At the last Area Meeting of the school year
for principals and vice principals, our
new superintendent of schools in the Vancouver Board of Education, Suzanne
Hoffman, paused to deliver a heartfelt thank you to us for our work. And it made a difference. I believe that everyone gets up in the
morning with the intention of making their little piece of the world better. Amidst all of the joys and challenges that have
unfolded throughout the year, I have been privileged to work with a great
staff. I would like to share a few of the things I am grateful for.
Thank you very much:
· To Mike Emerick and Megan
Lowrie for their commitment to teaching students to develop their physical skills
for their health and wellness, as a strategy to regulate their emotions and as a
way to break down the barrier between learning indoors and outdoors. Mr. Emerick’s four years as a professional
hockey player in Europe and Ms. Lowrie commitment to competitive soccer has enabled
both of them to model athleticism and the joy of sport.
To Janet Logie and Joanna
Virvilis for using their background knowledge and artistic talents to develop art
appreciation and technical art skills in their students.
To Joan Phoenix for bringing
her vision of a Butterfly Garden into fruition.
It is a place of quiet contemplation, as well as a source of sustenance
for the butterflies in the neighbourhood.
To Carina Marshall for her inspiration
and recognition that a Project Chef Resident
Program for the entire school was a tremendous garden to table learning
To Jorden Covert for his leadership in
enabling our students to develop new neural pathways through developing their
ability to think, to plan, build and test
their designs with a variety of technologies. Computers. Ipads. Drones. Makerspaces
– Inventing to learn is just so fun!
To Kate Foreman for bringing to
life many of the elements of Reggio Emelio philosophy by encouraging learning
through play and exploration with a wide variety of materials
To Akemi Eddy for the many
interesting conversations about what matters and the skillful organization to allow
it to become a reality for her students
To Lori Freeze for her work in empathy
training by always asking the question:
Is it helpful or hurtful?
To Melody Ludski for her
background knowledge and leadership helping our staff to explore place based learning and Indigenous
ways of knowing
To Andrea McEwen for her
leadership in bringing the salmon enhancement project and understanding of the
life cycle to all of the UHill Elementary students
To Andrea Morgan and Nicole
Wells for their work in supporting our youngest students to regulate their behaviour
before trying to problem solve.
To Stacy Cargo and Keri Hurst
for their masterful use of the smartboard in teaching new curriculum to their
To Marlis Macaulay for bringing
her musical skills, energy and enthusiasm to breathe life into an engaging music
program for our students
To Bonnie Dakin for welcoming me
into her classroom community of books and warm smiles.
To Holly Broadland for
inducting her students into the possibilities when you pick up an iPad
To Pam Schofield, Tanya Hadaway,
Avonlee Kucheran and Paul Smith, Celia Lyons, Judith Conibear and Cathy Martin for
their flexibility and collaborative work to support our students
To our Office Administration
Assistant, Corinna Joyce, for her joy in entertaining our students with her
bobbing head figures on her desk, her vast background knowledge, immeasurable
work ethic and her ability to laugh loudly and to laugh often.
To Nancy Sanghera and Gurinder
Aujla for going with the flow when they arrive to an ever changing landscape on
their day of work at UHill Elementary
To our SSA (Education
Assistants) Team, Michelle Clavelin, Gabi Stan, Maria Noel Stirling, Megan
McLeod, Haidee Tang and Blair Wilson for their work to make University Hill
Elementary School an inclusive and welcoming place.
To our team of Supervision
Aides, Kathy Anderson, Nancy Spikula and
Tomoko Johnson for the maturity and skill in helping students to regulate their
emotions and problem solve, particularly during recess and lunch.
To our perfect lunch lady,
Donna Buxton, for her kindness, patience and good humour in working with peer
helpers to provide lunch to 150 students every day.
To our Head Engineer, Lin Lo,
for being proactive in addressing site management, working closely with our
trades people and working with Jacob Nielson and Raj Karan
to clean the school.
To our community volunteers, teacher
candidates and education assistants from UBC, The University of Montreal, Kwantlen
Polytechnic University and Langara for being open to new learning and their
willingness to share their enthusiasm and fresh perspective with our school
community. You feel like staff J
thank you to all of you and best wishes for a
well deserved summer vacation.
Tonight the Board of Education of School District No. 39 (Vancouver) unanimously approved the proposed changes in grade configuration for the University Hill Family of Schools. What does it mean?
- Fall 2019 – We will welcome Grade 6 students to the school community.
- Fall 2020 – We will welcome Grade 7 students into our school community.
- Norma Rose Point will become a Kindergarten to Grade 7 school
- University Hill Secondary will become a Grade 8-12 school.
Our students going into Grade 5 fall 2018 will continue at University Hill Elementary School for Grade 6 and then Grade 7.
The University Hill parent community represented the highest rate of participation in the grade reconfiguration public consultation. There are diverse opinions and strong feelings. For many parents and students this will come as welcome news. For other parents, the news comes with concerns about losing programs and work spaces. Please be assured that I will be working closely with staff, students, parents and our community partners to address concerns about the continuation of vibrant programs, scheduling spaces, development of a rigorous intermediate program and problem solving around parking challenges.
Grade 5 students will have many opportunities next year to develop their leadership skills which will help to develop a strong school community including:
- Student Council
- Lunch Monitors
- Library Monitors
- Peer Helpers
Please feel free to contact me with questions or ideas.
The Ministry of Education PEP (Playground Equipment Program) initiative is brand new. The Vancouver School Board selected three names of schools to submit to the Ministry. We are in priority position because our playground needed to be removed due to safety hazards. We have also expressed the intention to make the school accessible so the amount to be allocated will be $105,000.00
Parent donations towards the playground are being submitted daily. We have already received just over $3,000.00 Your generosity is very much appreciated.
I love the picture of this little guy on the front page of The Vancouver Sun. The sparkle in his eyes and the look on his face remind me so much of my son at that age. With life comes the opportunity for grand adventure! Joy is suppose to be part of every child’s life. I hope that all things good unfold for this little man. The title of the Vancouver Sun picture: “A New Age is At Hand”. Colonialism did not work for the Indigenous people of Canada. But there is hope and there is unprecedented optimism for the future.
A fierce pride in Canada’s accomplishments throughout its almost, 151 years, of nationhood is strong. The realization that north of the 49th parallel, existed for thousands of years prior to confederation and the learning from the Indigenous people living there was invaluable. This is now part of the national conversation. Within the field of Education in British Columbia, there is a quest to embrace our history, even when it includes the shame of colonial structures and prejudice that allowed children to be separated from their parents and basic human rights to be ignored.
Summer solstice, the longest day of the year, was chosen to be THE day to celebrate, recognize and honour the heritage, cultures and valuable contributions by the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada. The Northwest Territories has celebrated this day as a statutory holiday since 2001 and The Yukon followed suit in 2017. The day started with one of the teachers engaging me in a conversation of the use of “Indigenous” rather than “Aboriginal’ and the implications. I had my phone out, googling, so we could determine why Metro Vancouver Celebrations were mostly using the word “Aboriginal” and “Indigenous” was being used on the national stage. What was most respectful? How do we explain the difference? What I thought was indicative of this “new age” was that it mattered.
One of our Grade 3 teachers, Janet Logie, is a committed student of history and volunteer at the Hastings Mills Museum at the Old Mill Park by Jericho Beach. As a kid, my sister and my cousins, would regularly swing into the museum to check it out when we were at the park. It still smells the same but the context has changed. Amazingly intricate baskets and artifacts that were purchased as parts of private collections have been curated and recognized as significant parts of the history of Vancouver. Recently there was a special event to publicly thank the Indigenous First Responders during the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886 who saved many lives. Marissa Nahanee, of the Squamish Nation, performed the Paddle Song beside the replica of the historic “Tent City Hall” and volunteers served Indigenous herbal teas by Raven Hummingbird Teas in the museum. Our MP, Joyce Murray, brought formality, acknowledgment and thanks of the government. It was a great event. Our children are growing up being exposed to accomplishment and appreciation of the Indigenous community when they go out to play.
