Facebook is an interesting place – can I call it a ‘place’? – and I try very hard to avoid the rabbit holes. The platform is double-edged because it is also a remarkable means to connect with friends and family. One of my ‘friends’ is also an aunt, and this past week she posted one of those random questions of no real consequence to generate attention and likes. Although I did not post a response, I was captured by the question: “Do you remember the name of your Grade Five teacher?” Yes, I do. But it is a winding path to get there.
The students I taught in the earliest years of my career seemed to think that I had lived through Woodstock. From today’s vantage point, it seems remarkable that high school students would understand a reference to Woodstock; even some readers may not recognize the name of that infamous outdoor rock festival. My students were poor judges of vintage, concluding that all adults over 25 were old. I was quick to point out to my students that I was born in the sixties but not of the sixties. During the summer of love, I was getting ready for primary school; I was excited for my new gym bag and my Flintstones lunch kit, the kind with a thermos to keep my soup hot. I had no idea who Jimi Hendrix was. Yet, in my students’ defense, it might have been the hair. As a ‘twentysomething’ in the early 90s, my appearance – particularly the long hair – would have fit perfectly in Bethel, New York, in the summer of ‘69. Fashion aside, I was quite happy to give up my barber in the era of hair bands and grunge.
When I started attending school, my dad was more the Crew Cuts than he was the Beach Boys, which explained the kitchen-stool-homemade-haircut I sported. Always. While I was not the only boy in class with very short hair, I had classmates whose parents clearly enjoyed rock festivals. I envied their longer hair, hating my bristles. And then, in Grade One, we discovered I could not read the chalkboard. Add a pair of black, thick-rimmed glasses to the close crop as the summer of ’71 approached. The following school year would be the last in which my hair did not cover my ears, and it would be the last I spent under my father’s roof. It would also be the last time for quite a while that I spent a full year in only one school.
There were many changes to my life when our household held together no longer. I know they were profound, difficult, and sometimes painful; and they must have been overwhelming to that little boy. As a child, I controlled very little in my life during this time, which may be why one of these changes – a trivial thing, really – figures largely for me. In my household, under new management, I had permission to grow my hair longer. At a time when I controlled nothing, I suddenly had this autonomy! So began the collection of family and holiday photos in which my hair hung well past my collar and often in my eyes. And, in the post-Beatles era of Led Zeppelin and Edgar Winter, I went to school in style.
I went to a lot of schools; we tended to move with some regularity. I was starting Grade Five when I landed at a little community school in Coquitlam, with Mr. Dugan.
I went looking for the school on Google Maps this week, only to discover, a little sadly, that it has been closed since 2007. It was a small school for students K-5. Adding to its allure was the fact that the school yard was literally out my back door… well, just out the ground level door of the stairwell to our apartment block. Because my mom would leave early for work each morning, it was my job to get both myself and my sister ready for the day, deliver her to daycare, and then get myself to school on time. With the daycare located in the block beside our own, and the school so close to my doorstep, I never had to visit the office to report I was ‘late not absent.’ I spent the entire year at this school; I was in a good place.
In my experience at that age, men were Vice-Principals and Principals; this was the first time my teacher was a man. It was also the first time my Principal was a woman, and it is a brief interaction with her which left a lasting impression from Grade Five.
It is not what you may think: I was a compliant student, never giving Mr. Dugan reason to send me to the Principal’s office. In fact, this singular exchange with the Principal may have been the one and only for the year. It happened outside, as we were making our way back into the school after the morning recess. The Principal stepped into my path, stopping me with a hand on each shoulder. I remember a tall woman who had to stoop to look into my face. She asked me one question: “How do we communicate with each other?” Inexperienced with authority and a little uneasy, scared I may be in trouble, I cast my eyes downward and stammered my uncertainty. I lifted my eyes to meet hers, and she said, “Now we’re communicating.” I once again lowered my gaze, growing more and more anxious. The Principal then said, “Now we’re not communicating.” I looked up again, confusion clear on my face. And once more she said, “Now we’re communicating.”
Another perk of the school’s location was that I went home for lunch nearly every day. I would go home, warm up a tin of Campbell’s and watch some TV. Not on this day. I spent most of the hour staring into the mirror, seeing what my Principal saw: a shaggy-headed boy, unkempt and unworthy. It was hard to operate the scissors in my reflection, and the cut lines were blunt and unskilled. But in the end, my eyes were no longer behind a curtain of hair.
I returned to school just before lunch ended and joined the students lined up and waiting to be let into their classrooms. As with recess, the Principal greeted everyone at the door. Short of calling out her name, I did all I could to make myself obvious to her. Standing as tall as possible, I made sure to look up and into her face as I passed, hoping she would notice what I had done. She acknowledged me as I walked by, but I could not say with confidence that her nod meant she noticed my trim. However, I can say with confidence that whether she noticed my hatchet job or not, she certainly would not have anticipated the enduring impact of this interaction. Nor would my Grade 12 English teacher, whose comments in a stairwell one afternoon filled my sails and set my course as a future teacher. Each in different ways, the experiences with my teachers have shaped the educator I became.
Facebook, as I said, is an interesting place to connect with family and friends. It turns out it is also a place where students reach out to their former teachers, sharing, “It was a small act of kindness you did for me that affected the trajectory of my life, so thank you,” or, “You helped me see that I could be somebody and do things in my life… You encouraged me to stretch myself… I don’t know if that was what you intended, but your little pushes helped me to live in a whole new world.” I am humbled by these comments, and they validate my life’s work and my belief that every interaction with children is important, holding potential to affect their future.
My friend keeps a sticky note on his desk to remind him of his daily purpose: “Increase the life chances of every child.” It is remarkable that we get this opportunity, innumerable times every day, just in passing.
Darren Danyluk would be delighted to connect with your Chapter through a virtual meeting or town hall or, under revised health protocols and schedules permitting, Darren could book travel to your community for a visit. To discuss a booking, please contact Sharon North.
BCPVPA staff continue to work both in the office and remotely, and will continue to align with any provincial health guidelines that may be announced. We are here to support our members: please do not hesitate to contact us.
We are inviting BCPVPA members to participate in the Diversity Matters Survey to help us to better understand the composition of our membership, and to create programming to assist members in supporting racial equity in their schools or programs.
It should take less than 5 minutes to complete the survey, and the survey will remain open until Monday April 18. Thank you for your participation.
The Canadian Human Rights Act stipulates that it is not a discriminatory practice to collect information if it is intended to be used in developing policy to support under-represented or marginalized people. Survey responses are anonymous.
Nominations for candidates for BCPVPA Directors to serve July 1 2022 – June 30, 2024 will be open from now until April 15, 2022.
Candidates must be current BCPVPA members, nominated by two current BCPVPA members, and the nomination form is now available in the Member Portal and at bcpvpa.org/about-bcpvpa/about/elections. We encourage all members to consider getting involved, and helping to set the direction for your Association.
The election for FIVE Directors to join the BCPVPA Board of Directors will take place May 17-19.
Connor McCoy SD61, Greater Victoria
BCPVPA’s Professional Learning & Development Directors are seeking member feedback on the programs, events, and offerings they have been curating for your professional learning. We value your ideas as to how we can continue to grow and develop in our support of members.
The survey will be open until June 15, and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete – thank you for your feedback!
Complete the survey
Please encourage any potential applicants to apply by May 2, 2022. All applications will be submitted electronically by email to Member Support Services.
Registration is now open for BCPVPA Foundations: The Next Generation of Short Course I. In conjunction with the UBC Faculty of Education, we are excited to offer Foundations in person on the UBC campus in July 2022, respecting any health and safety protocols that may be in place at that time. The full-day sessions on July 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 will be framed around the BCPVPA Leadership Standards for Principals and Vice-Principals in BC, with the overarching theme of ‘Equity’.
