All posts by John Lewis

Concours d’art oratoire 2015

On Monday April 13, 2015 the Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon Branch and the North Vancouver School District 44 hosted the annual district finals for the French public speaking competition, Concours d’art oratoire 2015. Students in grades 6 through 12, from across the school district, came to the Education Services Centre and delivered the speech that won them first prize at their school. The event was very well attended and the large audience consisted of judges, family members, school principals, the North Shore News, friends, and fellow students. The level and the quality of French presented was impressive and blew everyone away. It was truly inspiring to see the perseverance, hard work and passion of every finalist shine through. It was a real celebration of French!

Here are the winners of the 2015 North Vancouver School District Concours d’art oratoire:


Immersion tardive 6e: Arman Hariri (Braemar)

Immersion précoce 6e: Stefania Stirban (Cleveland)

Immersion tardive 7e: Kelsey Steffen (Boundary)

Immersion précoce 7e: Nia Wagner (Larson)

Francophone 7e: Gabrielle Webb (Braemar)

Ele Fr
(Left to right: Kelsey Steffen, Stefania Stirban, Arman Hariri, Nia Wagner, and Gabrielle Webb)



Immersion 8e: Nora Godard-Despot (Handsworth)

Francophone 8e: Genevieve McKay (Handsworth)

Immersion 9e: Lewis Arnold (Handsworth)

Francophone 9e: Lelia Kostiuk (Argyle)

Immersion 10e: Matthew Wilson (Handsworth)

Francophone 10e: Shana Edalat (Handsworth)

Immersion 11e: Jack Wright (Handsworth)

Immersion 12e: Joshua Johnson (Argyle)

Sec Fr
Back row, left to right: Jack Wright and Joshua Johnson Front row, left to right: Matthew Wilson, Lelia Kostiuk, Lewis Arnold, Genevieve McKay, Nora Godard-Despot, and Shana Edalat)


Provincial Finals

10,000 students from across British Columbia competed in the 2015 Concours d’art oratoire, and our 13 finalists joined the 240 students that made the provincial finals at SFU – Surrey Campus. We are extremely proud of our students for their incredible work, as North Vancouver led the way in winning the top awards for this year’s Provincial French Public Speaking Competition!

2015 Provincial finalists from North Vancouver:

Lewis Arnold – Grade 9 Immersion – “La domination ou la soumission?: L’homme vis-à-vis     la nature” – École Handsworth Secondary Nia Wagner – Grade 7 Early Immersion – “L’influence d’Adolf Hiter” – École Larson Elementary Arman Hariri – Grade 6 Late Immersion – “Les enfants et l’avenir” – École Braemar Elementary Jack Wright – Grade 11 Immersion – “Les paradoxes” – École Handsworth Secondary

Provincial Winners from North Vancouver:

Genevieve McKay Grade 8 Francophone “Le travail des enfants” École Handsworth Secondary (1st Place)

Norah Goddard-Despot Grade 8 Immersion “La science derrière le cerveau adolescents” École Handsworth Secondary (3rd Place)

Matthew Wilson Grades 10 Immersion “L’importance des langues” École Handsworth Secondary (1st Place)

Joshua Johnson Grade 12 Early Immersion “Le problème avec la démocratie au Canada” École Argyle Secondary (3rd Place)

Stefania Stirban Grade 6 Early Immersion “Une statue qui donne la liberté” École Cleveland Elementary (1st Place)

Kelsey Steffen Grade 7 Late Immersion “Joshua Tree” École Boundary Elementary (2nd Place)

Leila Kostiuk Grade 9 Francophone “Le gaélique écossais” École Argyle Secondary (1st Place)

Shana Edalat Grade 10 Francophone “Mon père” École Handsworth Secondary (2nd Place)

Visit for the full list of winners.

Congratulations! Félicitations à vous tous! Chapeau!

Stéphanie Weller


BC Youth Week – May 1 to May 7

This week youth across the province are celebrated and recognized for the contributions they make in their communities. Events in North Vancouver included pizza lunch, swimming, and CityFest on May 2nd, which was very well-attended. Students in our district benefited from the generosity of the Youth Week sponsors and I would like to thank the BC Youth Week Committee for organizing this year’s events.


As part of Youth Week, the City and District of North Vancouver held their awards ceremonies this week to recognize recipients of the 2015 Civic Youth Awards. Many of our students and staff were recognized and will be highlighted in a separate post.


Queen Mary awarded Heritage Project Achievement Award by CNV

Capital Projects Manager Mark Thomson and Principal Bill Reid accepted the Heritage Project Achievement Award for Queen Mary Elementary School, at the City of North Vancouver’s Council Meeting on February 16th.

Awarded by the CNV Heritage Advisory Commission, North Vancouver School District was recognized for its outstanding restoration and reconstruction of Queen Mary which completed in 2014.

This is the second heritage award we have received for Queen Mary Elementary School and we are honoured to receive such high praise for the project. Congratulations to Mark Thomson and our Facilities and Planning Department for the exceptional work on one of the City’s most notable and historic landmarks. Queen Mary students and staff now have a beautiful learning environment that is also seismically sound.

Heritage Award 2015 - Queen Mary School

I look forward to attending Queen Mary’s Centennial Celebration on May 22nd. If you have stories, photos or memories to share, please contact the Queen Mary Centennial Celebration Planning Committee ( or visit:

NS News Readers Choice Awards 2015 – Artists for Kids

Post provided by Yolande Martinello:

It’s a privilege to be recognized by the community as their choice for Educational Programs for Kids. We work hard to make exceptional art experiences available to students throughout the community. Programming includes after school, weekends in the gallery, spring and summer day camps and our Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts.

