All posts by John Lewis

Halloween RCMP Advisory

Thank you to Cpl. Paulo Arreaga of the RCMP Youth Intervention Unit and Brad Baker, District Administrator, Safe & Caring Schools, for the following important advisory:

With Halloween quickly approaching, the North Vancouver RCMP Youth Intervention Unit would like to remind students of the regulations surrounding the purchase, possession and use of fireworks and firecrackers:

In both the City and District of North Vancouver the possession or discharge of firecrackers is prohibited. Firecrackers are defined as those fireworks manufactured to produce just sound and not light.

The City of North Vancouver prohibits the purchase, possession or discharge of any fireworks.

To purchase, possess or discharge fireworks in the District of North Vancouver you must obtain a permit from the District and you must be at least 18 years old. Permits are available from fireworks vendors on the North Shore or from the Fire Department.

It is an offence to sell or give fireworks to any person without a business licence.

Fireworks may not be discharged on public land and District Fireworks permits are not valid in the City of North Vancouver or in the District of West Vancouver.

The Fire Department and the RCMP have the authority to seize fireworks and to fine for violations. Fines range from $200 to $500.

Fireworks should only be discharged on October 31, and between 6:00 p.m. and midnight.

In addition, students planning to wear costumes in public should consider the following:

The carrying of any sort of imitation weapon as part of a costume, such as toy guns or swords, is not recommended. The public may react with concern and the police will investigate and respond appropriately.

So have fun and stay safe this fireworks season!

North Vancouver RCMP Youth Intervention Unit


Great BC Shakeout – October 16, 2014

The Great BC Shakeout is happening on Thursday, October 16th and our students and staff will Drop, Cover and Hold On as part of this important emergency preparedness event. This is the largest earthquake drill in BC and is another opportunity for our school district to practice and prepare for an earthquake emergency. Keeping students and staff safe at all school sites is a priority and we appreciate parents’ support in speaking to their children about the importance of these drills.


Find more information on earthquake preparedness at:

This year, we are proud to host CBC at Lynn Valley Elementary school as part of their October 16, broadcast on earthquake preparedness. It was almost 10 years ago that we reopened the new, seismically sound, Lynn Valley Elementary. What followed was almost a decade of facilities revitalization that included a number of major seismic upgrade projects in schools, the rebuilding of Westview Elementary, Sutherland Secondary, Highlands Elementary, Ridgeway Elementary, Carson Graham Secondary and Queen Mary Elementary as well as the new Education Services Centre and North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre – all rebuilt to modern safety standards.

World Mental Health Day – October 10

World Mental Health Day is annually held on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide. Created by the World Health Organization, and supported by the United Nations (UN), this event promotes open discussions on illnesses, as well as investments in prevention and treatment services.

Positive mental health is a cornerstone to engagement and learning.  Schools and classrooms play a significant role in creating learning environments that promote pro-social behavior and a sense of belonging that enables positive mental health.  In a few cases, children and youth experience acute or severe challenges related to their mental health resulting in a significant impact on their academic, social and emotional well-being.  In these circumstances, a more intensive focus of support is needed to enable a student to manage and regain better mental health.  In many cases, an integrated approach with community and school supports is needed.

Mr. Brad Baker, Safe and Caring Schools District Administrator, has been working since last spring with our community partners (City/District of North Van, MCFD, VCH and RCMP) on a joint Community Information Night on the issue of Mental Health Resources in North Vancouver.  The directive to support this initiative was brought forward by our Board of Education and Council from the City and District of North Vancouver.

Date: October 28th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Location: Centennial Theatre

Keynote: Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc – “Growing absolutely fantastic teens: How families, schools and communities can support positive mental health among young people.”

My Class Needs accepting applications from North Vancouver teachers

It’s my pleasure to announce a new partnership in the North Vancouver School School District with the potential to directly benefit eligible classroom projects.

As of October 1, 2014, applications from classroom teachers in the North Vancouver School District for the My Class Needs are being accepted. My Class Needs is an innovative funding mechanism supported by Chevron’s Fuel Your School program that offers grants of up to $1,000 per class project to purchase resources that support innovative teaching and learning.

The funding available is substantial–up to $100,000 is available to projects in North Vancouver schools alone. The program emphasizes STEM learning (science, technology, innovation and mathematics) and potentially integrates with all other core curriculum subjects.

My Class Needs is professionally managed, allowing teachers a straightforward and simple way to apply for funding, and receive support for project resources. The program meets a real need we hear about often in education: funding for hands-on classroom resources that promote teaching and learning.

If you are a classroom teacher with  a project or need for resources that may benefit from My Class Needs funding, I encourage you to learn more about the program and apply without delay. The final deadline for funding consideration is November 20 and before then, eligible applications will have a “first received, first considered” advantage. November 6th is the deadline to be considered in the first round of requests.

Please visit to get started and feel free to contact Monty Bell in learning services ( if you have any questions.

I wish you success in your application.

John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools


Brad Baker selected by a national jury for a Guiding the Journey Indigenous Educator Award in Leadership

Brad Baker is the District Administrator of Aboriginal Education and Safe and Caring Schools in the North Vancouver School District, and a member of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation).  When Brad joined the North Vancouver School District in 1995, he was the first Aboriginal educator.