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 final virtual (Zoom) seminar for the 2021/22 school year will be:
Register here! Please register early as sessions have limited attendance.
We look forward to seeing you at Coffee Connections, hosted by BCPVPA President Darren Danyluk and senior staff. Find the link to register for all spring sessions under Member News > Hot Notes in the Member Portal. Register for all sessions, and attend when you can!
Read this week’s featured articles from the March 2022 issue of Principl(ed):
Drivin'“The journey is the destination” – BCPVPA president Darren Danyluk reminds us that the best place to be is in the present moment. Although COVID-19 has caused us to wish away the challenging days, it is time we will never get back and it is important to find strategies to stay present.
Leading for EquityFollowing on from the 2021 Connecting Leaders Conference and its theme of Leading for Equity, a full 2021-2022 series was launched with webinars by Nouman Ashraf, Carolyn Roberts, Bryan Gidinski, and Beth Applewhite.
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: Board of Director elections are coming soon. Take a moment to log into the Member Portal and locate the 'Election 2022' tile, where you are able to nominate candidates, find the final candidate list (on April 19), and vote in the Director Election (May 17-19).
Visit the Member Portal, and let us know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to work with the data that we obtained from the Thriving in Education survey. Read Part 1 of an overview in the November 2021 issue of Principl(ed), and read the March 2022 Principl(ed) for Part 2.
The Principl(ed) Podcast with host Chris Horton connects with BC school Principals and Vice-Principals. Stay tuned for the next episode, dropping May.
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.
Chapter Council members can mark their calendars for the final meeting date for the 2021-22 school year:
In this series we have heard from Nouman Ashraf and Carolyn Roberts. We are looking forward to hearing from Beth Applewhite, and Bryan Gidinski during their upcoming webinars. For more information and registration details please see the link below.
Our next Leading for Equity Webinar will be hosted by Bryan Gidinski on April 11th. We are looking forward to having him facilitate the webinar The Performance of Pink. It lays the foundations for discussion topics that he will address.
Register for Webinars
The next webinar is: The Performance of PinkHosted by: Bryan Gidinski
This session will provide some insights and perspectives on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), and how leaders can influence the creation and maintenance of inclusive communities.
Have you ever wondered why some school leaders are far more successful than others? How is it that when faced with a relatively common set of challenges, some school leaders are able to not only meet the administrative demands of the system but also transform their school in ways that enrich the lives of staff and students? What is IT these extraordinarily successful leaders draw upon to drive the transformation?
In this BCPVPA workshop, be prepared to examine more deeply the roots of your beliefs and the life experiences that are the underpinnings of your leadership potential.
Wednesday April 20 | 03:30Register
John Morrison is a Canadian bestselling author, conference presenter, and nationally recognized leader in education.
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.
Session Topic: to be determined
Thursday April 28, 2022 - CanadaFriday April 29, 2022 - Australia
Lone Leaders Promo
Registration - $50 CA | Information
We are sharing book titles, articles, videos and podcasts to help support our members' continuing 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, please contact Erin Hughes.
CBC Podcasts | 10 Episode Limited SeriesThis Placehosted by Rosanna DeerchildIf you are looking for a new podcast series for your walk or drive to school in the morning, this could be your next series. Follow this 10-part journey through one-hundred and fifty years of Indigenous resistance and resilience, based on the acclaimed graphic novel anthology This Place.
Read the EIP Blog
This month, humanworks Rehabilitation Consultant Darby Eakins gives us the tools to reassess the often inaccurate stories we tell ourselves, and exercise reappraisal to help us stop ruminating on situations we initially perceive as stressful.
In this week’s blog, Charles Ungerleider argues that expunging school names because the person’s behaviour is, by today’s standards, offensive does not absolve the education system of its enduring responsibility to educate about, and carefully consider, the complexities of making historical and moral judgments.
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 that you can explore. ReFresh appears as a Member Update every Wednesday. All ReFresh posts are archived here.
