Cops for Cancer

Congratulations to Shauna Glover’s Junior Community Initiatives class for raising $1,100 in support of Constable Rockhill, Carson Graham’s police liaison, who participated in this year’s Cops For Cancer Tour De Coast 2015. Constable Rockhill, joined by an entourage of fellow police and other rescue personnel, made a stop at Carson Graham on September 21st while on Tour to accept the cheque on behalf of BC Cancer Society:

Cops for Cancer 062

Fundraising activities that contributed to the $1,100 donation included a pie-throwing event which was featured in this Splendid! story:

All donations raised for Cops for Cancer go towards supporting Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for children and teens with cancer.

Welcome to the 2015/16 School Year


Here we go!

As much as we enjoy summer, there’s a definite change in the air when September arrives, schools reopen, and classes resume. It’s a special time of year, and we thank you for your patience over the next few weeks of settling in to routines and readiness for continued learning.

New developments in education

In collaboration with our teachers and partner groups, the educational system of British Columbia continues to evolve to help ensure that our students are well prepared for their futures.  As you may be aware, the Ministry of Education recently announced the introduction of BC’s new curriculum for Kindergarten through Grade 9 students with an emphasis on the core competencies of collaboration, critical thinking and communications. The new curriculum connects the teaching of core subjects, including reading, writing, and mathematics, with flexibility, hands-on, and personalized learning skills.

This school year marks the beginning of a three-year transition to the new curriculum, which will also include the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives, renewed emphasis on environmental sciences, the history and legacy of residential schools, and broader attention to the immigrant experience of East and South Asian immigrants.   The change process that has been underway for the past few years builds upon the tremendous strengths of a world-class educational system established and supported by outstanding instructional leaders and educators.  The entire K-12 curriculum will be phased in by the end of the 2017/18 school year.

We have a strong foundation for supporting the new curriculum across our School District. It features many similarities to the International Baccalaureate programme, and its emphasis on integrated life skills will not be unfamiliar to the current practice of many of our teachers. More information about the BC Education Plan is available at and through this message from the Minister of Education

Our leadership to integrate Aboriginal Education into the curriculum has been recognized both provincially and nationally. We continue to break ground in this area and the expertise of our Aboriginal Education team has been called upon to develop this important aspect of the curriculum for present and future students. We will continue to communicate on this important development in education, as we teach to improve historical perspectives, respect, and positive relations with all of Canada’s indigenous people.

Supporting student success

The new curriculum presents new opportunities to support diverse learning styles and success for all students. It represents a bridge to relevancy for every student that engages their interests, recognizes their ability levels, and supports them in their accomplishments. Our efforts to create welcoming, inclusive learning environments for all students are strengthened through this approach that helps to encourage a higher capacity for learning in every student.

The myriad of ways parents help to support children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 is fundamental to their success in school. Whether you have questions about changes to the curriculum, how to help with homework, or what you might do to help strengthen your school and community, we encourage you to reach out to the teachers and administrators who will be working directly with your child/children this year.

We hope you are looking forward to the year ahead as much as we are,


Cyndi Gerlach


Board of Education

John Lewis

Superintendent of Schools

P.S. Students who walk or bike to and from school, even part of the way, benefit from regular exercise and begin each day more alert and ready to learn. Please help us to reduce traffic around schools by leaving the car at home. If that’s not possible, parking within walking distance helps to reduce school zone traffic congestion, safety risks, and environmental pollution while promoting a healthy, active start to the day.

Grad activities and the new school year

In advance of welcoming everyone back to school on Tuesday, I have an important safety advisory for parents of students entering their senior years in our schools.

The Labour Day weekend has typically been a time when some youth, particularly those in their grad year, participate in unauthorized social gatherings that may be disruptive to neighborhoods and harmful to the young people involved. Vandalism by youth and other risk-taking behaviours are some of the challenges that some of our neighborhoods may be faced with at this time of year. Underage drinking is of particular concern as alcohol is a drug which can negatively impact thoughts, moods and judgments. With young people in particular, it can create a sense of immunity or invincibility that is the prelude to a host of risk-taking behaviours.

These types of social activities are not sanctioned by schools, and we want to support law enforcement in their work to keep our communities safe. With this in mind, we are joining, as we do every year, the RCMP, local fire departments, the District of North Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver in sharing this advisory.

The RCMP has expressed a zero tolerance and straight enforcement of all laws and regulations pertaining to social gatherings over the Labour Day weekend. Penalties for youth who violate laws will include, but not necessarily be limited to, being directly ticketed with fines. For more information, please read the RCMP’s information bulletin.

In closing, as we look forward to a positive beginning to the school year for all students, I hope this message will facilitate family conversations about youth social responsibility and safe celebrations.


