March 10, 2014 - 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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  • On February 28, students at Van Tech and other schools from across the district enjoyed a special visit with Juno award winning music artist, Crystal Shawanda. Shawanda spoke to students about her experiences in the music business and then took some time to present a few of her hit songs.
  • On Wednesday February 26, students from Selkirk enjoyed a visit by UBC physics researcher, James Day, who taught them all about the forces of electricity and magnetism. Thanks to the award winning Scientist in Residence Program for organizing this opportunity.
  • During my visit to Gordon Elementary, I had a chance to chat with school staff and tour some of the classrooms. During my visit, I talked with some of the students about their Heritage Fair projects, which they were busily working on.
  • At Kitsilano Secondary, I had a wonderful discussion with some Kits Mini students, where I fielded a range of questions from “Do you identify with Superintendent Chalmers of the Simpsons” to “What does a Superintendent actually do?” Then it was off to the Kits computer lab where students were working on their own amazing animated videos with teacher, Rainer Mehl.
  • On Thursday, February 27, I accompanied Trustee Denike, Trades and Apprenticeship staff Karen Larsen and Wendy Gilmour and other staff on a tour of some of our trades and apprenticeship programs. We stopped by our plumbing and carpentry programs before making our way back to Tupper where we had a delicious lunch courtesy of theTupper ACE IT cook program students.
    We visited:
    Tupper Technical Training
    Killarney - Carpentry ACE IT Enhanced Trades
    PIC of BC: Plumbing ACE IT
    Tupper Professional Cook 1 ACE IT
  • On Friday, February 28, the gym of Churchill exploded with music and motivational speeches as thousands of elementary and secondary students listened to Kindness Rocks. The event happened thanks to the leadership of principals Michael McEwan and Jack Bailey.
  • Last week I had a wonderful visit to Hastings Elementary with Principal Donna Emeno. The school is fortunate to have a wonderful staff with a great deal of energy. Highlights for me included the gymnastics program taking place in the gym, listening in on some great singing by a Grade 2 class getting ready for camp Sasamat and sampling a terrific cappuccino whipped up by Hastings the veteran teacher-librarian, Frances Renzullo. In the picture top right is Frances Renzullo on the right and grade 5 FI teacher Nathalie Davis in the middle.
  • During my visit to Templeton last week, I was treated to some terrific hands-on experiential science challenges including testing of potential energy mini-cars. I also enjoyed an opportunity to speak with some very students about what they loved most about their school. One of the themes that kept coming up was the tightness of the community at Templeton where everyone looks out for each other.
  • Last Thursday, Chairperson Patti Bacchus joined Police Chief Jim Chu and Mayor Gregor Robertson for an announcement around the work the City and its partners are doing to keep the city safe for pedestrians. The event took place on Kingsway near Carleton Elementary school.
  • Last Monday, along with student trustee, Nick Milum and several other VSB staff, I participated in a workshop and then a panel discussion at UBC that focused on the challenges to Teaching and Learning: This was a follow up to a University of Waterloo Summit called: Equinox Summit: Learning 2030.
    It has never been more important to invest in the next generation and their capacity to tackle the increasingly complex challenges in the decades to come. Children born in 2013 year will – if all goes well– graduate from high school in the year 2030. But with what kind of skills? Global reports indicate a persistent and complex shortfall in education: high school is the phase of education when students report the least engagement in learning and question the relevance of what they are learning. For this very reason, the Equinox Summit series presented by Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) is centred on learning, specifically high school.
  • Last Tuesday evening, As a special guest of VPD Chief Jim Chu, I attended the annual “Night Patrol” police gala sponsored by the Vancouver Police Foundation. The focus for the evening was to support the new Police Cadet program that will start next year at Britannia Secondary school.
    As an added bonus, I took my daughter Stephanie and introduced her to 800 cops. For me sitting at a table with three inspectors of police, I felt very safe, but they still woudn’t offer me a get out of jail card free or fix the many parking ticket that my daughter has amassed over the years in my name. On a serious note, I want to express great appreciation to the VPD for the excellent work that they do at our schools through the SLOs and throughout the Vancouver community.
  • Last Friday, Elsie Roy students dressed the part of their favourite book characters. Throughout the halls roamed Mary Poppins, Desperaux the Mouse and even Gandalf the Grey. The students were dressing up to support the charity Room to Read, which brings books to less privileged people in other countries.
  • Bayview Elementary’s Division 6 class taught their whole school about homelessness at a special assembly attended by both Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Chairperson Patti Bacchus. The mayor and chairperson attended the assembly to hear about the great work Bayview students had undertaken to support the local homeless population.
  • Students from Maquinna Elementary gathered in the school library last Friday to participate in a facilitated session led by Van Tech students. The Maquinna student voice project got elementary students thinking about how to solve school based problems such as garbage on their playground and better student representation through the formation of a new Student Council.
  • March 10, 2014 - Superintendent's update to the Board

    1. 1. Superintendent’s Update June 1, 2014
    2. 2. Van Tech Talking Stick Festival
    3. 3. Scientist-in-Residence at Selkirk
    4. 4. Visit to Gordon Elementary
    5. 5. Visit to Kitsilano Secondary
    6. 6. VSB ACE-IT Tour
    7. 7. Kindness Rocks at Churchill
    8. 8. Visit to Hastings Elementary
    9. 9. Visit to Templeton Secondary
    10. 10. VSB/VPD/CoV Pedestrian Safety Event
    11. 11. Equinox Summit: Learning 2030
    12. 12. Vancouver Police Gala
    13. 13. Elsie Roy ‘Room to Read’ Project
    14. 14. Bayview Learns About Homelessness
    15. 15. Maquinna Student Voice
    16. 16. Upcoming events • March 12 – Global Citizenship Conference at John Oliver • March 13 – Gordon Elementary Heritage Fair • March 13 – Roberts Annex Musical • March 17 – March 28 – Spring Break • April 7 – Third Annual First People’s Festival