We had a wonderful visit to Macdonald Elementary where we were treated to a school assembly featuring skits, songs and a performance by students using homemade first nations rattles. Following the performance I had an opportunity to sit down with Principal Vonnie Hutchingson to discuss successes and challenges she faces as she lead ’s our first Aboriginal Focus School.
On Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, former Prime Minister Paul Martin joined with Vancouver School Board trustees to celebrate a new aboriginal education partnership with staff and students at the school. The partnership relates to the Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program (AYEP), which is currently running at Britannia. Students then took the opportunity of asking Martin several tough questions, keeping the former politician on his toes. Questions ranged from the Attawapiskat housing crisis to the proposed Enbridge pipeline to the NHL Hockey lockout.
On Thursday, November 29, the Minister of Education indicated that he had signed the project agreement with the VSB for the seismic upgrade of Queen Mary Elementary at an estimated cost of $16.7 million. The upgrade will revive the heritage, red-brick 1914 building and replace the rest of the school with new construction.
We had a wonderful evening on Tuesday, November 20 at the district ’s annual Farewell and Thank You Reception for retiring staff. This year, the event was held at the Roundhouse and was catered by the delectably talented Templeton Culinary Arts Program. A highlights of the evening included an opportunity to speak with and personally thank dozens of dedicated staff members and a raucous drum performance by the JO Jazz Band. Thanks to Patsy Peters and Donna Wong for organizing this event.
On the morning of November 21, district staff came together to cook up a “pancake storm” for the annual United Way pancake breakfast. This was a well attended event that raised a great deal of money for a wonderful organization.
On November 29, over 100 adult educators came together for a special visioning exercise. The Adult Ed Visioning Forum attracted educators from across Vancouver. The aim of the session was to define the vision, mission and values inherent to adult education in the VSB.
Thanks to Maureen Ciarniello and others for organizing this event)
This year, Windermere Secondary ’s culinary baking team took first prize in the 2012 Hyatt Gingerbread Lane Competition. Their spectacular Gingerbread creation will be on the show at the Hyatt until Dec 27.
Earlier this fall Gina Wong was awarded the Regional Prime Ministers Award for Teaching Excellence. To celebrate Gina, Nightingale Elementary (her old school) invited Gina, her family, Trustee Fraser Ballantyne and MP Libby Davies to a special school assembly with Gina was feted for all her hard work.
Nelson Elementary is moving towards seismic upgrading. The school recently held its open house which attracted a great number of local residents.
On Thursday, November 27, I was fortunate to visit Seymour Elementary. There I got a tour of the school and had an opportunity to chat with teachers who are doing amazing things with students, despite the challenges of urban poverty that many of their students face everyday. My hat goes off to these committed teachers.
My trip to Hastings Elementary on Tuesday, Nov 27 kicked off with a visit to the school ’s Project Chef. The recipe of the day was a tasty porridge dish with fruit.
On Friday, Nov 30, Grade 11 leadership students from Windermere Secondary organized a successful C3 (Climate Change Conference). The Conference had keynotes, workshops and even speeches from NDP Opposition leader Adrian Dix as well as MP Don Davies. The students deserve congratulations for taking a leadership role around green issues.
December 3, 2012 - Superintendent's update to the Board
Good Schools ProjectHow do we know that schools are doing a good job?What are the purposes and long term goals of schooling?Measurable outcomes may be the least significantresults of learning (Linda McNeil at Rice U. via Alfie Kohn)
Upcoming events• December 4 – Tour of Alternative EdSecondary Programs• December 6 - Hastings/TillicumCommunity School 17thAnnual Inner CityCommunity Christmas Dinner• December 7 - Workshop BBQ for UnitedWay