The focus on the herbs grown and used by the Indigenous people has been a focus for Grade 2 teacher, Joan Phoenix. Our PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) financially supported her in designing and planting a butterfly garden that would attract the butterflies once the primary children had observed the life cycle indoors and freed them into their natural habitat. Her parent volunteer, Sara Baren, fortunately teaches Urban Forestry at UBC. She also enlisted the help of her student, Emily Tu, who has recently been accepted into a MA program at UBC in Landscape Architecture. They were instrumental in helping Ms. Phoenix and her students to plant indigenous plants that would serve this purpose. The Grade twos used books and iPads to research the traditional uses of the plants by the Musqueam and that are now widely available in grocery stores.
Our Grade 5 teacher, Melody Ludski, is currently doing her graduate work while teaching full time. She has extensive background knowledge on Indigenous ways on knowing, as well as incredible sensitivity to the protocols required because we work, learn and play on the unceded lands of the Musqueam people. To celebrate National Indigenous Day, Ms. Ludski booked accomplished Pow Wow dancer Shyama Priya, who has Cree roots on her mothers side. She was taught by Coast Salish pow wow dancer, Curtis Joe. She took the time to share the story of creating her regalia and engaged kids and teachers in dancing that reflected amazing skill and athleticism. I was fortunate to go to a few pow wows with my friend, Latash Nahanee, many years ago and join in the dancing during the grand procession. The only word for the heartbeat of the drum and the communal participation – Joy! You could see it on Shyama Priya’s face and those of the children.
The Garden Committee, headed up by Grade 1 teacher, Kate, for many years has been planning an outdoor learning space. Two portables were removed from our school site this year and the perfect opportunity presented itself. Many teachers were very inspired by the idea of a circle with twelve large rocks for seating an entire class. The size of the rocks and the placement to reflect true north, south, east and west were carefully planned and facilitated. As a history major, I loved the possibility of reflecting Indigenous Culture as an early instigator of a democratic system. Everyone has a voice in the talking circle and respect for divergent opinions is a basic tenet. The Vancouver Board of Education was gifted a Musqueam word by Shane Point: Nə́c̓aʔmat ct It means ‘we are one’. Our Nə́c̓aʔmat ct Circle will be a talking circle for problem solving, a listening circle to teach empathy, a way to incorporate medicine wheel teachings and understanding of the circle or life and the seasons and relationships with ourselves, others and Mother Earth.
The work of Laura Tait has been inspirational in helping our staff “to push the paddle deeper” in our School Growth Plan. We will be developing and progressing through our own adapted version on the rubric based on her Aboriginal Understandings Learning Progression from SD68 Aboriginal Education. I am so excited that another inspirational colleague, Joyce Perrault, will be helping us to navigate the path. With her drum and her newly published book, All Creation Represented, we will be exploring the Medicine Wheel from an Ojibwe perspective while sitting in our Nə́c̓aʔmat ct Circle. The book states that it’s a child’s guide to the Medicine Wheel but with all I’m learning, the next hardcover, coffee table edition will be marketed to adults. The book provides insight into relationships with ourselves, each other and Mother Earth. I am feeling joyful and optimistic too. We are heading out on a promising journey with optimism and joy and determination that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be respected in this chapter of Canadian history.
Note: The phonetic pronunciation of nə́c̓aʔmat ct is knot-sa-mots.
Dear Supporters of University Hill Elementary School (UHE)
In late May 2018, a safety assessment determined that our playground did not meet CSA safety standards,and would be removed this summer. This news came as a shock to our community, and a huge disappointment to students. As such, UHE parents began the uphill battle of raising funds to build a new playground. We have a strong commitment to developing a playground that is accessible to all children attending our school; a commitment that we are excited about, but that will increase the construction cost considerably. Most schools have several years lead time in planning for playground upgrades as such projects require a $100K+ (or up to $300K for a fully accessible playground) capital investment. I’m sure you can sympathize with UHE families and their determination to ensure that the 330 students and the local community, are not without a playground for too long.
The UHE PAC has some funds saved, and will be applying for a provincial grant, as well as all possible charity and accessibility grants. But UHE families will still need to fundraise a significant amount. Our mission is to build a play space that is accessible to all children and develop young minds and bodies by providing challenges that encourage creativity, collaboration, and exercise, as well as celebrates our unique surroundings of the Pacific Spirit Park and Endowment Lands of UBC on ancestral territory of the Musqueam People.
