May 2019


May 2019

Message from Vancouver DPAC Chair

  • Thank you to parents who attended our session with VSB staff to hear about and discuss the VSB's 2019/20 operating budget, and to Shehzad Somji, William Hsu, and Pedro da Silva for making the presentation and answering questions.  I'd also like to acknowledge DPAC's trustee liaison Carmen Cho who has been very supportive in this role and who has made a great effort to engage with parents at our meetings and with our executive.

    Minister of Education Rob Fleming announced changes to Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) guidelines on April 12th which we believe has the potential for the District to refocus its LRFP.  DPAC has written a letter to the Board outlining some of our recommendations on this matter.  This letter was a much-transformed version of the post I had originally hoped to do earlier last month, but DPAC believes that the District now has an opportunity to set its own path in terms of educational vision and to transform the way schools are encompassed within that vision.  We hope the Board recognizes and seizes this opportunity to challenge the status quo and to be bold in their thinking.

    I'd like to use this opportunity to start some conversations about what PACs can do to create more parent engagement with the school district and vice versa.  I'd like to start by reminding PACs that the School Act gives you the right to advocate on behalf of your school communities.  This means that the Board and the admin and staff at your schools has to hear what you have to say, and you should avail yourself of this right when the need arises.

    The first suggestion I'd make to PACs is to make sure you elect a DPAC rep and to have that person attend some DPAC executive meetings throughout the year and report back to you.  We have been fortunate to have the support of Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman insofar as she has attended almost all of our executive meetings this year and has been willing to take questions on almost any district-related topic from parents in attendance.  Our meeting agendas usually touch on most district goings on, so being at our meetings is one way to find out and ask questions about what is happening in the district and find out how your school might be affected or become involved.

    My second suggestion, and last suggestion for now, is to invite the Superintendent and/or your school's trustee liaison to visit your school, or to invite the latter to attend one of your PAC meetings.  I believe that school and parent communities have an opportunity right now to educate the school board on what actually transpires in your schools on a daily basis and to have that captured in the larger educational vision I alluded to above.  Through committee delegations we have had some excellent examples of schools being redefined for district staff and trustees and I believe we need to have all schools accounted for in this higher narrative.

    Our AGM will be held on June 20th We will be taking nominations until June 19th for parents who are interested in becoming part of our executive for next school year.  Being part of the DPAC executive is not a trivial time commitment and it requires being able to put aside one's personal interests to serve the needs of the greater Vancouver public school community.  Please contact me or any other current executive member ( for more information.

    All DPAC meetings are open to any parent or guardian of a child or children attending Vancouver School Board schools.  Voting at executive meetings is limited to executive members only and voting at general meetings is limited to official PAC reps and/or PAC Chairs only, but anyone attending may participate in the discussions and have their views heard.  Delegations may be heard at executive meetings and must be requested from the Chair at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

    Thank you,
    Shaun Kalley, 2018/19 DPAC Chair

Upcoming DPAC Events

  • Thursday, May 9, 7-9:30pm – DPAC Executive Meeting Rm 106, Vancouver Education Centre 1580 W. Broadway

  • Thursday, May 23, 7-9pm – DPAC General Meeting - Redesigned Curriculum: Curriculum Implementation Framework Part 2 Rm 180, Vancouver Education Centre 1580 W. Broadway This is a continuation of our November 22 meeting about the new curriculum's implementation and reporting out of student learning.

  • Thursday, June 6, 6:30-9pm – Parent Advocate Training: Introductory Rm 120, Vancouver Education Centre 1580 W. Broadway. Vancouver DPAC is looking to reinitiate the role of appointed parent advocates in the district. We have hired Susan Wilson as our trainer. Susan has over 17 years experience helping parents advocate for their child and is currently providing parent advocacy training to district parent advisory councils across the province. This session is open to all VSB parents/guardians, staff and administors interested in learning more. See event for more details.

Upcoming PAC Events Open to the Wider Community

  • Friday, May 3, 2:30-6pm – Tyee’s Plant Sale and Carnival. It is a great event where we celebrate our community with food, entertainment and fun for all ages. This year there will be 13 different fun activities including a bouncy castle, a cotton candy machine, a photo booth, and a few new games like a candy count jar and tombola raffle. Some really cool prizes are included this year thanks to the generous donations of local shops including Dilly Dally, The Granville Island Toy company, and London Drugs. Those loving traditional over nouveau can still take on the fabulous toilet roll toss, the tricky and mysterious treasure chest game and the best-ever-cake-walk-in-the-world!!! Please join us -everyone is welcome!! 3525 Dumfries Street. (poster)

  • Wednesday, May 22 – Champlain Heights PAC will be hosting a free presentation by Dr Vanessa Lapointe. Link for registration coming soon.

  • Thursday, May 23, 4-7:30pm – Laura Secord Elementary School's Family Festival. 2500 Lakewood Drive. Open to the community. FUN, Music, Food, Games, FUN, Community Building Activities, Cardboard Arcade, Old School Games FUN!

