September 2015 Minutes

DPAC 28-09-2015 General Meeting Notes


Burnaby Central Secondary School
6011 Deer Lake Parkway
Burnaby, B.C.
DATE: September 28, 2015
TIME: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Schools Attending:

Brentwood North: Alpha, Confederation Park, Kitchener, Burnaby North, Aubrey, Capitol Hill, Lochdale Community, Parkcrest, Sperling, Westridge
Cariboo Lougheed: Burnaby Mountain, Cameron, Lyndhurst, Seaforth, Stoney Creek, Armstrong, Twelfth Avenue
Central West: Burnaby Central, Brantford, Buckingham, Douglas Road, Lakeview, Morley, Moscrop, Cascade Heights, Inman, Marlborough
Kingsway South: Burnaby South, Glenwood, Maywood Community, Nelson, Suncrest, Byrne Creek, Taylor Park

District Staff:
Gina Niccoli-Moen – Superintendent; Wanda Mitchell – Assistant Superintendent; Heather Hart – Assistant Superintendent; Roberto Bombelli – Assistant Superintendent

Board of Education Trustees and their zones:
Ron Burton – Chair (Brentwood North); Katrina Chen (Central West); Baljinder Narang (Kingsway South); Meiling Chia (Kingsway South); Larry Hayes (Cariboo Lougheed); Gary Wong (Brentwood North)

Regrets: Harman Pandher – Vice-Chair (Central West)

DPAC Executive:
Jen Mezei, Chair (Cariboo Lougheed); Dave Dye, Member at Large (Cariboo Lougheed); Naz Jakir, Member at Large (Kingsway South); Herman Louie, Treasurer (Central West); Kristin Schnider, Secretary (Cariboo Lougheed); Jocelyn Schonekess, Vice Chair (Central West); Calvin Taplay, Member at Large (Brentwood North)

Regrets: Shamsuddin Chowdhury, Member at Large (Kingsway South)

1. Welcome and Introductions
The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM and welcomed everyone. DPAC Chair Jen Mezei then introduced the District Staff, Board of Education Trustees and DPAC Executive members in attendance.

Jen began the meeting by conducting a round of introductions for the DPAC representatives present.

2. Board Chair Message

Jen Mezei invited Chair Ron Burton to address the DPAC representatives.
Chair Burton began by welcoming the DPAC representatives to a new school year. He commented that it’s bound to be another busy year, especially now with the search for a new Secretary-Treasurer. Chair Burton explained that the current Secretary-Treasurer Greg Frank will be leaving Burnaby to accept a position with the Vancouver School District. Chair Burton added that Greg has been an integral part of Burnaby’s District staff team over the years and instrumental to the Burnaby’s success and will be missed.

Chair Burton then went on to speak about the relationship between DPAC and the Board of Education. He commented that DPAC has been phenomenal over the years in offering advice to the Board when challenging issues arise. Chair Burton then extended his thanks to DPAC and said he was looking forward to another great year working together.

3. New Curriculum Update
Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen provided a brief introduction for the presentation on the new BC education curriculum. She explained that the School District had spent a fair amount of time of the summer talking about the new curriculum. As part of that discussion, the School District hosted a summer leadership forum with guest speaker Dr. Yong Zhao. In his presentation, Dr. Yong Zhao talked about the future of education and having students tap into their passions. The new curriculum focuses on this idea of passion-based learning. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen added that Burnaby has been moving in this direction for some time, and appears to be ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing the new curriculum. She then advised that Burnaby has already begun the process of introducing the new curriculum. However, this year is an optional year for school districts. The new curriculum will be in place by September 2016 across the province.

Assistant-Superintendent Heather Hart then spoke to the slide presentation. She commented that BC’s curriculum is shifting from “finding out to figuring out.” Assistant-Superintendent Hart went on to clarify that the point of the new curriculum is to provide some flexibility for teachers and learners to engage in personalized learning. The new curriculum also allows students to tap into their interests within BC’s three core competencies: communication, creative and critical thinking, and personal/social competencies. These core competencies have been identified as integral skills that students will need when they enter the workforce and begin to compete in our global economy. They run throughout the new curriculum are the foundation upon which the curricular competencies, literacy and numeracy, are built. Assistant-Superintendent Hart affirmed that literacy and numeracy continue to apply to all areas of student learning.
Assistant-Superintendent Hart then explained why BC’s curriculum is changing. In today’s world, students have access to instant information. For all students the great value of education is in learning the skills to successfully locate, analyze and apply information. She added that research has shown that greater emphasis needs to be placed on concepts, competencies and processes.

