All posts by John Lewis

Foods that Fit Workshop – May 4, 2016

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!

Public Health Dietitian, Helen Yeung, with parent representatives from Montroyal Elementary, and Carol Sartor and Karen Nordquist, NVPAC


The Big One at One Earthquake Drill – May 6, 2016

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).BigOneatOne

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.


Concours d’art oratoire

Post provided by Joanne Robertson:

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!

Concours Elementary Winners
Concours Elementary Winners
Concours Secondary Winners
Concours Secondary Winners


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:

North Vancouver Educator Named 2016 Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow

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:


We are pleased to provide our support to Kristen in her selection to this prestigious program.  We wish her all the best for her travels!


Day of Mourning honoured – April 28, 2016

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.



44 Dresses supports more than 100 grade 7 students

Grade seven student, Shanny Roberts, tries on dresses at the 44 Dresses Boutique Day

More than 100 grade seven girls in North Vancouver will look and feel amazing during their grade-seven farewell ceremonies this year thanks to the generosity of the North Shore community. Now in its third year, 44 Dresses is a program organized by Norgate Elementary School principal Lisa Upton and Sofiabella owner Elena Grant. The program collects beautiful donated dresses and shoes, and then provides them for free to grade seven students through a pop-up shop at the North Vancouver School District central office on Lonsdale.

“Our generous sponsors and team of wonderful volunteers ensure that every girl that attends our 44 Dresses Boutique Day is treated to a truly special day.  We assist them in finding the perfect outfit while providing scrumptious goodies, refreshments and goody bags in a party-like atmosphere with music and decorations.  It’s not just about the dress but also about the experience.  We want each girl to feel valued and celebrated,” said Grant.

The program started out of recognition that not all students can afford elegant outfits for their grade seven farewell celebrations.

“Transitioning from elementary to secondary school is a milestone in our students’ lives. We want to make sure that all students are able to fully celebrate this achievement. It really does make a difference when students feel great at their grade-seven ceremonies,” said Upton.

The program also includes dress shirts for grade seven boys.

In addition to the community support in the form of clothing donations, many other community partners also helped make this year’s 44 Dresses a success. Sofiabella Tween Clothing Boutique, North Vancouver School District, Posy Florist, Fresh St. Market and West Coast Beauty Supply were all sponsors of the event.

Earth Day – April 22, 2016

Today is Earth Day and many schools are celebrating with activities that highlight environmental and sustainability initiatives.

JLBlogEnergyBulbIS11069822Today we are also wrapping up two School District sustainability campaigns:

Lights out Lunch (LOL) – students and staff were asked to turn off the lights this week during the lunch break. Using natural light on bright spring days is an easy way to save energy. This year, we challenged schools to take it one step further and continue to turn off lights over lunch for the rest of the school year.

Sustainability Strategy Survey – the North Vancouver School District began a process to develop a sustainability strategy in 2015 with input from students, staff and community partners. The DRAFT Sustainability Strategy was presented at a facilitated community discussion held at the Board of Education’s Standing Committee Public Meeting on April 12, 2016. If you haven’t done so already, please provide your input and feedback on the North Vancouver School District’s DRAFT Sustainability Strategy via a short online survey (closes April 22, 2016).

North Vancouver students tackle the new curriculum



The excited buzz of enticing conversation emanates from roughly 160 students who have gathered to tackle a topic that directly affects them – the new curriculum. This coming September will mark full implementation of the redesigned kindergarten to grade nine BC curriculum, as well as the start of the trial phase of the redesigned grades 10 to 12 curriculum.

“The new curriculum affects us. It affects us the most. It impacts our learning, so students need to have a voice,” said Christina Acton, grade 10 student at Argyle Secondary School.

The direct correlation between the new curriculum and student learning is why the North Vancouver District Student Leadership Council (DSLC) decided to focus their annual student forum on the new curriculum. DSLC is comprised of students from all seven secondary schools in the North Vancouver School District. Students meet monthly throughout the school year to tackle educational issues of interest to them and report out on district committees that they sit on as student representatives.

