One Friday morning, many years ago, I left my classroom feeling very satisfied with myself and my skills as a teacher. For nearly an hour, I had directed and navigated an animated class discussion with a group of grade 11 students. Connected to our reading, we were discussing traditions and the reasons we adopt and uphold them. The debate had been rich and had meandered in many directions. At one point, we ventured beyond recognized traditions to entertain cultural practices that shape our behaviour, sometimes irrationally. That morning, one such behaviour under examination was personal hygiene.
This group of image-conscious teens disproved the need for a daily shower, at least in their current realities. Not one of us in this discussion engaged in hard labour nor worked up excessive sweats. We were not exposed to environments or conditions which would require more than a superficial wash-up. And, with deodorants and other products, we could get by – perhaps for several days – without using 55 litres of fresh water.
Still feeling smug later that same day, I crossed paths with one of my students in the school office where I went to check the cubbyhole that was my literal inbox. The student’s name was Jamie, and his mom happened to work in the office. Intending to highlight the deep learning happening in my class, I invited Jamie to tell his mom what he had learned that morning. With question in his voice, Jamie said, “If you don’t shower... you become an ostrich?” His mother, one of the most pleasant and agreeable persons I’ve ever met, gave me a puzzled smile, and responded “That’s nice.” My ego deflated, punctured by a mental note: revisit ‘ostracize’.
This memory surfaced for me these last two weeks, as it often does when I contemplate traditions, their origins, purpose, and meaning. My children can cite a good number of traditions in our own household, from pysanka to mummers. They even identified some customs which I would not have called traditional: a certain side dish and uncommon condiment apparently qualify. Like Jamie, I think my daughters may have missed something in the translation. Traditions came to mind this week for one obvious reason, and for one reason less obvious: the addition of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
My family – like many Canadians – established a tradition of learning on this day. Some of my learning was solitary, as I gathered and read. Some of my learning was collective, as I listened to and bore witness to “the ongoing tragedy of the lost children of Canada’s residential schools and the country’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” shared through word, song, and dance.
With my family, I attended a performance co-created by Tsatsu Stalqayu, Mortal Coil and Butterflies in Spirit, titled Xweýene:msta:m ?əkwəsqwel, seýeḿ – translated to call to witness/listen to respected one. The speakers, musicians, and dancers performed on the steps of the šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, formerly known as the Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza. We were among many hundreds who came to witness. Much from that afternoon will live in me forever, yet a particular collection of images from that day penetrated powerfully.
Before me, a dance unfolded: women and children took to the steps, silent. Their movement told the story of the fear, loss, and pain suffered by Indigenous families when their children were taken from them. Profoundly moving was the moment when the children lay down upon the steps, prone and still. Shrouds appeared in the hands of the standing dancers, and these were draped over the children’s still bodies.
The steps up from šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square are dominated by traditional Roman-Greco architecture. A pair of lions perch on each side of the steps, and mute pillars of stone frame the doorways and the windows. Atop the pillars sits a pediment, the perfect isosceles triangle. All the sharp angles and classic lines adopted, traditionally, from democracy’s cradle to frame the monuments of the colonies. Just beyond the dancers at the foot of the pillars are three looming authority figures in caricature, puppets of church and state in Gerald Scarfe style. In tableau, the cruel inhumanity of the ‘civilized’ is captured and set in the minds of those who came to bear witness on that mild September afternoon.
Later that evening, perhaps as a balm, my mind permanently captured a second tableau. I stood with reverence at the foot of towering pillars of cedar which spoke with curves and shadows, an image of antiquity. These standing poles told stories of the ancient connection between the people, the world, and her creatures. And like the legacy of the dancers of the afternoon, the cedar still stands; in the face of forces intent on their eradication, the cultures and the traditions are still here, where they always have been.
There are traditions which carry on, timeless and unbounded, worthy of observance. And there are new traditions – new notations on the calendar – for which the time has come. In hindsight, maybe Jamie had it right after all. Because there are traditions and traditional thinking, all sharp angles and classic lines, that have expired. The truth is revealed, and change is overdue. We can either strip away our defences, step into the outpouring of experience shared and learn; or we can bury our heads in the sand.
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 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 book travel to your community for a visit. To discuss a booking, please contact Sharon North.
Do you know someone looking for a new role with scope? We are seeking two new teammates who are eager to learn and grow alongside a friendly, committed, and engaged group of colleagues in our Vancouver office. Find out more:
Member Support Services Assistant
Professional Learning & Development Assistant
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.
