By Mark Pearmain, Superintendent, North Vancouver School District
Throughout the first half of this school year I have been honoured to visit schools throughout our school district to see and experience world-class instruction and student success. Here are some highlights of the visits I have done so far:
Braemar Elementary School
I learned some new dance moves!
In Kathleen (Kate) Arkiletian's class, I was presented with a card signed by all of her students.
I was impressed by the calming environment in the redesigned library.
Student engagement in the Band and Strings program was a true testament to the power of the program.
And I earned my wings!
This feather project to recognize the effects of residential schools was truly inspiring.
Larson Elementary School
At Larson Elementary, I enjoyed welcoming new staff to our district, playing "bingo" with primary students and working on math sets with grade 6 students in Katrina Russel's class. Might need to come back to play in an upcoming "Quidditch Game" with the grades 6 and 7 students!
At Carisbrooke Elementary School I was reminded how cute it is to visit an elementary school on Halloween! The costumes were fabulous, and I felt really safe with the amount of firefighter and police officer costumes.
I was also given the opportunity to dance in music class and study math in various classes.
I was thoroughly impressed with the work the entire school is doing to embed Indigenous teachings into the curriculum. Grades five and six students in Division 4 wrote a really powerful poem titled Chanie (A Response to 'The Stranger').
I saw financial literacy and planning in action in Mme. Eliza's late French Immersion class (followed-by a pretty insightful Q&A session with the students).
I joined Ms. Koenigsfest's kindergarten class for a lesson about the sun and moon, and day versus night.
I also got in an extra workout…
And experienced how auditory, visual and tactile learning styles can be incorporated into teaching math. Ms. Chand's class was sure having fun singing their math lesson!
In Laurie Kennedy's class, Lucas was the student scientist for the day and he taught the class about air pressure.
I took part in a cool activity that used shoes to teach the art of effective questioning, predicting and inferencing to discover details - "What type of person would wear these shoes?"
|Ms. Ham's class then grilled myself and Ms. Michaud, Communications Manager for the North Vancouver School District, with questions about media and social media. The questions were incredibly deep and meaningful. |||
Queen Mary Community Elementary School
An unassuming grade five student at Queen Mary Elementary steps-up to the car parked outside the school doors, grabs the piece of wood wedged under the car, and yanks down on the wood with all of her might. She lifts the car as another student measures how high the lift was. Students erupt with excited discussion. It was truly remarkable to see this simple machine demo by teachers Garry Cotter and Jonross Fong using a 2 x 6, a car and the strength of their grade five students. It was also amazing to watch how engaged Paul Wright's kindergarten students were learning while discussing being safe on their first outdoor walk as a class. I also had a great visit with Jennifer Aragon's grade seven class and a wonderful meeting with PAC co-chair, Jessica McIlroy.
Carson Graham Secondary
The library at Carson Graham will soon be an innovation hub for students and staff. Librarian Michelle Davis is supporting students to create a Lego wall and makerspace that can be used by the entire school. I cannot wait to return to the school later in the year to see this new learning space! I also enjoyed classroom visits with Whitney de Beer, Shannon Van Baalen, Darren Wong, and Mehan Tolliday – just to name a few. I also welcomed a new hire – LST, Joelle Bronson – who spent the past four years in Australia and is very excited to join the North Vancouver School District. Welcome Joelle.
As a direct result from feedback obtained from the employee engagement survey, staff from the Education Services Centre are visiting schools more often to learn with staff. On Wednesday, September 26th, I had a fantastic time participating in Windsor Secondary's staff collaboration session focusing on the positive versus deficit mindset when working with students. Assistant Superintendent Pius Ryan attended the staff collaboration session at Upper Lynn Elementary and Assistant Superintendent Chris Atkinson attended Sutherland Secondary. Collaboration days are incredibly important for staff to come together to learn, share and grow in order to inspire success for all students.
On Wednesday, November 28th, I joined the Cleveland staff for their collaboration day. They were working on inquiry questions and implementing inquiry into intermediate classrooms. It was a lovely group mix of new teachers and established teachers sharing ideas and suggestions. I also had the pleasure of meeting new staff members Catherine Crépeau, Danielle Herschmiller and Amy Speakman. It was great to welcome them to the North Vancouver School District and to encourage them as they start their careers.
I visited Mountainside Secondary for a quick tour. It was a pleasure to welcome Emma Breeze to NVSD. She joined us this past fall from Vancouver Learning Network (on-line learning) and is a great addition to the NVSD team! Later that same week, it was an honour to have students lead Minister of Education Rob Fleming, local dignitaries, North Vancouver Board of Education trustees and some NVSD central office staff on a tour of the school.
At Sutherland, I welcomed Casey Marsh to NVSD; she joined us from Total Ed in the Vancouver Board of Education. I also welcomed Brianna Craver, a new shop teacher, and visited with teacher Mark Fortin.
I also spent some time in Law 12 with Jeff Bruchesi's class, where the students were arguing their "case" based on fairy tales.
In Veis Dokhani's class I observed students creating with clay and three-dimensional thinking.
In the Outdoor Education Academy, students were working on acids and bases.
|And I got to see Nerf archery tag…but I was too chicken to take part!|||
At Ridgeway Elementary, I spent a Friday morning with four grades 2 and 3 classes. First, all four classes did community reading where parents, guardians, grandparents, siblings and other family members are invited to come into the classes to read with the students. The engagement, positivity, pride and strong sense of community were palpable.
The classes then broke into stations where mixed class groups rotated through four activities in the four different classrooms. These classes do these activities (community reading, followed by rotations) every Friday morning. The staff involved were Samantha Way, Courtney Staples, Leah Symons and Adrienne Tsonis.
I also visited with Jasmine Sidhu's class where students were working on poetry.
Assistant Superintendent Chris Atkinson joined me as I visited with staff and students at Westview Elementary.
We visited Jodie Grocott's kindergarten class where the students began with exploration and then moved to calendar time at the carpet. We then spent time with Divya Malik's grade one/two class that was playing "Hula Hoop Rock, Paper, Scissors" outside. Finally, we were welcomed by Ben Gehrels' grade five/six class that was undertaking science observations with crystals.