad Baker, and the Changing Results for Young Readers Leadership Team, led by Kathleen Barter, collaborated on a presentation for the Aboriginal Literacy K to 12 Symposium on May 25th. The event was held at the First Nations House of Learning at UBC on the topic of Reconciliation Through Story. The group shared with their colleagues from across the Lower Mainland their experiences with integrating Indigenous Ways of Knowing into their practice.
Congratulations to our team for their leadership in literacy education.
The gifting of a name is a significant and meaningful event in Coast Salish tradition. Lynnmour Elementary school hosted a celebration on May 31 to honour its’ Squamish name of X̱á7elcha, pronounced “HA-ul-cha”.
X̱á7elcha is the Squamish name for Lynn Creek and the area on which the school resides. The students and staff were actively involved in the preparations and actively participated in the ceremony through song and dance.
I was honoured to be called upon as a witness to speak to all the students, parents, grandparents, elders, staff and community members who were able to participate in this rich tradition and cultural experience. This ceremony provided a strong reminder of the great work that is being done within our School District and community towards the Calls to Action identified within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We are privileged to be able to learn, share and grow together with our First Nations people on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people.
I raise my hands in appreciation to Stewart Gonzales, Principal Kelly LaRoue, the staff at Lynnmour, and Brad Baker, Tsnomot, for their contribution to the ceremony and for their continued support and leadership towards Reconciliation.
The North Vancouver School District Primary Days of Music was held at the Education Services Centre from May 9-12, 2016.
This year’s festival involved 22 of our 25 elementary schools and the performances included various music instruments, singing and dancing.
Primary Days of Music brings together students, their teachers, and guests to experience group singing and movement. I would like to recognize Music Teachers Margaret Inglis and Bruce Sled who organize and host this important event for our students with the support of District Principal Yolande Martinello. Thank you to our Maintenance Department for their assistance with the set-up and tear-down of the furniture and equipment.
Last but not least, thank you to our students for their enthusiastic participation!
This year’s Foods that Fit event held on May 4, 2016 at the Education Services Centre was another great success! Presented by Vancouver Coastal Health in cooperation with the North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council, this free, interactive workshop was open to interested parents and educators from all North Shore schools who wanted to learn more about the provincial Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools, food safety and waste reduction, and school fundraising with healthy foods.
Participants sampled products from local vendors during the lunch supplier exhibition before hearing presentations from Vancouver Coastal Health, Edible Garden Project, and the City of North Vancouver municipal waste disposal staff. The evening ended with an opportunity for discussion among school lunch coordinators to share information and success stories.
Thank you to our NVPAC and Helen Yeung, Public Health Dietitian for facilitating this event!
Today students and staff in the North Vancouver School District will be participating in the Big One at One Earthquake Drill as part of National Emergency Preparedness Week (May 1-7).
Bernadette Woit, of the North Shore Emergency Management Office is working with our schools to assist with emergency drills and preparedness education.
The Big One at One is just one of the ways students and staff are becoming more prepared for an emergency, but it is also important to be prepared at home:
We all need an emergency plan that includes having supplies at home. If you have no power, do you have supplies in your house that you can use? Do you have family, friends or neighbours that you can help and who can help you? It is important to know your personal support network to help each other.
Learn more about emergency preparedness by signing up for one of our workshops. http://www.nsemo.org/content/sign-workshop.
I would like to extend un gros merci to all those who helped make the Concours d’art oratoire such a success.
Special thanks goes to Emina Dervisevic and her team from the North Vancouver Canadian Parents for French (CPF) for all their volunteer work, including coordination of medals, refreshments, and photos. The North Vancouver School District values the long-standing partnership we have with the CPF in collaborating on this and other valuable socio-cultural events that promote the French language.
Big thanks to Julie Bertrand and Laura Stewart for their professionalism, enthusiasm, and positive leadership in facilitating the elementary and secondary events. We appreciate the time they took from their regular teaching duties to organize the judges, the participants, the volunteer students and the programming that is required to make the concours run smoothly.
And, as always, thank you to Justine Stull in Learning Services for all her behind-the-scenes work with the paperwork, event promotion, and room setup.
It was wonderful to see so many of our French Immersion and Francophone students participating in this event. We were all truly impressed with the oratory skills and quality of the speeches.
Merci encore une fois!
This year’s finalists will compete at the Concours d’art oratoire provincials on May 7th at Simon Fraser University Surrey campus. For details of the event, visit the Canadian Parents for French website:
Congratulations to Montroyal Elementary teacher Kristen Gill who has been selected as one of the 2016 Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows. Kristen was chosen from over 800 applicants and is the only educator from BC.
Excerpts from the National Geographic news release:
In recognition of commitment to geographic education, Kristen Gill, a teacher at Montroyal Elementary in North Vancouver was selected as one of the 2016 Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows. Every year, K-12 educators are encouraged to apply for this professional development opportunity that allows them to bring immersive geographic learning experiences back to their classrooms and communities. Kristen is one of 35 highly respected educators from the United States and Canada to receive this honor.
Later this year, Kristen will embark on a 15 Lindblad voyage aboard the National Geographic Explorer to The British and Irish Isles for a one-of-a-kind field experience, accompanied by Lindblad-National Geographic expedition experts. The expedition will provide Kristen with new and exciting knowledge to bring back to Montroyal Elementary and the community.
More information about the program can be found on the National Geographic website:
The Day of Mourning was initiated by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984 to acknowledge workers who have died because of workplace injury or disease. Canada was the first country to formally commemorate this day on April 28. This year the International “Day of Mourning” Ceremony will be observed throughout the world on Thursday, April 28, 2016. This national memorial day gives Canadians an opportunity each year to remember workers killed, disabled or injured in the workplace, and workers afflicted with industrial disease.
In recognition of this important event, the North Vancouver School District will lower its flags to half-mast on April 28th. Schools will also announce the Day of Mourning over the school PA systems and classes will take a moment of silence in recognition of the workers who have lost their lives because of a workplace illness or injury. North Vancouver School District is committed to providing safe, welcoming and sustainable working environments that uphold our mandate of being the natural place to learn and work.
Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools