October 15, 2013 - Superintendent's update to the Board

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Superintendent's Update to the Board on activities happening in the Vancouver School District.

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  • Late last month, Windermere’s Athena Program had some great news to report. Thanks to the hard work of teacher Laura Treloar, the students will have a chance to work on a variety of mixed media art projects with three local artists and mentor dozens of elementary learners from Macdonald Elementary and the district’s Aboriginal Focus School. 
  • On Thursday, October 3, along with Board Chairperson, Patti Bacchus and Trustee Mike Lombardi, I attended the Journey into the Trades event at Tupper that was organized by the PAC and staff. We visited many active tables set up by post secondary institutions and other organizations such as ACCESS, BCIT, and VCC. At the end, we listened to 5 amazing panelists who went into the trades (culinary arts/management, aircraft maintenance, construction/management, hair dressing, and deep sea diving/welding). The panel was ably facilitated by our new Vice Principal at King George, Robin Kirk.
  • On the evening of Friday October 4th, I attended the Republic of China - Taiwan reception at the Convention Centre. While there, I met the Director General Michael Tseng. The event was also attended by Trustees Ken Denike and Sophia Woo, as well as District Principal of International Education, Dave Derpak and his wife, Nancy.
  • On Monday, October 7, along with District Principal for Alternate Programs, Ron Bergeron, I visited Eagle High and West Coast Alternative programs. These programs provide excellent support for some of our more vulnerable students. Indeed, the Westcoast Alternative program provides support to students who have been diagnosed with (FAS) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
  • The same day, we dropped by Genesis program located near Van Tech. During our time there we met teacher Bob Boucher who introduced us to a unique bicycle repair program he’s created which is designed to give students real-world skills and internships at local businesses. Some of the repaired bikes looked as good as new.
  • Later in the day we visited Eastside Alternative program and also had a tour of their garden. We then headed to Aries where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of homemade spaghetti, salad and cheese bread and talked with the program teacher about the steps they are taking to engage Aboriginal youth who attend the Aboriginal Friendship Centre and UNYA sponsored program. Finally we headed across town to the Vinery where we visited with the students and had a great discussion with the program’s teacher about a wonderful letter of success he had received from a very happy parent.
  • On Tuesday, October 8, I attended an evening seminar at UBC featuring Dr. Marilynne Waithman speaking about year round schooling – she successfully initiated this at Douglas Park Elementary in Langley several years ago and then completed a dissertation on the subject of balanced calendars.
    On Wednesday night, I returned to UBC to hear one of my previous professors Dr. David Berliner, Regents’ Professor of Education Emeritus at Arizona State University speak about the Flaws in Using Pupil Achievement as a Proxy for Teacher Competence. I also listened to Dean of Education, Blye Frank who is a world class expert on such topics sexual diversity, and gender construction in schools and in medical education and is frequently called upon to provide advice on issues of equity in schools and health care environments and Dr. Avis Glaze, one of Canada’s outstanding educators and a recognized international leader in education. She was a superintendent /Director in Ontario and served as a Commissioners on Ontario’s Royal Commission on Learning. As Ontario’s first Chief Student Achievement Officer and founding CEO of the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, she played a pivotal role in improving student achievement in Ontario. After some introductory remarks by Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, Blye Frank and Avis Glaze proceeded to discuss the merits of social justice programs in schools and current issues on gender identity, racism and poverty.
  • On Wednesday, October 9, a number of HEAL (Healthy Eaters and Leaders) youth leaders presented a cheque in the amount of $575 to Children’s Hospital. It is another great example of our student leaders mentoring other younger elementary students to raise money for a very good cause during the summer.
  • On Wednesday Oct 9, students and staff from the Hastings Elementary were joined by community leaders to open the school’s brand new playground. Following the ceremony, the playground was swamped by many eager young students who wanted to try out the new play equipment.
  • Gladstone Secondary school had a great opening ceremony for their new Greenhouse on Wednesday October 9. The Greenhouse came about thanks to a lot of hard work from students, staff and the larger community.
  • Every Tuesday, as Britannia's halls are swamped with students during lunch hour, the First Nations resource room is buzzing with a different energy. Students are in the classroom to participate in Britannia's First Nations book club. The club is part of a larger UBC initiative aimed at connecting Britannia students of all backgrounds and ages with indigenous culture and literature. It is jointly facilitated by Britannia Aboriginal Support teacher, Chas Desjarlais and UBC Associate Professor of Language and Literacy, Jan Hare.
  • On Thursday, October 10, I visited Byng Secondary. Along with Principal Annette Vey-Chilton and Vice Principal, Crystal Tanfara, I had a guided tour of the school’s wonderful Art Gallery led by some of the most talented young artists that I have ever seen. I also enjoyed listening the amazing choir and visited the school’s brand new salad bar.
  • Last week, I visited Kerrisdale Elementary and Kerrisdale Annex. At the elementary school I visited with staff while enjoying a great luncheon. At the annex, we toured the classrooms as students worked on a wide-range of thanksgiving themed art projects - the annex was truly awash in turkeys. At the end of the afternoon, I joined parents, staff and students for a very entertaining school assembly.
    Most of our schools have famous graduates – Kerrisdale for example, is proud to have had this young man (Kurt) complete his elementary years at the school.
  • Byng students and staff aren’t just committed to greening their own school – they are set to support the whole community with the launch of their Pacific Mobile Depot, which pulls up at the Byng parking lot every third Saturday of the month. This is a great example of student leadership in sustainability.
  • Late on Friday afternoon before the long weekend, I attended, as an invited platform guest, the Fall convocation ceremonies at Simon Fraser University to witness and celebrate the graduation of many new teachers with Bachelors degrees in Education and graduating teacher leaders with Masters degrees. Canadian soccer athlete, Christine Sinclair received an honorary Doctorate of Laws at the same ceremony.
  • Everyone, everywhere, should know how to protect themselves in an earthquake. Even if earthquakes are rare where you live, they may happen where you or your family travel, or perhaps where you or your children may live one day.

