Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Upcoming Meetings and Events

NVPAC General Meetings:
Our General Meetings are on the 4th Wednesday of most months throughout the school year.  Please refer to our Meetings page for the exact dates.  All parents are welcome to attend our General Meetings, regardless of whether or not they are the District PAC Rep for their school.   In addition to a business meeting, we typically have a speaker on a topic of interest to parents of school-age children and youth.  Our October 22nd meeting will include a presentation by school district personnel Joanne Robertson and Kathleen Barter on the District's Assessment Handbook, and our November 26  meeting will feature a presentation on Outdoor School - now known as the Cheakamus Centre.  An agenda will be posted closer to the date of each meeting.

All-Candidates Meeting:
Municipal elections are coming up on Saturday, 15th November.  See the City of North Vancouver and District of North Vancouver election websites for details of polling places and candidates' names.
NVPAC will be hosting an All-Candidates meeting for the candidates for School Trustee during the first week of November.  Watch for more information coming shortly regarding the date, location and time of this event.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Parents have the strongest voice in advocating for their children

The following is the text of an email message sent earlier today:

Dear PAC Chairs and DPAC Reps,
Please forward this message to your parent communities.
The role of NVPAC is to represent parents in the North Vancouver School District.  In addition, we have a duty to assist parents in informing themselves regarding educational issues.  In light of the current labour dispute affecting our schools, we hope to ensure that all parents in our school district have access to information that will assist them in advocating for their children.
The following are links to a number of sources, together with a link to the key group that represents parents:
While the Executive of the NVPAC recognizes that there is no clear consensus amongst parents in our district as to the best way to resolve the current situation, we have heard a strong message from parents that their children need better supports in place to assist teachers in educating the diverse needs in our classrooms.
Parents are the primary advocates for their children.  It is important for parents to recognize that their opinions matter.  The NVPAC Executive believes that the individual voices of many parents are needed to make a difference in this dispute, and we urge you to make your opinion heard by contacting:
Parents who are unsure who their MLA is may find the MLA Finder helpful. 

The Executive of North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council
Jane Lagden Holborne, Chair                                    Susanne Till, Member-at-Large
Karen Nordquist, Vice-Chair                                      Mike Sexsmith, Member-at-Large
David Whitehead, Secretary                                      Deborah Johnstone, Member-at-Large
Debra Dennehy, Registrar                                         Amanda Nichol, Member-at-Large
                                                                                   Heather Skuse, Member-at-Large

Monday, September 1, 2014

BCCPAC - District PAC Chair Summit - Richmond, BC

The British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) convened a full-day meeting of District PAC chairs in Richmond, BC on August 16th.  In addition to most of the elected members of the BCCPAC Board of Directors, there were 28 District PAC Chairs (or a designate) in attendance.  It was reported at the meeting that the parents of 81% of public school students in BC were represented at the meeting via their District PAC chairs.  I attended on behalf of NVPAC.  Most Lower Mainland District PACs were represented, and there were representatives from the DPACs of Victoria, Saanich, Qualicum, Haida Gwaii, the Gulf Islands, the Okanagan, Prince George as well as other school districts.

The meeting was dubbed an ”Emergency Parent Leader Planning Session” because of the current labour dispute in BC schools.  Participants expressed frustration at the slow pace of negotiations to date.  The BCCPAC Board stated that the goal of the meeting was not to take a position “for” or “against” either party in the dispute, but rather to find common goals and to understand the parent position going forward.  The BCCPAC Board of Directors wants to understand parent priorities so that they can advocate for public school students in BC.   

All in attendance agreed strongly that they wanted to see schools open on September 2nd, whether or not the labour dispute is resolved.  Further, there was general agreement that there is a need for additional resources in classrooms to support all students.  Longer-term goals were discussed, including a method of assessing teacher workload, a learning plan for every student, and, since many expressed a desire for parents to be “part of the power”, a program of ongoing parent education so that more can participate in discussions about education matters with other partner groups.  The concept of a “Classroom Resources Fund”, to be shielded from other cost pressures was explored.  This fund would be allocated after consultation and collaboration with all partner groups, and is intended to target the needs of each class specifically.
BCCPAC issued a press releasepress release the day following the meeting.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Opportunity for public input for City of North Van residents

The City of North Vancouver is seeking public input via a survey in order to develop a Municipal strategy, called CNV4ME, to create a community that is child, youth and family friendly.  There are three surveys: one for youth ages 13-18; one for older youth/young adults ages 19-24; and one for parents.  Follow this link for further information, and to find links to the surveys:  CNV4ME
The surveys are open until July 31, 2014.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Volunteer Opportunity for Grade 10 - 12 Students - Youth Leadership Advisory Board

The Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB) is a 10-month program (September to June) offered by Family Services of the North Shore (FSNS).  Students in Grades 10 - 12 are educated on common youth mental health issues, and in turn the students help FSNS develop an outreach and communication plan to reach at-risk youth in the community.   In the process the YouthLAB members accumulate up to 60 community service hours, learn valuable information that can be of service to themselves and their friends and develop public speaking and project development skills.
The deadline to apply for participation in the September 2014 YouthLAB is Thursday, July 24, 2014.  More information and the application form can be found on the Family Services of the North Shore website.

