I sat in the car, watching the flickers of orange begin to show through the wood siding of the building. My little sister’s bedroom was on the other side of that wall. It was only a few minutes earlier that I was climbing down a ladder from the third-floor balcony of our apartment in Coquitlam. And it was only minutes before that when my mother’s voice – sharp and alarmed – woke me from a deep sleep with one word: “Fire!” It was December 7, 1975.
I think the sight of my family stepping out on to the balcony and signaling fearfully to the firemen below came as a shock to everyone gathered there. Billowing smoke followed us out of the sliding door; it was the only thing, other than our pyjamas, that we brought with us as we fled.
The parking lot was full of people, early that Sunday morning. Along with those evacuated from the building were neighbours attracted by the sirens and the activity. One of them was Steve, a boy in my class. Steve was standing next to our car, straddling his bike with both his feet on the ground. Like me, he was watching the tongues of flame beginning to show through the walls of the building’s top floor. I noticed him before he noticed me, as I sat inside the car beside him with the windows rolled up. His face told the story: he was engrossed by the drama unfolding around him. It is unlikely that he had ever before witnessed such personal loss and tragedy.
I stared at Steve for no real reason; perhaps I wanted to gaze at something other than the burning building. When Steve’s eyes finally turned to mine through the glass of the car window, I heard him ask, “Is that your house?” While it wasn’t a house on fire – rather the top floor of an apartment block – I knew what he meant. I nodded; that was my home.
I’m not sure if it was his giddiness in discovering a direct connection to this story, one he could retell and put himself close to the action. He can be forgiven, as he was only eleven.
We had been rescued; my family was safe and unharmed. As a single parent, my mother felt the loss deeply. There was little recovered from the rubble, the insurance was modest, and Christmas was coming. The community was amazingly generous and we carried on, going to work and school, clothed in donations. I wasn't bothered by this until another boy in my class, recognizing the shirt I was wearing, told everyone on the playground how he had helped me. He can also be forgiven his excitement, as he didn't know better.
The memory of the fire has surfaced for me each year at this time. I have felt a profound empathy this summer for our BC families living under threat, as smoke fills their skies. And I have felt such a deep sadness for our families who are suffering from the loss – so sudden and complete – of literally everything they own. Evacuated, they stood by powerless as awesome forces consumed everything that was their home.
This utter devastation comes immediately following a time of profound emotion and pain for our Indigenous communities. At a time when members of these communities were symbolically ‘walking their children home’, many homes – apart from the land – no longer stand.
And of course, within these communities there were schools. In other communities on alert due to the threat of wildfires, the schools still stand in the smoky air. This week, our Principals and Vice-Principals have begun to ready these schools to welcome students and staff back for a new school year. They have returned to buildings they closed in July, or they are working with their teams to establish new learning spaces. Our school leaders begin this work as residents themselves on alert, living with their precious possessions packed at the ready by the front door.
All school leaders in BC will prepare for back to school with the now-familiar health and safety measures and mask mandate in place. It is not an understatement to describe this September’s return to school as complex. Some weeks ago, the provincial government communications began to include a bright yellow graphic which depicted several colourful animals, each at different points on a path. There is a red turtle and a purple moose, a swift rabbit and a swifter hummingbird. The caption states that “Everyone is moving forward at their own pace.” While intended for a somewhat different purpose, the graphic serves to encourage a proportional, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed response with those around us, acknowledging that we each have a different lived experience.
As we prepare to begin our year, this graphic serves as a good reminder for all leaders in our sector to attend to where their people are on the path to this restart. Who are your moose, and who are your hummingbirds? What have people experienced, and how can you help? It is important to remember that our actions, or inactions, may leave lasting impressions on our people.
Despite my own experience with trauma, I live with a natural and not inordinate fear of the danger posed by fire. I also recovered from the humiliation and anger I felt at the insensitivity of young boys. However, as my wife and I composed our lists of baby names at those times in our life together, ‘Steve’ never made the cut.
August 24 - Darren Danyluk spoke with CBC hosts about the
August 24 release of the province’s back to school plan on All Points West, On the Coast,
and Radio West.
BCPVPA staff are
working both in the office and remotely, and continue to monitor and align with
the Province’s health and safety guidelines. We are here to support our
members: please do not hesitate to contact us, or check our App for updates.
Darren Danyluk, BCPVPA President, would be delighted to connect with your Chapter through a virtual meeting or town hall this Fall and, should health protocols allow, Darren may be able to begin traveling to communities for visits. If you are interested in having Darren attend a virtual Chapter meeting in September or October, please contact Sharon North.
The Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, BC Minister of Education, released BC’s plan for the K-12 September restart on Tuesday August 24, 2021. These are the links to the relevant documents:
BC K-12 Education Recovery Plan
Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings
BCCDC Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools
BC COVID-19 Protocols for School and District Administrators and Staff
The BCPVPA has extracted an abbreviated guide which provides a summary of changes to the plans and guidance issued on August 24, 2021, by the BC Ministry of Education and the BC Centre for Disease Control/ BC Ministry of Health.
BCPVPA Member Guide: Provincial Health & Safety Update August 2021
Get ready to find all of your BCPVPA and sector news, links and resources in one secure members-only location! Members will receive an email with log-in instructions for the Portal on Tuesday August 31.
Once you have set up your password, you can regularly visit the Portal from the Sign In selection on our website bcpvpa.org
In Phase 1, you will find:
My Profile: update your contact information
Member News: the latest member communications, eNews, careers, media releases, and Association meeting minutes
Member Support Services: learn about compensation, contracts, and pensions, and find resources for a healthy life
Resources: BCPVPA core documents, education guides, articles of interest, research, reports, and surveys
Contacts: the Directors of the Board and the BCPVPA team: we’re here to help
Forms: a one-stop shop for forms and fillable documents
Phase 2 and Phase 3 will roll out this fall – stay tuned!
For more information about the Member Portal, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ORDER YOUR BCPVPA FACE MASK
We hope that you have had a great summer break and feel rested, refreshed and recharged!
We are also very pleased to welcome our new members to the BCPVPA, and to this first newsletter of the school year. Every week in eNews, we share a message from the President along with updates on our programs, sector news and guest columns. If you have questions or feedback about eNews, contact email@example.com.
Our annual Leading: Back to School digital magazine is now available. You’ll find articles
from your colleagues, BCPVPA staff, and other educators and experts, sharing
tips and tools for back to school and thoughtful articles to provide
inspiration on your leadership journey. We’ll also share featured articles each
week in eNews. For information about BCPVPA publications, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again to the more than
BCPVPA 1,000 members who completed the Thriving in Education Survey in
May. Rochelle has been engaged in reviewing the data with Verita HR Services,
as there is a great deal of complex information to assess, collate and connect.
Last week, Rochelle presented the Executive Survey of
outcomes to the BCPVPA Board of Directors. We expect
to have a preliminary report available to members soon.
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
We would like to invite BCPVPA leaders who are women of colour to contribute their voices to a proposed upcoming article in Principl(ed) magazine. This collaborative article would weave together the stories and perspectives of several women to talk about their leadership paths, the challenges, the rewards and where they find inspiration.
If you are interested, please contact Sandra Murphy.
More than 450 participants so far. Don't Miss Out - Early Registration Ends September 10!
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.
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 Now for the Leading the Way virtual event on Monday September 20 at 7:00 pm. Yes, it is election night,
but we are ready to go!
The theme will be Resilient Women Thriving in Leadership and we are delighted to announce that our feature interview will be with Robyne Hanley-Dafoe. Principal Paula Gosal from Chilliwack Middle School (SD33) will join us as a guest speaker, as will Carleen
Thomas, Special Projects Manager for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
Being the captain of the ship can be challenging, but it
does not have to be lonely. You are invited to join a collaborative journey to
navigate the waters together.
This experiential series for educational leaders,
facilitated by Miriam Miller and Dr. Hagar Goldberg, explores and practices
research-based tools to build connection, resilience and social and emotional
competencies for ourselves and our teams.
This leadership course is composed of four two-hour online
synchronous sessions, and ongoing asynchronous communication beginning September
23 and concluding Spring 2022.
Registration | Program
Join the Global Network of Professional Learning Leaders for Lone Leaders, a series of three webinars designed to offer ideas, support, and inspiration. Participants will hear from experts on leadership in remote schools, and will have the opportunity to connect with colleagues from Australia and Canada.
All webinars hosted on Zoom:
Saturday October 16, 2021 - CanadaSunday October 17, 2021 - Australia
Thursday February 24, 2022 - CanadaThursday February 25, 2022 - Australia
Thursday April 28, 2022 - CanadaThursday April 29, 2022 - Australia
Lone Leaders Promo
Information and Session Times
Registration - $50 CA
BCPVPA President Darren Danyluk, Coffee Connections is an opportunity for
BCPVPA members to reach out for a virtual conversation with colleagues. What
began as a pandemic experiment – unstructured ‘chat’ time, 100% drop-in – has
emerged as a great opportunity for members from across the province to share
stories and laughter, and to hear about what is happening in other districts.
While our gatherings are often small enough for us to remain in one Zoom
‘room’, the connections have been long-lasting and significant. Please
join us for one of our upcoming sessions! Look for your invitation in September.