After seeing first-hand the struggles that many First Nations youth had with education, Brad developed a strong desire to become a role model for his local community and to provide support for improving the Nations’ educational opportunities. The personal pain and hardship that many of his Elders faced has had a lasting impact on Brad and he does not want the issue of residential schools to be swept under the carpet; he wants it to remain at the forefront of education today.

BAKER_Brad 2014 09

Brad’s personal and professional journey has been mentored by his parents, who have both been inspirations to him, and especially his father Harry, who is a residential school survivor; the Squamish Nation Education Department and Deborah Jacobs, who has pushed Brad to be the best that he can be; the North Vancouver School District and Superintendent John Lewis, who has played an active role in Brad’s development as an Aboriginal educator, and implemented an Aboriginal Education Program for all educators and learners.

Brad remains true to the strong values and principles that were instilled in him by his family and the First Nations’ communities.  As an educator, he believes that integrity and trust are the most meaningful attributes that he brings to his work with students, parents, staff, and the North Shore communities.  Brad would like to see Aboriginal Education become an integral part of everyday life in schools across Canada and to instill within every Canadian greater knowledge and respect for the proud and rich cultural heritage of the First Nations peoples.

In Brad Baker’s words: “I come from a strong Aboriginal community and must always remember that what I do today will impact future generations.”

Brad will receive his Indigenous Educator Award in Leadership at the National Gathering of Indigenous Education in Toronto in November.

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Brad and his father Tsnomot (Harry).
Brad shares his father’s traditional Skwxwú7mesh name.

World Teacher’s Day – October 5, 2014

On behalf of the Board of Education and the Executive Committee:

October 5, 2014 is World Teachers’ Day.  In 1994, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, inaugurated October 5th as an annual day to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels.  World Teachers’ Day represents a significant symbol of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development. UNESCO’s World Teacher’s Day theme is ”Invest in the future, Invest in teachers” and addresses the critical role that teachers play in the development of the younger generation, the need to increase the number of teachers today, and the importance of teachers to society.

Along with over 100 countries around the world, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and its Member organizations across the country celebrate World Teachers’ Day through a public awareness campaign that highlights the contributions of the teaching profession. The Federation’s 2014 motto is “It all starts with a qualified teacher”.


Joanne Robertson is first graduate of Transformational Change Doctor of Education Program at SFU

SFU has introduced a new graduate diploma program in Advanced Professional Studies, developed in partnership with the North Vancouver School District: Frameworks for Innovative Teacher Collaboration and Inquiry. The program was inspired by Joanne Robertson, Director of Learning Services, and her thesis titled: Passion-Based Learning: The Design and Implementation of a New Approach to Project-Based Learning (PBL) for Alternative Education. Joanne successfully defended her thesis in November 2013 and was the first graduate of the Transformational Change Doctor of Education Program at SFU. Click HERE to view thesis.

Joanne’s research on project based learning in an Alternative School emphasizes the importance of positive teacher-student relationships, staff collaboration, and administrative support in student engagement. She was recently featured on the SFU Faculty of Education website: We are extremely proud of Joanne’s work!

The Frameworks for Innovative Teacher Collaboration and Inquiry diploma program will  be offered this fall.


2014 AFK Scholarship Winners


I am pleased to announce the receipients of the 2014 Artists for Kids scholarships:

  • Golnar Mohmood-Khalesi, Carson Graham Secondary School – Robert Bateman: Future Teacher Award
  • Hannah deBourcier, Argyle Secondary School – Jack Shadbolt: Multiple Arts Excellence Award
  • Annette Cheung, Argyle Secondary School – North Shore Community Foundation-Gordon Smith Outstanding Visual Artist Prize

The scholarship committee had a difficult selection process but did agree on the outstanding quality of work presented by the final recipients.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Return to school

September 19, 2014

I am delighted to report that the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has now ratified the tentative agreement with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).  While we await ratification of the Agreement by Boards of Education later this afternoon, we will proceed with the start to the 2014/15 school year with school opening on Monday.   

All schools in North Vancouver will open on Monday, September 22nd, for students in Grades 1 through 12, with a shortened first-day schedule.  This will enable our schools to confirm student enrolment, review classroom organization, update student timetables, where necessary, and prepare for full days of instruction on Tuesday through Friday.  Parents should check school websites and posted notices for school-specific schedules and operating hours.

Kindergarten students will be welcomed to our elementary schools starting on Tuesday, September 23rd with the Gradual Entry process established within the School Act.  The first week of Kindergarten is an important transition for our youngest children.  During the Gradual Entry period, Kindergarten teachers are able to work with smaller groups of children for shorter periods of time to help them develop independence in classroom and school routines. The details of the schedule for attendance of Kindergarten students will be provided by each elementary school. 

Our main priority for the coming week is to welcome back our students and staff and to re-establish normal operations as quickly as possible.  We appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we strive to achieve a smooth start to this school year. 

I will be providing a further update next week as additional clarification is provided by the Ministry of Education regarding instructional time and decisions related to report cards from last June.  There are numerous other details to be communicated in the coming weeks ahead. 

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school and a productive week ahead. 

A print copy of this letter is available here.

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