NS News Readers Choice Awards 2015 – Artists for Kids

Post provided by Yolande Martinello:

It’s a privilege to be recognized by the community as their choice for Educational Programs for Kids. We work hard to make exceptional art experiences available to students throughout the community. Programming includes after school, weekends in the gallery, spring and summer day camps and our Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts.

Artists for Kids, a non-profit-organization based in North Vancouver, exists to support the legacy of art. By bringing together Canadian artists with students, we create fun, memorable, hands-on experiences that kids cherish. In this way, we help the next generation of artists thrive.

Artists for Kids is unique in that through the sale of prints, we are able to fully fund our school-based enrichment programs. Through Artists for Kids, artists share their insight, talents and stories with the next generation; kids are able to explore their own talents and develop their own creative problem-solving skills; and we all benefit from the ongoing legacy of Canadian art.

AFK Readers Choice


Child & Youth Mental Health Day – May 7

Today is Child and Youth Mental Health Day, led by the Institute of Families in cooperation with partners across the country.

It is a day of national awareness and appreciation for the struggles our youth and their families must face when coping with mental health.  Removing the stigma associated with mental health is a key issue for our youth today who are finding it difficult to seek the help they need.

Understanding these obstacles and identifying the barriers to learning is part of how we support youth with mental health within our school communities. Our role is to help build resiliency and give youth the tools they need to build a positive school culture that fosters a sense of belonging and a feeling of connectedness to school and peers.

FamilySmart seeks to help create public awareness and acknowledgement of the thousands of children, youth and families needing mental health support and care across Canada. 


For more information, visit their website:



Emergency Preparedness Week is May 3 – 9, 2015

This week is National Emergency Preparedness Week and schools are reviewing emergency procedures and preparing to Drop, Cover, and Hold On for the Big One at One Earthquake Drill on May 8th.


Bernadette Woit, of the North Shore Emergency Management Office is working with schools to assist with our emergency drills and preparedness education. Last year the NSEMO worked with our school district in a review of our emergency management and created a new “All Hazards” resource binder for schools. Having this information including school Emergency Response Plans at your fingertips is another step towards being prepared.

Resources for Emergency Preparedness Week can be found at www.getprepared.gc.ca

Emergency Preparedness Week

The District of North Vancouver recently released results of a comprehensive risk assessment study on the impacts of a major earthquake in our community. The detailed technical report can be found on the DNV website:


While we are still in the process of seismically upgrading our schools, the majority of buildings in our school district are expected to sustain little damage in the event of an earthquake, according to the report and the DNV plain language companion document:


District Dance Festival

This year’s District Dance Festival took place on April 9th at Centennial Theatre. Thirty-one intermediate and secondary school groups performed a variety of dances, such as jazz, hip hop and musical theatre.

Lots of work is happening leading up to the festival…music selection, choreograpahy, and practicing – big thanks to the teachers for their hard work, encouragement, and support of the student performances. The District Dance Festival is a highlight and we thank all the students for their participation.

I would like to recognize Margaret Inglis and Michele Denny for coordinating all the groups and working behind the scenes to make this such a successful event for our school district.


Field Hockey Academy Parent Meeting

On March 30th the Field Hockey Academy Information Meeting was held at Sutherland Secondary School for students and parents interested in learning more about our newest academy opportunity.

The Field Hockey Academy at Sutherland Secondary School in partnership with Field Hockey BC was approved at the February 17th Public Board Meeting. The academy is open to students in grades 8-12 of all experience levels. As with other athletic academies in NVSD, students enrolled will earn grade-equivalent PE credit upon successful completion.

The parent information meeting was very well attended and representatives from Field Hockey BC, West Vancouver Field Hockey Club and District Principal John McGowan answered questions about the program. All 35 spots have now been filled but names can still be placed on the wait list.


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.

Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools