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February 22
Snow Day Information

Please note:  VSB Snow Advisory​

Check the VSB website or listen to the radio/TV stations listed below to learn about school closures. Do not call media outlets to ask whether schools are closed. 

By 6:00 am, the VSB will post information about snow closures on its VSB website  and will inform local media stations, including: 

 CKNW (980 AM) 

 CBC (690 AM, 105.7 FM) 

 CJVB (1470 AM) 

 CFHG (96.1 FM) 

 CKWX (1130 AM) 

 BCTV/Global (Cable channel 11) 

 CITY TV (Cable channel 13)

February 21
PAC General Meeting & Parent Workshop on Anxiety
Mark your calendar and take advantage of this great opportunity!

Date: Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Time: 6-8pm (PAC meeting 6-6:30pm,  followed by anxiety workshop 6:30-8pm)

Location: UHill Elementary Library


This session is provided free to UHill families by the PAC. Pizza and childcare will be provided for no cost during the meeting and presentation.

Following a short PAC General Meeting, we are excited to present a workshop for parents on Childhood Anxiety


Workshop Title: Understanding child anxiety: What is it? How can we help?​


Learn where anxiety in children comes from, how to recognize it, and specific tools to help manage and prevent it. 


Topics covered include:


o     How anxiety is experienced and expressed in kids

o     What contributes to anxiety

o     A step-by-step guide to help children manage anxiety

o     Information about healthy habits for the prevention and management of anxiety

o     What to consider when collaborating with school and mental health professionals

The Speaker:  Bethany Michel is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and a clinical fellow at the DBT Centre of Vancouver. She received her Ph.D. in clinical science at Harvard University, specializing in child and adolescent mood and anxiety disorders. In addition to her current appointment, she has worked as a clinician with children and youth ages 5-22 in Boston, and completed her clinical internship training in the Clinical Child Psychology Specialty program at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her research program examines children’s beliefs about emotions and how this affects their response to treatment. She has enjoyed offering workshops on a range of childhood mental health issues to parents and educators since 2008.​

February 19
​Choosing Kindness

 ​Some people bemoan the rampant commercialism of Valentine’s Day.  I personally LOVE the total commitment of a day devoted to the celebration of kindness, friendship and love – along with most other elementary school students.  University Hill was filled with a good dose of good intentions last week for Valentine’s Day.  In the morning, I was making my rounds with Valentine’s Day greetings and entered Lori’s Kindergarten classroom in the midst of a conversation about valentine’s words and “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” feelings.  We continued the great conversation about how every day you make several decisions about whether you will make somebody’s day a little bit better with a smile or kind words or a gesture of friendship or you make someone’s day a little bit worse with a frown, unkind words or by excluding someone from a game.  

As is often the case at University Hill Elementary, there were many choices to make people’s lives a little bit better.  There were celebrations in classrooms, sometimes with classmates, sometimes with buddies and sometimes with parents.  Cards and candy and chocolate were everywhere we turned.  Student council candy grams were a big hit and good wishes were plentiful.  


The goodwill of Valentine’s Day was followed up with more good feelings through the celebration of Lunar New Years at the end of the week.  This was kicked off the previous week by our very talented Korean Fan dancers who included us in their performance tour.  One of our Grade 5 student council reporters will be following up with this story so stay posted for the update on School News.



Students do not attend school on Monday, February 19th, 2018.  It is a day devoted to Teacher Professional Growth.  Teachers and other school staff will be working but students have a long weekend.


Parent- student- teacher conferences take place on Wednesday, February 21st and Thursday, February 22nd.  Your child’s teacher has been scheduling times for conferences to discuss student learning.  There will be an early dismissal at 2 pm on both days so please make arrangements in advance. ​ 

January 25
University Hill Elementary School Goals 2017 - 2018

​The Vancouver School Board has hired a dynamic and passionate educator, Suzanne Hoffman, as the new superintendent of schools.  Her focus is first and foremost on kids.  The focus on the inquiry process, very in line with the things we are doing at University Hill Elementary School.

The VSB 2021 Strategic Plan has been drafted to build in some long term goals for all of the schools in SD 39 - Vancouver to work on over several years.  Goal 1 of this plan meshes very closely with the things we have defined as important at University Hill Elementary.

