Having been born and raised in the Columbia Valley of the East Kootenays, my daughters were pretty much guaranteed snow for Christmas every year. Even after moving on to attend university in Victoria, they both returned home to the snow for the winter breaks. So, the prospect of a green and wet December spent in Vancouver had considerably dampened their seasonal spirit. Imagine their delight when the forecast for snow in Vancouver came true; I believe they were much happier than those who had to navigate the roadways.
My dog also loves the snow, and he relished the days when his run with my wife included a frolic in the white stuff. It was on a wintry Boxing Day run that he and my wife happened upon the stranded swan. To be more accurate, the swan was not stranded but rather stuck… stuck in the middle of the frozen surface of the outdoor, saltwater swimming pool at Kitsilano Beach.
The pool is fenced and difficult for a runner with a dog to climb. My wife didn’t want our dog to alarm the swan, so she called me at home to enlist my help. As I prepared to make my way to the pool, I imagined the state of this poor bird. In my mind’s eye, her web feet were solidly frozen into the ice, and she uselessly flapped her wings in efforts to escape its clutch. I expected to arrive and witness the frantic thrashing of a trapped creature, desperate to survive. I was very wrong.
The ice had not trapped the swan entirely. She was floating quite calmly in the middle of a small area of open water, not much larger than the swan herself. Her neck was bent gracefully backward, with her head tucked between her wings. She seemed quite peaceful. Not a birder and ignorant to the hardiness of winter fowl, I wondered if she were freezing. I realize now the swan was likely just fine, as far as temperature goes. But she was stuck. She could navigate this small patch of open water, but could not step onto its surface and fly away. Although not in her best interest, it seemed she had resigned herself to remaining where she was: static.
Even at my Kootenays home, I have a limited tool set: I’m admittedly not a big DIY guy. Here in my temporary Vancouver home, I have even fewer tools. In the coat closet is a small basket that holds a very small hammer and a screwdriver with multiple heads. What more does one really need in an apartment? I left both tools behind, thinking neither would be of much use in a swan rescue. Instead, I brought with me a hollow, plastic tube – a leftover piece from the Canadian Tire pantry shelves. I pictured myself using it to break up the ice encasing this poor swan. So, with the lightweight plastic pipe in hand, I jumped the fence with no idea of how to get this swan out of the pool.
I approached the south side of the pool, noting that it was the shallow end. In fact, the floor of the pool sloped away from the ‘shore’ I stood upon, like a natural beach; there was neither a sharp drop nor a pool wall. Seeing this, I thought that opening up the ice in this shallow water would allow the swan to simply to walk up the sloping floor and out of the pool. Although it wasn’t bitterly cold, it was below zero and a temperature that was less than ideal for lightweight plastic. Two things happened as I set to work: my only tool failed, and the swan decided I was trouble. As I struck the ice, the swan turned away from me and expended her energy working toward deeper water, the slushy ice allowing her to make a little headway but not escape.
My plan had flaws: had it not shattered from the cold, the tube wouldn’t have been long enough to break the stretch of ice between me and the swan; and, I was driving the swan in the wrong direction. She needed to stand on solid ground in the shallow end to step up and out; she wouldn’t find that opportunity in deeper water. It dawned on me that I may be able to drive her into the shallow water from the opposite shore. With a vague plan taking shape, I walked around the pool deck to the deep end.
The swan was no closer to me from this vantage point, and I had nothing with which to hit the ice. I tried waving and yelling, “Hey swan! Shoo!” She just blinked at me from the safe distance, ignoring my antics. I glanced around the pool deck, looking for something to help me wipe the indifference from her stare. There was nothing to be found. Just snow.
My first snowball struck the edge of the open patch of ice in which she sat, and it caught her attention. She turned her back to me, and paddled in the direction of the shallows. The next snowball splashed in the water, elevating her level of concern. The third and fourth snowballs burst apart on the ice surface with a soft pop. The swan tried to climb out of the water, her webbed toes clawing at the slushy edge of the saltwater ice, and her wings extending. Her scrambling efforts were breaking the ice and opening it up in the right direction. Two more snowballs, and she was far enough ‘up the beach’ to touch and push off the bottom, stepping out of the cold water. Her wings extended fully, and she started to run along the ice surface of the shallow end. Four flaps, five flaps, then she pulled up the landing gear and cleared the fence, gliding out over the ocean shore. I, too, cleared the fence to rejoin my support team and a few passersby who stopped to watch. With smiles and nods passed between us, we carried on with the day.
I have puzzled over this experience in the days since, certain there must be a metaphor or fable in here somewhere. Likely, there are a few. They would speak to the cooling inertia of complacency, the ingenuity born of necessity, the provocation provided by adversity … [you can add your moral here]. Who are the swans, and who is lobbing the snowballs? Who is stuck, and needs a prod? What is the ice that has formed the trap, and what shore are we seeking? What are the tools we can shape from the resources at hand, and who can we enlist to help?
As we enter a dynamic Tiger year with its characteristics of bravery and courage, parallels with The Swan in the Ice abound. With fences to climb, ice to break, and action to take, we must be braced for the unexpected and welcome support from unexplored directions. We must also bear witness with compassion to the challenges of this work and its impact on our communities… and ourselves. It is likely that the tale will continue to change, but we can keep faith in one certainty: winter’s eventual end.
January 4, 2022 | The Globe & MailB.C. schools must plan for the likelihood of massive staffing shortages due to COVID-19, province’s top doctor says
January 7, 2022 | CBC BC (Kelowna)Radio West with Sarah Penton at 30:14
January 7, 2022 | CBC BC (Vancouver)Heading Back to School
January 7, 2022 | CBC BC (Victoria)No link available
January 7, 2022 | The Griffins’ NestEXCLUSIVE: Functional Closures in VSB: What They Are, How They Work, And What Stakeholders Are Saying
January 10, 2022 | Global BC's Morning NewsNo link available
January 10, 2022 | Mornings with SimiPrepping for back-2-school, Hockey and heroin addiction & Rebuilding for the future
January 11, 2022 | Vancouver SunB.C. school districts reluctant to provide attendance numbers on first day back
Darren Danyluk would be delighted to connect with your Chapter through a virtual meeting or town hall this Winter 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.
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.
We are happy to be recommencing our weekly Member eNews and to be connecting with you here once again.
We know there are challenging times ahead and the BCPVPA staff want you to know that we are here for whatever you may need.
Coffee Connections, hosted by BCPVPA President Darren Danyluk and senior staff. Find the link to register for all winter sessions under Member News > Hot Notes in the Member Portal. Register for all sessions, and attend when you can!
We are excited to have Nouman Ashraf, Professor & Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclussion at Rotman School of Management, host a timely discussion on Cultural Fluency.
Registration is open for this half day session, which will help administrators understand how to break past performative practice to a place of embedding the essential capability of cultural fluency in their toolkit.
Friday January 21, 2022 | 12:00 - 3:00 pm
The BCPVPA is delighted to welcome two new people to our team! After an extensive search we are pleased to announce we have filled both the Member Support Services Assistant and Professional Learning & Development Assistant roles. Let us introduce you to our new teammates:
Shahin KhanMember Support Services Assistant
Shahin Khan has a professional background in Legal Administration with over 10 years of experience in the legal sector and has worked for various law firms throughout her career. She joins the BCPVPA after working for ICBC in their Legal Services Department and then as a Customer Service Adjuster.
Shahin is a strong advocate for women’s development, she helped establish a non-profit organization called Voices of Muslim Women (VMW). During her time with the organization, she has held various roles including Membership Coordinator, Operations Manager, and Events Manager.
After working for a decade within the corporate sector, Shahin is eager for this new chapter and is hoping to make a positive impact for our members and the communities we serve.
Nicholas FaulknerProfessional Learning & Development Assistant
Nick Faulkner comes from a family of educators and is excited to contribute to the BCPVPA and be supporting the professional development of education leaders across the province.
Nick has a background in sales and customer service; he developed a passion for support and service while working as a research intern at the Retirement Concepts Innovation Centre, helping develop healthcare solutions for assisted living residents.