In order to bring our vision to fruition and hopefully in time for the 2019/2020 school year, we call upon UHE Families, our community and school supporters once again for your generous support. Please consider donating to The University Hill Elementary School Playground Fund and help make our vision a reality! No donation is too small!
Cash is welcome and cheques may be written to University Hill Elementary School, memo: Playground Fund. You may request a tax receipt from the Vancouver School Board for donations of $10 or more. Please include your mailing address when remitting your donation cheque. If you or your organization are able to make a more generous donation, please speak with a Committee member about how we may best
acknowledge your support. Smaller donations are also very welcomed!
Any questions may be directed to the Principal or Playground Committee members listed below. Thank you in advance for your support!
Ms. Carrie Froese Ms. Jen McCutcheon Ms. Leah Chapman
Principal Playground Committee Chair Playground Fundraising Chair
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
It is that very busy time
of year. Special thanks to parents for
coming out to support our kids in the many recent events, including:
amazing camp opportunities for our students thanks the above and beyond commitment of Mr.
Mike Emerick, Ms. Melody Ludski, Ms. Carina Marshall, Ms. Joanna Virvilis,
Ms. Corinna Joyce, Mr. Jorden Covert and the parent volunteers.
Planning Meeting on June 4th chaired by current PAC chair, Jen
McCutcheon for parents and staff.
n’ Roll Week – Thanks to Musafa, volunteers at UNA, and parent volunteer,
Aaron Canter for making this a great success.
and Field finals at Point Grey Secondary School. Thanks to Ms. Carina Marshall, Mr. Mike
Emerick, Ms. Tanya Hadaway, Ms. Megan Lowrie and Ms. Janet Logie for the
early morning and after school practices and making this a possibility for
Day. Thanks to Ms. Andrea McEwen
for the coordination and organization, as well as staff and parents for
their enthusiastic participation.
4 students completion of the Satisfaction Survey put out by the BC
Ministry of Education
emergence and freeing of the butterflies into the wild.
creation of stepping stones and planting of The Butterfly Garden thanks to
the vision of Mrs. Joan Phoenix and parent volunteer, Sara Barron, and
Sara’s landscape architecture student, Emily.
Rope for Heart coordinated by Ms. Andrea Morgan. The total donated to this event was
Music Sharing with our students and the talented, Ms. Marlis Macaulay
Elections. We have an enthusiastic
and supportive group of volunteers ready to work with UHill Elementary
staff and students. Thanks so much
for your willingness to bring your energy to this important work.
Upcoming Events and Activities:
Fundraising Meeting chaired by Leah Chapman on Thursday, June 7th
after school in the Garden Room (room 112)
Aboriginal Day Celebration – June 15th at 1:30 pm.
and Guardians are invited to the Good-bye Assembly
for our Grade 5 students on Wednesday, June 27th at 1:30
June 27th Report cards go home
June 28th – Last day of school for students.
Happy Summer Vacation!
September 4th – Back to School
Just a reminder that the
best way to get the most up to date information is to read the school
website. You do not need to have a
Twitter account to see the regular postings of pictures and events happening
around the school. Students are asked if
they have consent to have pictures taken and posted on the website. Please see below if you have not already
checked out the more recent posting on the School News section of the
University Hill Elementary School website.
Thinking About Playgrounds
Thanks to Jen McCutcheon,
the current PAC chair, for leading the charge on getting a plan together for a
playground. She has detailed a
comprehensive plan on the PAC website. After school on Monday, June 4th,
several parents and teachers met to plan.
There is an opportunity for meaningful participation of student, staff
and parents into the process. Please
check out a variety of playgrounds and to look up the suppliers and submit your
feedback to the playground committee.
There is a PAC box in the office and PAC is exploring online options.
Leah Chapman, our Parking
Committee powerhouse, is leading the charge on fundraising for the
playground. She has scheduled a meeting
after school on Thursday, June 7th in the Garden Room.
Jen will be organizing
focus groups to ensure a voice for students, primary teachers, intermediate
teachers, resource teachers, SSA’s and supervision aides.
I know you have many
opinions and ideas. I’ve been
considering the following:
to make the playground accessible
through and onto the equipment
that can be used by students with special needs
that works different muscle groups
of a circuit for use during P.E. and free time
that encourages social interaction
for different ability and age ranges
bars of differing heights
print or images – 6 Cedars Indigenous representations, competencies,
poetry, lines from books
of additions to existing early primary playground
for 1-2 people (good core exercise)
to incorporate outdoor spaces and places with hills or trees with
consideration of range of sight for supervision
I’m interested in what
you are thinking about. There are lots
of possibilities. I’m really enjoying
hearing and seeing the plans from our kids.
We have lots to learn from them.
Check out the Twitter feed on the school website for some of the designs that our students
have been submitting. You do not need an
account to see the pictures on the Twitter feed on the website.
Thanks to Jen McCutcheon, the current PAC
chair, for leading the charge on getting a plan together for a Playground Committee. She has detailed a comprehensive plan on the PAC
website. After school on Monday,
June 4th, several parents and teachers met to plan. There is an opportunity for meaningful participation
of student, staff and parents into the process. Please check out a variety of playgrounds and to
look up the suppliers and plan designs to submit your feedback to the Playground Committee. There is a PAC box
in the office and PAC is exploring online options.
- Habitat Systems
- Henderson Equipment
- RecTec Systems
- Swing Time Distributers
Leah Chapman, our Parking Committee
powerhouse, is leading the charge on fundraising for the playground. She has scheduled a meeting after school on
Thursday, June 7th in the Garden Room.
Jen will be organizing focus groups to
ensure a voice for students, primary teachers, intermediate teachers, resource
teachers, SSA’s and supervision aides.
I know you have many opinions and ideas. I’ve been considering the following:
Ways to make the playground
Routes through and onto the
Equipment that can be used by
students with special needs
§ ie. Disc swing
Equipment that works different
Possibility of a circuit for
use during P.E. and free time
Equipment that encourages
o ie. Large climbing webs
Challenge for different ability
and age ranges
Climbing bars of differing
Incorporating print or images –
6 Cedars Indigenous representations, competencies, poetry, lines of text from books
Spongy, wood chips, pathways
Possibility of additions to
existing early primary playground
o ie. Lower climbing bars
o ie. Spinners for 1-2 people (good
Ways to incorporate outdoor spaces
and places with hills or trees with consideration of range sight for supervision
I’m interested in what you are thinking
about. There are lots of
possibilities. I’m really enjoying
hearing and seeing the plans from our kids.
We have lots to learn from them.
Check out the school website for some of the designs that our students
have been submitting. You do not need an
account to see the pictures on the Twitter feed on the website.
VSB Playground Standards
The VSB has adopted the CSA
“Children’s Playspaces and Equipment” Z614-07 guidelines as our standard
for new playground installations and maintenance. The document covers all aspects of playground
construction and safety standards. In
addition to these standards, the VSB also requires that all new playground
structures are “IPEMA” (International Play
Equipment Manufacturer’s Association) certified. This is to ensure that the structures are
both strong and durable, thereby reducing the risk of failure due to improper
The VSB has three additional requirements
for new playgrounds that are not mentioned in the CSA Standards.
- No tube slides are to be included in the structure
- No roofs are to be included in the structure
- No wood (pressure treated or not) to be included in the structure
Past experience has taught the VSB Grounds
Dept. to include these points for the following reasons:
- Tube slides can conceal anyone in them and they are a popular
item to be vandalized. Many fires
have been lit inside tube slides and they become damaged beyond repair.
- Roofs on new structures create two serious areas of
concern. In wet weather, vagrants
will sleep under the roof because it offers protection from the rain. Although roofs are not considered a
designated play surface and thus not part of the play structure, they are
an enticement for children to climb onto which could lead to injury.
- Due to growing public concern over the long-term effects of
pressure treated wood, it is no longer permitted on new playgrounds.