Goal 1:
Engage our learners through innovative teaching and learning practices.

  • Enhance support for students with specific needs.
  • Support the implementation of the curriculum.
  • Enhance assessment and reporting strategies to support teaching and learning.
  • Ensure Aboriginal students achieve increased academic success in Vancouver schools and that they participate fully and successfully from kindergarten through the completion of Grade 12.
  • Provide increased  opportunities to connect students to their learning.​

Our UHill School Plan 2017-2018​ is a continuation of what has been worked on over the past years at University Hill.  

Academic Goal: • Many of our students at University Hill Elementary have had a broad range of background knowledge and experiences.  Although there are 34 different home languages in the school population, there is a lot of support at school and home to ensure steady development of English language and mathematics skills.  Teachers are keen to develop innovative teaching to stimulate curiosity and develop skills to utilize technology to explore curricular ideas in the regular classroom, optional learning spaces, including outdoors.  There is a focus to encourage our young learners to ask questions, make a plan to guide their learning and develop ways to talk about their learning.

Social Responsibility Goal: •The school staff have been working with students so they are able to self regulate, the ability to identify stress and the skills to cope with stress.  Dr. Stuart Shanker is a distinguised research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at York University.  You may find his books, tweets and blogs helpful at home as well.  The next step is to develop empathy for others and the skills to problem solve.

Aboriginal Enhancement Goal: • Over the past years, we have learned a lot of information about the Indigenous groups who first inhabited Vancouver.  Our location on Musqueam ancestral lands give us insight into how the Musqueam lived thousands of years ago.  Our focus is now to indigitize all aspects of the curriculum.  The question is how can we take what we know from history and Indigeous ways of knowing and apply them to our cross-curricular learning?

January 24
UHill Elementary Music Programme - Winter 2018

Performance by visiting University Hill Secondary School Orchestra

a post by Marlis MacAulay (Miss Marlis)

Thank you to all the generous people in our school community that donated money at the Winter Concert.  That money has been used to buy a set of ukuleles that can be signed out by students to go home for practice.  Money is also being used to purchase more music for upcoming concerts and for use in the classroom.

May Music Concert – Thursday, May 10th – 1:30 – 2:30 pm. All parents are invited to the May Music Concert.  All classes and the choir will be performing on a variety of percussion instruments, playing ukes, recorders and singing.

Music Class for 2nd Term:

During the month of January, all classes have been using the Orff percussion instruments & bell sets. Division 5,6 & 7 have also been continuing to work on their recorders, with most students completing their green belt.

In February and March, all classes will be preparing for our trip to the Vancouver Symphony on Thursday, March 1st.  The theme is program music, and the featured piece is the Carnival of the Animals by Saen Saints. Students will be learning about the instruments of the orchestra and about program music.  Grade 4 & 5 students will resume learning the ukulele and younger grades will continue with percussion. All classes will be learning to sing in solfege.

Choir:  Any student in grade 2 through 5 is welcome to join choir. Choir practices on Tuesdays at lunch.

Choral Festival District Concert:  The University Hill Choir will be in an evening concert at John Oliver Secondary School on Tuesday, March 6th.  We will perform 4 songs.  Two songs will be just our school choir, and then 2 other songs will be sung as massed pieces with all the other choirs attending the evening concert.  This is an exciting opportunity for our choir, as there will be hundreds of children singing these two songs!  Also, the students will be sitting in the audience and will be able to hear the other choirs.

If your child is in choir (or thinking of joining), please see the information below:

The massed choir pieces will be available online with accompaniment for students to sing along with at this address:  Please encourage your child to practice.

I would like to perform all pieces without music, so students need to memorize their words.  Our pieces are:


·       I Won’t Grow Up (from Peter Pan).  A good performance on YouTube to sing along and practice the actions is by the King’s Academy Choir.

·       Warm Kitty -  2 part arrangement by Janet Day

·       District Song – Haba Na Haba (go to site orffteacher listed above and concentrate on Part II)

·       District Song – Always Sing Your Song​​ 


Concert Date: Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Location: John Oliver Secondary, 530 E 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC (Fraser St & East 41st Ave)

Concert time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the auditorium


If you have any questions about the music program or choir, please contact me at


January 23
#KeepKidsSafe Traffic Safety at UHill Elementary School Revisited

Please note that the RCMP is responsible for policing Hamber Road.  They have issued tickets for traffic infractions.  It is illegal to make a U turn on Hamber Road and to park on the sidewalk.  Thanks for your cooperation in helping to keep our students safe.  



