North Vancouver School District #44

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District #44

7/8 Transitions and Enhanced Programming Night – January 15, 2015

Our annual 7/8 Transitions and Enhanced Programming Night was held at Sutherland Secondary School on Thursday, January 15, 2015 and was attended by over 1,000 students and parents interested in learning more about transitioning to secondary school and the enhanced programs offered in North Vancouver School District. The evening began with information about registration, course selection, and the Grade 8 experience. Students and parents learned about the supports available to them during the 7/8 transition and what to expect at secondary school.

Participants moved through the various info booths and heard first-hand from staff and fellow students about our sports and arts academies as well as our academic programs. This was a great opportunity for our enhanced programs to be showcased and I’d like to thank all of our organizers for making the evening another success.

This event is part of the Towards the Future for Schools Board Standing Committee Meetings and is always well received. To learn more about the North Vancouver School District Enhanced Programs and Programs of Choice, please visit:


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.

New Year’s greetings from the Chair and the Superintendent

January 8, 2015

Welcome to 2015! By now we hope students, staff and families are settling into school routines after an enjoyable holiday season. The months between January and June are always a busy combination of hard work, perseverance and the rewards that come from seeing progress realized and goals achieved.

A major, annual event that parents and guardians of Grade 7 students won’t want to miss takes place next week. On January 15, our Grade 7-8 Transition to Secondary School Enhanced Programs Information Meeting will bring together hundreds of students, parents, staff and student representatives to learn more about personalized learning in our secondary schools.

While space is limited to families preparing for this transition, the evening highlights the dramatic progress we have made in recent years to develop enriched programs for both elementary and secondary students. To learn more about our enhanced programs, please visit our website.

Through the Changing Results for Young Readers initiative, our primary teachers now have new resources and approaches to improve literacy instruction for students that recognizes diverse learning styles. As well, after more than a year of preparation, the process of introducing MyEducationBC in our school district is now underway. The province-wide initiative is an intensive one, requiring considerable staff training and collaboration, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to integrate this new student information service into our operations.

Elected in November, the North Vancouver Board of Education is committed to providing the best possible learning environments and outcomes for all students. Securing project approval for the replacement of Argyle Secondary remains a priority for the Board, and we continue to work with the Ministry of Education to this end.

Our Annual Community Report will be published in March with information on the successes and challenges we face as we continue to implement our Strategic Plan. We look forward to working with you, and our partners in the community, and we welcome your feedback and input along the way.



John Lewis
Superintendent of Schools


Barry Forward



School Choirs perform at the Education Services Centre

The sounds of Christmas filled the Education Services Centre last week as we had visits from both the Ross Road Choir, led by teacher Suzanne Morgan, and the Blueridge Choir, led by teacher Michele Denny.

Both concerts were greatly appreciated by staff, who took a break from their work to enjoy this gift of song.

A big thank you to Suzanne and Michele for recruiting and preparing these eager and dedicated students whose enthusiasm really shined during the performances. We are extremely fortunate for their thoughtfulness in spreading joy to us at the ESC during the holiday season.


Ross Road Choir led by Suzanne Morgan


Blueridge Choir led by Michele Denny

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.


Farm to School BC Start-up Grants

I am pleased to announce Farm to School BC has funding available for schools interested in starting a new Farm to School program. Grants up to $4000 will be awarded to successful applicants to plan and implement a new program that brings healthy local produce into schools. Farm to School programs provide students with hands-on learning experiences and promotes healthy eating habits. Farm to School also connects schools with their communities and local farmers.

Schools may contact Helen Yeung, VCH North Shore Public Health Dietitian, for information and/or assistance with their grant application (

Grant applications are due December 19th and results will be announced January 16th.

Please visit the Farm to School BC website for more information:



Severe Weather Information 2014/15

Announcements of District-wide Closures and/or Delayed Openings of Schools

With the recent snowfall, we want to remind parents/guardians, students, and staff of the North Vancouver School District’s winter weather procedures and announcements. 

