The four of us stood at attention, awkwardly, in the Commissioner’s living room. Two of us were there to witness, and two were there to make formal their commitment of love and devotion for each other. It was a warm and cozy living room, with precious knickknacks taking up positions along the mantlepiece and the end tables, all eyes upon us. Glancing up into the vaulted ceiling, I caught sight of the family pet, peering down through the loft’s railing. He, too, had joined the gathering to bear witness to this exchange of vows. With vaccinations verified and protocols for safety in place, the official agreed to marry the couple with only two weeks’ notice – and the fees were much reduced if the ‘house call’ was made by the betrothed!
I felt very honoured to be standing there that evening. A few weeks earlier, my young relative asked if I would consider being his witness for this civil ceremony. I agreed, never considering the alternative. I knew how very special and important this night would be, and wanted only to support him and his partner. However, the deep significance of this ceremony fully registered for me at an unexpected point in the official script. It came before the vows and the invitation to “repeat after me.”
Before the four of us took up our positions in the room, the Commissioner spent several minutes processing the paperwork. Accurately spelled names and parents’ birthplaces were carefully recorded. Additionally, the process and the legalities of the ceremony were reviewed. We were prepared to expect that portions of the service were required by law and were not particularly romantic. One such moment was the ‘declaration.’
Following the introduction – which established the “high and serious state” of marriage and that the “giving of oneself” supports a flourishing marriage – the presiding official stated:
I charge and require of you both in the presence of these witnesses, that if either of you know of any legal impediment to this marriage, you do now reveal the same.
At this point tears came, not for me (yet), but for the first of the two who would speak. In a voice choked with emotion, he tried to make his declaration. Nervous laughter and assurances from the gallery chided him that this was not yet the emotional part! And then, the penny dropped for me. Suddenly, crying at this part was very appropriate.
Less than a generation ago, the very nature of their love was the legal impediment. It is worthy of tears to speak aloud and declare that rules of men hold no power over your love. In Canada and 28 other countries, same-sex couples no longer must play spectator, watching the ritual through the chain link. While there certainly remain challenges in our society for same-sex couples, the systematic legal rejection of their right to join in marriage is no longer one of them. As an obstacle to equity, the fence stood in plain view, resisting deconstruction despite its visibility. Invisible fences may prove a greater challenge. October is LGBTQ+ History Month, providing resources and opportunities to better understand the fences which persist.
And, some of the fences are intimately internal and seemingly innocent. Several years ago, my daughter discovered a version of the graphic depicting fans watching a baseball game from behind a fence. In a succession of panels, the illustrator compares ‘equal’ to ‘equitable’, and ultimately defines ‘liberation’. These images captured my daughter’s developing sense of social justice and prompted many passionate discussions between us. One of these discussions forced me to recognize that my own rigid adherence to pronoun correctness was akin to clinging to a rusty chain link, weakened and protecting nothing, serving only to systematically exclude. Her youthful wisdom advised me to “let it go, dad.” As difficult as it may be to let go, we can only engage with the process if we acknowledge the obstacles that impede equity and liberation for many of society’s communities, and recognize the fences for what they are.
As educational leaders, I believe we are all pulled by the challenge and the critical importance of dismantling fences which obstruct potential, opportunity, and equity. As leaders in our schools and in our communities, Principals and Vice-Principals arguably have the greatest degree of influence in our system. This week, more than 700 school leaders – online and in-person in small regional hubs – will participate in the 2021 Connecting Leaders Conference: Leading for Equity. As offered by one of the keynote speakers, “It takes leaders to ensure there is conversation.” And beyond the conversation, it takes leadership to enact the calls to action, seeking equity and reinforcing that every child matters. Through engagement and connection with hundreds of colleagues and inspiring speakers, the time that conference attendees spend together will help focus their influence to uplift all learners, thereby uplifting ourselves.
I feel blessed and fortunate… uplifted… to have been witness at my relative’s wedding: it is the first I have attended in someone’s living room, and the first I have attended for a same-sex couple. After the legal declarations were complete, I listened to an exchange of vows as loving and real as any I had ever heard. Their very evident happiness moved me as easily as any other joyous occasion. That these words were exchanged between men mattered not; I cried just the same.
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.