Many of our students at University Hill Elementary School are driven to school, particularly when it is raining.  This means traffic safety is always foremost in our minds.  Although teachers regularly reinforce drop off and pick up rules, it is very important for pay close attention to traffic rules and be very cautious to ensure none of our children are hurt.  Our RCMP liaison officers are very supportive of our community and are working to control the speed of cars along Chancellor Boulevard.  

The PAC Safety Committee has done some great safety work.  The following information was sent home to share with families in fall.  I am posting it again here for you to review with your children and all of the drivers doing drop off or pick up in your family.  


Currently we are working with The VSB Traffic Working Group to improve the traffic situation at our school.  One possibility it to change the 30 minute parking signs to prevent back-up on to Chancellor Boulevard, a designated highway.  Another possibility is to enlist parent volunteers to assist in keeping traffic moving.  PAC and school staff are very interested in hearing your ideas to improve safety at our school.

Teacher supervision at most schools generally includes supervising around the school and playground areas.  Teacher supervisors are currently spending all of their time trying to keep the drop off / pick up zone moving and safe.  It is very disheartening when their efforts are not appreciated and requests are ignored by parents.  

Just a reminder that the parking lot is for the use of staff at the school and the onsite preschool / out of school care.  It becomes a safety hazard when parents park in the lot to pick up children.  Should you need to park  and leave your car, you are responsibe for finding legal parking.  


Thanks to our many families that bike to school.  We are lucky to have the support of Mustafa Akhtar in his role as Coordinator of Community Programs and Outreach on the UBC campus.  The Walk n'Roll Program in October and upcoming event planned for Spring 2018 generate lots of biking enthusiasm.  It is a good step towards healthy living and certainly helps to alleviate our traffic pressures.

Issues image

BikewalkUBC​ is a local grass roots network formed by volunteers advocating for safe and convenient transport options around UBC Vancouver. While driving is already quite safe and convenient, people choosing to walk or cycle often face unnecessary obstacles and sometimes dangerous infrastructure. How do you use the roads around UBC? What problems do you encounter when walking or cycling? Let us know by pinning an issue or a suggestion on the map, help us build a community and participate in the discussion.​

January 23
Peaceful Playgrounds

Teachers, Education Assistants (SSA's), Supervision Aides, the Office Administrators and the Principal work with students on a daily basis to help our students develop the confidence and the skills to resolve conflicts.  Our students are learning that peer conflicts and mean behaviour are things that happen in life and need to be talked about to be resolved by themselves or with the support of an adult.  Bullying is intentionally nasty behaviour by someone with more power repeatedly over time.  This requires adult intervention to help both the bully and the child being bullied to get the help they both require.  Feel free to contact your child's teacher or Ms. Froese if you have concerns you would like to discuss.  

​a reprinted blog post in Inquire2Empower​ by Carrie Froese​

Peaceful Playgrounds


I recently read a publication in the NY Times Sunday Review called My Kid’s Frst Lesson in Realpolitik.   Annie Pfeifer is a parent bemoaning the need for our children to stand up to bullies.  There is recognition of the fact that “helicopter parents” swoop in with speed and  vehemence to deal with any conflict, big or small, that his / her child may encounter.   The alternative presented is to let kids fight it out, like on the playgrounds in Switzerland, so they learn how to deal with conflict.  It is my position that both of these options fail to provide our children with the confidence or skills to deal with conflict.  Our kids need educators and families to work together to provide the guidance and mentoring to teach kids how to resolve conflict.

Playgrounds serve to be a microcosm of the world where our kids learn important lessons.  They are filled with students who are human.  Perfection may not be possible but the aspiration to create a peaceful playground is paramount.  We want our future generation to accept that everyone is invited to the party and we all need to learn to co-exist peacefully to create a better reality.  A playground is a relatively small fishbowl and a good place to learn about kindness, acceptance, tolerance and to develop problem solving skills.