John Lewis
Superintendent of Schools

Saying farewell for the summer with a few highlights from 2014/15

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June 30, 2015

Dear students, staff, parents and guardians,

Saying farewell for the summer with a few highlights from 2014/15

Just before we say farewell for the next two months, we are pleased and proud to share with you some of the progress and highlights from the 2014/15 school year.

Curriculum expansion has been particularly evident in the areas of environmental and outdoor education, new hands-on training courses to provide secondary students a head-start on career and employment opportunities, wider selection of Distributed Learning course offerings, expansion of the Basketball Academy and the introduction of the Field Hockey at Sutherland.

Queen Mary Community School has now received official authorization to offer the IB Primary Years Programme. This is a very exciting achievement for the whole school community, and arrived in time to coincide with the school’s centennial year.

The Board remains committed to realizing a full replacement school for Argyle Secondary. Progress has been made towards securing the funding needed to expand the project from a seismic upgrade to a completely new and modern school. Further developments on this priority capital project are expected in the fall.

Striving for a more sustainable school district resulted in a number of new energy-saving activities this year. We thank everyone for their additional efforts to keep organics out of the waste stream. This has represented a significant change to the way we manage our operations and we appreciate the leadership of our students and staff in making this change our new reality.

Over the past 10 months, students and staff led awe-inspiring and inclusive school events and community service that included: fundraising for earthquake relief in Nepal; peer mentoring; caring clubs; clothing swaps; Bike to School Week; Remembrance Day ceremonies; community gardens; acts of social justice; buddy bench building; upcycling; recycling; and environmental sustainability. In May, the student-led “Club G” received a National Inclusive Education Award to recognize the spirit of cooperation and compassion that the Club has inspired at Highlands Elementary.

Enhancing our schools as places of belonging continues as staff and students inspire and learn from each other how to create inclusive learning environments for all. A committee is reviewing the School District’s Policy 412: Homophobia for potential improvements and, for the first time, the “Rainbow Flag” will fly outside the Education Services Centre during this summer’s Pride Week in Vancouver.

The delayed start to the school year was a challenge we all shared. We would like to thank staff for their commitment to delivering the curriculum in a shortened timeframe, parents for their understanding of the circumstances, and students for their flexibility and patience during those uncertain weeks last fall. It was impressive to witness everyone come together and achieve so much in a shortened year. We thank you all and we are appreciative of the workplace stability that is now in place as a result. Further to this, through careful fiscal management, we have been able to present a balanced budget for the coming year and maintain a rich diversity of enhanced program offerings without teacher layoffs or reductions in supports to students.

Lastly, we extend best wishes and congratulations to our graduating students of 2015. We wish you much success as you further your studies, launch careers and make the most the education you have received. Your teachers are proud of you, we are proud of you, and we know that you’re ready for the road ahead.

Have an excellent summer, everyone!

Cyndi Gerlach

John Lewis

Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden

I was pleased to attend the Grand Opening of the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden on Friday, June 12th.

This was a great day to celebrate and acknowledge the tremendous work by volunteers, event organizers, the Edible Garden Project, community partners, and staff and students at Sutherland Secondary School. The warm weather we’ve enjoyed since March gave the garden an early start, and guests were impressed by the abundance of fruit and vegetables ready for harvest.

Through a successful Crowdfunding campaign, the Edible Garden Project raised the funds to create the extensive gardens on the Sutherland School grounds and a team of volunteers has transformed the grounds into a spectacular urban farm. I am told that over 100 raised garden beds are producing over 50lbs of produce for sale each week.

The creation of the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden in partnership with Edible Garden Project is a proud moment for our school district and I would like to recognize teachers Cynthia Bunbury and Wendy Matsubuchi for their leadership and in support of this project. We anticipate this will be a great learning garden for students and the community.

Photos of the building of the Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden can be found at:

Photos from the grand opening event courtesy of Wendy Matsubuchi can be found at:






Sutherland Family of Schools Celebration of Belonging

Congratulations to the Sutherland Family of Schools for their unique and inspirational Celebration of Belonging that took place on June 15th.

The festivities began with a Blessing by Sutherland graduate Adina Williams, welcome to Traditional Territories, and drumming presentation by North Vancouver students.

Afterwards, over 2300 students and staff from Brooksbank, Eastview, Queensbury, and Ridgeway and Sutherland Secondary schools gathered on the field to form the living art replica of the sabre-tooth tiger artwork, created by Squamish artist Rick Harry. Each body became a dot of colour in this symbol of balance of mind, body, and spirit:

Photographed from 80' feet above
Photographed from 80′ feet above

I would like to recognize the efforts of the staff and students from the Sutherland Family of Schools, and particularly Arlene Martin and Brad Baker for their organization of this great accomplishment.

