Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire North Vancouver School District , we pass along our best wishes to you and your family during the festive season.  We are fortunate to live in a wonderful part of this world and have much for which we may be thankful.  We hope that our students, staff, parents, and families will get some time to relax with family and friends over this holiday season.  See you in 2016!



PJs with a purpose

Congratulations to our Human Resources (HR) Department for raising $450 in support of Team Finn by hosting PJs with a Purpose at the Education Services Centre on December 9, 2015.

PJs with a purposeStaff were encouraged to visit HR to enjoy some delicious treats, show off their PJs, and make a donation to help BC kids with cancer.

In the past three years, PJs with a Purpose has raised over $20,000 with over 35 schools and preschools participating throughout the Lower Mainland.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the PJs for a Purpose fundraiser.

Honourable Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

I was deeply honoured and privileged to accompany Brad Baker, District Principal, to a Blessing Ceremony and Feast on the Squamish Nation’s traditional territories at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre this past weekend. Sponsored by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the Ceremony provided a traditional blessing of the Honourable Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.   Minister Wilson-Raybould was acknowledged as the ‘highest-ranking’ elected Indigenous woman in Canada.

Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, flanked by Brad Baker and John Lewis

Words of sincere appreciation and support were shared with Minister Wilson-Raybould by witnesses and speakers from First Nations Chiefs, Councils, National and Provincial bodies and by local communities. A richness of culture was experienced throughout the ceremony with a diversity of song, dance, storytelling and gift-giving, along with the mid-day feast! CeremonyTogether, the assembly expressed their sincere appreciation of the Minister’s work to date and the support that will be provided to her by the community to address the many challenges to be faced in the future.

Reconciliation, as the Commission declares, “is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country…. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share.”


North Vancouver – the Home of Champions!

Each season of Secondary School Athletic competition witnesses the active participation of boys and girls from our schools in a wide variety of sports.  The opportunities provided to our students would not be possible without the dedication and support of staff and volunteer coaches.  We are most appreciative of the dedicated coaches who work with our students during each season.

Carson AA Champions
Quarterback Tyler Nylander scored seven rushing touchdowns as the Carson Graham Eagles beat the Abbotsford Panthers 53-34 in the Subway AA football provincial championship game Saturday at BC Place. photos by Cindy Goodman, North Shore News December 7, 2015

We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our students.  In addition to outstanding levels of participation and sportsmanship, our teams achieve a high level of excellence through competitive play, achieving championship standing at various levels, including Provincial Champions – Carson Graham Sr. Boys AA Football, Handsworth AAAA Sr. Girls Volleyball, and Windsor Jr. Boys AA Football.

North Shore Champions:  Carson Graham (Bantam Boys Rugby,  Jr Girls Volleyball); Handsworth (Sr Girls “AAA” Field Hockey,  Juvenile Girls Volleyball, Sr Girls Premier Volleyball; Seycove (Cross Country “AA” Overall); Sutherland (Sr Boys Soccer); Windsor (Sr Girls Div.1 Volleyball)

Vancouver and District Champions (for teams in grades 8-10 playing against the top teams from Richmond and Burnaby-New Westminster): Carson Graham (Bantam Boys Rugby, Jr Girls Volleyball); Handsworth (Juvenile Girls Volleyball)

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 4.42.42 PMTeams finishing in the top 5 at the Provincial Championships: Argyle; (Sr Boys “AAA” Soccer: 2nd, Sr Girls “AAA” Field Hockey: 3rd); Carson Graham; (Sr Boys “AA” Football: 1st); Handsworth (Sr Girls “AAAA” Volleyball: 1st, Sr Girls “AAA” Field Hockey: 2nd); Seycove (Sr Girls “AA” Field Hockey: 4th); Windsor (Jr Boys “AA” Football: 1st  Jr Boys Cross Country: 5th

Thanks to Athletic Coordinator Gerry Karvelis for contributing to this post and for his continued contribution to the success of our Secondary Schools Atheltics program!

Blueridge Choir Performs for School District staff

Each December at the Education Services Centre we are delighted to host two or three choirs from our schools.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to share the joy of the season with our School District employees.

On behalf of our staff, I pass along a huge thanks to the Blueridge Elementary School Choir for coming out to the Education Services Centre on December 10th to spread some holiday cheer!

BlueridgeMy sincere appreciation to Music teacher Michele Denny, Andrie Levey-Bates, Lisa Madill, Phyllis Delleney, and Katherine Kee, for organizing Thursday’s outstanding performance.

