North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

Archives for Instructional Practice

Re-Designs: Transforming the Curriculum

As a follow-up to my post on February 10th announcing the Designs 2015 series, I wanted to acknowledge the Designs 2015 team who created Re-Designs: Transforming the Curriculum and co-constructed this year’s Curriculum Implementation Day on January 9th. The Designs 2015 team is comprised of Secondary and Elementary educators from each Family of Schools. Team members led the Designs sessions and presented practical classroom strategies and best practices. Participants appreciated the opportunity to discuss and plan, and work in cross-school grade teams.

Thank you to the following Designs 2015 team members for their hard work and leadership:

Sean Soper, Julie Bertrand, Susan Johnston, Kammi Clark, Megan Wheatley, Judy (Dee) Chen, Louise Owen, Cheryl Ham, Ian Powell, Paul Shtenko, Veronique Darwin, Roland Schulz, Paul Clarke, Caren Hall, Jeeniece Chand, Cary Hungle, Carla Orr, Kathleen Barter, Glenda Robertson and Joanne Robertson.

This group also took part in this year’s Coast Metro series featuring Ron Ritchhard. Ron’s work Making Thinking Visible was a central theme of Re-Designs and aligns with District initiatives.

Designs 2015 wrapped up on February 24th and was very well-received with over 175 registrants.

Designs 2 Wordle

Beyond the Hurt Youth Training

On January 21st, Carson Graham teacher Shauna Glover and her Community and Initiatives 10 class transformed one of our most popular meeting spaces at the Education Services Centre into their classroom for the day. The view from the patio outside the Ocean View Room was not enough to distract these students from their Beyond the Hurt Youth Training, a bullying prevention program facilitated by prevention educators through the Canadian Red Cross.




Through this training, students become prepared to be youth facilitators in discussions about bullying and harassment. Shauna’s class will soon be delivering workshops to grade 8 students at Carson Graham and grade 6 students from their feeder schools. By working proactively with peers, these students are thrilled to take on an influential role in positively shaping their own school community.

Designs 2015

Feedback from the January 9th Curriculum Implementation Day has been very positive. North Vancouver School District educators appreciated the opportunity to learn about the proposed revisions to the provincial curriculum and assessment frameworks.

Building on the theme: Transforming the Curriculum, the District Coast Metro/Designs Team is presenting Re-Designs 2015, a 3-session series that explores BC’s Education Plan in more depth. With a focus on the new framework for BC’s transformed curriculum, including the three Core Competencies (Thinking, Communication, and Personal/Social Responsibility), K-12 teachers will come away with practical tools and strategies for implementing and assessing the core competencies in their classroom.

Re-Designs began January 27th.


Changing Results for Young Readers

The first two Family of Schools teams are about to complete this year’s inservice: Changing Results for Young Readers. Over four morning sessions, primary teachers, learning assistance teachers, teacher librarians, literacy support staff, and administrators are enhancing their understanding of effective literacy instruction with the focus on improving reading results for struggling K-3 readers.

Feedback from participants has been very positive and I’d like to thank Joanne Robertson, Learning Services and the CR4YR Team for making these sessions possible.  For more information about this inservice, please visit:

Changing Results

Ilona Wardas (Blueridge teacher) presents CR4YR strategies to her colleagues


Family Literacy Week

I was delighted to be invited as a guest reader by Teacher-Librarian Ieke Giese of Upper Lynn on January 27th as part of Family Literacy Week.  Three Primary classes were able to join together in the library as part of the kick-off to this special week.


Every year I look forward to the opportunity to read to students. This year’s reading selections were How to Teach a Slug to Read, by Susan Pearson and The Snatchabook, by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty.  Both of these selections were fun to read to the children. Both stories highlighted the importance of learning to read and to share the joy of reading with others.  My girls are quite grown up now, so I don’t get the chance to read children’s literature as much as I did in the past!




The Family Literacy Week initiative highlights the importance of reading and literacy skill development. North Vancouver School District educators are currently taking part in Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR), a provincial initiative to encourage reading amongst primary aged students. I will be posting an update soon on our CR4YR inservice sessions.