With less than two weeks until ShakeOut on October 17, we're still inviting everyone, everywhere to join the 21.4 million people worldwide and over 500,000 in BC who have registered so far to participate in 2013! Over 321,000 of BC participants are from K-12 schools and districts! You can help by telling people you know that you are participating (via social media, e-mail, and in person) and invite them to join you. A one minute Drop, Cover, and Hold On earthquake drill may one day minimize injuries or save their life.
  • October 15, 2013 - Superintendent's update to the Board

    1. 1. Superintendent’s Update October 15, 2013
    2. 2. Windermere Athena Art Starts Award
    3. 3. Journey into the Trades at Tupper
    4. 4. Republic of China - Taiwan reception
    5. 5. Visit to Eagle High and West Coast Alternative
    6. 6. Bike Repair Program at Genesis Alternate
    7. 7. Visit to Eastside, Aries and the Vinery Alternate Programs
    8. 8. Year of Teacher Education talks at UBC Dr. Avis Glaze Dr. Blye Frank Dr. David Berliner
    9. 9. HEAL Student Cheque Presentation
    10. 10. Hastings Playground Opening
    11. 11. Gladstone Greenhouse
    12. 12. Britannia’s First Nations Book Club
    13. 13. Visit to Lord Byng
    14. 14. Visit to Kerrisdale Elementary and Annex
    15. 15. Byng Recycle Mobile
    16. 16. Simon Fraser University convocation
    17. 17. Upcoming events • October 15 – Grand opening of Sexsmith Elementary • October 15 – Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender visits Sexsmith, Gladstone, Windermere, Pinnacle and Strathcona • October 16 – Area meeting – Kim Schonert-Reichl • October 17 – City-wide DPAC meeting • Ocotber 17 – BC Shakeout event (earthquake drill) • October 18 – Education of Urban Aboriginal Youth - UBC • October 18 – We Day (Free the Children) at BC Place • October 23 – Bruce Elementary Goes to UBC Farm • October 23 – PD day – many PSA conferences

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