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 somber 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.
BCPVPA staff are now working both remotely and in the office.
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.
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
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.
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!
We appreciate our readers, and want to hear how we can improve upon our magazine. Thanks for completing this short survey! Survey Link
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.
On Friday May 28, 2021, the Times Colonist newspaper in Victoria issued an editorial – “Principals’ push to unionize deserves detention”. As the Times Colonist elected not to print the BCPVPA's letter or OpEd in response to the editorial, we released the OpEd response on our website and through our social media platforms on Thursday June 10.
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
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:
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:
These six Directors will join Brian Leonard, SD43 (Coquitlam) – President-Elect and the following 2020-2022 Directors on the Board, beginning July 1:
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.
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
The Indigenous Cultural Competency Scale is a self-assessment tool designed to explore individual cultural competence. The purpose is to help an individual to consider their knowledge, skills, and awareness of ‘self’ in their interactions with others.
Indigenous Cultural Competency Scale
Learning Activity Guide
Learning Activity Example
The BC Principals' & Vice-Principals' Association has issued a statement regarding the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) decision on the application for certification by the Southeast Kootenay Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association (SEKPVPA). Read the statement.
Download the Order Form
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)
In-Person Northern Cohort (Prince George) and Virtual CohortRegister HereProgram Details
In-Person Metro RegionRegister Here
REGISTER HEREView 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.
Each week, we will be sharing books, articles, videos and podcasts to encourage continuing the work of anti-racism and equity, and to deepen our understanding of the history of Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and marginalized communities in Canada. Have a recommendation to share? Please let us know!
Residential Schools: Classroom Resources
View Resource Guides
The Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Teacher Resource Guides for grades 5, 10 and 11/12 were developed by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association. They are a response to the call by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for education bodies to develop age-appropriate educational materials about residential schools. These unique, BC-specific, resources for grades 5, 10, 11 and 12 use age-appropriate literature, archival resources, and videos to increase students’ understanding of the historical context of residential schools and to develop students’ awareness about the reconciliation process as a way to move us all forward.
Project of the Heart: Educator Resources
First Nation Child and Family Caring Society
The First Nation Child and Family Caring Society have constructed lesson plans that assist educators that aim to teach about social justice issues. These four levels of guides include campaigns which FNCFCS promote and encourage all Canadians to create awareness and make a difference.
ReFresh is a BCPVPA health resource with simple exercises and information to explore in your breaks at work. ReFresh appears as a Member Update every Wednesday. All ReFresh posts are archived here.
Read the latest ReFresh: Fat That Burns Fat
In this week’s blog, Charles Ungerleider responds to a reader’s question about the impact of COVID-19 on the contribution schools make to ‘keeping society on the same page’.
Read the latest blogpost here
Charles Ungerleider is a Professor Emeritus of Education at The University of British Columbia and Managing Partner at Directions Evidence and Policy Research Group. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the OpED articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy, or position of the BCPVPA.
Read Jack’s Blog Post
In this blog post, Jack MacNeill from humanworks provides some valuable advice for transitioning to the Summer months, where we can refocus on our own health and wellness after a long school year.
Jack MacNeill is a registered clinical counselor and organizational counselor who has worked in the education sector, specifically with teachers and school leaders, for more than 25 years. He is the founder and president of humanworks consulting group inc. Jack’s column appears in eNews the first Friday of each month.
Business or Education: Not So Different
In this month’s post, SD 61 Principal, Read Jorgensen, explains why it might be helpful to branch out and learn from business leaders and thinkers, alongside educational leaders. Read Jorgensen is a monthly contributor for BCPVPA’s eNews Columns.
Despite the challenge and chaos of living through an ongoing pandemic, there are moments of goodness in our lives. Sharing good news with our partners, friends, close colleagues, and children is one way to strengthen these vital relationships.
According to research by Dr. Shelley Gable, the key to turning these small moments of goodness into relationship-strengthening gems lies in how we talk about them: frequently, actively, constructively, and responsively. Doing so is directly linked with greater commitment, satisfaction, intimacy, and trust in close relationships. Active Constructive Responding is a powerful practice for amplifying the benefits of positive events in our lives. At its core, Active Constructive Responding is about seeking out positive events and sharing them with others.
Heart-Mind Online Resources explores the art of Active Constructive Responding and offers two activities for practicing this skill: for adults, a "Share Your Highlights Reel", and for children, "Be Good News Detectives". Learn more
Youth Ambassador Program
This program offers youth the opportunity to gain practical work experience, network, strengthen 21st-century skills, and gain leadership experience while learning about DWF and Canada’s true history with residential schools.
