Thursday, December 15

*Holiday Hampers* - Thanks & Photos

Each year our Holiday Hampers bring an abundance of joy – thanks to the generous hearts of Dickens parents & guardians! This year we prepared gifts for 19 families in our Cedar Cottage community:

Your thoughtful cash donations were used by our “volunteer shoppers” to ensure that each child received at least two toys and a book, one arts-and-craft kit or item, and two articles of clothing for the winter. There were also several delightful gift donations generated from the “wishlist” posted on our tree tags at both schools. The adults (parents/grandparents) received grocery gift certificates.

THANK YOU's
An enormous Thank You to Jacqui Thomas, Lauren Lautzenhiser and Lee Bensted who co-ordinated the entire “Holiday Hampers” campaign. A huge Thanks too to our volunteer shoppers and intrepid gift-wrappers!

And finally, many Thanks to all Dickens Families who donated! You've helped to make this season a little more festive for these 19 Cedar Cottage households. 

PHOTO's
Here are some pics taken at one of our two "Wrapping Parties"...





Friday, December 9

*Holiday Hampers* - date extended to December 12

Thank You to all those who have already dropped off their gifts! 

For those who haven't yet been able to shop, we've extended the deadline to Monday, December 12, to give parents & guardians another chance to make it happen...

Click here for more info about our Holiday Hampers...



Wrapping Parties for *Holiday Hampers* - Volunteers needed!

We're in desperate need of wrapping volunteers! 


Wednesday, Dec 14 and Thursday, Dec 15 starting at 7p.m. 


Ideally, we're looking for 15 to 20 volunteers for each night. 
If you can help out for an hour or two, please let Jacqui Thomas know 
which night (or both) you can assist us. 

Venue
The wrapping events will take place at Jacqui's house -- email Jacqui at jacquithomas@gmail.com for her address. 

What to bring with you
We have wrapping paper, tape and gift bags but please bring your own scissors! If you feel like bringing some snacks or a bottle of wine that would be greatly appreciated by all. 

Thank you for your kindness!
Sincerely,
Dickens PAC


Thursday, December 1

*Holiday Hampers* - Do you have your tree tag yet?

*Gifts deadline has been extended to Monday, December 12* Remember to include the Original Tree Tag with your unwrapped donation! Thank you.





Tuesday, November 22

Holiday Hampers 2016

Holiday season is around the corner and more families than ever could use some help this Holiday season. 


The gifts and donation you give each year make a big difference to families in need in our community. This year the tree will be going up Wednesday, November 30th.   

Here is a sample of the thank you notes received last year. 







Friday, November 18

Partners for Inclusive Education (P.I.E.)

Of potential interest to Dickens Parents: 

Partners for Inclusive Education (P.I.E.)

This is a really interesting group which some parents at Dickens could benefit from interacting with.


Co-Chairs: Denise Edwards and Erika Cedillo
PIE is a group from General Gordon Elementary that offers an opportunity to share ideas, learn, grow, and show support for each person in our school community with open collaboration and communication on topics related to inclusive education.
Everyone is welcome to attend any of our events and join the conversation. To receive the reminders and updates, you can join our e-mailing list by sending a message to:
Meetings are from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at General Gordon’s Library
Coffees are from 9:15 am to 11:00 Calhoun’s on Broadway
Dates for 2016-2017

  • Sep Wed 21 PIE meeting Useful tips for IEPs
  • Oct Mon 17 PIE coffee
  • Nov Wed 16 PIE meeting  
  • Dec Mon 12 PIE coffee
  • Jan Wed 18 PIE meeting
  • Feb Wed 15 PIE meeting
  • Mar Mon 6 PIE coffee 
  • Apr Wed 5 PIE meeting
  • May Mon 8 PIE coffee 
  • Jun Wed 7 PIE meeting (year review and planning session) 

Thursday, November 3

Head Lice Treatment

Cindy Diett, our School Nurse, recently sent out a head lice alert at the Dickens Schools: 

If you require Hair Lice Treatment info at any stage throughout the year, it is here on our PAC Blog. You are welcome to share this info with parents and guardians from other schools too.