Peaceful playground require:

  • kindness
  • communication skills
  • compassion
  • empathy
  • inclusivity
  • compromise
  • sharing space, equipment and friends
  • an ability to express feelings, while considering other people’s feelings
  • an ability to understand when you need to self calm and practice those skills
  • problem solving skills
  • ability to follow safety rules and game rules

Of course the list could go on.  We have a number of programs and theories to help us navigate this course.  School Codes of Conduct are mandatory in schools in British Columbia and are widely published on school websites.  Articles and tweets about the topic of self regulation has become common.  @Stuart Shanker has committed to tweeting a daily quote #SelfReg to encourage us to pursue and gain a greater understanding of root causes of our feelings and how to deal with them.  .

I particularly like The Zones of Regulation program developed by Leah Kuypers, to teach kids that feeling emotions is never a bad thing but we require strategies to deal with them in ways that keep others and ourselves safe.  If you are very angry and in the “Red Zone”, your job is to self calm before you try to problem solve.  Kids are fascinated to learn that “yoga” or slow breathing actually causes your brain to calm your body.  Science at work!

The Peaceful Playgrounds Program is another program that I really like.  Basic messages are framed in a way for kids to easily remember and apply on the playground.  It also includes a plethora of ideas of things to keep kids active and problem solving on the playground.  Problem solving strategies that you probably remember from your own childhood.

  • Talk
  • Walk
  • Rock, Papers, Scissors ( Yes, you commit on 3 – agreed upon rule! )  In several of my other schools, this was know as Ching, Chang, Push showing this is also a well established strategy on China too!

War Toys To Peace Art is a group established to fund art projects by peace loving groups of children.  The Friendship Bench is one way for kids to find their way into playground activity if they need some additional support.  A bench is designated as a space for kids to demonstrate kindness by inviting kids looking for a friend looking for someone to play with.  Programs like Jump Rope for Heart give kids a focus and the equipment to get involved in healthy playground activity.

Kids are human and sometimes they will need help resolving conflicts face to face AFTER they have calmed down.  When kids don’t make good choices, they need the opportunity to own them.  Kids need to be able to express how they are feeling and what they didn’t like in face to face conversations.  They also need to learn to listen to other opinions, how the choices he / she made impacted the other person and to develop strategies for how to repair relationships.  They also need to learn to move forward after they have dealt with the problem.   Adults are there to support kids in dealing with the problems.  The goal is for kids to develop the skills to problem solve and the confidence that they can.  Adults are involved in the process to ensure that name calling and bullying (physical and emotional )  do not become an accepted norm.

January 22
Technology Update - UHill Elementary School

We are making good progress in increasing the ability of our teachers and students to utilize technology to access information, answer questions, complete required work, develop projects and demonstrate learning in and out of school.  Currently as well as using many APPs available, teachers are also exploring the use of FreshGrade, Office 365 and the online attendance program to give us current information about student safety.


A VSB initiative has enabled us to allocate 17 computers to all our classroom teachers.   It has also enabled us to assign resource teachers with school computers and enabled us to expand access for SSA’s to prepare materials for our students with special needs.   Gary, our VSB tech support, has been working hard and will complete the large task of configuring computers in the coming week. 


In fall, the Provincial Government gave us a Learning Improvement Fund to spend on instructional supplies / resources and athletic equipment.  As reported earlier, staff decided to purchase the following technology to support our school goals:

A document camera

12 iPads

Learning Resources – Grade 4 Social Studies Textbooks – print and online access

            ** 7 year license for online resources

Early Primary Learning resources – online supports provided in purchase price


Schools need to budget for a new type of cost to license online resources.  Many of these are paid for by the VSB and accessed through the school library passwords for students and families.  The use of Smartboards in our classroom, iPads and online resources reduces the cost of textbooks and photocopying workbook type activities for students.  However, the school is responsible for paying for the hardware, as well as the licensing of the software.  This year the school purchased licenses for:


Smart Learning Suite - Smartboard software required for access by classrooms

Raz-Kids – an online reading program providing for primary students, as well as students requiring additional literacy support

Access to the Grade 4 Social Studies program - teacher’s guide for use by 3 teachers and 15 online textbooks for 7 years


Thanks to PAC, we were also able to purchase a laptop charging station so laptops could be secured appropriately as well as moved from place to place.  Our goal is to have a class set of 30 laptops that can be used in classrooms, the Learning Lab or the Multi-purpose room during school hours and during extra-curricular programming such as the Coding Club.  To date we have:


15 laptops (purchased 2016-17 with PAC $ raised by parent fundraising)

Additional 5 computers from the school – 2017-18 school year


Currently we have also requested that PAC fund another 10 computers so we have a complete class set for shared school use.