Blueridge1(Blueridge Choir led by music teacher Michele Denny)

Important Safety Reminder

With the changing weather and decreased daylight hours, we are providing this general safety message, with support from the North Vancouver RCMP, about walking to/from school.  It is recommended that:

  • Parents know the route that their child will take both to and from school
  • Routes should be through open areas
  • Children use the buddy system whenever possible, and
  • Pedestrians of all ages should remain alert, undistracted, and able to hear what is going on around them. Texting or listening to portable devices while walking can pose a safety risk.

The RCMP Street Proofing Safety Tips website provides helpful information for families: http://bc.cb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=2076&languageId=1&contentId=21081

The ICBC website has a list of safety tips for pedestrians and drivers: http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/sharing/Pages/pedestrian-safety.aspx

Pat Gallaher Memorial Elementary Basketball Tournament

I was delighted to drop in and witness the Pat Gallaher Memorial Elementary Basketball Tournament taking place at Mountainside Secondary over two days, December 1 and 2. Through the efforts of his daughter, wife, and staff at Cleveland Elementary, this highly anticipated and much appreciated tournament has continued in his name.

The byline in the poster advertising this event truly captures the spirit and dedication that Pat brought to his work as a volunteer and child educator for more than thirty years. Pat passed away earlier this year after his battles with Parkinson’s disease.

Pat Gallaher Memorial copy

Pat’s dedication to the sport of basketball is the stuff of legend …. as a coach he exerted a sense of fairness and open opportunity to all his players.” Dennis Braam

It was great to see so many smiling faces on the court and in the stands. Pat’s vision and passion for providing children with the opportunity for healthy competition and team play remains in good hands and good hearts.


Winter Weather Information 2015/16

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

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 12.19.42 PMAs winter weather approaches, 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 http://www.sd44.ca. 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


Metro Vancouver Weather Forecast – Environment Canada

City of North Vancouver – Snow and Ice Removal

District of North Vancouver – Snow Removal

North Shore Emergency Management Office

International Day for Tolerance – November 16

Today we observe International Day for Tolerance, declared first on November 16th in 1995 by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The tragic events that took place in Paris last Friday are a painful reminder of the hatred and intolerance that still exist in the world today. News of these violent acts of terrorism and the tragic loss experienced comes just days after we attended ceremonies to honour and remember those who served and sacrificed in the name of peace.


We are encouraged on International Day for Tolerance to take some time today to reflect on how we can be more understanding, compassionate, and accepting of others in our everyday lives and actions.


Remembrance Day Assemblies

Thank you to our staff and students for organizing and presenting at school assemblies across our school district in recognition of Remembrance Day. As a school community, these assemblies demonstrate the care, compassion and thoughtfulness of our students and staff in addressing critically important global issues at a local level.

I was pleased to attend Sutherland’s Peace Ceremony, which addressed our “place of privilege”, with reflections by students and special guests.

Adina Williams spoke of the contributions of First Nations soldiers who were conscripted into service to fight for Canada, only to have their status as ‘Indians’ stripped from them. Having fought for their country, the returning First Nations soldiers were prevented from returning to their traditional territories and denied entry to the reservations to live with their families. The approach taken by the Government was a continued effort to assimilate the First Nations people, preventing them from engaging in their cultural traditions, or use their language.

Bronwyn Curry shared her family story, reflecting on her grandfather’s experience with the Canadian navy during the Second World War, and later as veteran. As a young girl, she learned of the profound impact of her grandfather’s experiences in serving our country, and the atrocity of war and the loss of personal friends and comrades.

Dr. Roland Shulz, Sutherland teacher, shared a very personal story, retelling his mother’s experience as a child refugee, having to escape the Ukraine as the conflict between the fascist and communist regimes erupted in proximity to their homes and villages. Families were broken apart and forced to flee on foot and later by train, only to be placed in conditions of increasing danger. Dr. Shulz closed his comments acknowledging the immense challenges faced today by more than 60 million refugees.

In addition to these reflections, the Sutherland Ceremony featured a Welcome Prayer, song, music, and oral presentations by students and guest alumni. The audience of students, staff, parents and community members were respectful throughout the assembly. While I was able to experience Sutherland’s Remembrance Ceremony firsthand today, I am certain that the dignified and respectful approach taken was repeated in all schools across our School District.

poppyNorth Vancouver Remembrance Day Services will be held tomorrow in our community as follows:

Victoria Park Cenotaph, hosted by Royal Canadian Legion 118, North Shore Veterans’ Council, and the City of North Vancouver, with music performed by the Laudate Singers – 10:30 a.m.

Lynn Valley Village, hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion 114 – 10:30 a.m.

Cates Park – 11:00 a.m.




Notes from the desk of John Lewis, Superintendent of Schools

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