Foods that Fit

It was another successful Foods that Fit workshop for lunch coordinators and interested parents at the Education Services Centre on April 15th.

The afternoon began with food sampling from local hot lunch vendors followed by presentations and discussions about healthy food choices, food safety, and waste reduction. VCH Public Health Dietitian Helen Yeung facilitated the workshop with guest speakers from Vancouver Coastal Health, Healthlink BC Dietitian Services, Edible Garden Project, and North Shore Recycling.

This was a great opportunity for hot lunch/food days committee members to share ideas and best practices. Foods that Fit is hosted by the North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health.

Foods that Fit 2
NVPAC Executive Members Debra Dennehy, Karen Nordquist, and Jane Lagden Holborne


Foods that Fit 1
Healthlink BC Dietitians Sophia Baker-French and Adrienne Ngai and VCH Public Health Dietitian Helen Yeung


Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Seycove Secondary


Every year, our schools welcome many special guests. Visitors create opportunities for staff and students to proudly represent their school as a unique community of teaching and learning. This courteous spirit was readily observed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday, April 7th during his stop at Seycove Secondary to announce an expansion of the Canada Student Grants program.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, and James Moore, Minister of Industry, who thanked Seycove Principal David Overgaard, staff and students for opening their doors to the Prime Minister and his entourage.

A visit from the Prime Minister is a complex event, involving police, security, media, special guests, government staff and elected officials. I would like to commend everyone at Seycove for their considerate and attentive manner in the preparations for, and throughout, this rare occasion. Learn more on our Splendid! blog.

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

44 Dresses Event at Education Services Centre

The second annual 44 Dresses event held at the Education Services Centre earlier this week was another huge success. Thanks to the generous donations from our North Shore community, the Grade 7 students had plenty of outfits to choose from. Leaving Grade 7 is a big transition and 44 Dresses (and 44 Shirts) makes every effort to ensure students have something special to wear to their school Farewell celebrations. Though not a NVSD event, I am very proud of 44 Dresses and how it supports our students in such a positive way.

44 dresses

This event is made possible by Elena Grant, owner of Sofiabella in Edgemont Village, and Lisa Upton, Principal of Norgate Community School. Elena and the team of dedicated volunteers received, sorted, and transported over 400 dresses and shirts as well as shoes and accessories for this event. Lisa made arrangements with schools so that students could come and have a special experience at the “boutique”.

In addition to the volunteers who assisted with 44 Dresses, Elena and Lisa would like to recognize the generosity of the following community partners for their support: Fresh Street Market, who provided food and refreshments for the students and volunteer helpers; Lush Cosmetics for providing the goodie “swag” bags; Posy Florist for their beautiful flower centerpieces; BC Playthings for the balloon bouquets; Alix Diaz for her graphic design; NS News for their coverage of the event, and North Vancouver School District for the use of the 5th floor space. Big thanks as well to Heather McKenzie, founder of the Cinderella Project, for her ongoing inspiration, support, and mentorship to 44 Dresses.

North Vancouver School District Music Festivals

I would like to highlight two North Vancouver School District music festivals that showcased students from North Vancouver School District.

The 35th annual Intermediate Music Festival took place on February 24th and 25th at Centennial Theatre. Eighteen elementary schools participated with hundreds of students having the opportunity to share classroom music and extra-curricular choral music with their peers. I would like to recognize Margaret Inglis and Michele Denny for their tremendous efforts in organizing this festival.

The Elementary Band and Strings Festival took place on March 4th and 5th at Mountainside Secondary School. Students performed with other bands and strings groups from a variety of North Vancouver schools. We have one of the largest elementary instrumental programs in British Columbia and this program’s success is a highlight for our school district. I would like to thank Bill Piggott who only in his second year in this role has done a fabulous job of organizing this event.

Both festivals are a highlight for students, parents and staff. We are extremely pleased with how these events have evolved and how hard the students work to prepare for their performances. These events also highlight the good work of our music teachers and provide an excellent professional development opportunity for teachers as they share musical repertoires old and new. Master music teachers Margaret, Michele, and Bill work tirelessly behind the scenes and continue to foster music in our schools.

Lastly I would also like to thank Yolande Martinello, District Principal, Fine Arts, for her support and leadership.


“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


Sutherland Builds Connections within Family of Schools

Teachers from Sutherland Secondary School have been busy organizing leadership opportunities for their students while building relationships with students from their feeder schools.

Sutherland’s Transitions Math/Science 8 class hosted grade 2 and 3 students from Queensbury Elementary School in January. Grade 8 hosts prepared community-building games, then led their guests in a lab investigation to find out how different solids react to heat. They finished off the morning with some of the 8s’ favourite math games. Students enjoyed sharing their classroom with the younger students and look forward to more opportunities to connect.


Sutherland Science 1 Sutherland Science 2

In March, grade 6 and 7 students from Brooksbank Elementary School had fun taking part in a cooking class at Sutherland. Senior Foods Studies students provided guidance and support as their guests made a dessert dish in the foods lab. It was a great opportunity for elementary students to experience a day at their future secondary school.

Sutherland Foods 1 Sutherland Foods 2

Sutherland Foods 3

The family of schools (FOS) connections have been very positive and a valuable experience for all involved. Big thanks to the teachers who make these opportunities possible: Brooksbank teacher Angela McKay, Queensbury teacher Laurie Kennedy, and Sutherland teachers Brad Thornhill and Tanya Virani. Thank you also to Sutherland Vice-Principal Caren Hall for providing the details for this post.

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.


“Waste Diversion in Schools Handbook” now available


In conjunction with our waste diversion in schools program, a new, unique resource for NVSD teachers–by teachers–has just been released. The North Vancouver School District’s Waste Diversion in Schools Handbook,  supports a significant change in the way food waste is handled in our schools and represents another advance in our commitment to sustainability education.

With practical ideas and extensive links to both French and English teaching resources, the handbook conveniently connects the new standards and expectations of Metro Vancouver’s organics waste disposal ban with the BC Curriculum for K—12 students.

Co-authors Corrinne Kinnon, Susan Johnston and Tricia Gardner present ideas and solutions already being piloted in some of our schools including litter-free lunches; assembly topics, local field trip opportunities and potential guest speakers to help bring the message home. This handbook represents an outstanding contribution to our environmental education resources and I encourage every educator in our school district to review its contents and create an approach to waste diversion that engages all students in practical acts of everyday sustainability.

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools