Category Archives: Instructional Practice

Instructional Practice

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.19.42 AM

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.

District Student Leadership Forum – Innovation in our Education

The annual District Student Leadership Council Forum took place on April 1st at the Education Services Centre. Over 100 students participated in this student-led event with representatives from all of our secondary schools and eight students from our elementary schools. Assistant Superintendent Pius Ryan was this year’s keynote speaker.

This year’s topic was Innovation in our Education and the discussion themes focused on curriculum, learning and graduation. Students were asked to discuss specific questions developed by the DSLC executive. They provided feedback about each topic using Twitter and the chatter was recorded and displayed for everyone to follow along. Over 300 tweets were recorded during the forum.

A full report on the forum will be presented by the DSLC to the Board of Education at the June Public Board Meeting.

Having the opportunity to gather and share student perspectives on public education is incredibly valuable and I was impressed by the level of enthusiasm and maturity shown by all the students.

I would like to thank the District Student Leadership Council and their advisors, Brenda Bell, Greg Hockley, Cary Hungle, and Justin Wong for organizing another successful student forum.

DSLC photo

“Collaboratively it can be done” Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence share 2014 recipients exemplary practices notes

Summaries of some of the best practices of some of Canada’s most outstanding educators are now available through the Prime Minister’s Awards website.

After receiving their certificate from the Prime TiecheAtPMAShareTalk Oct2014Minister last October, the 2014 national recipients, including Carson Graham Secondary teacher-librarian Jennifer Tieche, gathered at a “Teachers’ Talk” to share teaching philosophies, innovative ideas, best practices and experiences.

The 2014 Exemplary Practices for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education highlight some of what the recipients covered during their time together. Much of the information is of a practical nature, with the intent that other educators can adapt the ideas for their classrooms and learning centres.

Nominations are now open for the 2015 awards and must be submitted by April 30, 2015. If you know an exceptional teacher or early childhood educator whose practice should be honored and shared, please consider nominating them for a 2015 Prime Minister’s Awards. Nomination packages are available at and for more information, you can contact the PMA office at 613-991-4255 or


A hands-on head-start: ACE IT Piping Foundation program partnership for Mountainside Secondary students opens at the Squamish Nation Trade Centre

Students and guests at the official opening of the ACE IT Piping Foundation Program


April 7, 2015

Seventeen students from Mountainside Secondary are getting a head-start in hands-on trades training at the Squamish Nation Trade Centre through a new ACE IT Piping Foundation program. We are proud to be involved in the program, ade possible through a B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint partnership involving the Squamish First Nation, the Industry Training Authority (ITA), Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), our school district and the private sector.

DSC_0092The Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training program (ACE IT), allows students to take their first level of technical training in certain trades while at the same time giving them high school credits needed for graduation. Students in the ACE IT Piping Foundation program will earn hours toward Level 1 certification in three trades: plumbing, sprinkler fitting and steam/pipefitting. They will also get a real-world perspective on the piping trades through job shadowing opportunities. Pipefitters and sprinkler system installers are in the top 60 of projected in-demand occupations to meet future labour force needs.