Information from HealthLinkBC

English: https://goo.gl/C5nHkw

French: https://goo.gl/OU5wEO

Chinese: https://goo.gl/4StmyL

Vietnamese: https://goo.gl/1NVakP

Punjabi: https://goo.gl/8gqtg1

Spanish: https://goo.gl/aFzLaa





















Save the Date for "Mindful Solutions to Digital Distractions"

Guest Speaker for November: Brian Dean Williams (see details on poster)



Tuesday, October 25

Final Reminder for this Wednesday!

Join us for an interactive Virtues Workshop with Naslishah Thony and discover how you can bring out the best in your children by using the language of virtues!



Thursday, October 13

Parent-led Clubs at Dickens - Application for Funding

On Friday, October 7 we explained how to create and lead a Club at Dickens. 

The link to Apply for Funding for Clubs at Dickens is now live:  


Successful clubs at Dickens, e.g. Chess Club, Ultimate Frisbee etc have worked best in collaboration with the entire school team. Before you apply for PAC funding:

1) Discuss the club and its timing/logistics with Anna Maria Niccoli-Mullett/Nik Chiu (Main School) or Erin Gibbs (Annex). 

2) Plan to attend a Staff Committee Meeting to share the goals and benefits of the club, and have your space secured with the appropriate teacher(s). 

3) Once you have received the go-ahead from the School Administrators, you can apply for funds you may need for your club. Even if you don’t start your activity until 2017, you will still need to apply by the October 31 deadline.


To apply for PAC funding for your Club for the 2016-17 school year, please read and review our FAQ document, and complete the online form at the link below no later than Monday, October 31.  

FAQ: https://goo.gl/YB92Vl

Application Form: https://goo.gl/CAJnFo


If you have any further questions, email us at: dickens.pac@gmail.com


Thank you,

Dickens PAC Exec

Reminder about our Guest Speaker on October 26

Join us for an interactive Virtues Workshop with Naslishah Thony and discover how you can bring out the best in your children by using the language of virtues!



Friday, October 7

Guest Speaker this October: Naslishah Thony

Save the date for Wednesday, October 26:



How to Apply to Lead a Parent-led Club at Dickens

Thank you to all parents who currently participate in Parent-led Clubs. Successful clubs at Dickens, e.g. Chess Club, Ultimate Frisbee, etc have worked best in collaboration with the entire school team.  

If you are interested in creating and leading a club at Dickens Main note the following process:

1) Share your idea with Anna Maria Niccoli-Mullett or Nik Chiu at the Main School.

2) Plan to attend a Staff Committee Meeting to share the goals, philosophy, and benefits of the club and how the opportunity could fit in with the current school philosophy at Dickens.

3) In working with staff to plan Parent-led Clubs, consideration will need to be given to available space within the school.  The deadline for committing to leading a Club and applying for funding is OCTOBER 31, 2016. 

If you are interested in creating and leading a club at Dickens Annex note the following process:

1) Share your idea with Erin Gibbs at the Annex School.

2) Plan to attend a Staff Committee Meeting to share the goals, philosophy, and benefits of the club and how the opportunity could fit in with the current school philosophy at Dickens.

3) In working with staff to plan Parent-led Clubs, consideration will need to be given to available space within the school. Note that clubs at the Annex can only be hosted during the lunch hour, and that it is not an expectation that Staff will participate in/supervise the club. The deadline for committing to leading a Club and applying for funding is OCTOBER 31, 2016

Thank you,
Dickens PAC 

Monday, September 26

Parent Advocacy Network (PAN) for Public Education needs your help!

PAN made a Presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services on September 19 this year. During the presentation we were asked a number of questions. 

Due to time constraints, two questions were "takeaway" items for us and we NEED YOUR HELP! It's the data from these questions which will help show how much parents, and not the BC government, are funding our schools. 

Please take a few minutes to answer three questions on our web form - SEE: http://www.panvancouver.ca/news/request-for-information-questions-from-the-select-standing-committee-presentation

We hope you can help share this link to the questions through your BC parent networks and on social media. The more data we have, the stronger the argument.

Thank you.

Who is PAN?

The Parent Advocacy Network (PAN) is a grassroots group of parents representing schools across Vancouver who share a deep commitment to public education and are extremely concerned for its future. Founding members include parents from Dickens. We see an urgent need for schools to connect with one another through advocacy groups to share info and to support one another, so that we can lobby for increases in education funding. 

Together we can share research and info about public education and current policies that impact our schools. Each year, we host a number of advocacy initiatives. In this way we see ourselves as supporting and complementing existing groups such as FACE, PENS, DPAC, and BCCPAC in the work they are doing.


If you are interested in learning more about PAN, email us at:

parentadvocacynetwork@gmail.com

Sunday, September 25

Reminder for this Wednesday!

Our guest speaker on sexual health education, Dr. Brandy Wiebe, will use humour and straight talk in an open, interactive environment to show parents/guardians how easy it is to convey healthy, meaningful messages about sex and growing up to young children. 


Sunday, September 11

Guest Speaker this September: Dr. Brandy Wiebe

Save the date for Wednesday, September 28! 

In this session on sexual health education, Dr. Brandy Wiebe will use humour and straight talk in an open, interactive environment to show parents/guardians how easy it is to convey healthy, meaningful messages about sex and growing up to young children. 

Brandy will also present an overview of the student presentations she'll be giving to the K-7 classes at Dickens this fall  you will soon be receiving more info about these classes and this parent/guardian workshop from our school principal, Anna Maria Niccoli-Mullett.


Wednesday, August 24

Tuesday, September 6

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, September 6 - note that school ends at 9:45am that first day for Grades 1 to 7. 

We will be serving coffee/tea and baked treats for Parents/Guardians at our "Welcome" tables at both the main & annex schools.

- Charles Dickens PAC 

Focusing on BC's Public Education

According to Alex Hemingway's latest analysis, public funding for elementary and high school education in BC fell by 25% as a share of the province's economic pie between 2001 and 2016. BC has the second-lowest level of public education funding in Canada – nearly $1,000 per student below the national average.

Hear Alex Hemingway, Public Finance Analyst at CCPA (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), speak on BC's Public Education crisis and how you can take action! 


Also check out his analysis to learn more at:

Sunday, August 14

Subscribe to the Charles Dickens PAC Blog for the new school year!

To all new & current Dickens Parents & Guardians, 

For news updates on what's happening at school this year, subscribe to our PAC blog!

We will keep you informed about our guest speakers, events and fundraisers hosted by the Charles Dickens PAC executive.

Help to make yet another wonderfully successful school year by staying in the know with what's happening at Dickens, and by participating in various activities, events and fundraisers together with us.  

Here’s how to subscribe*

1) Enter your email in the box on the right. Click on “subscribe”.

2) Follow the next instruction and click on “complete the subscription request”.


You will immediately be sent an activation email. 


3) Be sure to respond to the activation email by clicking on the “feedburner.google” link sent to you. This confirms your subscription with us. 


* Every PAC email you receive will contain the option to unsubscribe from our blog at any stage.  


Quick Note: 

- Check your spam if you don't receive the activation email. 
If our emails are going to your spam, place our email address in your contacts list: dickens.pac@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 28

Have a wonderful summer! We look forward to seeing you again in the new school year on Tuesday, September 6 - note that school ends at 9:45am that first day for Grades 1 to 7.