Chair's Annual Report for the 2013-14 School Year

NVPAC has several purposes - providing support to PACs, providing information and a forum for discussion about educational matters to all parents, and representing the perspective of North Van parents to the School District - are three of the most important.

 The NVPAC Executive spent a significant amount of time over the past year revising the old “Communications Protocol”.  Now called the “Communications Guidelines”, this document, currently at the final draft stage, provides information for School PAC Executives with regard to privacy and anti-spam legislation, best practices for electronic communication and the development of class lists and school directories.  The NVPAC Executive reviewed and polished our Policies and Procedures, which were approved at the AGM.  Both of these documents are posted on the NVPAC website.  NVPAC further supported PACs by providing grants for speakers at PAC meetings, for parent volunteers to take FoodSafe training, and to encourage communication and collaboration within Families of Schools.  NVPAC provided financial support to a number of individuals who attended the BCCPAC Fall Conference in Kelowna and the BCCPAC AGM in Richmond in May.

Following up on our spring 2013 parent survey, at our November General Meeting, areas of concern identified from the survey results – teacher-parent communication, extra support for students, and the process for communicating concerns -  were explored using the Appreciative Inquiry method.  In January, we heard about the “Parent Services” role developed by Mel Montgomery, Co-chair of Cleveland PAC.  In February, we departed from our typical General Meeting format and devoted the full two-hour session to a panel discussion on “Advocating for your child”.  Panel members included a secondary student, a parent, a secondary counsellor as well as elementary and secondary teachers and administrators.  Our April meeting featured a presentation by the “Safe Routes Advocates”, parents from the Handsworth Family of Schools.  This group developed detailed safe routes plans for each school, and lobbied the North Vancouver District Council for changes to help provide students with safe routes to walk to school.  They encourage other Families of Schools to create their own “Safe Routes” groups.

 NVPAC hosted two special events.  In March, we heard Tad Milmine’s powerful and inspiring presentation “Bullying Ends Here”.  In May, together with Vancouver Coastal Health and the support of the School District we hosted the “Foods that Fit” workshop, primarily aimed at PAC Hot Lunch Coordinators and volunteers, but open to all interested parents.  The workshop included food sampling and presentations on food safety, the updated food and beverage guidelines, recycling, and an opportunity for participants to share challenges and successes.

 Members of the NVPAC Executive served on all District committees to which we were invited to send a representative.  I attended meetings of the Presidents Council and the Finance and Facilities Standing Committee as NVPAC’s representative, as well as all school board meetings.  In addition, I served on the Inclusion, Policy Review, Communications and Education Week Planning (now “Class Acts”) committees.  I continued to serve on the Outdoor Learning Spaces committee which developed Administrative Procedures to support Policy 806 – Outdoor Learning Spaces, which was adopted by the school board in May 2013.

 In May, NVPAC conducted the parent survey for a second year.  The results of the survey will be presented to the school board and published on the NVPAC blog once the analysis and interpretation is complete.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 BCCPAC Conference & AGM Report


BCCPAC Executive Elected:
President – Nicole Makohoniuk
2nd Vice President – Ayesha Haider
Secretary – none elected
Directors – Angie Carlyle & Tracy Wright

BCCPAC 2014/2015 Executive:
President – Nicole Makohoniuk
1st Vice President – John Puddifoot
2nd Vice President – Ayesha Haider
Treasurer – Susan Wilson
Secretary – none elected
Directors – Bonnie Krisher, Darlene Campbell, Angie Carlyle & Tracy Wright

