November 2016 Minutes

DPAC-21-11-2016 General Meeting Minutes

Burnaby D.P.A.C. Meeting Minutes


Burnaby Central Secondary School
Room A206 – 6011 Deer Lake Parkway
Burnaby, B.C.
DATE: November 21, 2016
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm


Schools by Zone:

Brentwood North: Burnaby North, Aubrey, Brentwood Park, Confederation Park, Capitol Hill

Cariboo Lougheed: Burnaby Mountain, Cariboo Hill, Cameron, Lyndhurst, Seaforth, Second Street, Stoney Creek

Central West: Burnaby Central, Moscrop, Brantford, Buckingham, Cascade Heights, Douglas Road, Gilpin, Inman, Marlborough, Morley

Kingsway South: Burnaby South, Byrne Creek, Edmonds, Maywood, Suncrest

District Staff:

Roberto Bombelli, Assistant Superintendent

Heather Hart, Assistant Superintendent

Brandon Curr, District Principal of Aboriginal Education

Board of Education:

In attendance: Katrina Chen (Brentwood North); Mei Ling Chia (Brentwood North); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South)

DPAC Executive:

Kristin Schnider, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed)

Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Central West)

Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West)

Shams Chowdhury, Secretary (Kingsway South)

Jen Mezei, Past Chair (Cariboo Lougheed)

Stace Dayment, Member at Large (Brentwood North)

Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed)

Gadis Setaiputri, Member at Large (Central West)

Calvin Taplay, Member at Large (Brentwood North)

  1. Welcome and Introductions: Kristin Schnider, DPAC Chair
  • Meeting was called to order at 7:04pm. Parent representatives were welcomed and District Staff, Board of Education, and DPAC Executives members were introduced.
  • Prizes provided by landscape structures® and GemPals®, vendors at the DPAC Vendor Fair in October of 2016, were given away as door prizes to attendees.
  1. Update on Secretary Treasurer Recruitment Process

Heather Hart, Assistant Superintendent

  • The school district engaged Boyden global executive search firm, which has extensive experience in placing top executives in both private and public sectors, and recently placed top financial executives in a number of school districts. In a process that involved consultation with trustees, Burnaby Teachers’ Association, DPAC, Burnaby CUPE locals, BC Principals and Vice Principals Association, and District Student Advisory Council, a short list was arrived at, and a successful candidate was identified.
  • The new Secretary Treasurer is Russell Horswill, most recently the Secretary Treasurer for the Vancouver School District, who has extensive senior level financial experience, as well as human resources, technology, health & safety, and labour relations experience. He will be attending the next DPAC meeting in January to meet parent representatives.
  • Roy Uyeno has been promoted to Deputy Secretary Treasurer, bringing the needed context and district experience to ensure the continued financial stability of the district.
  • Both candidates assumed their new roles on November 7, 2016.
  1. Presentation “Aboriginal Perspectives and the Redesigned Curriculum”

Brandon Curr, District Principal of Aboriginal Education

See presentation posted on the DPAC website.

Key Presentation Points

Setting the Table: Why are we moving in this direction?

  • Conversation around recognizing Aboriginal perspective has been happening for some time, beginning with government acts/declarations in the 1980s and most recently, with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015), Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives (2015), and the Office of the Auditor General Report (2015).
  • Current conditions indicate that action is needed:
    • 774 Aboriginal students in Burnaby=3% of student population (provincial 11%)
    • Six-year completion rates 58% Aboriginal vs. 88% for non-Aboriginal
    • Aboriginal is the fastest growing population in Canada – 5X faster than any other demographic.
    • 3/10 of all Aboriginal people are under 14 years of age, 50% of Aboriginal people under 28 years
  • Change of mindset to collective ownership is needed to effect change.

Characteristics of Aboriginal Worldviews:  What principles are being incorporated in curriculum?

  • Connectedness and Relationship
  • Awareness of History: Aboriginal history is Canadian history
  • Local Focus: g. Do you know the Coast Salish story of the Two Sisters (the Lions)?
  • Focus on the Land, Nature, and the Outdoors: Learning from, in, and with the land, with important implications for sustainability.
  • Emphasis on Identity: Students should be comfortable with their ancestry; Aboriginal learners benefit when they see themselves reflected when we bring in elders, Aboriginal books, etc. Non-native learners benefit as well from this emphasis.
  • Community Involvement: Valuable for school staff to get to know their Aboriginal families.
  • The Power of Story: Connection to stories helps all students to make personal meaning of the challenges that they face.
  • Traditional Teaching: Bringing in elders, Aboriginal resource staff for expertise.
  • Language and Culture: Halkomenem is the local First Nations language of this part of BC. Culture is embedded in language; learning about Aboriginal culture enables others to see through Aboriginal lens.
  • Experiential Learning: Learning can be made more effective and powerful by participating in activities, visiting actual places, and meeting and interacting with both land and people.

Examples of Aboriginal Perspectives in Curriculum

  • Math 10 Unit on Linear Equations: Using Coast Salish weaving and Desmos Graphing app to make meaningful connections to linear equations.
  • Science 6 Unit on Life Cycles: Exploring how traditional knowledge about life cycles helps First Peoples harvest food in their territories.  Plant walk activity, where students link plants used in indigenous medicine and their scientific application (e.g. cottonwood to help cold, salmonberry tea for stomach ache).

Recommended Reading and Resources

For those new to the conversation around Aboriginal perspectives and history, Brandon highly recommend 3 books:

  • Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King: Account of Native and non-Native relationship from first encounter onward; witty, appropriately angry as well.
  • The Reason You Walk, Wab Kinew: Reconnecting with personal identity.
  • Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese: Young hockey player sent to a residential school.
  • Do all schools have Aboriginal resources? District is carefully researching and building shared resources, which now include levelled readers, and most schools have some resources, though perhaps not a deep or recent collection. Brandon encourages parents to have conversation at the school level around acquiring Aboriginal resources.
  • What books/other resources would you recommend that are age appropriate?
    • Shi Shi Etko by Nicola I. Campbell for primary.
    • Resources for primary to post secondary.
  • How is the education system preserving native languages? Burnaby, being an urban space, is home to a very diverse First Nations population, making language teaching a complex endeavor.  The school district does not currently have any First Nations language classes, but conversation is happening with Musqueam and Squamish First Nations to explore possibilities. Keep in mind that BC is home to 130 First Nations (635 in Canada) and 30 languages.  While dialects are related, each language is completely different.

Concluding Remarks:

  • Incorporating Aboriginal perspectives will create a more compassionate and successful community of learners. If not here, then where?
  • Brandon shared about the Coming of Age ceremony for his daughter in Port Alberni’s Nuu-chah-nulth Nation. Cultural protocols are coming back into practice, restoring identity and meaning.
  1. Communication Check-In: Table Top Activity
  • DPAC representatives engaged in discussion in zones. Question discussed was “Do you feel you’re receiving timely and relevant information from your School, PAC and/or DPAC?”
  • Written responses were collected and will be reviewed by DPAC executive.
  1. Break 8:11 – 8:21pm
  1. Chair Report: Kristin Schnider, DPAC Chair
  1. DPAC extends its heartfelt condolences to Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen for her recent tragic loss. As fellow parents, our hearts and thoughts are with Gina in this time of grieving.
  2. Reminder: Have Your Say on Report Cards
    • Deadline for parent input on reporting on student progress is February 28, 2017. All of the input that is submitted will be summarized into an Engagement Summary Report, which will be posted on this site in June 2017. The public engagement feedback, along with input from school district engagements, research by the Ministry and feedback from experts and teachers, will all be considered as the provincial student reporting approach is finalized. There will be opportunities for parents to give input on progress reporting for grades 10-12 in the future.
    • Survey:
    • Community Meetings: January 18 Surrey, February 8 Richmond – drop in sessions 5-7 pm, or facilitated workshop 7-8 pm.
  3. 2016 DPAC Chair Summit – Report
    • Hosted by BCCPAC, the Summit took place November 18-19 in Richmond, BC.
    • 40 out of 60 DPACs from across the province attended, as well as Minister of Education Mike Bernier, Deputy Minister of Education Dave Byng, and other senior staff in the Ministry of Education.
    • 4 session topics:
      1. Evidence that Enhances Student Learning
      2. Update on Learning Modernization Project and Status of Parent Engagement
      3. Culture and Climate of Schools Focused on Safety
      4. Mental Health: Emergening Trends in Schools
  • Sessions were engaging, with the ministry actively soliciting feedback from DPACs. Burnaby DPAC is considering bringing in the speaker/facilitator on the topic of mental health, Ocean van Samang, Safer Schools Together, to speak to parents in Burnaby. Ministry did announce new funding for mental health initiatives.
  • Jen Mezei remarked that the topics were chosen in an effort to have parents engage in conversation with senior public servants on emerging topics and strategies, rather than the historical trend of soliciting parent feedback at the end of the process.
  • Kristin raised the issue of having no public consultation sessions on student reporting being held north of the Fraser River. DPAC representatives indicated interest in having the school district look into the possibility of requesting a session; Kristin will discuss this request with senior district staff.
  • DPAC chairs had an opportunity to write down questions for the Minister, and tough questions were put forward. One area of questioning was the Supreme Court ruling on class size and composition.  Ministry responses:
    • Process for implementing the ruling: Ministry is hoping to have a plan worked out within the next 12 months.
    • Funding: No firm answer around whether additional dollars will be invested to meet class size/composition requirements, but Learning Improvement Fund will be involved, and discussions with partners were promised.
    • Mindset/Approach: Jen Mezei challenged the ministry to consider shifting the thinking from a simple composition cap to matching professional resources to the needs in any classroom – instead of labelling a classroom “inappropriate for learning” due to the number of special needs students in it, looking at how to provide the appropriate supports for all students in that setting.
  1. DPAC Updates
  1. November PIE – “So You Want to Keep Your Kids Safe”, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers
  2. January PIE – Elementary School Age Online Safety
    • Wednesday, January 25th at Maywood Community School, Gym
    • Limited childcare available
    • Register here:
  3. Committee Reports
    • District Technology Committee Report: Herman Louie

