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.


World Autism Awareness Day – April 2, 2016

On April 2, 2016, World Autism Awareness Day will be recognized in the North Vancouver School District.World Autism Day Logo

Each year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awareness-raising events. World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), observed on April 2, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007.

The Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign coincides with World Autism Awareness Day and everyone is encouraged to wear blue to show their support for those who are affected by autism.

About the Light It Up Blue Campaign:

  • Spreads awareness and understanding of autism
  • Celebrates and honors the unique talents and skills of people with autism
  • Brings attention to the needs of all people with autism

Carson Graham takes the silver medal at Canadian Improv Games

CG Imrpov

Big congratulations to the Carson Graham Improv [CGI] team for their outstanding performances at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa over the Spring Break. Placing 2nd at this level is a huge accomplishment and I would like to thank Carson Graham Principal Karim Hachlaf for sharing his post:

Turn it off before you take off for Spring Break


Spring break is just around the corner and we’re asking staff to do their part to reduce phantom power while the schools are closed. Phantom power is the energy used by electronics even when they aren’t in use because they have a battery pack, a clock or other internal brain drawing a small amount of energy. With all the equipment we have in our schools this can really add up. So if you are leaving for Spring Break, please plan to “Turn it off, before you take off”.

Not sure what you can turn off or unplug?

Read through the list and when in doubt, leave it plugged in. Do not unplug anything that is difficult or dangerous to reach. While this list was prepared for schools, it may also help you reduce energy waste through phantom power at home.

Together we’ll cut down on phantom power and make sure our electronics also get a break over spring break.

Thanks everyone!


Student Assignment featured in the North Shore News

During this week’s celebration of Class Acts, I would like to share an article co-written by Queensbury Elementary student Nodin C. Ravensbergen and North Shore News restaurant reviewer Chris Dagenais.

Nodin contacted the NS News as part of his class project on exploring careers. He was invited to accompany Chris on a review of a local restaurant, and the article was featured in the NS News on February 17, 2016.

The Dish review is informative and entertaining, and I congratulate Nodin for a job well done!

I would also like to thank writer Chris Dagenais and the North Shore News for providing this unique experience for Nodin.


International Women’s Day – March 8, 2016

InternationalWomensDay-landscapeToday is March 8, 2016 and we are recognizing International Women’s Day in the North Vancouver School District. Having equal access to an education is every child’s right in Canada and it is important to reflect on how far we have come.

Equal opportunity for all learners is an expectation that is at the core of our District Vision and Values and 10-Year Strategic Plan. We wish for each individual to reach their full potential and encourage all students and staff to celebrate their personal achievements.

I encourage you to visit the International Women’s Day website, which has many resources you may wish to explore:


Class Acts: A Celebration of Education in the North Vancouver School District 2016

One of the busiest times of the year for our School District is March, during Class Acts: A Celebration of Education in the North Vancouver School District. Many events and activities are taking place during this time and I would like to highlight a few here:

25 Year Employee Recognition: On Monday, March 7th we are celebrating 53 employees for their exceptional service to the North Vancouver School District. These employees hold the experience, wisdom and perspective that makes our School District the success it is today. Their contribution to the education of our students is to be honoured and we are proud to be recognizing these long standing employees today.

Music: Last week the Intermediate Music Festival took place at Centennial Theatre and featured students in Grades 4-7 from each of our elementary schools. The Band & Strings Festival was held at Mountainside Secondary. On Wednesday, March 9th, our Secondary Band & Strings students will be performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Centennial Theatre.



Artists for Kids: A Readers Choice 2016 finalist for Educational Program for Kids, Artists for Kids will be holding its Art Enrichment Show at the Education Services Centre on Thursday, March 10th. This exhibition features student artwork from the 2015-2016 AFK Art Enrichment Programs. As well, the Gordon Smith Gallery will be open for guests and families on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 – 4:00pm.