Read the latest ReFresh: Tips for Managing Your Inbox
Each month, 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: Bright Morning Podcast with Elena Aguilar & Discussion Guide
The BC Platinum Jubilee Video Project is asking schools to submit videos in celebration of Queen Elizabeth serving in her role for 70 years. If you are interested in learning more please find details here.
This May, encourage your students to come together and wear jeans to show what they stand for: helping sick and injured kids to get out of their hospital gowns, and back into their own jeans. The BCPVPA is very proud to partner again with BCCHF for this campaign.
Get your school involvedThis month-long initiative has gone digital, it’s not only easy to participate, you can also engage your school community in a fun and safe way.
Restart, refocus, or re-energize your personal leadership journey.
During this virtual workshop, school and district leaders will deepen their understanding of the impact of leading through intention. Join presenter and leadership coach Karen Power to build the skills necessary for successful school and district leadership, explore the benefits of a shared leadership model centered on instruction, students, and evidence-based decisions, and develop next steps for strengthening communication and community relationships.
A copy of Karen’s book Leading With Intention is included with your registration.
Applications are now open for the 8th cohort of Transformative Educational Leadership Program at UBC. Become a part of a professional network focused on building leadership capacity and contributing to system change within the K-12 system. Application deadline is June 15 with the program set to start in October 2022. For more information please go to telp.educ.ubc.ca.
Johnson Insurance is honouring an active or recently retired educator who goes above and beyond to support their students and community with an award of appreciation. The winning educator will be presented with a $10,000 grand prize. $5,000 for the educator, and $5,000 for their school.
Johnson Insurance is offering 50 scholarships, valued at $1000 each, to eligible students completing high school in 2022 and starting post-secondary education in the fall of 2022.
An excellent opportunity for educational leaders and partners to connect and learn about career paths in trade and tech available to student post-graduation.
Vancouver Convention CentreMay 25 – 28
Learn more at skillscompetencescanada.com.
Release of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) Action Plan: On March 30, 2022, the Province released the Declaration Act Action Plan, a government-wide plan that identifies goals and outcomes for the long-term vision of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in B.C. under the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. This plan includes priority actions to address goals over the next 5 years (2022-27). The Ministry will work with Indigenous Rightsholders and educational partners to focus on the 13 education-specific actions. Questions can be sent to Educ.IndigenousEducation@gov.bc.ca.
Reminder: Consultation on Proposed 2022 School Food Guidelines: The Ministry of Health continues to seek feedback on the proposed 2022 School Food Guidelines. The Guidelines were last updated in 2013 and are being revised to align with the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide. The proposed Guidelines reflect current national and provincial nutrition recommendations and address implementation challenges with the 2013 version. Please visit Education Sector Consultation on Proposed 2022 B.C. School Food Guidelines to learn more and provide your feedback.
Read the Deputy Minister's Bulletins
Join the Platform!
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
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
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.
NEWElementary PrincipalSD 91 (Nechako Lakes)Find out moreOpen until filled
NEWSecondary PrincipalSD 59 (Peace River South)Find out moreClosing April 11, 2022
NEWElementary PrincipalSD 84 (Vancouver Island West)Find out moreClosing April 22, 2022
NEWPrincipal PoolSD 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)Find out moreClosing April 25, 2022
Director of Instruction - Indigenous Education SD 83 (Salmon Arm)Find out moreClosing April 11, 2022
Middle School Principal SD 62 (Sooke)Find out moreClosing April 11, 2022
Secondary Principal SD 63 (Saanich)Find out moreClosing April 11, 2022
Closing April 11, 2022
Director of Instruction - Indigenous EducationSD 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)Find out moreClosing April 11, 2022
Elementary, Middle, Secondary Principals & Vice-PrincipalsSD 67 (Okanagan Skaha)Find out moreClosing April 14, 2022
Principal of Hazelton Secondary SchoolSD 82 (Coast Mountains)Find out moreOpen until filled