These are exciting times in education with lots of opportunity.  We are fortunate to have extra-curricular programs such as The Coding Club and The Daedalos Academy (WEDO Lego Education, coding, building, computational thinking) to encourage our students to be curious and develop a set of skills that will serve them well in the future.  We greatly appreciate their willingness to share background knowledge and support teachers, as well as students. 


Lego Education Solar Extension kits are to be purchased for Simple Machine sets with the proceeds from the Coding Club


Daedelos Academy has purchased  11 Lego Education Extension kits for The Simple Machine kits, in addition to 2 story visualizer kits.


We certainly benefit from working together!​

January 07
PAC Diversity in Our School Event - Postponed by PAC

​University Hill Elementary is a diverse school community.  We have 34 different home languages spoken by our parents and students and staff.  We are located on Musqueam ancestral lands and students were able to hear Musqueam spoken by Richard Campbell and his daughter when his commissioned carving was officially presented to the school in September.  The Social Studies curriculum mandates teaching and learing about the world we live in.  However we have incredible power to share cultural teaching in a more personal way.  The PAC Diversity Committee has planned a cultural sharing event to allow the opportunity for families to share their cultures with students and other families in the community.  You may want to set up a table with another family with the same cultural group.  The intention is for the event to be a casual sharing event.  Groups of students will travel through the gym to view dispalys and participate as invited.  

As you know, we do not have an Aboriginal Support worker this year but a keen interest in teaching students about Indigenous ways of knowing.  I will be working with interested students with Aboriginal ancestry to create a display about their ancestral heritage.  I have a willing heart and a history major but but not a huge amount of background knowledge about all Indigenous groups so any support from those parents with Aboriginal ancestry is welcomed.  

Please take the time to read this invitation from The PAC Diversity Committee and get back to Kathleen Delorme​ with your responses.

The PAC Diversity Committee Invites You …

To participate in an afternoon of cultural sharing at University Hill Elementary School


?  When   Friday, February 2nd, 2018 in the afternoon


?  What Sharing your culture with University Hill students


?  How Families volunteer to host a table or a performance

·     Display cultural dress, art, poetry or we’re open to suggestions

·     Set up a craft for students to participate in

o  Origami folding

o  Calligraphy

o  Taste testing …

·     Host a cultural group

o  Dance group

o  Tai KwonDo demo

o  Singing group

o  Playing the erhu …

If you are interested, email the chair of the Diversity Committee, Kathleen Delorme ( with the following information:

·     You name: ____________________

·     Your Child’s name:  _______________ div. ____

·     Cultural Group you are sharing:  __________________

·     Your plan:  Do you want a table to set up display or craft?

​·      Do you want to host a performing or demo group?

December 05
A Season of Fun

​A post by Student Council members, Tiantian, Maia and their Student Council sponsor, Ms. Marshall


We have MULTIPLE events happening this month.  The virtue we are talking about in morning messages this week is giving. The holidays are coming up and it is just as important to give gifts as it is to receive them. You don't have to go out and buy something as a thank you.  You can give something like good behaviour to your parents and teachers.  You can give someone a smile. You can ask someone to play.

Please participate in our Festive December Events: 

Food bank donations ( December 4-18 ):

Please bring canned or dry foods.  The class that collects the largest amount of cans for the food bank will win an pizza / ice cream party.  

Mitten tree (December 4-22):

We will be collecting scarves, toques, mittens, gloves  and socks for those who do not have them.  New and gently used items are perfect!

Decorate your Classroom Door (December 4-22):

Decorate your classroom door with winter scenes or seasonal celebrations.  

Don't forget about Tea with the Principal (December 8 at 9:15 - 10:15 am ) and The Winter Concert (December 13 at 1:30 and 6:30)

Thank you! Happy holidays!


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Welcome to the University Hill Elementary School principal's blog.