North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
2012 Community Engagement Strategy

What Is Community Engagement?

Our past community engagement process refers to the many ways the Board of Education and the community work together. The process featured a two-way flow of information on issues and opportunities that affected you. It also provided valuable input to School District direction and decision-making.

Community engagement:

  • gives you the opportunity to voice your opinion
  • acknowledges concerns to issues you raise
  • educates as well as seeks feedback from all publics
  • initiates conversations and asks questions to deepen understanding
  • lets you know about proposed actions

Levels of Community Involvement

Community engagement and ongoing communication was critical to the land asset management process. The final decisions, to a degree, hinged on the NVSD's ability to effectively communicate with and systematically engage the community.

The North Vancouver School District committed to working with the public through the Community Engagement Framework. This framework was based on aspects of the International Association of Public Participation's "Spectrum of Public Participation". It served as a guide for gathering input, understanding issues and ensured that ideas and concerns were incorporated to the maximum extent possible based on the guiding principles outlined in the NVSD 2011-2021 strategic plan.

The Board used this framework to guide its community involvement planning and to identify different types of techniques that would be effective in drawing out meaningful public participation on issues.


Trustee's promise to the public was that they will communicate the process and timeline for decision-making and provide feedback on how public input influenced our decisions on this issue.

The Board had planned three major engagement activities that were professionally facilitated, as well as smaller community engagement initiatives. The following is some background information on the facilitated events:

Open House

Open houses and the World Café Open Dialogue provide information and an open opportunity for understanding people's concerns and discussing issues, as well as opportunities for follow up or feedback.

Public Dialogue

The second public meeting was an open dialogue based on a World Café approach. This meeting process featured a series of simultaneous small group table discussions in response to a set of questions. Participants joined table discussions that were aligned with their particular land asset interest. Those participants that wanted to change tables during the process were able to participate in a variety of conversations about different land assets. In this way, they could identify common ground amongst the various assets in response to each question.

The outcome for those in attendance at the public meetings was to have balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problem, issues and to have an opportunity to provide input into alternatives and opportunities.

Municipal Government Workshop

The Municipal Government workshop aimed to bring together both the City and District Councillors and senior staff to build understanding about each other's perspectives, to discuss issues and ideas in a non-confrontational atmosphere and to build consensus around new approaches for working together.

After Each Event: Review, Reflect and Communicate

The steps between the Open House, the Municipal Government workshop and the Public Dialogue provided an opportunity to review and reflect on the input gathered and communicate what was learned about the publics concerns and aspirations at each phase of the process.

Community Engagement Communications

Communications outreach initiatives were planned in conjunction with the two large-scale public events and one facilitated municipal workshop. The tactics and tools were divided in three main areas:


In addition, the following four themes were reflected in our tactics and outreach:

Informing and storytelling: updated community on the process, listened to community stories

Knowledge-sharing: created two-way tools; provided more and better information online/offline

Connecting: community outreach, alliances and events to build relationships

Public calls for action: invited the community to attend events, learn, and connect online

Here’s a one-page summary of the Engagement Comm Strategy Overview.