All schools in the North Vancouver School District will remain OPEN, if at all possible during winter weather, including snowfalls.  Any district-wide closure will be decided by 6:30 a.m. at the latest and will be announced through the media.  If weather conditions are questionable, announcements will also be made to say that schools are open.

Information about any district-wide closures will be sent to Metro Vancouver radio and television stations.  Please check the following stations for school closure information:

CBC AM 690 radio                     Global TV                    

CHMJ AM 730 radio                  CBC TV

CHQM FM 103.5 radio               City TV

CKNW AM 980 radio                  BC-CTV

CJVB Fairchild AM 1470 radio    Fairchild TV

CKWX News AM 1130 radio      

CFOX 99.3 radio                      

Announcements of school closures or delayed openings will be posted on the School District’s website at  The North Vancouver School District will use the SchoolConnects system to contact parents/guardians in the event of an Emergency Release of students during the school day.  Individual school closures due to unique circumstances (e.g., power outages) will be announced as early as possible through SchoolConnects.

Student safety is our first priority and a shared responsibility.  Parents/guardians are responsible for their child’s safe travel to school.  If for any reason, a parent/guardian feels that a child cannot travel safely to school, then they should make other arrangements for their child.  Students will not be penalized for absences due to weather conditions.  The decision to attend school is the responsibility of each family.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to establish an emergency plan for their children in the event that schools are closed, the school’s start time is delayed, or students are dismissed early.  This is a reminder that all students need to dress warmly and appropriately for winter weather conditions.

At this time, we encourage you to review your own preparations for winter weather and ensure that you are familiar with your municipality’s snow and ice response procedures. We request that you strictly adhere to parking restrictions in and around all North Vancouver schools.  Your child’s school will contact you about any changes to driving routes that may be put into effect on streets adjacent to the school. 

With your cooperation and adherence to winter weather procedures, we can help achieve safe conditions for students travelling to and from school.  Please put safety first.

John Lewis

Superintendent of Schools

North Vancouver School District (No. 44)


Metro Vancouver Weather Forecast – Environment Canada

City of North Vancouver – Snow and Ice Removal

District of North Vancouver – Snow and Ice Removal

North Shore Emergency Management Office

StrongStart success in North Vancouver

StrongStart is a place where qualified early childhood educators connect with our youngest learners and help them to prepare for Kindergarten. The program is play-based and involves preschool-aged children and their parent/caregiver. Our StrongStart facilitators nurture a sense of belonging and create exciting Invitations to Learning in a classroom setting. Located in 7 of our elementary schools, the goal of the StrongStart program is to build confidence and encourage friendships. Meanwhile parents and caregivers will learn how they can help support their child’s learning, language development, skills, knowledge, and attitudes for success in school.

We have received positive feedback about our StrongStart Facilitators from parents who attend. These talented educators are a valuable addition to our teaching team and we appreciate their expertise and leadership.

Learn more about StrongStart in the North Vancouver School District:


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!

Queen Mary receives 2014 BC Heritage Conservation Outstanding Achievement Award

 Queen Mary front

We are proud to recognize the heritage restoration and reconstruction of Queen Mary School which won the 2014 BC Heritage Conservation Outstanding Achievement award.

Board Chair Franci Stratton, Acting Mayor Linda Buchanan, and DA Architects + Planners were presented with the award at a gala ceremony on September 26th.

I would like to thank Capital Projects Manager Mark Thomson for his expertise in overseeing this project and Principal Bill Reid for his support to the students and staff during the construction.

Queen Mary School is one of the most prominent buildings on the North Shore, serving students in the public school system for 100 years.


From Heritage BC:

A study determining the seismic risk of schools indicated that Queen Mary was among the higher risk buildings in the Province. A plan for the school’s renewal was necessary. The Ministry of Education committed core funding to the project, and through an innovative repurposing of surplus land assets, the School District was able to fund the additional heritage restoration costs. The heritage restoration and reconstruction of Queen Mary began in mid-2011 and was completed in early 2014. The strategy for the restoration involved seismically upgrading and modernizing the school while maintaining and restoring the heritage exterior.

Read more: