This Week in eNews | June 4, 2021

President's Message

President's Message

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Our Home and Native Land

As a young teacher, I organized and planned international travel for the students at my school. My first international trip was to China in 1989, mere weeks before the tragedy of Tiananmen Square.  In subsequent years, I travelled with my students several times, visiting South-East Asia, England, and the Mediterranean. And as we travelled, we were readily identified and welcomed as a group of Canadian students by the colours we flew proudly on our backpacks and our baggage.

A stop in the itinerary of our Mediterranean journey was Jerusalem, Israel. With only 48 hours to learn all we could of this country, it was a whirlwind of experience that cannot be recounted in a few paragraphs. However, three moments will forever stay with me, each of them lived at Yad Vashem.

The first is called the Children’s Memorial. It is hard to describe, and it is even more difficult to convey its profound impact. Imagine a bridge through a pitch black tunnel. Through pin-hole lights and reflections, the flickering of thousands upon thousands of lights plays across those who walk this bridge in silence. And as visitors walk through this galaxy, name after name after name is quietly uttered into the void.

The second moment that lives with me was spent in the Hall of Remembrance. This structure houses a flame which shall burn eternally, ringed in the mosaic floor by the names of the most infamous sites of killing and extermination, which serve to symbolize the hundreds of such locations. The Hall is a place of reverence and is the final resting place of an unknown number of victims.

The third and most painful moment emerged in an artifact.

It was a single shoe. It had likely belonged to a child of about three years of age. At least, that is the image captured and held in my mind, a memory more than thirty years old. In the way that memory can, the details of my recollection may be transformed by time, but what remains true are the impressions and feelings evoked by this shoe.

The shoe was mounted for display upon a small pedestal which itself sat on a table surface. The tabletop display was fully enclosed in glass so that it could be viewed from all sides. The shoe was old, and had signs of wear. The laces were loose, and the tongue of the shoe was pulled back as if to accommodate a little foot… one foot to represent more than one million. This tiny, fragile shoe left an indelible stamp of horror, pain, and sorrow. This single shoe made concrete the suffering of one sweet life. An unimaginable atrocity had been composed into something a mind can comprehend: one beautiful child, denied life and humanity.  

Shoes carry a weighty symbolism. Perhaps the weight comes from the invitation to walk in them, to step inside and imagine the suffering lived or the life denied. The empty shoes of children symbolize a journey cut short with sudden departure, suggesting footprints left behind on the land to mark their passage. They stand in place, holding space for a precious life that should have been protected and treasured. This week, 215 empty pairs of shoes appeared throughout our land, holding space at the steps of government houses and at public galleries. The child’s shoe in Jerusalem moved within me a deep sorrow; the empty shoes standing vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery left me numb and inarticulate. The emotion I feel is beyond shame, and has only been deepened by the discovery that the children’s shoes holding space at the BC Legislature had been removed, likened to the remnants of a protest.

When I visited Israel in my young adult life, I did not know what a residential school was, nor what had happened within them. Mass graves and sombre memorials were found in other countries, ones to which Canadians travelled. As I travelled the world with Indigenous students from my own hometown, grieving the inhumanity of other nations, I could not have imagined a day in the future when Canadian flags would be lowered to half-mast… a day that confirmed long-held suspicions, and a mass grave that challenged a national identity and exposed an undeniable truth. Can there be any atonement when compassion afforded one people is denied to another? I do not know. But what is certain is that there can be no reconciliation without the truth, the full truth. And that truth must be owned: Canada is home to mass graves.

In the days since the discovery in Kamloops, I have heard voices speaking defensively, claiming “I didn’t do this thing!” These speakers do not understand the nature of their responsibility in the light of knowledge. And we may anticipate greater knowledge as more discoveries at the sites of other residential schools come into that light. With this revealed truth, with this knowledge, comes a responsibility to act. We have 94 Calls to Action: I will end this week with number 75.

We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried. This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.

I have sent a letter on behalf of the BCPVPA and our members to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; and the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada that expresses our Association’s and members’ support of Call to Action number 75. As we all expect to be accountable, so do we expect accountability.

I hope to travel the world again one day. There is optimism that this day may be soon. When I do step out on a journey beyond our land, I will choose to fly our colours on my baggage. I will do so understanding that the Maple Leaf will evoke a different international response, and I will uphold my responsibility to the true story of our nation.

The BCPVPA Office is Remote
The BCPVPA staff is currently working remotely in order to respect the updated provincial health protocols. We are here to support our members. Please do not hesitate to contact us, or check our App for updates. 

This Week's Highlight

This Week's Highlight

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Indigenous History Month 

June marks Indigenous History Month! It's a time to celebrate, honour and learn more about
the incredible accomplishments, heritage and traditions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis
peoples. It's also a time to recognize the injustices and trauma of the past and present, and
to further our commitment to the 94 Calls to Action, allyship & solidarity. Go to Resources

We mourn for the 215 children who never made it home from the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and we hold space collectively for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community, and Indigenous communities across Canada. For survivors, families and communities, support is available if you need to seek help, counselling or reach a 24/7 crisis line: click here. 

Pride Month

The month of June is also Pride Month! Pride Month is a time to celebrate the stories, diversity and accomplishments of LGBTQ2S+ communities and also to raise awareness of historical and ongoing injustices they face. We stand with the LGBTQ2S+ community and strive for equality, safety, justice and inclusion for all. School resources 

The Principl(ed) Podcast

In Episode 12, host Chris Horton sits down with Jessica Antosz, BCPVPA Director, Professional Learning & Development. As Jessica approaches retirement this year, they look back on the pivotal moments in her journey, and the growth opportunities, highlights and successes from
her many years of school leadership and supporting leaders across BC.  

Listen on  iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more! Access the podcast here.

The Principl(ed) Podcast is a made-in-Canada monthly series that connects with BC school Principals and Vice-Principals who are working everywhere in the province, from the smallest rural schools to the bustling urban centres. 

BCPVPA Updates

BCPVPA Updates

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Event & Webinar Registrations

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Register for Leading a Culture of Learning Levels 1 & 2  

Registration for LCL 1 & 2 is open for 2021-2022 Cohorts! This robust program offers practical learning, connection with other leaders, and opportunities to sharpen your leadership skills. View 2021 -2022 LCL Flyer 

Specific dates to be determined (health protocols considered)

LCL 1   
In-Person Northern Cohort (Prince George) and Virtual Cohort
Register Here
Program Details

LCL 2 

In-Person Metro Region
Register Here

Register for the 2021 Connecting Leaders Conference 

View CL 2021 Event Overview

The 2021 Connecting Leaders Conference: Leading for Equity, hosted by the BCPVPA’s Metro Region Chapters, will be happening October 21 – 22, 2021. Leading us in conversation will be Keynote Speakers: Nouman Ashraf, Anna Maria Tremonti, and Candy Palmater


Thank you for being part of Jean Up! 

This May, BCPVPA joined the month-long Jean Up movement in support of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to make jeans a symbol of something way bigger—helping kids get out of their hospital gowns and back into their jeans.

A heartfelt thank you to BCPVPA members for joining us in taking a stand against childhood diseases. Because of your support, this year’s Jean Up raised an incredible $308,000 (and counting). Your support will allow experts at BC Children’s Hospital to advance innovative research, tailor care to the specialized needs of kids, and comfort families during their toughest days. Not only that, every dollar you raised will make double the impact thanks to Odlum Brown, Jean Up’s school match sponsor. 

We also want to thank the members who participated in the Jean Up contest sponsored by Mavi. Please join us in congratulating Kelda Logan (SD 64) and Rob Clark (SD 75), our Mavi gift card winners — we can’t wait to see your new denim outfits for next year’s Jean Up. Thank you to Jean Up’s denim partner Mavi for the great support. Don’t forget to mark your 2022 school calendar to join the Jean Up movement next year! 


Principl(ed) Magazine Survey 
We appreciate our readers, and want to hear how we can improve upon our magazine. Thanks for completing this short survey! Survey Link

BCPVPA Thriving in Education Survey Teaser Results

The BCPVPA would like to express our appreciation for your completion of the Thriving in Education Survey. We exceeded our goal of 1,000 responses, all thanks to your participation! Click here to see the demographic and regional breakdown of those that completed the survey. An initial glance at the results clearly illuminates the interesting dichotomy that is the life of an administrator. Driven by purpose, motivated by passion, while willing to give so much in a current environment that is increasingly draining. Read the teaser summary here

We will be sharing a full report on the results in the early Fall with commentary on what recommendations we believe - going forward - will maintain those members who are currently doing well and what can be put in place to enable more members to thrive. Look to the June 11 eNews for more information, and the announcement of the three winners of Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe’s book, Calm Within the Storm.


BCPVPA Response to Times Colonist Editorial

On Friday May 28, 2021, the Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria issued an editorial – “Principals’ push to unionize deserves detention”. The BCPVPA has responded to the Times Colonist editorial with the submission of both a letter and an OpEd, and we await the newspaper’s decision on whether it will print one of these responses in an upcoming issue.

2021 Partnership Awards Media Release 

The BCPVPA is thrilled to announce the six recipients of this year’s Partnership Awards. The following individuals and groups are being recognized for their valuable and long-term contribution and support of Principals, Vice-Principals, teachers and students. We thank all the Chapters who put forth a nomination this year! 

Read the media release

View 2021 Partnership Award recipients 

Congratulations to: 

  • Cam Aitken (Nominated by SD 61, Victoria)
  • Legacy Church of the Nazarene (Nominated by SD 36, Surrey)
  • Nanaimo Foodshare (Nominated by SD 68, Nanaimo-Ladysmith)
  • Sarah Bendall (Nominated by SD 23, Central Okanagan)
  • Story Studio Writing Society (Nominated by SD 61, Victoria)
  • Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (Nominated by SD 63, Saanich)

2021 BCPVPA Board of Directors Final Results

The new Directors of the Board were elected by members in the May 25 – 27 vote. The five successful Directors of the Board for two year terms 2021-2023 are:

  • Jacqueline Borosa, SD92 (Nisga’a)
  • David DeRosa, SD20 (Kootenay-Columbia)
  • Sanj Johal, SD44 (North Vancouver)
  • Read Jorgensen, SD61 (Victoria)
  • Sally Zryd, SD73 (Kamloops-Thompson)

As Brian Leonard will take on the role of President-Elect beginning July 1, 2021, and there is one year remaining in Brian’s term as Director, the sixth place Director candidate will complete this one-year Director term, 2021-2022:

  • Paul Marsden, SD36 (Surrey)

These six Directors will join Brian Leonard, SD43 (Coquitlam) – President-Elect and the following 2020-2022 Directors on the Board, beginning July 1:

  • Darren Danyluk, SD6 (Rocky Mountain) – President
  • Tom Aerts, SD61 (Victoria)
  • Heidi Grant, SD91 (Nechako Lakes)
  • Sid Jawanda, SD27 (Prince George)
  • Jacqueline Taylor, SD22 (Vernon)

Our very sincere thanks go out to Rob Clark, SD75 (Mission), Beverly Forster, SD54 (Bulkley Valley), Grant Frend, SD42 (Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows), Bill Rounis, SD47 (Powell River) and Tara Zielinski, SD45 (West Vancouver) for their candidacy in this election. 

BCPVPA Student Scholarships | 2021 Applications Open 

The BCPVPA annually awards up to 20 scholarships, in the amount of $1000 each, to students who are graduating from the BC public school system and will proceed to a post-secondary institution. These scholarships recognize students who have demonstrated academic achievements and school or community leadership. More Info

View 2021 Application Form

Applications due Sept 17th, 2021  

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