School Sports 2014-15

It was an impressive year for Secondary school sports and I would like to thank Coordinator of Athletics Gerry Karvelis, North Shore Secondary Schools’ Athletic Association (NSSSAA), for providing leadership throughout the year in support of our student athletes!

NSSSAA Championships:

Argyle:  Juvenile Boys Basketball; AAA Girls Soccer; Sr Girls Volleyball

Carson Graham: Juvenile Girls Basketball; Jr Girls Field Hockey; Jr Boys Rugby; Juvenile Girls Volleyball; Juvenile Boys Wrestling

Handsworth: Sr Girls Basketball; AAA Girls Field Hockey; Jr Girls Volleyball

Seycove:  Bantam Girls Basketball; Jr Girls Basketball; Sr Boys Mountain Biking; AA Overall Track and Field; AA Overall XC

Sutherland:  Bantam/Juvenile Boys XC; AAA Boys Soccer; Jr Ultimate; Sr Ultimate

Windsor:  AAA Boys Basketball; Sr Boys Gymnastics; Sr Girls Gymnastics; Overall Gymnastics; AA Girls Soccer

Vancouver & District Championships (Jr Zones):

Carson Graham:  Juvenile Girls Basketball; Jr Boys Rugby

Handsworth:  Jr Girls Volleyball

Provincial Championships:

Argyle:  AAAA Girls Volleyball

Sutherland:  Jr Ultimate; Sr Ultimate

Windsor:  Boys Gymnastics; Girls Gymnastics; Combined Gymnastics

Provincial Silver Medalists:

Argyle:  Combined Gymnastics

Carson Graham:  Juvenile Girls Basketball; Sr Girls Rugby; AA Tennis

Handsworth:  AAA Field Hockey; Girls Synchronized Swimming

Seycove:  AA Girls Soccer; Jr Girls XC

Sutherland:  AAA Boys Soccer

Provincial Bronze Medalists:

Argyle:  Boys Gymnastics; Girls Gymnastics

Windsor:  Boys Terrain Snowboarding

Congratulations to all the teams! And, big thanks to all the coaches who make these successes possible. Coaches will be honoured at the 57th Annual NSSSAA Coaches’ Appreciation Dinner on June 23rd.

Argyle Senior Girls Volleyball Team
Argyle Senior Girls Volleyball Team
Windsor Gymnastics Team
Windsor Gymnastics Team

District Elementary Track & Field Meet at Swangard

It was a great day at Swangard Stadium on Tuesday, June 2nd as over 1000 intermediate students from 26 schools participated in the District Track and Field Meet. The weather cooperated and all events went ahead as planned.

Qualifying students from 8 zones competed in shot put, high jump, triple jump, long jump, 1500m, 800m, 400m 200m, 100m, and relay. The special relay race was wonderful to watch and I thank Ridgeway Teacher Joel Streat for coordinating the students and organizing their practice runs.

Huge thanks go to the Zone Coordinators and Track and Field sponsors/supporters at each school who worked hard to get students to this point.

The event could not be possible without the help from over 90 volunteers: retired teachers and administrators, support staff, student teachers, teachers, District staff, Trustees and student helpers.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Boundary Principal Tim MacLeod, Queensbury Teacher Heather Duncan, and the Track and Field Committee for their work behind the scenes to ensure the success of this event. The Swangard Meet is a highlight for our District and I am always proud to be able to attend and support our student athletes!



Changing Results for Young Readers

I would like to acknowledge Joanne Robertson and the Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR) North Vancouver District Leadership Team for their work in holding our largest in-service series involving close to 300 educators over 24 mornings between January and April 2015. This in-service was a great success thanks to all those involved – participants, school staff, Learning Services Department, Human Resources Department, and custodial operations.

Changing Results

Thank you to Joanne Robertson for providing the following post:

Changing Results for Young Readers (CR4YR) is a province-wide initiative launched by the Ministry of Education in 2012. The major goal of the Changing Results for Young Readers initiative is to increase the number of BC children who are engaged, successful readers. The initiative uses current research and an understanding of what fosters reading success.

The North Vancouver CR4YR series focused primarily on enhancing instruction, assessment and intervention strategies for struggling readers.  Several key themes were emphasized throughout the series, including:

  • The core components of early literacy instruction at the universal, targeted and intensive levels
  • The important roles of social emotional learning and self-regulation in learning to read
  • Collaborative models of literacy support at the school level to maximize the collective knowledge and skills of teams (teachers, support staff, paraprofessionals) and promote a more balanced approach to intervention and support for struggling readers
  • An enhanced understanding of the First Peoples Principles of Learning and opportunities for teachers to explore ways of indigenizing the literacy curriculum

Feedback from participants at the CR4YR series has been extremely positive.  Our staff really appreciated the opportunity to meet with colleagues from within the same Family of Schools, to reflect on instructional strategies, explore new models of assessment, and design new ways of working together to support young readers in their development.  Here is a sampling of the comments provided from the CR4YR series:

Thank you for organizing these reading workshop mornings. It was wonderful being with our FOS colleagues in learning and discussions. With the workshops being spread out over the month, it has increased our engagement, conversations and ability to try some new ideas in our classrooms. We are grateful for the opportunity you have given us.

