All posts by John Lewis

Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden

I was pleased to attend the Grand Opening of the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden on Friday, June 12th.

This was a great day to celebrate and acknowledge the tremendous work by volunteers, event organizers, the Edible Garden Project, community partners, and staff and students at Sutherland Secondary School. The warm weather we’ve enjoyed since March gave the garden an early start, and guests were impressed by the abundance of fruit and vegetables ready for harvest.

Through a successful Crowdfunding campaign, the Edible Garden Project raised the funds to create the extensive gardens on the Sutherland School grounds and a team of volunteers has transformed the grounds into a spectacular urban farm. I am told that over 100 raised garden beds are producing over 50lbs of produce for sale each week.

The creation of the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden in partnership with Edible Garden Project is a proud moment for our school district and I would like to recognize teachers Cynthia Bunbury and Wendy Matsubuchi for their leadership and in support of this project. We anticipate this will be a great learning garden for students and the community.

Photos of the building of the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden can be found at:

Photos from the grand opening event courtesy of Wendy Matsubuchi can be found at:






Sutherland Family of Schools Celebration of Belonging

Congratulations to the Sutherland Family of Schools for their unique and inspirational Celebration of Belonging that took place on June 15th.

The festivities began with a Blessing by Sutherland graduate Adina Williams, welcome to Traditional Territories, and drumming presentation by North Vancouver students.

Afterwards, over 2300 students and staff from Brooksbank, Eastview, Queensbury, and Ridgeway and Sutherland Secondary schools gathered on the field to form the living art replica of the sabre-tooth tiger artwork, created by Squamish artist Rick Harry. Each body became a dot of colour in this symbol of balance of mind, body, and spirit:

Photographed from 80' feet above
Photographed from 80′ feet above

I would like to recognize the efforts of the staff and students from the Sutherland Family of Schools, and particularly Arlene Martin and Brad Baker for their organization of this great accomplishment.

School Sports 2014-15

It was an impressive year for Secondary school sports and I would like to thank Coordinator of Athletics Gerry Karvelis, North Shore Secondary Schools’ Athletic Association (NSSSAA), for providing leadership throughout the year in support of our student athletes!

NSSSAA Championships:

Argyle:  Juvenile Boys Basketball; AAA Girls Soccer; Sr Girls Volleyball

Carson Graham: Juvenile Girls Basketball; Jr Girls Field Hockey; Jr Boys Rugby; Juvenile Girls Volleyball; Juvenile Boys Wrestling

Handsworth: Sr Girls Basketball; AAA Girls Field Hockey; Jr Girls Volleyball

Seycove:  Bantam Girls Basketball; Jr Girls Basketball; Sr Boys Mountain Biking; AA Overall Track and Field; AA Overall XC

Sutherland:  Bantam/Juvenile Boys XC; AAA Boys Soccer; Jr Ultimate; Sr Ultimate

Windsor:  AAA Boys Basketball; Sr Boys Gymnastics; Sr Girls Gymnastics; Overall Gymnastics; AA Girls Soccer

Vancouver & District Championships (Jr Zones):

Carson Graham:  Juvenile Girls Basketball; Jr Boys Rugby

Handsworth:  Jr Girls Volleyball

Provincial Championships:

Argyle:  AAAA Girls Volleyball

Sutherland:  Jr Ultimate; Sr Ultimate

Windsor:  Boys Gymnastics; Girls Gymnastics; Combined Gymnastics

Provincial Silver Medalists:

Argyle:  Combined Gymnastics

Carson Graham:  Juvenile Girls Basketball; Sr Girls Rugby; AA Tennis

Handsworth:  AAA Field Hockey; Girls Synchronized Swimming

Seycove:  AA Girls Soccer; Jr Girls XC

Sutherland:  AAA Boys Soccer

Provincial Bronze Medalists:

Argyle:  Boys Gymnastics; Girls Gymnastics

Windsor:  Boys Terrain Snowboarding

Congratulations to all the teams! And, big thanks to all the coaches who make these successes possible. Coaches will be honoured at the 57th Annual NSSSAA Coaches’ Appreciation Dinner on June 23rd.