  • Friday, May 24, 3-6pm – Sir Begbie PAC's Spring Cleaning Loonie Sale. 1420 Lillooet St (poster)

  • Friday, May 24, 4-8pm – David Oppenheimer's 8th annual Spring Fair. We'll have carnival games, bouncy castle and inflatable obstacle course, pony rides, lots of food for sale as well as a silent auction. 2421 Scarboro Ave. (near Nanaimo & 61st Ave.)

  • Monday, June 3, 6:45pm – Calling for parents to join the Vancouver Learning Network Parent Advisory Council! Vancouver Learning Network (VLN) offers a valuable service for over 5000 Kindergarten to grade 12 students seeking to repeat a course, take a course not offered at their school or those taking a full program when they cannot or chose not to attend a brick and mortar school. We are putting a call out to all PAC Presidents to encourage parents to join the VLN PAC if they have a student enrolled in VLN.  As you know, parent input is incredibly valuable in ensuring that schools are meeting student needs and the VLN is no different. VLN PAC meetings only last 1 hour and often include a guest speaker with information pertinent for all BC students in addition to information specific to online learners. We encourage parents to attend our last meeting of the year on Monday June 3rd at 6:45pm at the VLN offices at the back of John Oliver Secondary at 41st and Fraser. In addition, we are seeking 2 new executive members for the fall. Please consider serving your child's school community in this rich and valuable role. There are no meeting or obligations outside the 4-5 yearly PAC meetings. As if you needed another incentive, there will be really delicious goodies at every meeting!

  • Wednesday, June 19, 3-7pm – "Say Goodbye to Bayview School” A Community Farewell Open House. Join us in saying goodbye to a building students have walked through for over a century. Enjoy a roaming “tour” of Bayview history as Kitsilano historical characters are brought to life by "Live History” Theatre. Walk through the school and reminisce. Display of Bayview memorabilia and historical artifacts in the gym. There will be refreshments for sale. Bayview Community School, 2251 Collingwood St.

Important Dates

Useful Information & Resources

Diverse Learners

  • The Select Standing Committee for Children and Youth (part of the Legislative Assembly) is holding a public consultation on Children and Youth with Neuro-Diverse Special Needs: How can assessment and eligibility processes for children and youth with neuro-diverse (e.g.: ASD, FASD, Developmental Delay) special needs by improved?. Share your input and experiences at a public hearing (closest to Vancouver is in Surrey on June 4) or in writing by Friday, June 7. (more information)

  • School seeing success after opening sensory room for students with special needs (article)

Expand/Embrace Your Indigenous Knowledges

  • This library Takes an Indigenous Approach to Categorizing Books. article

Family Fun

  • May 1-7 – BC Youth Week. Website of events in Vancouver and Sea to Sky.

  • Saturday, May 11, 10-3pm – City of Vancouver's Family Fun Fair A free family event. including games, pony rides, a hay ride, face painting and a performance by Bobs & Lolo. Manitoba Works Yard, 250 W. 70th Ave.

  • May 27-31 – Bike to School Week. Parents, teachers, and administrators can register their elementary with HUB Cycling. Secondary schools are encouraged to participate in Spring Bike to Work Week as an entire school or individual riders. Secondary students and staff can log their trips to school and work, track their results and are eligible to win Bike to Work Week awards and prizes. Find out if your school is registered - check out the map of 2019 registered schools.  

Healthy Eating

  • Wednesday, May 22, 6pm – Encouraging Healthy Eating in Children. VSB Education Centre, 1580 W. Broadway. The goal of this workshop is to help caregivers to promote healthy eating habits in their child(ren), recognize the early signs of disordered eating, and to learn about school and community-based supports and services.

Mental Health / Substance Abuse

  • More parents, kids to get help from free mental health service. Announcement by Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. Serving parents and caregivers of children aged three to 12 years, the Anxiety Program is a new, free intervention program that includes access to educational videos and weekly telephone coaching sessions and will be available starting April 29, 2019.

  • Monday, May 6 - Jun 24, 5:30-7:30pm  – Responsive Parenting Workshop Parents will learn strategies to improve communication with their youth (aged 12-24) who may have a combination of mental health and substance use challenges. (May 6, 13, 27, June 3, 10, 17 and 24) Robert Lily Lee - 1669 E Broadway

  • Tuesday, May 7 – National Child & Youth Mental Health Day. May 7th is about having caring conversations and making connections between children, youth and caring adults in their lives. Caring Connections enhance the mental health of children and youth and it is part of their overall health. View Be That Caring Adult video.

  • Wednesday, May 8, 7-8:30pm – Adverse Childhood Events (ACES) ~ Insights into Childhood Trauma Richmond Hospital Ralph Fisher Auditorium, Richmond

Multiculturalism / Anti-Racism

  • Unlearn Racisim - Designed for youth 12-16, the Unlearn Racism resource is about challenging the status quo, questioning the one-sided narrative that’s presented to us every day of our lives and putting aside the practice of discrimination that’s fuelled by historical events and past perceptions.