We are excited to join with more than 700 of our members and friends for day two of the 2021 Connecting Leaders Conference: Leading for Equity. Today we will hear from master storyteller Anna Maria Tremonti as she talks about the Power of Conversation, and from educator Nouman Ashraf for the Leadership Stimulus Package: A Call to All Leaders. This afternoon, Anna Maria and Nouman will come together for a candid and unscripted dialogue about Crafting Conversations for Equity. We look forward to connecting with attendees!
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
We want to remind members to ensure that their personal, work and contact information is up to date with the Teacher Regulation Branch. We strongly encourage members to log on to their TRB account a minimum of annually to ensure the accuracy of information therein. If the TRB ever needs to communicate with members, they will use the contact information listed on their online account. Most often, TRB uses email as a form of communication. There are times when the information being sent by the TRB is critical and time sensitive, and a lack of response could have an impact on the validity of teaching certification. The TRB will communicate directly with a member, and not necessarily with the Employer or District, which makes the accuracy of contact and personal information even more critical (email address/school/district etc). It is the responsibility of individual members to ensure that any necessary information required by the TRB is provided so that there is no lapse in certification.
This is the link to sign into your account. A BCeID is required and for members who don’t already have one, they will need to go through a couple of steps to create one. The website guides through that process.
All educators in BC’s public school system are required to hold and maintain a current teaching Certificate of Qualification issued by the Teacher Regulation Branch. Principals and Vice Principals are included in this category. As a condition of employment, it is crucial that members ensure that their certification is current.
Any questions or concerns can be addressed to the Member Support Services department.
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:
Raising a Scientifically Literate CitizenryScientists in School is a charity with a mission to engage K-12 students through fun STEM activities that foster scientific literacy. Find out how they help guide students in navigating and critically analyzing new data, studies, or observations.
BCPVPA Partnership AwardsFor more than two decades, the BCPVPA Partnership Awards have been presented in recognition of the immeasurable time, energy, and expertise that local people dedicate to supporting BC students and schools. Read about the 2021 winners in this issue of Leading: Back to School.
Who's WhoThe BCPVPA collaborates with a variety of organizations in the BC education sector; get to know the many groups that we are working with.
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: : If you are interested in keeping up to date with Chapter Council meetings, you can check out the archive of Chapter Council Minutes on our Member Portal under the ‘Member News’ tile. The next Chapter Council meeting is November 19/20, and the meeting summary will be available in the Portal shortly after.
Visit the Member Portal, and let us know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
For an overview of some of the findings of the survey, look for Rochelle Morandini’s article 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
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
School board elections in the United States are becoming rude, crude, and deeply polarizing. In this week’s blog, Charles Ungerleider thinks that the differences between Canada and the US make it more difficult, if not unlikely, that we will see the same in Canada.
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: Apology Accepted
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
Read about the impact study conducted by Professor Louise Stoll on the UBC Faculty of Education Transformative Educational Leadership Program (TELP).
The purpose of the study was to explore the impact of TELP on individual participants, colleagues they lead, and on their schools and districts; and to explore and provide feedback on TELP’s design and learning processes.
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.
The past year has been tough. We've all had to put our travel plans on hold as we wait for borders to open and vaccines to arrive. Now as the world slowly begins to re-open, Johnson Insurance have additional benefits for MEDOC® Travel Insurance Customers.
Contact Johnson for a quote and you'll be entered to win 1 of 5 travel gift certificates valued at $5,000 each. This contest runs until December 31st, please see the link below for details.
Current MEDOC® customers are automatically entered.
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
Everyday Anxiety Strategies for Educators (EASE) 8-12:Building upon the success of EASE K-7, the Ministry of Children and Family Development has just released its latest school mental health initiative: EASE 8-12. EASE 8-12 was developed as a tangible and practical approach to supporting students’ mental health and building the capacity of educators. EASE is offered at no charge to educators. Visit the Healthy Minds BC website for more information.
Active School Travel Funding Opportunity:BC Healthy Communities, in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, is offering a new intake of their Active School Travel Pilot Program for the 2022 calendar year. Selected schools receive funding of up to $10,000, capacity-building supports, and curated resources to implement plans and projects that encourage students to walk or cycle to and from school. Interested schools can learn more or register to attend an information session on November 4.
Read the Deputy Minister's Bulletins
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.
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.
Principal - SecondarySD 36 (Surrey)Find out moreClosing November 01, 2021
District Principal - Na'tsa'maht Indigenous EducationSD 62 (Sooke)Find out moreClosing October 25, 2021
Principal - Elementary/Middle/SecondarySD 35 (Langley)Find out moreClosing October 29, 2021
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