The level of energy and the spirit of collaboration were evident throughout the three sessions.

I left feeling inspired and even more thoughtful about what I can do to change my practice.

Time to learn and reflect is a wonderful gift.

I always enjoy attending the series because it truly exemplifies how committed teachers are to making a genuine difference in their classrooms.

For more detailed information about the CR4YR series and testimonials from the participants, please visit the Changing Results for Young Readers NVSD44 blog:

The (CR4YR) North Vancouver District Leadership Team:

Ilona Wardas – Team Leader/District Early Reading Advocate and Learning Assistance/Support Teacher and Vice Principal at Blueridge

Kendra Arkinstall – Learning Assistance/Support Teacher at Cove Cliff

Doreen Berg – Sutherland Family of Schools Leader

Ann Copp – Learning Assistance Teacher and Vice Principal at Seymour Heights Elementary

Diana Kilby – Seycove Family of Schools Leader

Anne Lawson – Learning Assistance Teacher and Vice Principal at Canyon Heights

Janet McLean – Windsor Family of Schools Leader

Heather Myhre – Aboriginal Success Teacher

Shannon Sharp – Carson Family of Schools Leader

Claire Spofforth – Primary Teacher at Brooksbank

Jessica Welder – Aboriginal Success Teacher

Stephanie Weller – French Immersion Facilitator (translation/resource development)

National Aboriginal Day Activities

I was honoured to attend the traditional School Naming Ceremony at Mountainside on May 14th where we witnessed the unveiling of the new Coast Salish designed sign. Students helped organize the day’s activities which honoured Squamish Nation traditions and culture. Welcome Smanitaxan!

Smamtaxan - MSS New Sign

Although National Aboriginal Day is June 21st, special celebrations of Aboriginal culture and heritage in schools began earlier in the year. In addition to the ceremonies at Mountainside, schools have organized their own school-wide National Aboriginal Day activities and events with involvement of the local First Nations and Metis Peoples. To highlight a few:

In the month of May at Seycove Secondary School, staff worked with Tsleil Waututh Nation cultural leaders to bring the local, place history to the classrooms.  Tsleil Waututh Nation members brought games and activities in to the classroom by using the hanqiminem language.   The cultural events wrapped up with a traditional feast and cedar weaving.

At Carson Graham Secondary, Aboriginal Week was April 13 – 16th and opened with Canadian actor Darrell Dennis, who provided the keynote address at the school-wide assembly. The activities included interactive workshops led by esteemed elders and leaders in the Squamish Community. The school set up a replica traditional longhouse and village near the ceremonial fire. Students from the Carson Graham Family of Schools joined in the final day’s dancing celebration and festivities.

The Sutherland Family of Schools will be hosting a Celebration of Belonging on June 15th. The event will include 2300 students and staff from 5 schools coming together to create a giant sized representation of Squamish artist Rick Harry’s Sabretooth Tiger, representing the values of generosity, belonging, mastery and independence.  Each student will represent a ‘dot’ of colour in this field sized artwork which will be filmed and photographed from 80-100 feet above by a commissioned artist.  The event will be attended by Rick Harry, will be opened with a blessing and welcome to traditional territories by Sutherland graduate Adina Williams, and will feature a drumming presentation by North Vancouver students.

On June 18th, Westview Elementary will begin Aboriginal Day with a special Honouring Ceremony for the two students who worked on the new Westview School logo. Submissions from Anna M. and Liam M. were selected in the school-wide contest to find a logo that represents a culturally diverse group of families who come together to create a unique school community. The new logo preserves the original Squamish message – Ta na wa Ns7éyxnitm tlá Teltíwet (meaning ‘Guardian of the west wind’) and features Liam’s drawing of First Nations design of the Salmon:


At the Education Services Centre on June 8th, Brad Baker presented the film We Were Children, a true story about Residential Schools in Canada. The film, by the National Film Board was a somber and powerful look into the lives of two Aboriginal children who shared their experiences in their own words. The film was followed by an intimate discussion about the Residential School System and experiences of family members here in North Vancouver.

Finally, the First Nations Graduation Ceremony will take place at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre on June 24th where all First Nations, Metis and Inuit grads are invited. This is an honouring ceremony for these students conducted by protocol.

I raise my hands in thanks to Brad Baker and the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee for their guidance and support in weaving Aboriginal Culture into our schools.  Huy chewx a!


Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

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