Curriculum Implementation Day – January 9, 2015

The theme for this year’s Curriculum Implementation Day was Transforming Curriculum: Understanding the New Core Competencies.

Staff across our school district worked in their Family of Schools teams and learned about BC’s Curriculum Transformation planned for implementation in September 2016. Activities and discussion involved working through the new learning standards and core competencies.

I’d like to thank Learning Services and the Joint Education and Program Implementation Committee for organizing the materials and shape of the day, and staff for their participation.


To learn more about BC’s new curriculum, go to:

Watch this blog for information about our Re-Designs Series 2015, starting January 27th.

Aboriginal Success Story

Brad Baker was recently featured in the North Shore News:

In this article, Brad speaks about his experiences as our District’s first Aboriginal teacher, working with Aboriginal youth, and the way Aboriginal culture is being honoured today.  Brad also speaks candidly about his family and how they have had an impact on his career choices and aspirations.

In November, Brad was awarded the Indigenous Educator Award in Leadership in Toronto:

Furthering Brad’s work in promoting success with our First Nations students, the Aboriginal Education Team will be showcasing students of Aboriginal ancestry in our District in an initiative of the North Vancouver School District in conjunction with the BC Ministry of Education Aboriginal Education. I thank Brad and the Aboriginal Education Team for providing these experiences and opportunities for our First Nation students.


National Education Leadership Award

I was deeply honoured to attend the National Gathering for Indigenous education last week in Toronto, Ontario.  The Guiding the Journey conference featured innovative practices in Indigenous Education and the Guiding the Journey Educator Awards.  Brad Baker, our District Administrator for Aboriginal Education along with Stephanie Maki, Carson Graham teacher, presented the North Vancouver School District story, highlighting the tremendous progress achieved within our schools and community in supporting First Nations Education for all students.  A most appreciative audience of more than 100 educators from across Canada were greatly impressed by the progress achieved in our School District and the leadership being provided in First Nations Education.


In recognition of his dedication and leadership in First Nations Education within the North Vancouver School District and Canada, Brad Baker received a National Indigenous Educator Award for Leadership.  I can justifiably say how proud we are as a school district for Brad’s dedicated commitment and contribution to our students’ continued progress and to our own learning and understanding.


Hoy Chewx a!

Thank you!

Harvard Scholar Visits North Vancouver

On Monday November 3rd 2014 Dr. Ron Ritchhart, a Senior Research Associate at Harvard University’s Project Zero, spoke to an audience of over 100 North Vancouver School District leaders.  In attendance were School and District Administrators, NVTA Executive members, Family of Schools Leaders and Teacher Leaders, Secondary Department Heads, and other teacher leaders from across the School District.

Ron’s engaging talk focused on teaching for deep understanding, the development of intellectual character, and the important role that educational leaders play in the development of school and classroom cultures that make students’ thinking valued, visible, and actively promoted in classrooms.

Ron’s research and writings, particularly his framework for understanding group culture, have informed the work of schools throughout the world. His latest book, Making Thinking Visible written with Mark Church and Karin Morrison, takes readers inside a diverse range of learning environments to show how thinking can be made visible at any level and across all subject areas through the use of effective questioning, listening, documentation, and facilitative structures called thinking routines.

Making Thinking Visible

Our School District leaders were very appreciative of the opportunity to hear Ron speak in North Vancouver.  Ron is a keynote speaker for the 2014-2015 Lower Mainland Coast Metro workshop series, which began on November 4th and continues until April 2015. A team of 16 North Vancouver School District teacher leaders will participate in the Coast Metro series and apply Ron’s research to the development of our January 9th Curriculum Implementation Day and the Designs 2015 workshop series.

We believe that Ron’s work with schools and school systems across the world aligns well with the transformation of BC’s curriculum and will support our educators in prioritizing the processes of thinking and learning in classrooms.  Specifically, Ron’s emphasis on thinking and the practical classroom strategies, resources, and assessment tools he provides will greatly enhance our implementation of the new Core Thinking Competency.

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.