Artists for Kids, a non-profit-organization based in North Vancouver, exists to support the legacy of art. By bringing together Canadian artists with students, we create fun, memorable, hands-on experiences that kids cherish. In this way, we help the next generation of artists thrive.

Artists for Kids is unique in that through the sale of prints, we are able to fully fund our school-based enrichment programs. Through Artists for Kids, artists share their insight, talents and stories with the next generation; kids are able to explore their own talents and develop their own creative problem-solving skills; and we all benefit from the ongoing legacy of Canadian art.

AFK Readers Choice


Child & Youth Mental Health Day – May 7

Today is Child and Youth Mental Health Day, led by the Institute of Families in cooperation with partners across the country.

It is a day of national awareness and appreciation for the struggles our youth and their families must face when coping with mental health.  Removing the stigma associated with mental health is a key issue for our youth today who are finding it difficult to seek the help they need.

Understanding these obstacles and identifying the barriers to learning is part of how we support youth with mental health within our school communities. Our role is to help build resiliency and give youth the tools they need to build a positive school culture that fosters a sense of belonging and a feeling of connectedness to school and peers.

FamilySmart seeks to help create public awareness and acknowledgement of the thousands of children, youth and families needing mental health support and care across Canada. 


For more information, visit their website:


Emergency Preparedness Week is May 3 – 9, 2015

This week is National Emergency Preparedness Week and schools are reviewing emergency procedures and preparing to Drop, Cover, and Hold On for the Big One at One Earthquake Drill on May 8th.


Bernadette Woit, of the North Shore Emergency Management Office is working with schools to assist with our emergency drills and preparedness education. Last year the NSEMO worked with our school district in a review of our emergency management and created a new “All Hazards” resource binder for schools. Having this information including school Emergency Response Plans at your fingertips is another step towards being prepared.

Resources for Emergency Preparedness Week can be found at

Emergency Preparedness Week

The District of North Vancouver recently released results of a comprehensive risk assessment study on the impacts of a major earthquake in our community. The detailed technical report can be found on the DNV website:

While we are still in the process of seismically upgrading our schools, the majority of buildings in our school district are expected to sustain little damage in the event of an earthquake, according to the report and the DNV plain language companion document:

District Dance Festival

This year’s District Dance Festival took place on April 9th at Centennial Theatre. Thirty-one intermediate and secondary school groups performed a variety of dances, such as jazz, hip hop and musical theatre.

Lots of work is happening leading up to the festival…music selection, choreograpahy, and practicing – big thanks to the teachers for their hard work, encouragement, and support of the student performances. The District Dance Festival is a highlight and we thank all the students for their participation.

I would like to recognize Margaret Inglis and Michele Denny for coordinating all the groups and working behind the scenes to make this such a successful event for our school district.


Field Hockey Academy Parent Meeting

On March 30th the Field Hockey Academy Information Meeting was held at Sutherland Secondary School for students and parents interested in learning more about our newest academy opportunity.

The Field Hockey Academy at Sutherland Secondary School in partnership with Field Hockey BC was approved at the February 17th Public Board Meeting. The academy is open to students in grades 8-12 of all experience levels. As with other athletic academies in NVSD, students enrolled will earn grade-equivalent PE credit upon successful completion.

The parent information meeting was very well attended and representatives from Field Hockey BC, West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and District Principal John McGowan answered questions about the program. All 35 spots have now been filled but names can still be placed on the wait list.


Foods that Fit

It was another successful Foods that Fit workshop for lunch coordinators and interested parents at the Education Services Centre on April 15th.

The afternoon began with food sampling from local hot lunch vendors followed by presentations and discussions about healthy food choices, food safety, and waste reduction. VCH Public Health Dietitian Helen Yeung facilitated the workshop with guest speakers from Vancouver Coastal Health, Healthlink BC Dietitian Services, Edible Garden Project, and North Shore Recycling.

This was a great opportunity for hot lunch/food days committee members to share ideas and best practices. Foods that Fit is hosted by the North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health.

Foods that Fit 2
NVPAC Executive Members Debra Dennehy, Karen Nordquist, and Jane Lagden Holborne


Foods that Fit 1
Healthlink BC Dietitians Sophia Baker-French and Adrienne Ngai and VCH Public Health Dietitian Helen Yeung


Early Learning Dessert and Dialogue – Supporting Social Emotional Learning

Post provided by Joanne Robertson:

The North Vancouver School District was pleased to host the annual Early Learning Dessert and Dialogue session on April 8, 2015. Over 85 participants, including School District teachers and support staff, members of our affiliation of Early Learning Foundations (ELF) preschool and childcare providers, and early learning partners from the North Shore, attended this event held at the Education Services Centre (ESC).

Our guest presenter this year was Carolyn Sullivan from North Shore Supported Child Development, who shared stories and strategies for supporting children’s social and emotional learning. Carolyn’s presentation focused on topics of current interest for educators in the School District and the community, including developing children’s sense of independence, teaching them how to self-regulate and enhancing their ability to make successful social connections.

I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Montroyal Vice Principal Cindy Hudson and the assistance of StrongStart Facilitators Mandana Hezar, Carol Lundrigan, and Janet MacDonald for making this event a success. Feedback from this interactive evening has been very positive and guests appreciated Carolyn’s practical approach to supporting the social emotional needs of our diverse early learners.

Mandana Hezar, Carol Lundrigan, Cindy Hudson and Janet MacDonald



The School District has been offering the Early Learning Dialogue sessions since 2009 on a variety of topics (e.g. Play-based learning, pedagogical narration, nature-based learning). Participants always enjoy the opportunity to share best practices and engage in meaningful dialogue with other early learning practitioners.