2014 BCCPAC Resolutions Voting Instructions – NVPAC
1.             Amendment of Bylaw 2.03                                                         
2.           Equitable Funding of Provincially Negotiated K-12 Education Public
       Sector Employee Wage and Benefit Increase                              
3.           Helping, Not harming:  Supporting Young People in Schools through
       Effective School Policy
4.           Mathematics Curriculum Prior to Middle School
       Amended & referred to Curriculum Committee
5.           BCCPAC Suggested Bylaw Amendments                                    
6.          Remove Special Resolution #2 (Lice Checks) & Special Resolution
       #3 in Support of Outdoor Schools from Appendix 1 of the Bylaws        
7.            Approval of BCCPAC Resolution Policy
8.          New Public School Funding Model
9.           Defining and Advocating for Learning Conditions                       
10.       Ban on Seclusion and Isolation                                                  
11.          Reporting on the Use of Restraint                                              
12.        Student Right to Participate                                                     
13.        Reporting on Student Removal from Classroom                         
14.        History of Residential Schools in the Curriculum                        
15.        Expanded Basic Training and Professional Development             
16.       Accountability for School Related Associations                        
17.         Advocating for Counselling Resources in BC Schools                  
18.       Flagging System for Mental Health Issues                                 
19.        Decisions Related to Expulsion from Classes or Programs         
20.     Support for the Draft Curriculum                                                        
21.        Requirement to Maintain Currency for Teachers                         
22.      Updating Teaching Standards                                                   
23.      Board of Education Budget Clarity                                            
24.      Reporting on the Use of Seclusion or Isolation                           
25.      Alternative to Seclusion or Isolation                                          
26.     BCCPAC Board Transparency                                                    


As I have attended the conference for a few years now arriving at the conference was like attending a family reunion.  It was great to see everyone again with all respectfully working together to improve the school system for our students.  It is always a very full and busy weekend.  This year was the first year I attended the evening sessions.  It gave me a chance to socialize with other parents and get to know them better on a personal level and hear how they make a positive difference in their schools.  I thank NVPAC for sponsoring my conference and agm fee and for Queensbury PAC for paying for the mileage fees.

Thursday, May 29
Networking & Exhibitors
Keynote Speaker:  Steve Cairns, Relationship, Relationship, Relationship
- family:  most important
- school:  centre of community
- community:  adults who live, work or engage in the environment in which our children are raised
- beliefs: 
·  systems must change to meet the needs of the child
·  no longer must the child change, to meet the needs of the system
·  parent know child’s strengths, challenges, fears, hopes, dreams
·  you are your child’s best bet
·  don’t hurry independence
·  the whole child will be developed when we have finished parenting
- practices:   
·    create a network of aligned significant adults
·        everything is about building relationships
·        partner with school to best meet child’s needs
·        agree on child’s priorities (not your priorities, not school’s priorities)
·        don’t save your child, come alongside them
·        back out of conflict and move into relationship
·        recognize right behaviour
·        be the compass, guide and model, not the judge
·        build on strengths at home, school, community
·        manage the relationship, not the behaviour
·        maintain the lead, hold the course

Friday, May 30
Minister Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education
Minister Fassbender addressed parents and answered questions in a formal question and answer period.  

Workshop Sessions:

21st Century Learning, Rod Allen, Superintendent of Learning

BC School Sports, Christine Bradstock
       - presented overview of structure of BC School Sports organization

Moving Beyond the Newsletter:  Communicating Through Social Media, Chris Wejr
       - presentation may be viewed at http://chriswejr.com/presentation-topics/

The Ins and Outs of Gaming Grants, Ursula Cowland
Opportunity for PAC reps to ask questions and hear what other PACs are doing
       - online application at www.gaming.gov.bc.ca
       - compliance:  if something is wrong inform gaming dept. as soon as possible
       - gaming grant money must be spent on items available to everyone
       - gaming license needed when charging for a chance to win
       - know what license is needed for gaming event:  License A, B, C or D
       - prizes may not be:  live animals, firearms, alcohol
       - PAC executive should not participate in raffle; give donation
       - hold raffle draw publicly
       - silent auction does not need a license (one person paying for item)   

Open Space Discussion Forum, Phil Cady
       - a whole-system method for exploring diverse ideas, possibilities, and solutions related to a central theme;       it has been widely and successfully used in many educational settings as a strategy to engage people in dialogue around key issues of importance
       - lively and interaction discussion around BCCPAC’s central theme:  “to engage parents as partners in education”

AGM 101, Meet the Candidates and Chocolate Extravaganza Event
       - overview AGM format
       - roundtable discussions with each candidate

Saturday, May 31
- Social evening with jazz singer Maureen Washington

Sunday, June 1
- panel discussion with questions from the audience:

Brian Leonard, BC Principals & VP Association
Glen Hansman, 2nd VP BCTF
Darlene Louie, First Nations Education Steering Committee
Jane Thornthwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Student Support and Parent Engagement to the Minister of Education, MLA North Vancouver
Terry Berting, BCCPAC President

- Glen Hasman stayed on to accept questions regarding current labour dispute.  Glen says BCTF is committed to solving labour issues by end of June.  BCTF is asking for a fair deal for teachers and better support for students.  BCTF is asking for a change in working conditions for teachers and learning conditions for students.  Parents are encouraged to advocate for better learning conditions for students.

- Continuation of AGM

Submitted by Debra J. Dennehy
NVPAC Registrar & BCCPAC Liaison