  • Anti-racism FAQs (Government of BC)


  • Advocating for your Child – Addressing Concerns
    Is something bothering you about your child’s education? Are you unsure of what to do or who to contact? Parents are natural advocates for their child and it’s important to identify problems quickly and calmly to ensure a resolution is reached. Learning how your child’s school and the school district deals with concerns and complaints is essential. Schools have a code of conduct and the Vancouver School Board (VSB) has policies, supported by administrative procedures, regarding conduct of students, staff and trustees along with foundational statements providing guidance and direction for all activities within the school district.
    It’s best to address your concern with the person directly involved. For example if your child comes home upset over something that happened in class, set up a time to talk with the teacher to respectfully go over your concerns. If the concern isn’t addressed or resolved at that point, contacting the school’s principal or vice-principal with your concern is the next step. Often times a more formal meeting, with a set agenda and perhaps other staff members present, is needed to come to a resolution.
    Being prepared for a meeting with your child’s teacher and administrative staff is essential for a successful resolution. The next submission in the June Newsletter will go through a few tips to help parents be prepared for a meeting.

  • Submitted by Susan Wilson. Susan has over 17 years experience helping parents advocate for their child and is currently providing parent advocacy training to district parent advisory councils across the province. If you're interested in learning more about parent advocacy and helping other parents, come to Parent Advocate Training: Introductory on June 6th.

Post Secondary

  • Sunday, May 5, 1:30pm - Vancouver International Universities Fair Information Session. Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building) (poster)



  • Highlights: Public Board meeting of April 29, 2019 

    • Watch the meeting here.

    • Presentation students, school staff and the director of the AIRS program. Through the program, students have the opportunity to develop skills, confidence and self-expression in and through the visual arts by working regularly and consistently with local professional artists in a studio space in the school. 

    • Superintendent's April update focused on the Early Development Instrument – a province-wide survey detailing patterns and trends in children's developmental health over time and across geographies.

    • Major Decisions 

      • Approved moving forward several recommendations of the draft Long Range Facilities Plan, including a decision to remove the recommendation directing staff to compile a list of schools for the Board in September for consideration of potential closure. 

      • The following motion was passed by a vote of seven in favour and two opposed:
        “That the District cease enrolling French Immersion kindergarten classes at Henry Hudson Elementary School in September 2020 and begin phasing out the French Immersion program over the next eight years. And further, the District commits to adequately funding and supporting the program for the eight years; however, should any enrolling class be projected to have under 15 students (in an intermediate class) or 12 students (in a primary class), a review of options for students will take place. And further that the Board commits to providing sibling priority registration, along with siblings of in-catchment English program students, to siblings of French Immersion students currently enrolled in the Henry Hudson French Immersion Program."

  • A Safer school for Maquinna students Minister Shane Simpson and Minister Rob Fleming, announced that the BC Government has approved the funding to seismically upgrade Chief Maquinna Elementary. 

  • Creating more French Immersion opportunities Vancouver School District signed an agreement with the Academies of Aix Marseille and Nice (Marseille and Nice school jurisdictions in France) to further strengthen and expand opportunities in French and English language education for students, teachers and administrators.

VSB Budget 2019/20 Timeline

Long Range Facilities Plan Input Opportunities

Summer School - Registration begins on April 29

Interested in STEM, cooking, dance, band, academic upgrading and much more? VSB Summer Experience 2019 offers a wide range of courses for elementary, secondary and international students. If you are a BC Student, most courses are funded by the Ministry of Education. Please see course list for more details.

Elementary Programs are held at:

  • KERRISDALE, 5555 Carnarvon St.

  • ERIC HAMBER, 5025 Willow St.

  • LAURA SECORD, 2500 Lakewood Dr.

  • MOUNT PLEASANT, 2300 Guelph St.

  • NOOTKA, 3375 Nootka St.

  • TECUMSEH, 1850 E. 41st Ave.

  • WAVERLEY, 6111 Elliott St.

Secondary Program are held at:

  • CHURCHILL, 7055 Heather St.

  • DAVID THOMPSON, 1755 E. 55th Ave.

  • ERIC HAMBER, 5025 Willow St.

  • JOHN OLIVER, 530 E. 41st Ave.

  • PRINCE OF WALES, 2250 Eddington Dr.

  • POINT GREY, 5350 E. Boulevard

  • VANCOUVER TECH., 2600 E. Broadway

Visit to learn more or go to your school office to pick up a catalogue.



  • Friday, May 3 - Parent Members Conference Education & networking, rich topics & discussions, hear directly & engage with Minister of Education

  • Saturday, May 4-Sunday, May 5 - Annual General Meeting Board elections, discussion of proposed Resolutions, review of our budget and financials, Committee of the Whole.

  • AGM Booklet & Resolutions AGM Booklet updated with more Resolutions & posted online. Review before voting & completing Proxy Forms

  • Ministry Update re LRFP Long Range Facilities Plans (LRFP) revisions & update from Ministry of Ed.

Ministry of Education

In the News

  • See VSB section re: updated Long Range Facility Plan Guidelines update

  • Rob Fleming: Celebrating Children During Education Week Op Ed

  • BC Schools to provide free menstrual products to students (Article)

Other Ministry News