Argyle Senior Girls Volleyball Team
Argyle Senior Girls Volleyball Team
Windsor Gymnastics Team
Windsor Gymnastics Team

District Elementary Track & Field Meet at Swangard

It was a great day at Swangard Stadium on Tuesday, June 2nd as over 1000 intermediate students from 26 schools participated in the District Track and Field Meet. The weather cooperated and all events went ahead as planned.

Qualifying students from 8 zones competed in shot put, high jump, triple jump, long jump, 1500m, 800m, 400m 200m, 100m, and relay. The special relay race was wonderful to watch and I thank Ridgeway Teacher Joel Streat for coordinating the students and organizing their practice runs.

Huge thanks go to the Zone Coordinators and Track and Field sponsors/supporters at each school who worked hard to get students to this point.

The event could not be possible without the help from over 90 volunteers: retired teachers and administrators, support staff, student teachers, teachers, District staff, Trustees and student helpers.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Boundary Principal Tim MacLeod, Queensbury Teacher Heather Duncan, and the Track and Field Committee for their work behind the scenes to ensure the success of this event. The Swangard Meet is a highlight for our District and I am always proud to be able to attend and support our student athletes!



Changing Results for Young Readers

I would like to acknowledge Joanne Robertson and the Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR) North Vancouver District Leadership Team for their work in holding our largest in-service series involving close to 300 educators over 24 mornings between January and April 2015. This in-service was a great success thanks to all those involved – participants, school staff, Learning Services Department, Human Resources Department, and custodial operations.

Changing Results

Thank you to Joanne Robertson for providing the following post:

Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR) is a province-wide initiative launched by the Ministry of Education in 2012. The major goal of the Changing Results for Young Readers initiative is to increase the number of BC children who are engaged, successful readers. The initiative uses current research and an understanding of what fosters reading success.

The North Vancouver CR4YR series focused primarily on enhancing instruction, assessment and intervention strategies for struggling readers.  Several key themes were emphasized throughout the series, including:

  • The core components of early literacy instruction at the universal, targeted and intensive levels
  • The important roles of social emotional learning and self-regulation in learning to read
  • Collaborative models of literacy support at the school level to maximize the collective knowledge and skills of teams (teachers, support staff, paraprofessionals) and promote a more balanced approach to intervention and support for struggling readers
  • An enhanced understanding of the First Peoples Principles of Learning and opportunities for teachers to explore ways of indigenizing the literacy curriculum

Feedback from participants at the CR4YR series has been extremely positive.  Our staff really appreciated the opportunity to meet with colleagues from within the same Family of Schools, to reflect on instructional strategies, explore new models of assessment, and design new ways of working together to support young readers in their development.  Here is a sampling of the comments provided from the CR4YR series:

Thank you for organizing these reading workshop mornings. It was wonderful being with our FOS colleagues in learning and discussions. With the workshops being spread out over the month, it has increased our engagement, conversations and ability to try some new ideas in our classrooms. We are grateful for the opportunity you have given us.

The level of energy and the spirit of collaboration were evident throughout the three sessions.

I left feeling inspired and even more thoughtful about what I can do to change my practice.

Time to learn and reflect is a wonderful gift.

I always enjoy attending the series because it truly exemplifies how committed teachers are to making a genuine difference in their classrooms.

For more detailed information about the CR4YR series and testimonials from the participants, please visit the Changing Results for Young Readers NVSD44 blog:

The (CR4YR) North Vancouver District Leadership Team:

Ilona Wardas – Team Leader/District Early Reading Advocate and Learning Assistance/Support Teacher and Vice Principal at Blueridge

Kendra Arkinstall – Learning Assistance/Support Teacher at Cove Cliff

Doreen Berg – Sutherland Family of Schools Leader

Ann Copp – Learning Assistance Teacher and Vice Principal at Seymour Heights Elementary

Diana Kilby – Seycove Family of Schools Leader

Anne Lawson – Learning Assistance Teacher and Vice Principal at Canyon Heights

Janet McLean – Windsor Family of Schools Leader

Heather Myhre – Aboriginal Success Teacher

Shannon Sharp – Carson Family of Schools Leader

Claire Spofforth – Primary Teacher at Brooksbank

Jessica Welder – Aboriginal Success Teacher

Stephanie Weller – French Immersion Facilitator (translation/resource development)

National Aboriginal Day Activities

I was honoured to attend the traditional School Naming Ceremony at Mountainside on May 14th where we witnessed the unveiling of the new Coast Salish designed sign. Students helped organize the day’s activities which honoured Squamish Nation traditions and culture. Welcome Smanitaxan!

