North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

World Teacher’s Day – October 5, 2014

On behalf of the Board of Education and the Executive Committee:

October 5, 2014 is World Teachers’ Day.  In 1994, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, inaugurated October 5th as an annual day to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels.  World Teachers’ Day represents a significant symbol of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development. UNESCO’s World Teacher’s Day theme is ”Invest in the future, Invest in teachers” and addresses the critical role that teachers play in the development of the younger generation, the need to increase the number of teachers today, and the importance of teachers to society.

Along with over 100 countries around the world, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and its Member organizations across the country celebrate World Teachers’ Day through a public awareness campaign that highlights the contributions of the teaching profession. The Federation’s 2014 motto is “It all starts with a qualified teacher”.


Safe routes to schools: 2013 School Travel Survey Summary Report available


October 3, 2014

With the return of students to school, driving patterns in neighbourhoods change. Whether students are walking, biking or being driven to school,  additional alertness is required by everyone to keep routes safe.

In the Fall of 2013, families from our elementary schools were invited to participate in a travel survey to improve understanding of how students travel to and from school. Perhaps not surprisingly, schools with TravelSmart programs and parent-led traffic information safety campaigns record higher satisfaction with traffic and road safety conditions around the school.

This survey was a joint initiative between the City of North Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver and our school district. You can find the summary report, as well as other school transportation studies from the District of North Vancouver, here. The City of North Vancouver has posted the Summary Report here.

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.


2014 AFK Scholarship Winners


I am pleased to announce the receipients of the 2014 Artists for Kids scholarships:

  • Golnar Mohmood-Khalesi, Carson Graham Secondary School – Robert Bateman: Future Teacher Award
  • Hannah deBourcier, Argyle Secondary School – Jack Shadbolt: Multiple Arts Excellence Award
  • Annette Cheung, Argyle Secondary School – North Shore Community Foundation-Gordon Smith Outstanding Visual Artist Prize

The scholarship committee had a difficult selection process but did agree on the outstanding quality of work presented by the final recipients.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Welcome to 2014/15: a Message from the Chair and the Superintendent

September 26, 2014

It’s with great pleasure that we welcome everyone to a new school year. The delayed start created several tense weeks and we are glad the situation was resolved with a negotiated agreement that allowed teachers to return to work and students to return to class. The enthusiasm everyone showed at the beginning of this week was inspiring to see, and we hope it is sustained and grows in the months ahead.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your patience through what was a very difficult time. We believe that the six-year agreement will bring a considerable measure of stability to our public education system. Of course, there are still many impacts to work through, and we will ensure you are kept informed as these are addressed. As always, if you have any concerns about your child’s learning or how curriculum will be delivered as the year unfolds, please contact your child’s teachers directly. Ongoing parent-teacher communication is essential to supporting student learning and success.

An exciting year is ahead! Already, we are preparing for a number of announcements to share recent accomplishments and new opportunities in our school district. We know that great work is done in our schools, and we take pride in the achievements of students as they learn, share and grow in life. Thank you again for your support and your commitment to public education and, most of all, to your child’s learning. We wish everyone an excellent year.


Franci Stratton
North Vancouver
Board of Education

John Lewis
Superintendent of Schools
North Vancouver
School District

Return to school

September 19, 2014

I am delighted to report that the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has now ratified the tentative agreement with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).  While we await ratification of the Agreement by Boards of Education later this afternoon, we will proceed with the start to the 2014/15 school year with school opening on Monday.   

All schools in North Vancouver will open on Monday, September 22nd, for students in Grades 1 through 12, with a shortened first-day schedule.  This will enable our schools to confirm student enrolment, review classroom organization, update student timetables, where necessary, and prepare for full days of instruction on Tuesday through Friday.  Parents should check school websites and posted notices for school-specific schedules and operating hours.

Kindergarten students will be welcomed to our elementary schools starting on Tuesday, September 23rd with the Gradual Entry process established within the School Act.  The first week of Kindergarten is an important transition for our youngest children.  During the Gradual Entry period, Kindergarten teachers are able to work with smaller groups of children for shorter periods of time to help them develop independence in classroom and school routines. The details of the schedule for attendance of Kindergarten students will be provided by each elementary school. 

Our main priority for the coming week is to welcome back our students and staff and to re-establish normal operations as quickly as possible.  We appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we strive to achieve a smooth start to this school year. 

I will be providing a further update next week as additional clarification is provided by the Ministry of Education regarding instructional time and decisions related to report cards from last June.  There are numerous other details to be communicated in the coming weeks ahead. 

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school and a productive week ahead. 

A print copy of this letter is available here.

Planning for next week

September 18, 2014

As noted in my letter on Tuesday, the members of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) will conduct a ratification vote on Thursday to determine whether or not they support the tentative agreement with the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA).

If the agreement is ratified by the BCTF membership, all schools in the North Vancouver School District will open on Monday, September 22nd, with a shortened first-day schedule as per standard practice. The shortened first day allows us to welcome students in Grades 1 through 12, begin to address immediate enrolment and classroom assignments, and complete other essential preparatory work.