The existing curriculum had many objectives to cover, and the task of completing all the prescribed learning outcomes was extremely challenging. Assistant-Superintendent Hart then asserted that this highly prescriptive nature of the existing curriculum was necessarily at odds with personalized learning and how best students learn. With the new curriculum there is now more engagement in learning, both by students and teachers, while maintaining all the things we regard as important and foundational in academics.

Assistant-Superintendent Hart then drew attention to how the curriculum is changing, noting that it is being redesigned to fit the modern education system needed for today’s world, meaning the new curriculum will: (1) reduce the prescriptiveness of the existing curriculum while ensuring a consistent focus on the essential elements of learning, (2) allow flexibility for students and teachers to personalize the learning experience and better match each student’s individual strengths and needs, and (3) balance the foundational skills students need to learn with the higher level concepts they need to understand to succeed in life.

There will continue to be rigorous learning standards in each area of learning. Subjects such as mathematics, social studies, language arts, etc. will remain at the heart of student education. However, students will now gain a deeper understanding of those subjects and their fundamental concepts.

Assistant-Superintendent Hart went on to say that all areas of the curriculum are being redesigned at same time using a common framework. The structure is more flexible for cross-curricular experiences for the students and allows teachers to take advantage of current topics and the interests of students. Core competencies (as discussed above) are now being taught explicitly. She stressed that the new learning standards more open in nature and less focused on minor facts. The other important feature of the new curriculum is that aboriginal content and perspectives have been authentically integrated into all subjects.

Assistant-Superintendent Wanda Mitchell then explained that all areas of learning in the new curriculum are based on a “Know, Do, Understand” model to support a concept-based, competencies driven approach to learning:

  • What students will “Know” are the Content Learning Standards – these detail the essential topics and knowledge at each grade level
  • What students will “Do” are the Curricular Competencies – skills, strategies and processes that students develop over time and are subject-specific
  • What students will “Understand” are the Big Ideas – consist of generalization and principles and the key concepts important in the area of learning

All three elements in the model work together to support deeper learning, and represent what students will understand at the completion of each grade level. She added that they are intended to endure beyond the individual grade and build upon what was learned in prior years.

Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell went on to provide a timeline for the new curriculum, explaining that full implementation of the K to Grade 9 curriculum will begin September 2016. She noted that Burnaby has already started introducing parts of the new curriculum this school year. The draft curriculum for Grades 10-12 is available online for feedback. This January curriculum teams will begin making revisions on the Grades 10-12 curriculum based on feedback received. School districts will then have the option to start using (portions) of that new curriculum in the 2016-2017 school year, with full implementation in September 2017. All schools are on the same timeline.

Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell then explained that the Ministry’s new education plan curriculum also involves improved assessment and reporting methods that will align with the new curriculum. To that end, the Ministry assembled the Advisory Group for Provincial Assessment (AGPA), comprised of stakeholders who were tasked with providing a broad set of recommendations on provincial assessment. AGPA’s final report on K to Grade 9 was sent to the Ministry in April 2014 (and is available online). From January to August 2015, AGPA was working to operationalize the report. AGPA’s report on Grades 10-12 is due this month, and will follow a similar process for operationalizing AGPA’s recommendations.

Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell commented that there is limited information regarding report cards at this time. However, the Ministry will be developing new methods for communicating student learning with parents for the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

On the matter of graduation requirements, Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell advised that provincial exams will be redesigned to meet needs of the new curriculum. She noted that the Science 10 provincial exam is to be piloted this spring and Burnaby has been selected to participate in the pilot. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell stressed that as information is available from the Ministry on exams and changes in assessment models, the District will share the information with parents.

Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell went on to explain that all of the professional development in Burnaby this year will focus on the new curriculum and its implementation. District staff development teams will further support the roll-out of the new curriculum and sessions will also be offered at the school district level. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell added that this year there will be one PRO-D day dedicated to aboriginal education as it relates to the new curriculum. This will further support teachers with the integration of aboriginal perspectives in curriculum.

A DPAC rep asked how parents can best support their kids. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell suggested that parents can support their child(ren) by continuing to communicate regularly with teachers. She added that parents should also encourage students to focus on the importance of a question rather than the answer as the new curriculum will focus on innovative practices for problem-solving and thinking critically.Dave Dye asked how will the bridging work for the implementation of the new Grade 10-12 curriculum for students in Grade 9 currently. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell answered that the transition for all grades is expected to be quite seamless.

Jen Mezei asked how the new curriculum incorporates personalized learning. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell advised that personalized learning is well integrated into the new curriculum. It gives students the space to pursue interests within the core content. Assistant-Superintendent Hart added that the new curriculum takes into consideration how individual students learn and provides flexibility. The core concepts, however, remain the same for the whole class.

Another parent asked if the School District would have to purchase new textbooks for the new curriculum or if current textbooks would still be used. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell answered that existing texts would continue to be used. However, they may move between different grades. She added that Burnaby would also continue to rely on using online resources in the classroom as well.

Herman Louie then asked what impact the new curriculum would have on the Capstone program and AP programs in the District. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell advised that Burnaby will continue to follow the program guidelines. She added that for the Multi-Age Cluster Classrooms (MACC) program, the new curriculum actually complements the program.

Another parent asked what the best way is to direct parents to information on the new curriculum. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell answered that DPAC reps should would in collaboration with their school principals when sharing the information. There is also a lot of good information on the Ministry’s website at

Jocelyn Schonekess asked if all schools in Burnaby would be rolling out the new curriculum at the same time. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell advised that every Burnaby principal is working on implementing the new curriculum this year. However, this year is an optional year. As such, teachers and staff will be working at different paces, and implementation will look different in every school and every classroom.

Jen Mezei then commented that a lot of the curriculum content is similar to the old curriculum. The changes appear to really be in how the material is taught and what vehicles are used. Assistant-Superintendent Mitchell agreed with Jen’s comments, noting that the new curriculum is based on skills and processes. The content framework is the same, and there are fewer prescribed learning outcomes, giving teachers and students greater flexibility.

Assistant-Superintendent Hart added that the new curriculum pushes the learners to think deeper about something and encourages greater critical thinking. This will provide students with problem-solving and planning skills needed in today’s world. Most teachers have embraced this new approach because it’s something they’ve already been doing in their classrooms.

Several parents asked for further information on the training that would be provided for teachers and new reporting procedures. Assistant-Superintendent Hart advised that they’re waiting to hear from the Ministry on the training and reporting guidelines. A media announcement was made today on the training and further details will be sent out as they’re received.

After further discussion, Superintendent Niccoli-Moen commented that it’s important to recognize that teachers were involved in writing the new curriculum. The Superintendent went on to say that they will have more information on the new curriculum at the next DPAC general meeting. Information will also be communicated to parents through the School District website and through school principals.

Jen Mezei then thanked Assistant-Superintendents Hart and Mitchell for the presentation.

4. PAC Manual
Before proceeding to a break, Jen advised that the DPAC Executive discussed development of a PAC manual over the summer and has decided to seek input from DPAC reps at DPAC meetings: at each general meeting a discussion question will be given for each zone table to work on. DPAC members will be asked to provide their best practices and advice on the issue. The discussion topic for tonight’s meeting was how best to communicate with school principals and administrative staff.

5. Chair Report
Jen began her report by talking about some of the recent student privacy issues in the media. She noted that parents across the province are concerned about student privacy, especially with the introduction on of the new student information software, MyEdBC. Jen went on to say that the DPAC Executive had discussed the matter and were recommending that DPAC write a letter to Burnaby Board of Education requesting that DPAC provide a parent perspective on the new system and how student information is managed.

A parent then asked who is responsible for data on MyEdBC. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli answered that the student data is held by the Ministry, not the School District, as it sits at the provincial level on their servers. Dave Dye then queried who owns privacy control for the system. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli answered that this Ministry of Education is responsible for privacy and security of the data contained on the servers. At the School District level, there are Ministry protocols that must be followed for the data entry.

Jen Mezei asked who determines what data is captured on the system. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli provided that school districts have some flexibility in terms of what information they collected. He added that each individual school district also determines what features are turned on in the system. However, discussions as to what features are enabled will happen as we move forward with the new system.

Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli then explained that the School District struck a steering committee with representatives from each of the system’s user groups, including BCTF, CUPE, District staff, senior management, etc. The committee looked at implementation and the data transfer from the old BCeSIS system to MyEdBC. He added that there is nothing new in MyEdBC; only existing data has been moved from the one system to the other. Going forward they will begin discussing additional system options after the direct transfer is successfully completed.