The new issue will be coming to you soon. As the result of a
world-wide paper shortage due to pandemic manufacturing and supply chain
disruptions, the printing and distribution of the issue has been delayed. We
expect that the issue will reach our members and friends by mail mid-November
to early December, and we’ll update you on our progress!
On episode 14 of the #Principl(ed) Podcast, host Chris Horton speaks to Principals Tara Zielinski (SD 45) and Tom Aerts (SD 61) in a live interview for EASL 2021. They discuss the importance of creating authentic relationships and positive engagement with staff to build a successful team.
Listen on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more! Link to your favourite platform 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.
Our annual Leading: Back to School digital magazine includes articles from your colleagues, BCPVPA staff, and other educators and experts. Read this week’s featured articles:
A Process for Reflection on Organizational RenewalUsing Dr. Simon Breakspear’s theory of the three phases of organizational response as a frame, BCPVPA’s Elizabeth Bell writes about how we can preserve those adapted methods of teaching and organizing that were developed while working during the pandemic. What are the systems developed during COVID-19 that YOU want to keep, and why?
UnmuteThe 2021 BC Student Voice Forum – aptly named UNMUTE – was a chance for students to virtually gather and speak candidly about the challenges and concerns they face, including mental wellness, anti-racism, and digital literacy. Hear the voices of North Delta Secondary Students as BC Student Voice UNMUTES.
BetterEducateBetterEducate creates a framework to support school administrators in a system that is constantly evolving. Developed from a platform for coaches, the same principles have been applied to support educators to network, access resources and develop growth plans.
Visit the BCPVPA Member Portal
To set up your password, follow the simple instructions sent in the August 31 Member Update, and log in anytime via the Sign In option on our website. You can easily update your account details under the 'My Profile' tile if you change roles, schools, or personal contacts.
What will you find in the Member Portal? Check out the overview, and we’ll bring you highlights each week in eNews as we continue to add content to the site.
This week’s highlight: Have you ever needed to refer to a past BCPVPA Member Update, but it’s been deleted or lost in the depths of your inbox? We have started archiving our Member Communications on the Member Portal. Just click on the ‘Member News’ tile and find past updates, eNews, media releases and much more.
Visit the Member Portal, and let us know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again to the more than 1,000 BCPVPA members who completed the Thriving in Education Survey in May. Look for updates this fall, and an article by Rochelle Morandini, BCPVPA Director of Member Health and Well-Being, in the November issue of Principl(ed) magazine.
Chapter Council members can mark their calendars for these meeting dates: more information will be available soon!
Chapters: Place Your Order Here
More than 660 participants so far. Final days of registration!
Registration | Information
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.
Save-On-Foods meets the needs of neighbourhoods by carrying more than 2,500 locally made and grown products, and generously donating to children’s hospitals and food banks across Western Canada.
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HUB is a leader in providing tailored solutions for complex insurance and risk management needs, offering a vast range of resources, a deep bench of industry experts, and a focused strategy that is unique to each client.
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Leading a Culture of Learning supports leading learning through focused dialogue that is grounded in a clear vision – all to enhance a culture of learning in your school. Participants will work with colleagues to develop curious questions that inspire learning for all. More information on upcoming sessions will be available soon.
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
Friday February 25, 2022 - CanadaSaturday February 26, 2022 - Australia
Thursday April 28, 2022 - CanadaFriday April 29, 2022 - Australia
Lone Leaders Promo
Registration - $50 CA | Information
Coffee Connections, hosted by BCPVPA President Darren Danyluk and senior staff. Find the link to register for all fall sessions in the September 27 Member Update, or under Member News/ Hot Notes in the Member Portal. Register for all sessions, and attend when you can! Register
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 Canada’s diverse communities.
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 Erin Hughes.
In this week’s blog, Charles Ungerleider says that it is time to issue an amber alert for all of the students who are missing from school. Read his blog here:
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.
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: Wealth and Well-Being
Every 2 weeks, your PLD Directors will upload
pertinent articles, blog post, or podcast on BetterEducate and in the new Member
Portal and in the BCPVPA Member Portal under Resources/ Readers’ Corner for your quick learning opportunity.
Read the latest article here: Halloween This Year
The PLD team also includes strategies you might use to process the piece with your staff and teammates. Read here
Take a look at this professional development program offered by the UBC Faculty of Education starting October 27. This program draws from the understanding that structural racism starts from the social structures of language and thought. From this, the content will explore approaches to decentering whiteness.