Indigenous History Month 2021
For more information, visit DWF Youth Ambassador Program. You can read more about the DWF's Legacy Schools Program in the June issue of Principl(ed) magazine.
In honour of Indigenous History Month, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is pleased to present a series of four events in celebration of the diversity of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Throughout the month of June, we will be featuring Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, artists, and allies from communities coast to coast. Join us on Facebook and Youtube as we come together in hope, unity, and celebration.
Register for Events Here
Stories from the River: Exploring British Columbia's Principals’ Experiences of Developing their Identities, Capacities, and Agency in Leading Educational Transformation
The objective of this study is to hermeneutically explore and address current gaps in the literature regarding Principals' perspectives on and lived experiences of developing their identities, capacities, and sense of agency while leading increasingly diverse schools through complex transformations and events. The study is seeking 10 volunteer Principals from diverse backgrounds, who are willing to share a few stories of leading their schools through change at three points in time:
View Confidentiality Form
If you have any concerns about this voluntary and recruitment survey, or the study itself, please contact Leah Taylor, Doctoral Candidate in Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies at the University of Victoria.
Graduation ceremonies qualify as ‘educational activities’ and are therefore allowed to continue in alignment with the PHO Gathering and Events Order and the K-12 Health & Safety Guidelines. The Government of BC has issued this guiding resource.
Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators (EASE) is now available in an electronic format. EASE Online is a collection of free resources and lesson plans for educators to help teach strategies to address anxiety with students in grades K-7. The online version includes six sections with a series of interactive activities including the creation of an action plan to use EASE strategies with students.
The activities are intended to help educators create supportive learning environments for all students. Developed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in partnership with Anxiety Canada, EASE supports the goals of B.C.’s mental health strategy, A Pathway to Hope, and has been used in B.C. schools since 2019.
Solution Tree Canada is pleased to offer BCPVPA members a preferred price for the upcoming Achieve Virtual Institute this summer.
Achieve Virtual Institute: Promising Practices in Instruction, Assessment and Grading
BCPVPA members registering online can apply Discount Code Leader21 at check-out. If paying by purchase order, please quote “BCPVPA Discount Code Leader21”
*The BCPVPA discount code provides $100 off each registration and cannot be combined with other discounts i.e. team pricing
With the ongoing need for continuity of learning in our system, the BCPVPA has opened up free access to BetterEducate for all BC K-12 educators. Develop a BetterEducate Profile | Collaborate with Colleagues | Browse and Share Resources | Develop your Plans – All on one platform!
If you haven’t yet signed up for BetterEducate, visit the site and sign up for your free membershipwith the promo code BCPVPA123. View Sign-Up Instructions
The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is a province wide professional support service provided by the BCPVPA at no cost to you and is completely voluntary and confidential. The program supports BCPVPA Benefits Plan members experiencing health-related personal and/or professional challenges. Find out more
Applications for the 2021 Johnson Scholarship Program are open! Our partner, Johnson Insurance, is proud to offer 50 scholarship opportunities, valued at $1000 each, to eligible applicants. Deadline: July 15, 2021
To learn more about this exciting opportunity, visit Johnson.ca/scholarship. Programme debourses d’études 2021: Johnson.ca/fr/bourses-detudes.
Johnson hopes that you are staying safe and healthy! As we all adapt to the changes necessary due to COVID-19, home insurance should be the last thing you have to worry about. Johnson can make your home insurance easier with great benefits, and caring service. Find out more about exclusive savings.
Are you or a colleague thinking of retirement soon? Please check the BC Retired Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association for benefits offered to retired members, such as affinity, health & travel insurance, prestige coverage, pensions & other topics of interest, and you will also find a mail-in application form on the site. The BCRPVPA looks forward to hearing from you if retirement is in your near future! Contact the BCRPVPA
Visit Make a Future for an up-to-date job board with all of the latest opportunities in the BC Education sector.
Expression of Interest for Secondment
Ministry of Education (Online Learning & Change Management Lead)
Find out moreClosing June 18 by 5:00pm
SD 5 (Southeast Kootenay)Vice-Principal
Find out moreClosing June 14 by 12:00pm
Find out more Closing June 14 by 12:00pm
SD 91 (Nechako Lakes)Elementary Principal
Find out more
Ongoing Closing Date