See Appendix 1 in the attached PDF.

  • What is the district plan for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)? Roberti Bombelli outlined the district’s long range plan for BYOD.  The biggest challenge has been limiting traffic on school site Wi-Fi networks, so that high traffic does not shut down key school functions. District is upgrading to and will be piloting a new network that is able to identify categories of users, and assign bandwidth accordingly.  This upgrade is almost complete, except for sites undergoing seismic work.  BYOD and Wi-Fi access also require solid policy around what is allowed to be accessed.  Teachers will also need to make decisions about device and Wi-Fi use in their individual classrooms.  Release of Wi-Fi access will start with the older student age range, and work downwards.
  • How will equal access be ensured, with the roll out of BYOD? District will continue to supply and refresh laptop carts and other school based technology so that all students can access appropriate devices.
  • Is there district policy around PAC access to school Wi-Fi? There are no restrictions, and PAC access will be introduced in the upgraded system, with PAC as a credentialed network user.
  • 2 LGBTQ Committee Report: Jocelyn Schonekess

See Appendix 2 in the attached PDF

  • 3 Youth & Community Services Committee Report: Jocelyn Schonekess

See Appendix 3 in the attached PDF

  • Buildings and Grounds Committee Report: Calvin Taplay

See Appendix 4 in the attachd PDF

  • Special Ed Advisory
    • Parents of special needs students asked if the School District would provide IEPs for students going to post-secondary, so supports continue through to post-secondary. Jen clarified with that universities and colleges accept a letter from the school psychologist, confirming the learning/education resources and supports required for the student.
  • 4 Education Committee Report: Kristin Schnider

See Appendix 5 in the attached PDF.

    • PACs are reminded to renew their membership and submit their membership fee by December 15, in order to have voting privileges at the AGM in the spring.
    • BCCPAC is aiming to send out their survey in early December, and will include district specific questions. Results will be shared out to District PACs accordingly.
  1. At Our School – Show & Tell
  • Confederation Park Art Show & Auction: Saturday, November 26 from 7-10 pm.  Silent auction, cash bar, live music.  $15 tickets available at the door. Advance tickets available through the school office for $12.  See DPAC Facebook page for more details.
  • Moscrop Secondary: Dry grad committee would like to network with other high schools’ dry grad committees, as they are reviving dry grad after 5 years.  Mountain, Cariboo, and South responded.
  • Online Donation Requests: Be aware that some online request applications are set up such that previous SD41 applicants are recalled when you apply (all of Burnaby school district uses that same GST#).  Be explicit when you apply about your school and event/project.
  • Seaforth Elementary Holiday Marketplace: Friday December 2, 3-7 pm, crafts, gifts, activities.
  • Marlborough Elementary Emergency Preparedness: Presentation by Disaster Bill/William McLellan.  Entrance by donation, all proceeds to Red Cross.
  • Byrne Creek Coffee Program: Burnaby Now article highlighting Access Program coffee team.

  1. Questions & Answers
  • Where can the Healthy Food Guidelines be found? At-a-glance, as well as complete guidelines in English and French, can be found at:
  • Are there any changes to school security measures, in light of the recent incident in the Abbotsford School District? Roberto Bombelli noted that the district updated their emergency management policy last year, and a new district committee has been formed to oversee this area of work. The committee will review Abbotsford’s findings as they are released.
    • Administrators undergo annual emergency response training (Levels 1-4 available), and emergency procedures are already scheduled to be reviewed with all administrators over the next two weeks.
    • Burnaby does not have district policy regarding locked doors. Since every school is different, these decisions are site specific. Any parent concerns should be brought to the local principal.
  • Do all schools have surveillance cameras? Cameras are installed at every site (although some may have been affected by seismic work.)  Cameras only target access points and security footage is accessed centrally.
  • Does the district have a central radio calling point? No.
  1. Adjournment: Meeting was adjourned at 9:03 pm by Kristin Schnider.

Next Meeting:  Monday, January 16, 2017 at Burnaby Central Secondary School

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