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North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Dec 10
Employment lessons start early at Canyon Heights

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An entrepreneurial spirit has swept through Judith Lowe's classroom,
as students learn what it takes to become a business owner.


by Maria Spitale-Leisk, NVSD Communications


Canyon Heights students are getting a jump-start on their careers.

You have a guaranteed job if Judith Lowe is your teacher, no matter if you are a primary or intermediate student at the school.

“I feel the more experiences students engage in that mimic real life, and that give them opportunities to be responsible for their learning – the better,” says Lowe, currently a Grade 7 teacher and vice principal at Canyon Heights.

Students take the normal steps toward employment: submitting a job application, resume, cover letter, and references.

Working from sample letters and resumes, students outline their work and volunteer experience, chores at home, and extracurricular activities.

“On one resume this year, a student listed a volunteer experience of collecting day-old bread from a popular bakery and then delivering it to a facility which supports the homeless in Vancouver,” reveals Lowe.

Later comes some interview role-play directed by Ms. Lowe and a colleague.

“We discuss how they have roughly 30 seconds to make a good first impression, and then proceed to discuss how they can set themselves up for success,” explains Lowe.

Each student interviews for a classroom job of their choosing, including door monitor, audio-visual technician, handout monitor, recycling monitor – and lighting engineer.

Undergoing a two-week probationary period, while working for a reduced salary, is the first employment test.

Once probation is over, Lowe meets with each student to talk about their work ethic – discussions that might result in reassignment or another probationary period.

Students are paid bi-monthly and are expected to calculate income tax on their earnings, pay rent, and keep a bank account of deposits and withdrawals. They can use their salary to purchase additional pencils or rent supplies.

In the new year, Lowe’s students develop an entrepreneurial spirit. They create a business idea, present the proposal at a symposium, survey their peers to see if it is viable – and then go through the process of applying for a licence.
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One standout entrepreneur, says Lowe, sold themed slime to his classmates several times over, thanks to his marketing techniques.

Valentine's Day saw students scooping up pink, sparkly slime packaged in pink boxes with heart stickers and curly ribbon.

On St. Patrick's Day, the student peddled green slime while wearing a matching top hat.

Meticulous bookkeeping comes with the territory of being a business owner. Students learn how to keep track of their costs, their sales and their overall earnings.

Students might also submit an overall income tax report at the end of the year.

“Career education in my class encompasses literacy, numeracy in general, financial literacy and social-emotional learning in ways that engage the students without them realizing the lessons learned – all while having fun along the way,” say Lowe.

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