When Nick moved to B.C. from Ontario, he planned to stay for 8 months – his love of camping and the outdoors contributed to him recently celebrating 10 years calling British Columbia home.
With Nick joining the PLD team, Amorie will be moving on from the BCPVPA for a new opportunity. She will continue with the BCPVPA until the end of January to help support Peter, Andrea, and Nick through the transition.
We will miss her hard work and positivity, but we wish her all the best in her future opportunities and we thank her for all the excellent work she has contributed to the Association as the Professional Learning and Development Assistant.
Sending the fall issue of Principl(ed) Magazine to our members was no small feat. We came up against paper shortages, biodegradable mailing bag shortages, and severe flooding, but our members and friends should now have their copy. We hope you enjoy this issue which includes articles from your colleagues, BCPVPA staff, and other educators and experts.
Read this week’s featured articles:
A Single StepEveryone is on a journey towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. BCPVPA president Darren Danyluk reminds us that the first step on that journey may be the hardest, but it is also the most important.
A Day in the Life of a Secondary School PrincipalThe November 2021 issue of Principl(ed) Magazine features Principal of North Delta Secondary School SD 37, Aaron Akune.
In this article, Aaron shares how he became interested in teaching, and his professional path to becoming a Principal. We learn about his approach to connecting with students and their families. and how he makes himself as accessible as possible to the school community.
Here is an example of the impact community partners can make in a school and/or district. Each week we will be shining a spotlight on a past recipient of the BCPVPA Partnership Award.
This week: Cam Aitken (Nominated by SD 61, Victoria)
Cam Aitken is a long-time supporter of Esquimalt youth in SD 61 through running breakfast programs, coordinating food hampers, and building relationships with youth. Working for Youth for Christ Victoria, he helps provide practical support and opportunities for safe, fun youth activities for the 1,300 youth in Esquimalt.
Who has gone the extra mile to support your school community? BCPVPA Chapters are invited to nominate individuals, organizations, and businesses who contribute their time, expertise, and passion to make a difference in the lives of BC students. Community partners bring special opportunities and services to schools – now is the time to celebrate all that they do.
This year, it is even easier to nominate a community partner. You can fill in the online form or follow the instructions on our Member Portal to email your nomination. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you looking for a unique learning and leading opportunity? Look no further!
Two BCPVPA leadership programs in spring and early summer 2022 offer the opportunity to share your experience and hone your facilitations skills.
BCPVPA’s Explorations for Aspiring School Leaders programCurrent Vice-Principals (only) are invited to apply to facilitate small groups of teachers who are interested in exploring the nature of the Vice-Principal/Principal role in schools.
This program takes place over 4 Saturday mornings March to May 2022.
The time commitment for Facilitators includes:
BCPVPA’s Foundations for New School Leaders programCurrent Vice-Principals and Principals are invited to apply to facilitate small groups of new and nearly new Vice-Principals and Principals in the early stages of their school-based leadership careers.
This program takes place over 5 sessions in the first week of July 2022.
Time commitment for Facilitators includes:
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION APRIL 1, 2022
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 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.
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.
Member Portal Highlight: BCPVPA Documents under the Resources tile is your one-stop-shop for materials that include our Codes & Constitutions, Strategic Plan, Annual Reports and Leadership Guides, along with documents related to our negotiation representation initiative.
Visit the Member Portal, and let us know what you think: email@example.com
Chapter Council members can mark their calendars for these meeting dates:
We are delighted to announce the return of IDEAS (formerly Issues Forum). We invite you to join us for this virtual event held on:
Friday February 11, 20229:00am – 3:30pm
A ‘team’ needs all of its members: our feature keynote will be Canadian Women's Olympic Hockey Team goalie Sami Jo Small, who relates her own story of facing adversity and becoming a powerful force of positivity for her team. Additional speakers and sessions will be announced soon, and registration will open very soon. Save the date!
In this series we will be hearing from Nouman Ashraf, Carolyn Roberts, Beth Applewhite, and Bryan Gidinski. For more information and registration details please see the link below.