Their annual student forum brings a broader group of students together from across all of North Vancouver School District to discuss pressing issues. This year, nearly 160 students from all secondary schools were joined by several grade seven contingents, as well as principals, vice-principals, and school district management staff, including the superintendent and assistant superintendents, to address the new curriculum. Throughout the event, school district administrators presented on the new curriculum and questions were posed for the students to explore. In diverse table groups, questions were discussed and thoughts were captured in Tweets. These Tweets will then be compiled and the DSLC executive will be presenting the data to school board trustees and the executive management team of the North Vancouver School District at the June public school board meeting. The information will also be shared with the Ministry of Education and the North Vancouver Administrators’ Association.

“I had no idea what the new curriculum was all about until we started planning this student forum. This made me realize how important it is for students to know how their learning may be impacted,” explained Acton.

According to Cameron Carley, grade 12 student at Windsor Secondary School, the redesigned curriculum is quite different and will impact all students.

“The new curriculum promotes diversity and different ways of learning. A classroom is full of students who don’t learn the same way. The new curriculum is more inclusive and has something for everyone. It really does affect all of us,” he said.

Student organizers of the forum hope their feedback about the redesigned curriculum will be incorporated into the way teachers implement it. They believe that by using the DSLC to leverage student voice, their input will be viewed as an important part of the curriculum conversation.

“The District Student Leadership Council gives students a powerful voice. It makes it easier for us to discuss issues that affect us as students,” said Acton.

“The biggest benefit of DSLC is knowing we are heard and it lets us know that we have similar concerns as students. At all of the schools in the school district we have similar concerns and interests. DSLC gives students a strong voice at the adult table,” said Lauren Kellmann, grade 12 student at Windsor Secondary School.

The RCMP Academy: 2016

North Vancouver School District along with four other metro school districts (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond and Surrey) has a partnership with the RCMP in the co-sponsoring of an 8 day mini RCMP Depot. This experience recently completed its 21st year and has involved over 1000 students over that time period. This camp places students in a simulated RCMP training environment including every facet of policing from Police Dog Service Training, Threat Assessment to the RCMP Helicopter.

RCMP Academy Cadets

To attend the RCMP camp, students must complete a rigorous selection process. They must successfully complete a physical test which includes sit-ups, push-ups and a timed run. The students then go through an interview with an RCMP and school representative. The students also require several references from school staff, family and friends. Once at the 8 day camp they complete a variety of activities that an RCMP Cadet at Depot would experience but in a condensed form. Students receive instruction and lectures on law, social and communication skills, physical training, as well as some police tactics. Students are involved in a great deal of role-playing scenarios where they take turns as a police officer or as an observer. They will receive instruction from Emergency Response Teams, Dog Service members, Riot Control Teams, Drug Enforcement Representatives, Forensic experts, Social Media Teams, Cyber Teams and of course, the Helo Team.

RCMP Academy North VancouverThe Academy is an excellent learning experience. Over 88% of the participants end up in policing related careers. It is challenging both mentally and physically, but the memories last for a lifetime. At the recently concluded camp one NVSD student remarked, “I thought it would be an interesting experience for me but it is actually transformative. It made me realize that being a police officer is not about enforcing the law it’s more about helping people in need.” This year The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, presided over the graduation ceremony. To paraphrase Her Honour, “this is a fine example of how important it is to give our youth quality experiences in order for them to find their path.”

RCMP Academy certificates

The RCMP camp is another example of how NVSD is building many pathways for students through their educational journey. Thanks to Monty Bell, Director of Instruction and Neeru Parmar for their dedication and support in supporting our students involved in this wonderful program.

National Sweater Day results

I am pleased to report that 13 of our schools and the Education Services Centre participated in National Sweater Day on February 4, 2016. By turning down the temperature to 18 degrees, the School District’s Energy Manager Robert Greenwald estimates that we saved 17 GJ of energy for the day—equivalent to 18% of the average annual passenger vehicle’s carbon emissions.

Boundary Sweater Day 2016
National Sweater Day at Boundary ElementaryIMG_0573

National Sweater Day is a sustainability initiative of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. This year’s campaign, Better in a Sweater, encouraged students and staff to participate in this fun energy conservation day while showing off their favourite sweater, hoodie, or fleece.

Sweater Day 2016 - Westview
Westview Students participate in National Sweater Day