The first full day of school for all students, and the first day of gradual entry for Kindergarten students, will then be Tuesday, September 23rd.  Where necessary, further adjustments will be made to school schedules to provide for full days of instruction for the remainder of the week, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 24, 25, and 26.

I will be in touch again on Friday, following the results of the BCTF ratification vote.

A print copy of this message is available here.  

September 16, 2014 update: tentative agreement announced between BCPSEA and BCTF

September 16, 2014

As announced through the media early this morning, September 16, a tentative agreement has been negotiated between the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) and the British Columbia Public Schools Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), with the assistance of Vince Ready.

Details of this tentative agreement will not be available until later today with both parties expected to report through the media. The BCTF has indicated that teachers will vote on Thursday before the agreement may be ratified. In the meantime, pickets remain in place at all school locations and are expected to continue until the agreement is confirmed.

At this time, we are unable to provide confirmation of the start to the school year, as these details may be included within the tentative agreement. We expect to start our school year with the traditional procedures of welcoming students back for a shortened first day to enable confirmation of enrolment and class organization. Details will be provided to parents as soon as possible.

We look forward to a positive return for our students, parents, teachers and staff in each and every one of our classrooms and schools. Everyone has been deeply affected by the disruption of the labour dispute and we are relieved that a tentative agreement has now been reached.

We sincerely appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we move toward the opening of schools for the 2014-2015 school year.


September 1, 2014 letter to parents/guardians

September 1, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Subject: schools not opening for instruction on Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This letter is to confirm that North Vancouver schools will not be open for instruction on Tuesday, September 2.  We expect that teachers will not report to work and that our schools will be behind picket lines.  This is deeply disappointing news for our students, families, staff, and Board of Education.

Efforts over this past weekend to achieve a settlement of the ongoing labour dispute between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) were unsuccessful.  As the distance between the two parties continues to be significant, the resolution of this dispute remains uncertain.  We remain hopeful that progress will be achieved in the near future to work towards a settlement.

We encourage families to make alternate arrangements for their children, as necessary, during the continuing strike action. Although principals and vice-principals will be in schools, they will be unable to provide students with instruction or supervision.  We respectfully ask that parents do not bring children to schools for the duration of the strike.

It is our current understanding that pre-schools and daycares operating on school sites will be open and parents will be allowed to cross picket lines to escort their children to daycares and pre-schools.  Please contact your daycare and/or pre-school provider to review opening and closing times and procedures.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during these difficult times.

We will continue to keep you informed through direct messages and through our school district website at



Superintendent of Schools, North Vancouver School District

August 29, 2014 letter to parents and guardians

August 29, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

RE: Preparing for September

This letter is a follow-up to my message of August 25th to update you on the current labour dispute and provide information about the potential for schools to open, or not, on Tuesday, September 2nd.

The possibility of mediation

Representatives of the British Columbia School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) met yesterday, and are meeting again today, with mediator Vince Ready. The intention of these talks is to assess the readiness of both parties for mediation. Depending on developments over the weekend, there is a possibility that school may open on Tuesday for our standard shortened opening day.

When will parents know if schools will open?

Please visit on Monday evening for an announcement to confirm whether or not school will be open on Tuesday the 2nd.

We realize and respect that teachers have not been at work for a long time and that schools are not fully prepared for our regular opening procedures. However, as soon as this year’s opening date is confirmed, we will welcome staff and students back, go through our first day and begin the work of the year ahead. Teachers and support staff are experienced and skilled in addressing the demands of this time of year, and principals and vice-principals have well-developed routines in place.  Attached please find a FAQ for further information on this year’s start-up procedures.

Keeping informed

I will write again next week and school principals are also in the process of sending important information and direction for the start of the school year. Whether or not our start date is delayed, please take the time to read these messages in order to assist us with our opening procedures and the smoothest start possible for students under the circumstances.

We appreciate your continued patience and understanding.



Superintendent of Schools, North Vancouver School District



September 2014 start-up


Q: Is it still possible that schools will open on September 2nd?

A: Yes. If an agreement is reached for a negotiated settlement, or a lifting of strike/lockout action while mediation is underway, then we will be ready to open schools on September 2nd.


Q: How will I know if school will open on September 2nd?

A: We encourage you to follow the media for any updates that may occur in the discussions scheduled for the weekend. We will also post any information to our website, as soon as it has been confirmed. Other information sources available to consult are:


Q: Who should I contact to voice my concerns regarding the current labour dispute?

A: You may wish to express your concerns to:


Q: If school does not open on September 2nd, can I bring my child to school anyway?

A: We cannot provide instruction or appropriate supervision without our full staff complement, and therefore ask that parents do not bring or send children to school until our staff teams are once again in place and school is fully operational.  Please make alternate arrangements, as necessary.


Q: How can I get more information on registering my child for school?

A: Student registration information is available at:


Q: If the labour dispute continues, can I still register my child for school?

A: Yes. Please ensure you have consulted our registration information for directions and guidance on what to bring to register your child/children for school.