BC is a big province, and for ten days I have been travelling from its Eastern border, along the Trans-Canada Highway, my final destination a return to Vancouver shores. I have been spending time with our members in the Chapters which dot this route, and the small-town hospitality in these many rural communities has made every kilometre driven more than worthwhile. Mid-point in this series of visits, off the asphalt and down a gravel road, is my father’s home.
I am the eldest of seven children, the youngest being a full dozen years my junior. Apparently, firstborns tend to demonstrate characteristics such as responsibility, creativity, persistence, and initiative, the stuff of leaders. The majority of US presidents have been firstborn sons, and so too were 21 of the first 23 astronauts! With parents separated into two families, I would come from Vancouver to be a big brother in the countryside for only a few weeks each year. The days were long and warm, and usually spent outside. At the risk of sounding like a ‘boomer’, as soon as the cereal bowls were in the sink, we were out the door until dinner. No TV, no screens, no earbuds. Just ourselves and whatever entertainment we could muster. Not quite The Waltons, but close.
One particular summer morning, I led everyone from the house with plans for the beach, bagged lunches packed with our towels and blankets. Dad’s gravel road sits high above the highway. We straddled our bikes – jarring now to recall the three-year-old sitting on my handlebars – and raced downhill on this road to meet the Trans-Canada Highway and its traffic. When all was clear in both directions, we ran with our bikes across the two lanes to the parking lot of a public boat launch. This was one of many days spent playing and swimming on a rocky beach, just me and the five children in my charge.
After a full day in and out of the water, we retraced our steps, trudging with our bikes across the highway and back up the steep hill towards home. The long hill levelled out with Dad’s house still small in the distance. Tired and sweating from the uphill climb, I decided we could take a break in the coolness of the neighbour’s stacked haybales. The bales were neatly piled in the shade of a huge shelter, and must have been stacked five or six bales high and as many bales wide and long. Kids can climb, and it took little effort for our crew to reach the flat top of this giant cube of hay. Once on top, we did not rest much, but played tag and wrestled on the sweet-smelling stack. I would be starting junior high in September, and was almost too old for these games; so, I lay back, leaning on my elbows, watching for the most part. I was in this position, supervising, when my youngest brother Shawn came running my way and then suddenly vanished.
It happened so quickly, leaving me shocked and frozen for a couple beats. Acting on reflex, I jumped to the spot where he should be, and found the crack between the bales into which gravity had pulled him. By this time, the other little heads of my group were beside mine, also looking down into this dark crevice. We were all calling Shawn’s name. I felt huge relief when he called back, not scared and not crying.
I told Shawn to reach up and I would pull him out. Leaning into the hole, I could not feel Shawn’s little hand: he had fallen beyond my reach and was square in the middle of an enormous, tightly-packed, winter supply of hay. I hoped he would not fall any deeper before we could rescue him. We had left our bags and towels on the roadside with our bikes and had nothing at hand to lower into the hole to reach Shawn… well, nothing but each other.
The next youngest to my trapped brother was my six-year-old sister. While tiny, she was taller than my outstretched arm and light enough to hold on to. And, she was more than game to be lowered into the hay bales. I told Shawn to reach as high as he could and feel for our sister’s feet, warning him not to tickle them! Without any delay or second guessing, I grabbed my sister’s hands and started lowering her bare feet into the opening between the bales. My sister was in over her head before we heard Shawn call up that he could feel her toes. In one fluid motion, I pulled my sister out of the crack with Shawn trailing on her heels… literally.
The six of us had a laugh, brushed the hay from out hair, and pedaled for home.
It would be years before my adult self would appreciate the responsibility I carried that day, and all the days in which I assume the role of a caring and judicious parent. And this is perhaps a good thing, for to contemplate deeply the enormous responsibility borne in leadership could paralyze a big brother to inaction. And, while I could not find any science to back it up, I expect many of the Principals and Vice-Principals I met these last weeks may also be the eldest in their families. One quote from a member succinctly summarizes and illustrates the character I see in BC’s school leaders: “Student care issues predominate my work.” I would take it further, and say that Principals and Vice-Principals place the needs and interests of students before the needs and interests of all others, including their own.
My own family is small, and while my daughters are close, they are but two. On a whim one December, I bought and wrapped a DVD box set of The Waltons and placed it under the tree. The stories of this family with seven children became part of our Sunday routine. On Sundays, I would spend several hours at the school to prepare things for the week ahead, yet I would not leave home until after our episode.