There are two additional opportunities for members to participate in this series. The webinars that will be hosted on January 31 are now available as complimentary sessions to all BCPVPA members.
Stories of Equity | 9-11 Zoom Session Through case studies, roleplays, and engaged discussions, Nouman engages attendees in this hands-on, in-person session will help participants to enable cultural fluency at all organizational levels. (PLD Representatives & PLD Advisory Committee session)
Learning Circles | 11:30-1:30 Zoom Session In this highly interactive in-person session, Nouman will engage roundtable participants and leaders in coming up with commitments around choices that they can start, stop, and continue to do with their teams, organizations, and themselves to deepen the work of diversity, equity and inclusion. (PLD Representatives & PLD Advisory Committee session)
Register for Webinars
Register for Session
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.
Save the dates:
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
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.
The Province of British Columbia has Proclaimed January 15th as Black Excellence Day. Black Excellence Day was initiated by the Ninandotoo Society, the day is for: "acknowledging the ongoing civil rights struggle of Black and racialized Canadians and fighting for mandatory curriculum on Black history."
For this week's EDI column we have collected articles, websites, and resources related to Black Excellence Day and Black history in BC.
CBC | Black Excellence Day aims to boost education, create unity in fight against racismwritten by Janella HamiltonThis article takes a look at how Black Excellence Day in BC took shape and the impacts that the Ninandotoo Society hopes to make in the education sector.
Burnaby Schools | District Hosting Black Excellence Day for ThousandsBurnaby School District are hosting the Black Excellence Day event at 10 am with speakers from a variety of professions and backgrounds. With at least 20 School Districts attending there will be many thousands of people watching the event across the province.
Find out more about the event here.
Ninandotoo Society | Black Excellence DayNinandotoo Society, started the Black Excellence Day initiative; the name of their organization comes from the Swahili word ‘nina ndoto’ which translates to ‘I have a dream.’ They added another 'o' at the end, because they have a dream'to'!
BC Black History | StoriesBC Black History has a large collection of stories about the history of black individuals and groups in BC. These stories bring to light incredible individuals who have had significant impact in the province.
Charles Ungerleider says that, when a simple solution to a complex problem appears too simple, it often is. 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: Tiny Steps to Positive Change
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, and find Discussion Tips and Prompt Questions: 16 Unconscious Bias Examples and How to Avoid Them in the Workplace
February 23, 2022
Join us in raising awareness and funds for anti-bullying initiatives in BC! Last year CKNY Kids' Fund Pink Shirt Day raised close to $230,000 - funding crisis support, bullying prevention, education programs, and fostering community and healthy self-expression for BC's youth. This year’s t-shirt design speaks to our diversity and the need for acceptance and inclusion so we can “Lift Each Other Up”. For information on how schools can get involved, learn more about Pink Shirt Day, and to see this year’s design, visit Pink Shirt Day.
The BCPVPA is pleased to announce that we will again be partnering with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation for the Jean Up! campaign in May 2022. The 2021 campaign raised more than $308,000 to fund innovative research, and tailor care to the specialized needs of kids in BC. Our friends at BCCHF have told us that a large part of the success of the campaign can be attributed to the support of our members! As we look ahead to 2022, if there are any materials or assets that would help you to fundraise in your schools, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can communicate those wishes to BCCHF.
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 membership with 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.
NEWSuperintendent of School (CEO)SD 81 (Fort Nelson)Find out moreOpen until filled
NEWDirector of Instruction – Equity, Diversity & InclusionSD 48 (Sea to Sky)Find out moreClosing January 21, 2022
NEWVice Principals and Principals Elementary & SecondarySD 46 (Sunshine Coast)Find out moreClosing January 28, 2022
Superintendent of SchoolsSD 91 (Nechako Lakes)Find out moreClosing January 19, 2022
District Principal of Indigenous EducationSD 28 (Quesnel)Find out moreOpen until filled
School PrincipalKitsumkalum ‘Na Aksa Gyilak’yoo School (Terrace)Find out moreOpen until filled