Category Archives: Instructional Practice

Instructional Practice

National Aboriginal Day – June 21, 2016

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.

ChilinupOn 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.

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The Signing of the third Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement took place at the Capilano Longhouse –   We are most appreciative of the work of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee in bringing continued focus to improve the educational outcomes for our students of aboriginal ancestry.

Reconciliation Through Story

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.

Ab Ed UBCCongratulations to our team for their leadership in literacy education.

Lynnmour School Naming – Xá7elcha


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.

Huy chewx a! (Thank you!)

Asahikawa Commerce High School Band

Our School District has been engaged in an exceptional music exchange program over the past twenty years with high schools from  Japan.  Seycove Secondary School, supported  by North Vancouver families, hosted the Asahikawa Commerce High School Band from March 28 through April 5.

Asahikawa orchestra

Principal Conductor, Mr. Jun Sato of Asahikawa High School was accompanied by Conductor, Mr. Kuroda of Rumoi High School, with a combined contingent of 60 talented and enthusiastic musicians.  The visiting students shared their music in concerts at Seycove, Carson Graham, Handsworth, and Dorothy Lynas Schools, as well as other public performances including a free public concert at Centennial Theatre.

Asahikawa soloist

In addition to sharing their music with our students in workshops, rehearsals and performances, these exchanges provide a wonderful opportunity for cultural understandings and sharing between our two nations.  My sincerest appreciation and thanks go to Risa McDonell, Seycove Band Director, Mr. Mark James, Seycove Principal, and the many supporters and volunteers who welcomed visiting students into their homes and contributed to the success of this year’s exchange.


‘Baby’ chicks at Cove Cliff

The Grade 2 classrooms at Cove Cliff were peeping with excitement after two ‘baby’ chicks hatched early in February.

Students have been actively researching chickens, exploring the life cycle, and learning about what animals need in order to survive. This teacher-led initiative was a first for Cove Cliff, according to Principal Brenda Bell. With the generous support of the Cove Cliff PAC, the eggs and incubators were a popular attraction in the school, and provided a unique hands-on learning opportunity. Students used their keen observation skills and were eager to record the physical changes, and measure the height and weight of the chicks each day.




Blueridge Choir Performs for School District staff

Each December at the Education Services Centre we are delighted to host two or three choirs from our schools.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to share the joy of the season with our School District employees.

On behalf of our staff, I pass along a huge thanks to the Blueridge Elementary School Choir for coming out to the Education Services Centre on December 10th to spread some holiday cheer!

BlueridgeMy sincere appreciation to Music teacher Michele Denny, Andrie Levey-Bates, Lisa Madill, Phyllis Delleney, and Katherine Kee, for organizing Thursday’s outstanding performance.

Blueridge1(Blueridge Choir led by music teacher Michele Denny)

Welcome to Deakin University Pre-Service Teachers

A big welcome to the 21 students from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia who began their teacher training in our schools this week as part of their 3-week Global Experience teaching practicum. Teachers at Brooksbank, Lynnmour, Queen Mary, Ridgeway, and Westview schools are sharing their knowledge and expertise, providing an opportunity for their Australian colleagues to gain a deeper understanding of teaching practices in Canada.

Deakin University groupBeginning in 2011 with only 4 students, the program has gained popularity among Deakin University students; this year they received over 40 applications for the opportunity to learn alongside NVSD teachers. We credit much of the success of this partnership to Carson Graham Family of Schools Leader, Shannon Sharp, and the exceptional leadership provided each year by the participating teacher-mentors in our schools.

We are delighted to experience the growth in this reciprocal partnership with Deakin University; a University that features global education opportunities and programs dedicated to environmental sustainability. Through our own teachers hosting these Pre-Service teachers in our schools we benefit greatly from their involvement, support and contribution to our classrooms and our students and every participant experiences new cultural and educational knowledge and perspectives. An additional component of our shared relationship and partnership is the exchange of professional learning opportunities with professors and instructors from Deakin University working with our teachers.

We look forward to exceptional learning opportunities in the weeks ahead!


School Library Day – October 26

October 26 is officially School Library Day in BC. I n celebration, the British Columbia Teacher-Librarians Association is hosting the 9th anniversary of the Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) challenge.

The simple, but powerful idea of DEAR is to promote the importance of literacy by having as many students and adults as possible read at the same time on the same day.

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I encourage all staff and students to join in and put down their work, turn off their computer screens, pick up a book, magazine or newspaper and read for 20 minutes.

For more information, please refer to the News Release or visit the website

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)

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.