Calvin Taplay asked how long the data is kept on the system, and how is it destroyed when it’s removed. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli answered that he didn’t have all that information, but that he could provide that Burnaby’s paper files follow the provincial rules: permanent record cards are kept for 55 years. Student files are kept for five year post-graduation, which include latest copies of their report cards.

A parent advised that there are systems in the US where parents can log in and view their child’s records and grades. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli explained that MyEdBC has similar functionality to the US systems. However, those features need to be enabled. It’s up to the School District to determine whether or not certain features and functionality are used in the system. Currently, Burnaby has only set the system up for online course selection. Going forward, Burnaby could introduce online access for report cards, parent communication, field trip forms, fees, etc. via MyEdBC. However, at this point Burnaby will not be using all these features. The first priority is to finish transferring the data from the old system to MyEdBC.

Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli added that the steering committee will be meeting in mid-October to assess the transition and discuss moving forward with the new system, which will include whether or not to enable a parent portal. Jen Mezei then asked if a parent representative could be included on the steering committee going forward.

After further discussion, Jocelyn Schonekess asked if the steering committee would be reporting to DTAC. She added that this would be a good way for DPAC to get information on the process and report it back to parents. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli agreed that this could be an option. He then added that the steering committee’s mandate was not to decide whether or not the District would use MyEdBC. Its focus was on how to best operationalize the transition to the new system and facilitate staff training, etc.

After further discussion, the following motion was made:

Motion:  For Burnaby DPAC to draft letter to the Burnaby School District Board of Education on what input they can provide for the future direction of the MyEdBC in Burnaby

Moved: Jen Mezei, Burnaby Mountain; seconded: Katherine Robertson, Burnaby Central

After further discussion, a parent asked if it would be possible to get a list of what student information is contained within the MyEdBC program. She added that because the new system has many new features and options, it would be good for parents to have a say on what program functionality is used in Burnaby and to serve as a voice for students at the committee level.

Jen then turned the discussion to the vacancy on the School District’s Special Education Advisory Committee. Jen advised that they are looking for a parent to sit on the committee, which meets approximately five times a year. If a DPAC rep or a PAC member is interested in the committee position, please email the DPAC chair at so that a volunteer application form can be forwarded for completion.

6. DPAC Updates
a. PAC 101/PAC Finances Workshops
Jen reminded parents to save the date for the fall DPAC PAC Finance and PAC 101 workshops, which is taking place Tuesday, October 6 at Central. That evening will also include a vendor fair with PAC services providers and information. The vendor fair takes place from 6 PM to 7PM and the workshops run from 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Pre-registration is required for the vendor fair and the workshops.

The PAC 101 workshop reviews the basics of how PACs function: how to run meetings, the purposes and goals of PACs, how to make decisions, etc. The PAC Finance workshop builds upon what was covered in the former Treasurer’s Workshop. Also covered now are the rules regarding the gaming grant and legislation compliance.

Jen provided the 2015-2016 schedule for Burnaby DPAC Parent Information Evenings (PIEs):

  • October 28, 2015 “What is Social Emotional Learning and What Does it Look Like in School District 41?” presented by Peter Dubinsky
  • November 25, 2015 “Transitioning to Secondary for Students Who Require Support,” presented by Elizabeth Gardner
  • January 27, 2016 “Social Emotional and School Connectedness,” presented by Bev Ogilvie
  • February 24, 2016 “Taking Social Emotional Learning home,” presented by Suzanne Vardy
  • April 27, 2016 “Self Regulation in the Early Years: Home to School,” presented by Deb Simak and Elizabeth Gardner
  • June 1, 2016 PAC Chair event

Jen added that there will be one additional fall PIE, co-hosted by DPAC and the School District. Plans are underway to bring in Dr. Yong Zhao who will explain why high grades don’t necessarily mean high success in today’s world. This discussion ties into the new curriculum and is expected to be a popular event. Pre-registration will be required. Once registration information is available it will be sent out to PACs.

Herman Louie reminded DPAC reps that PIEs are intended for Burnaby School District parents. We don’t want to have to turn Burnaby parents away because out-of-District parents have registered for all the event tickets. Jen added that DPAC is grateful for the grant the School District provides to put on the PIEs. This allows DPAC to put on the events without charging admission. However, this can only be successful if we limit attendance to Burnaby School District parents and staff.