This Fall Professional Institute will run over six sessions with options to participate in-person or online.
We are promoting Health Talks Student Contest, a BC student opportunity for you to pass on to teachers and students at your school. This event is part of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council's annual Quality Forum. Students are asked to apply as part of a contest to select eight speakers that will be featured at the Quality Forum event: Health Talks.
Health Talks will take place on March 1 - the first evening of Quality Forum 2022 - and will feature eight speakers using the PechaKucha format. This diverse group of speakers representing a range of professions and perspectives will take the stage to tell us about their hopes in creative, memorable ways while displaying 20 photos for 20 seconds each. Enter the contest by November 15 at 12:00 pm!
Who can enter? All BC students. Medical school, post-secondary, high school, elementary school – every student is welcome!
BC Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA) is pleased to offer the Golden Star Awards Program again this year. Adjudicated by the Excellence in Public Education Committee, the awards acknowledge outstanding intergenerational programs in BC’s public schools. This year, due to the restrictions of COVID-19 measures, established programs will proceed differently but we are hopeful that some teachers will find safe ways to facilitate communication between students and seniors. One of last year’s winners is developing the use of technology and letter writing, for example, to continue their program. Although in-person activities are not permitted at this time, students and seniors can still learn much from one another. If teachers are able to continue intergenerational programs during these difficult times, we want to acknowledge their efforts.
Information | Application
April 10-12, 2022 in Banff, Alberta
uLead 2022 - the Summit of Educational Leadership! This year’s conference is focused on the theme of Reimagining School Leadership. This three day conversation on leadership will provide every delegate with an opportunity to both see a variety of models of innovative leadership and to also discuss the direction we should be moving in as school leaders and systems in our age. A unique opportunity awaits to join educational leaders from around the world in the beautiful world heritage location of Banff, Alberta at one of the world’s premier conferences for school-based leaders, district-level leaders, and provincial and state education leaders.
Information | Register
BCPVPA members are offered an exclusive rate, use the code "BCPVPA-MEMBER" for a 40% discount
A series from Take Me Outside, and our Canadian Outdoor Learning Partners! Are you having
trouble keeping track of all of the great things going on? Well, to help you
keep track, here's a handy 'top 10' list for the season ahead:
Outdoors and place-based education got a big boost during the pandemic. Administrators and teachers realized that moving learning outside was a good way to avoid viral transmission. Once they were out there, they needed to adapt their approach to teaching – it had to be more real. And teachers also realized that students were more engaged and attentive. Let’s explore what educators learned from pandemic-inspired outdoors learning and look at some good practices in place-based education from across North America.
Expanded Health and Safety Measures for K-12 Students:Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced updates to the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools and the Provincial COVID-19 Communicable Disease Guidelines for K-12 Settings to require masks for kindergarten to Grade 3 students. The rollout began on Monday, October 4 when all students in B.C. schools will be required to wear a mask when inside a school building, including while at their desks and on buses. This measure builds on the existing guidelines that currently apply to all students in Grades 4 to 12. If any school district or school requires assistance to identify suppliers of face masks or other PPE, please contact email@example.com. Beginning this month, the Provincial Health Office will also be releasing a new monthly report that will inform British Columbians about the virus and how it affects school-aged children. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Read the Deputy Minister's Bulletins
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
Visit Make a Future for an up-to-date job board with all of the latest opportunities in the BC Education sector. Career opportunities will also be available in the Member Portal.
NEWDistrict Principal - Na'tsa'maht Indigenous EducationSD 62 (Sooke)Find out moreClosing October 25, 2021
NEWPrincipal - Elementary/Middle/SecondarySD 35 (Langley)Find out moreClosing October 29, 2021
NEWPrincipalSD 85 (Vancouver Island North)Find out moreClosing October 18, 2021
PrincipalSD 85 (Vancouver Island North)Find out moreClosing October 18, 2021
Director of Human Resources, Employee ServicesSD 39 (Vancouver)Find out moreClosing October 20, 2021 11:59 pm
Secondary PrincipalSD 38 (Richmond)Find out moreClosing October 18, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Elementary PrincipalSD 38 (Richmond)Find out moreClosing October 18, 2021 at 12:00 pm
District Principal of Indigenous EducationSD 28 (Quesnel)Find out moreOpen until filled
Elementary School PrincipalKispiox Community School (Gitksan/Wet’suwet’en)Find out moreOpen until filled
School PrincipalKitsumkalum ‘Na Aksa Gyilak’yoo School (Terrace)Find out moreOpen until filled