As many of you are aware, the intermediate playground structure
was closed on Wednesday, May 23rd due to safety hazards that pose
immediate risk to student safety as identified by Vancouver School District
staff. The most recent investigation was
triggered by a request I made for repairs on the playground. I have talked to many parents and posted a blog on the school website to provide the information
immediately. Late last week, I was
informed that the VSB staff would be moving quickly to remove the structure on
May 30th due to the safety hazards.
At the PAC Meeting on Friday morning on May 25th , I reported
back the information I was requested to share by the Grounds Department. Parents had more questions than I was able to
answer. I provided the contact information for the Director of Instruction,
Aaron Davis. Current PAC chair, Jen McCutcheon has communicated that she has been pleased with the open approach
and communication. Please check the
for the most recent PAC update.
Monday morning, May 28, I met with Doug McClary, professional engineer and VSB Manager
of Maintenance and Construction, Geoff Pearmain, VSB Grounds Foreman, and Jon
Epplette, VSB Grounds Supervisor. Mr.
McClary has determined it is necessary to immediately remove the Type A hazards
that could result in life threatening injuries. The removal of the bridge and
slide, as well as the section where kids hold on and “zip” across to a nearby
platform will begin on May 30th.
Three pieces of equipment that do not pose the same high safety risk will
remain in place until the end of June. The
fence will be removed and these pieces of equipment will be open once the Type
A hazards are removed. Unfortunately, the remaining equipment will be removed
in the first week of July. To remain CSA compliant, playground equipment must
be repaired with replacement parts supplied by the original manufacturer. The
manufacturer of the playground equipment went out of business about two years
after the equipment was installed in 2006.
news is that the VSB has prioritized UHE to the Ministry of Education for a
funded playground replacement. Although the school district does not control the
Ministry of Education timeline for this process, it is prudent to begin
planning now. The VSB has recommended
vendors for playgrounds to consider during the planning process. Students, parents and teachers have already
made some great suggestions about the possibilities for a new playground. Your ideas are welcome and I look forward to
working with you on a Playground Committee. I encourage you to contact me if you have any
Ms. Carrie Froese, Principal
A post by Jorden Covert
Teacher Librarian @ University Hill Elementary
- The maker space is well on its way having started this week. Students will rotate between four “Maker Stations”.
- The first station is a coding station where students will work through different activities and challenges creating and writing code for characters.
- The second, and back by popular demand, is the deconstruction station. This is where students get to explore what makes things work. Students are given tools to take apart the things we use every day such as computers, radios, printers, cell phones, tablets, DVD players, televisions, toys and even a toaster!
- The third station is the building station where students have an opportunity to build structures from Keva blocks, Lego and other wood blocks. Students in the past have built cities, towers, mazes, obstacle courses and have designed furniture, that has been tested by yours truly.
- The last station is the creation station where students have an opportunity to explore and create using various materials from wood, plastic, metal, fabric, component parts, craft items, you name it and we’ve thrown it in to the kitchen sink!
This year we built a tool bench and filled it with tools such as hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, drills, clamps, glue and all the things that attach things together (screws, nails, nuts and bolts.) Thanks again to the PAC for allowing us to purchase the tools for the tool bench with their generous donation. And a big thank you to the community for all your donations to help make this year’s Maker Space a fantastic place for our students to create, explore and innovate!
Lace up your shoes, jump on your bike, scooter or skateboard during Walk ‘n Roll to School Celebration Week from May 28 until June 1.
Lots of prizes to be won including scooters, skateboards, bike locks and more: To win, make sure to collect a sticker each day you walk ‘n roll to school. Hand in your passport at school by Friday, June 1.
New daily Bike Train from Wesbrook and Hampton Place: In addition to existing walking school buses, we have added two pick-up points for bike trains from Wesbrook Village and Hampton Place. Routes will be led by UBC staff and volunteers who will ensure a fun and safe ride.
Krank it up! On Thursday, May 31, join us at recess to decorate and fix-up your bike to ride the beautiful trails and cyclist-friendly routes at UBC.
Make sure to check out the Walk ‘n Roll pamphlet for more details and pick-up points for our daily walking school bus and bike trains. Details can also be found online:www.utown.ubc.ca/walknroll