Jocelyn Schonekess then advised that Burnaby DPAC is cohosting another parent education event with Sperling Elementary on November 17 at 7 PM. The event, “French Parents’ Survival Night: How to Succeed in French Immersion” is geared to parents with children in Kindergarten through grade 2 French Immersion. Preregistration is required. RSVP by November 10 to

c. Committee Reports
Policy Committee – Jen shared that the School District is still working on the Emergency Preparedness District policy. Once the draft is finalized, it will be brought forward for discussion with DPAC Executive members. As further information is available, it will be shared with DPAC representatives.

DTAC – Dave Dye reported that DTAC met on September 24 and review of the Digital Citizen Course rollout. The District will be rolling out two courses: one targeted at Grade 8/9 and another at Grades 6 and 7. Pilots have been run and acceptance has been quite positive. We asked the District to consider allowing the Grade 8/9 course to be available to parents. The School District is looking into how that might be done. There is a rollout coming for WiFi upgrades over the next 12-18 months District-wide. This will allow things like temporary access to school WiFi from student owned (or Parent owned) devices. Schools that have capable wiring already in place will likely be done first. No set timelines for completion but it is a project underway. There has also been a lot of work “under the hood” to get the District ready for more media intense classroom teaching. This summer, there was a lot of networking work done to help ease the congestion. There were no major computer refreshes done as they were done last year. There will be a continual review of computers and refresh as possible over the next few years.

Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli added that the School District contracted the company EVERFI to develop the Grade 6-7 course. The School District now working the company to see if they can obtain a global parent log-in code so parents can access this course content. The other content for grades 7-8 has is being developed internally, and they again see if a generic log-in code can be incorporated. He added that the main focus now is to ensure all Grade 8 students are set up with log-in credentials.

Janice Beecroft asked if PACs should still be budgeting for speakers to come in to speaker to parents about online safety given the new course content. Assistant-Superintendent Bombelli offered that PAC-sponsored education sessions would still be of value and supplement the course content.

Jocelyn spoke about BCCPAC, explaining the BCCPAC represents member PACs and DPACs across the province at the provincial and ministerial level. She then reminded everyone that BCCPAC also puts on parent education events across the province.

This year, BCCPAC is hosting a regional one-day conference in Prince George in lieu of its regular fall conference. The one-day conference is scheduled for October 24. Further details are available on BCCPAC’s website at The BCCPAC Spring Conference and AGM are taking place April 28-May 1 in Kelowna.

BCCPAC membership is $75 per PAC and is due annually. Jocelyn added that membership provides PACs with access to online resources as well as a vote on elections and resolutions at the BCCPAC AGM. Membership fees for the 2015-2016 school year are due December 15, 2015.

Jocelyn further explained that BCCPAC resolutions direct the advocacy work of BCCPAC, and touch upon a number of areas, including emergency management, provincial education policy, students’ rights, support for classroom teachers, traffic safety, etc.

7. New Business/Q&A
School Planning Councils
A parent asked if there was any update on Bill 11 and the status of School Planning Councils (SPCs). Jen answered that the DPAC Executive had not received any updates, and – to her knowledge – Bill 11 hadn’t been enacted yet. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen added that the School District is waiting for information from the Ministry on what PAC/parent consultation will look like in the absence of SPCs. She added that while SPCs have been removed from the Schools Act, Burnaby intends to continue with a parent consultation process for school plans.

PAC Constitution Revisions
Related to the Bill 11, Calvin Taplay brought up the fact that many PACs will need to revise their Constitutions due to the elimination of SPCs. Jen thanked Calvin for the reminder, and advised that the DPAC Executive hopes to offer some guidance with a workshop on constitution revision during next fall’s PAC 101 event. Jen added that the BCCPAC website has a good constitution template for PACs to use.

A parent then asked where they can obtain a copy of the school’s constitution. Jen advised that the school principal should have a copy. If not, it can likely be obtained from the District Office. Superintendent Niccoli-Moen advised that the School District will be sending something out the school principals and ensure that each principal has a copy of their school’s constitution.

The DPAC rep for Lochdale Community School then provided that her school recently amended their PAC’s constitution and would be happy to share the amended version with other PACs. Jen then reminded DPAC reps that a PAC constitution should reflect was a PAC is doing, and they can be amended as many times as needed.

School Playgrounds
Dave Dye then addressed the DPAC representatives, soliciting them for their best practices regarding the procurement and installation of new playground equipment. The current equipment at Lyndhurst is nearing its ‘end of life’ and will need to be replaced in the next couple years.

Before adjourning the meeting, the Chair advised that the next DPAC General meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 26 at 7 PM at Burnaby Central. Jen then adjourned the meeting at 8:57 PM and thanked all for attending.


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