One Sunday, as the familiar music was playing over the credits, our girls were retelling their favourite parts to each other and their mom. The eldest son always featured largely in each episode, and this night was no exception. In the exchange of banter while cleaning up the hot chocolate cups and the ice cream bowls, my wife made a confession to the room: she had wanted to marry John-Boy Walton. Standing there in my coat, with my briefcase in one hand and my school keys in the other, I said, “I think you did.”
Darren Danyluk would be delighted to connect with your Chapter through a virtual meeting or, respecting all local 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.
The following BCPVPA members are the confirmed Candidates for the Board election for five Directors May 17-19, 2022. Candidate names are listed in alphabetical order by last name:
Tara Zielinski - SD45, West Vancouver
BCPVPA's BetterEducate platform is now BCPVPA Connects: powered by BetterEducate.
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look forward to connecting with you!
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
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.
Please encourage any potential applicants to apply by May 2, 2022. All applications will be submitted electronically by email to Member Support Services.
Read this week’s featured articles from the March 2022 issue of Principl(ed):
Leading Through CovidIn March 2020, Michael Brown accepted a principalship for the Maple Leaf International School in Wuhan. The city was in quarantine and the school had to shift its entire operations online. Read the interview written by Jacalyn Kersey, Superintendent of China Maple Leaf Educational Systems.
Where the Healing BeginsJason Burnstick is a Plains Cree Nation member who works in youth and restorative justice, as well as being an accomplished musician. Jason defines Restorative Justice based on his experiences working in that field, and reveals how it can create an environment of care and healing.
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!
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.
Chapter Council members can mark their calendars for the final meeting date for the 2021-22 school year:
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 | Coming Soon: Have you ever tried accessing the BCPVPA website on you mobile device and had, well, a challenging time navigating different pages? We are happy to announce that in early May, there will be a solution which will improve mobile responsiveness. More details next week!
Visit the Member Portal, and let us know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
In this series we have heard from Nouman Ashraf, Carolyn Roberts, and Bryan Gidinski. We are looking forward to hearing from our final presenter for the 2022 series, Beth Applewhite. For more information and registration details please see the link below.
Register for Webinars
The next webinar is: Equity In Action: Using a Cultural Humility LensPresented by: Beth Applewhite
This session will take participants beyond definitions and awareness to reach honest personal reflection and authentic personal goals. Beth endeavours to create brave and courageous spaces for participants to reflect on their blind spots, share experiences, and ‘try on’ new perspectives.
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.
eBook | A Social History of South Asians in British Columbiaeditors Satwinder Kaur Bains and Balbir Gurm
Please explore this eBook that shares the social history of the South Asian community in BC, produced by the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project. The book covers topics that include migration of early South Asian settlers, timelines, identity, and politics.
Thank you Harjinder Sandhu, a Principal in SD 39, for bringing this resource to our attention.
In this week’s blog, Charles Ungerleider addresses the question: what is the role of a school board trustee?
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: ReFresh ReShare | Take a Break and Hydrate!
Each month, your BCPVPA 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
BCPVPA members received an invitation from Qualtrics to the UBC The Art of War, Strategic School Leadership and Psychological Safety Survey on Tuesday April 19.
Find out more
A webinar for educators, parents, caregivers and service providers interested in supporting children's development.
Expert educator and researcher, Shelley Moore, will share her own story of inclusion and how her understanding of belonging has deepened and evolved over time.
Public updates on 2022 Teacher Collective Bargaining are available from the BCPSEA website.
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.
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.
To learn more, visit: Johnson.ca/scholarship.
Updates to COVID-19 Guidelines and Provincial Health Officer Orders: Please see the April 8 COVID-19 update for information on updated K–12 Communicable Disease Guidelines and recent PHO announcements.
Read the Deputy Minister's Bulletins
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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.
NEWExecutive Director/PrincipalArtemis Place Secondary (Victoria)Find out moreClosing date: May 1, 2022
NEWHigh School PrincipalSt. Andrew's (Victoria, BC)Find out moreClosing date: May 2, 2022
NEWDirection de l'Éducation en ligne et des programmes du secondaire SD 93 (CSF, Bureau Central in Richmond)Find out moreClosing May 17, 2022
Secondary PrincipalSD 84 (Vancouver Island West)Find out moreClosing April 22, 2022
Elementary PrincipalSD 84 (Vancouver Island West)Find out moreClosing April 22, 2022
Principal PoolSD 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)Find out moreClosing April 25, 2022
Elementary PrincipalSD 91 (Nechako Lakes)Find out moreOpen until filled
Principal of Hazelton Secondary SchoolSD 82 (Coast Mountains)Find out moreOpen until filled