Trustee Reception: Also on Thursday, March 10th our Trustees are hosting a reception at the View for our partners in education. This annual event acknowledges the involvement of those parents, community members and businesses who enrich the learning opportunities for our students.

I would like to thank the organizers of Class Acts: A Celebration of Education in the North Vancouver School District, Ray Bodnaruk and Chanin Smyth, and committee members for their exceptional work in planning these showcase events for our School District.

Lynnmour Elementary Random Acts of Kindness

As a follow-up to my Pink Shirt Day post last Wednesday, I wanted to provide more information about the Random Acts of Kindness initiative by Lynnmour Elementary students and staff:

From Principal Kelly La Roue:  This year, the staff and students at Lynnmour have been focusing on Michele Borba’s book: Building Moral Intelligence – The Seven Essential Virtues That Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing. One theme per month is selected as a focus and classes take turns leading the activities for the school.

February is our “Kindness” month and it was my turn to lead the classes in activities. We kicked off the month with a Kindness Assembly on February 1st as a way to put more emphasis on compassion and empathy. Our message to the students was simple – “spending more time on kindness, respect and empathy leaves no time for bullying or teasing.” We are teaching the meaning and value of kindness, establishing zero tolerance for unkindness and pointing out the positive effects of kindness.

Lynnmour KindnessSome of the school-wide activities this month include writing kindness letters (154 letters sent to the Education Services Centre and random high school teachers), reading stories, watching video clips about kindness (and the science behind kindness), TED talks, making a kindness “quilt”, reading messages of random acts of kindness over the PA and having a Funny Joke Friday. The Funny Joke Friday has been a real hit – 2 classes at a time come up with their best 6 jokes to share. The students read their jokes over the PA and we listen for the laughter coming from the classrooms. It’s been a great way to end the week! Ms. Meule’s Grade 3 class participated in the Vancouver Giant’s Day of Acceptance and had a great time watching the game and participating in a flash mob.


District Lockdown Drill Day – February 25, 2016

Students and staff in the North Vancouver School District participated in a lockdown drill on February 25, 2016. In partnership with the North Vancouver RCMP, schools practised the procedures for responding to a threat inside or outside of the building.


In the letter sent to parents on February 16, 2016, we stressed the importance of having conversations about the experience after the drill to reassure students and help them develop new coping and self-calming techniques for the future. We recommend these conversations also take place at home and encourage parents and guardians to review the Q&A provided in the letter.

In the North Vancouver School District, we recognize our responsibility towards the safety of students and staff on our premises at all times. While the incidence of threatening behaviours in our schools is very low, we hope you will find this knowledge of our procedures to be reassuring. Please don’t hesitate to discuss this information with your school principal or contact Brad Baker, District Principal, Safe and Caring Schools.

Pink Shirt – anti-bullying awareness day – February 24

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.24.40 AMAlthough Anti-bullying initiatives are highlighted this week and especially today, there are many initiatives that take place in our schools throughout the year to foster a safe and caring environment for all students and staff.

A recent example that I am pleased to share is the personalized letters of kindness received by staff at the Education Services Centre from students of Lynnmour Elementary.  Their messages  of kindness included ‘Spreading kindness is the sugar that makes life sweeter?  You can do it, too!”  This act of kindness was well-received by our staff, creating connections of caring between staff and students.

As a school district, we are pleased to support the Anti-Bullying/Pink Shirt Day as a means to  raise awareness of the issue of bullying as a societal issue, and encourage the sharing of ideas and solutions to address it.

As we all know, addressing the causes, behaviours and solutions to bullying is a complex issue.  Our School District  emphasizes the importance of creating schools as places of belonging–where all children feel safe and welcome at school.  By attending to the social and emotional learning needs of students, a foundation is in place to develop schools that we can all appreciate as places of belonging.

The Ministry of Education ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) Bullying website is a great resource on how to support youth who are experiencing bullying. It also includes an online reporting tool for students to report bullying, and information about speaking up and not being a bystander.

We encourage everyone to acknowledge and adopt anti-bullying practices – each and every day!

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

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