Our BCPVPA Retirement Seminars address questions around retirement-readiness, the specifics of the Teachers’ Pension Plan and any other questions that you may have. Each seminar will have a 40-person limit. The next virtual (Zoom) seminars will be:
Register here! Please register early as sessions have limited attendance.
Since February 2021, eNews has shared book titles, articles, videos and podcasts to encourage continuing the work of anti-racism and equity, and to help deepen our understanding of the history of Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and marginalized communities in Canada.
We would love to hear if you have found this column helpful, or if there are other ways that you would like to see BCPVPA share resources. Contact Sandra Murphy
Podcast: Code SwitchWhere We Come From: By Any Other Nameby Diba Mohtasham, Anjuli Sanstry, Julia Furlan, and Kumari Devarajan
Every 2 weeks, your PLD Directors will upload
pertinent articles, blog post, or podcast on BetterEducate and in the new Member
Portal for your quick learning opportunity. Enjoy!
In this week's blog, Charles Ungerleider discusses parents' apprehension about sending their children back to school. Many parents and guardians have expressed their concerns about child and teen mental health, well-being, and preparedness for the next grade level. Charles notes that ministries of education and school boards are making mental health a priority this school year. One resource that school leaders can access is from School Mental Health Ontario, as it provides a framework for this back-to-school year.
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.
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!
Learn more here
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
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
Share the joy of reading in your community by becoming a ONE TO ONE
virtual volunteer tutor.
ONE TO ONE connects emerging readers with volunteer tutors across
Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. We know that this valuable connection between
tutors and students directly affects their confidence and chance of succeeding
academically and in life.
For Fall 2021, we are looking for volunteer tutors for
our virtual after-school program (3:30-6 pm). You will read once a week for 2-3
hours from October to June, excluding school holidays. The students will be at
home with a parent/caregiver nearby in case they need technical support. We are
looking for volunteers who are comfortable with technology and reading with
children in a virtual environment. Virtual tutoring requires:
We’ll teach you the rest and ensure you have the
practice and support before you get started on your reading journey.
It’s easy to get started – fill out an application form online, complete
a free criminal record check and then have a chat with ONE TO ONE on the phone
to make sure we’re a good match. Initial training sessions for new volunteers
will be held in September 2021.
Find out more and apply now at https://one-to-one.ca/get-involved/become-a-tutor/.
It's a new school year, and it's time to think about
The myPITA Fall Conference is open for registration! We will be
online again this October, and we have a fantastic line-up. Explore our offerings
and register now to be guaranteed your first choice of sessions, as popular
presenters and topics can fill up fast! Join us on October 22nd for a great day
of professional development.
Check out the other offerings and register now at https://mypita.ourconference.ca/
A Message from the Deputy Minister - Use of School Facilities for Federal Election:Returning officers from Elections Canada may contact school districts to discuss the use of schools as voting places for the upcoming federal election on September 20 and/or for advance voting on the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Superintendents will assess the ability of districts to support Elections Canada in this important process to use school facilities while ensuring voting can be carried out in a manner safe for students and staff in accordance with the current health and safety guidelines, and education delivery disruption is kept to a minimum.
School Foods Data Collection: The Ministry is establishing a web-based school foods data collection to inform opportunities to enhance existing school foods programs across the province. To assist with this process, school districts are asked to access the School Meal Program Survey beginning on August 24 and provide information on the school foods programs provided in each school in their district. The deadline to provide this information is Friday September 24. If you require clarification on any of the survey questions, please direct your inquires to email@example.com.
Read the Deputy Minister's Bulletins
Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation came into effect on September 1, 2021.
WorkSafeBC has developed resources regarding the amendments:OverviewUpdates & Decisions
Visit Make a Future for an up-to-date job board with all of the latest opportunities in the BC Education sector. Beginning August 31, career opportunities will also be available in the Member Portal.
Associate Superintendent - Employee ServicesSD 39 (Vancouver)Find out moreClosing September 13, 2021 at 4:00 pm
District Principal of Indigenous EducationSD 28 (Quesnel)Find out moreClosing September 01, 2021 at 11:30 pm
Principal, Individual Learning Centres SD 63 (Saanich)(Grades 9-12)Find out moreClosing September 07, 2021 at 9:00 am
Vice-Principal VacanciesSD 23 (Okanagan)Find out moreClosing September 27, 2021 at 8:00 am
Vice-PrincipalNusdeh Yoh, SD 57 (Prince George)Find out moreClosing August 31, 2021 at 4:00 pm
PrincipalYukon EducationKluane Lake School, Destruction Bay, Yukon TerritoryFind out moreOpen until filled
PrincipalYukon EducationChief Zzeh Gittlit School, Old Crow, Yukon TerritoryFind out moreOpen until filled