Smamtaxan - MSS New Sign

Although National Aboriginal Day is June 21st, special celebrations of Aboriginal culture and heritage in schools began earlier in the year. In addition to the ceremonies at Mountainside, schools have organized their own school-wide National Aboriginal Day activities and events with involvement of the local First Nations and Metis Peoples. To highlight a few:

In the month of May at Seycove Secondary School, staff worked with Tsleil Waututh Nation cultural leaders to bring the local, place history to the classrooms.  Tsleil Waututh Nation members brought games and activities in to the classroom by using the hanqiminem language.   The cultural events wrapped up with a traditional feast and cedar weaving.

At Carson Graham Secondary, Aboriginal Week was April 13 – 16th and opened with Canadian actor Darrell Dennis, who provided the keynote address at the school-wide assembly. The activities included interactive workshops led by esteemed elders and leaders in the Squamish Community. The school set up a replica traditional longhouse and village near the ceremonial fire. Students from the Carson Graham Family of Schools joined in the final day’s dancing celebration and festivities.

The Sutherland Family of Schools will be hosting a Celebration of Belonging on June 15th. The event will include 2300 students and staff from 5 schools coming together to create a giant sized representation of Squamish artist Rick Harry’s Sabretooth Tiger, representing the values of generosity, belonging, mastery and independence.  Each student will represent a ‘dot’ of colour in this field sized artwork which will be filmed and photographed from 80-100 feet above by a commissioned artist.  The event will be attended by Rick Harry, will be opened with a blessing and welcome to traditional territories by Sutherland graduate Adina Williams, and will feature a drumming presentation by North Vancouver students.

On June 18th, Westview Elementary will begin Aboriginal Day with a special Honouring Ceremony for the two students who worked on the new Westview School logo. Submissions from Anna M. and Liam M. were selected in the school-wide contest to find a logo that represents a culturally diverse group of families who come together to create a unique school community. The new logo preserves the original Squamish message – Ta na wa Ns7éyxnitm tlá Teltíwet (meaning ‘Guardian of the west wind’) and features Liam’s drawing of First Nations design of the Salmon:


At the Education Services Centre on June 8th, Brad Baker presented the film We Were Children, a true story about Residential Schools in Canada. The film, by the National Film Board was a somber and powerful look into the lives of two Aboriginal children who shared their experiences in their own words. The film was followed by an intimate discussion about the Residential School System and experiences of family members here in North Vancouver.

Finally, the First Nations Graduation Ceremony will take place at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre on June 24th where all First Nations, Metis and Inuit grads are invited. This is an honouring ceremony for these students conducted by protocol.

I raise my hands in thanks to Brad Baker and the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee for their guidance and support in weaving Aboriginal Culture into our schools.  Huy chewx a!


Primary Days of Music

It was a pleasure to welcome the Primary Days of Music 2015 to the Education Services Centre in May.

This year’s celebration of music involved 22 schools and over 2600 primary students. All week long we enjoyed the happy sounds of the students singing, dancing and playing instruments. The groups showcased their performances with enthusiasm and learned some new songs as well!

Primary Days of Music brings together students, their teachers, and guests to experience group singing and movement. Thank you to Music Teachers Margaret Inglis and Bruce Sled and Director of Fine Arts Yolande Martinello for putting together another excellent music experience for our students.



2015 CNV and DNV Youth Awards

I am thrilled to post the list of recipients for this year’s Youth Awards:

City of North Vancouver:

CNV 2015 Youth Awards- Recipient List – Youth Awards and Scholarships

District of North Vancouver:

DNV 2015 Youth Awards- Recipient List – Youth Awards and Scholarships

Several of our schools were represented in their respective municipalities and I wish to congratulate all the students who were selected for an award.

The Civic Youth Awards program recognizes youth in four categories: Youth Recognition Award, Youth Community Enhancement Award, Outstanding Youth Friendly Business/Supporter of Youth Award, and Outstanding Youth Team Award.

Thank you everyone who took the time to nominate these outstanding students who deserve to be recognized for their achievements and contributions to their community.

And thank you to the CNV/DNV Councils for their support of this program and ongoing commitment to local youth.


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.