January 14, 2020
Dear North Vancouver School District staff, students, parents and community:
Subject: Welcome to 2020 – reflecting on the past decade
As we enter 2020, it is time to reflect back on what we have achieved over the past 10 years. It was nearly a decade ago that North Vancouver became one of the first school districts in the province to create a Strategic Plan. This plan established six strategic goals that have been guiding us towards realizing our Vision and Values.
As our current Strategic Plan is coming to an end, we are now reflecting on how we have done and where we want to go. We are undertaking a comprehensive strategic planning process and we want all of you to get involved. Adding your voice to the conversation is easy – just click HERE to take part in the online Thoughtexchange. You can add your thoughts within minutes and can also review and engage with others' thoughts. If you would like to meet with the Board of Education and have conversations in-person, please join us at a Strategic Planning open house session on Saturday, January 18, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Education Services Centre (2121 Lonsdale Ave., 5th floor). The format is drop-in style; come at a time that works for you and stay as long as you wish.
Each year, we report back to the community on our efforts towards realizing our strategic goals in our annual Community Report. Over the last school year, we continued to push forward on our goals. Our instructional practices were enhanced by focusing on five educational priorities: modernizing the curriculum, supporting complex learners, bringing Indigenous Education to all staff and students, creating a kindergarten to grade 12 continuum for Social Emotional Learning and mental health, and career development. In November, we brought together our 2,500 employees to hear from Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair and to collectively work on our commitment of reconciliation. We have continued to expand our social emotional learning education for all students, and we invite you to attend an event co-hosted with NVPAC on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Education Services Centre (2121 Lonsdale Ave., 5th floor) where we will explain the programs, curricular components, and professional learning taking place to support this priority area. We have introduced new career planning software for secondary school students and have expanded our work experience programming. We invite all secondary school parents and students to a trades and technology careers information fair on Monday, January 27, 2020, from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at the Education Services Centre (2121 Lonsdale Ave., 5th floor). The staff professional learning in relation to supporting complex and unique learners has been vast. You can find out more about efforts made towards these educational priorities HERE.
We continue to create learning opportunities for students that are varied in content and structure, to ensure we meet students' unique learning interests and styles. Our 10 academies, International Baccalaureate programs and other programs of choice continue to be popular. Distributed Learning and Summer Learning are reviewed annually to meet the needs of students. Our arts education, technology integration and elective options also evolve along with student interests, yet we maintain the strong foundation of programs unique to our school district such as Artists for Kids and Elementary Band and Strings. French Immersion and Cheakamus Centre both reached milestone anniversaries this past school year at 40 years and 50 years respectively.
We undertook our second Employee Engagement Survey last year to ensure that we are offering inspiring and healthy work environments. We will be moving forward with further workplace enhancements based on these results, including collaboration, communication and resource sharing across the school district. Schools will be using their school-based results from the survey to help with planning at the school-level. We also continue to invest in our school buildings to ensure learning environments are safe and comfortable for students and staff. The new Argyle Secondary School is pushing into the last leg of construction, the Mountainside Secondary School seismic upgrade is well underway, and shovels will be in the ground soon for a new Handsworth Secondary School.
By the end of last school year, we had reached 18.2 per cent energy reduction since 2011. We are now pushing to get to a 20 per cent energy reduction target by the end of this school year. We are asking all schools to do their part by running energy reduction campaigns to help us get to 20 per cent. Find out about what we have done thus far to reduce our energy use and how schools are getting involved this school year by clicking HERE. The North Vancouver Board of Education also declared a climate emergency.
Our connections to our community continue to grow. Whether it is working with North Vancouver RCMP, City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, local public libraries, North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission, Vancouver Coastal Health, ICBC, the Vancouver Aquarium, or Sport for Life; our partnerships continue to develop. An initiative we are particularly excited about is the Power 5 program with the RCMP focusing on building closer connections between students and police officers. We are also an active participant in the North Shore Housing Lab, led by the City of North Vancouver, exploring opportunities to support affordable housing initiatives that will keep our community vibrant and diverse. We extend a warm 'Thank you' to all of the organizations and individuals in our community who support our schools.
We would like to thank all of our staff, students and parents who have worked hard to enhance our school district. Much has been accomplished over the past year, and over the past decade. Creating meaningful change takes time and a lot of energy. We are proud of what we have accomplished, and acknowledge that there is more we can achieve. We encourage everyone to add their voices to our strategic planning process so that we can move forward together to provide world-class instruction and a rich diversity of engaging programs to inspire success for every student and bring communities together to learn, share and grow.
Chair, North Vancouver Board of Education
Superintendent, North Vancouver School District