Financial Reports presented at AGM - June 22, 2016

Details can be viewed at these links:

1. 2015-16 Income Statement

4. 2016-17 Budget Overview 

PAC AGM & Elections - June 22, 2016

Many thanks to those who were able to attend - it helps to have quorum as we had to vote in the 2016-17 budget. We are sitting well financially, as we are fortunate to have such an engaged and giving community. There were only a few small motions to tidy loose ends, and Tiffany Searchfield did well in "closing our books" for the year.

Tamara Shand has stepped forward to take on the Main Chair role but we are still hoping for another parent to help co-chair with her, as she is already committed to leading SPRING FLING! Carol Duffy has stepped forward to be Annex Chair and working with Tamara, they will make excellent leaders for the PAC Executive.  

While some are ending their term with the PAC Exec, we hope Parents & Guardians will continue to volunteer at our schools throughout the new year where possible. If you'd like to join us in September and be voted in at our next executive meeting, do not hesitate to contact us at dickens.pac@gmail.com

Your new 2016-17 PAC Executive

Chair Main - Tamara Shand
Chair Annex - Carol Duffy
Treasurer - Tiffany Searchfield
Secretary - Amanda George

Members at Large:

Our DPAC Rep - Shaun Kalley 
Our past Chair - Andrea Sinclair 
Amy Stanley
Christy Thomas        
Genevieve Creighton
Kerryn Williams
Lara Penno                
Leone Hall      
Megan Crouch
Tami Friesen
Vira Jackson

Members at Large to be voted in at our September Exec. Meeting:

Anne Marie Long
Kelly Maxwell
Sharon Mishler
Tamara Cotton

Monday, June 20

Tuesday, June 14

Next Week: PAC AGM & Elections

Our financials for this year, and a proposed budget for next year will be presented. 

If you'd like to know more about how PAC works and what we do, or are interested in possibly joining the PAC Executive for the next school year, contact Andrea Sinclair our current Chair, at andreasinclair@gmail.com to ask your questions - thank you!




Friday, June 10

General Brock Elementary needs a Playground - Vote here for them!

General Brock Elementary, a small East Van school at Main & 32nd is one of 5 finalists in "BCAA's Play Here" grant process, but they need our help to win! 
They are in the running to win $70,000 towards a desperately needed playground. The VSB has taken out all "unsafe" wooden structures, leaving it to the school to raise funds to replace their playground.   
Having a playground would be life-changing for the children at this school! 
The BCAA grant, however, bases the winner on the number of votes they receive on their website, accumulating daily.
HOW TO VOTE:
Vote here at https://www.bcaaplayhere.com every day until June 29! It's possible to vote multiple times per day from Facebook, Twitter, via Email and Google too.  
General Brock Elementary PAC is doing their best to reach their school community & all those in their neighbourhood but they need help from our Dickens Community too!
Thanks for voting for them 
 Dickens PAC


— pic by Vancouver Courier  

p.s. If you'd like to know more about their playgrounds needs, click here to read this article published by the Vancouver Courier.

Wednesday, June 8

PAC AGM & Elections - coming soon!

Our financials for this year, and a proposed budget for next year will be presented. 

If you'd like to know more about how PAC works and what we do, or are interested in possibly joining the PAC Executive for the next school year, contact Andrea Sinclair our current Chair, at andreasinclair@gmail.com to ask your questions - thank you!




Wednesday, June 1

Share your SPRING FLING Photos!



SPRING FLING is this Thursday, June 2 from 4 to 8pm!

Reptiles are back this year! And what's NEW? 

1) BAG CHECK: Come & check your purchases/winnings or jackets at Jody’s "BAG CHECK" in the Red Court!

2) We'll have a Storyteller, in a classroom venue, for younger kids who need a relaxing break during the event. 

Here's the scoop on class tables at the Marketplace, in addition to Made It, Art Wall, Bake Sale and the Plants Sale.

  • Dickens Annex will be selling hand-crafted Art Cards, hosted by Dickens parent, Carol Duffy. 
From Dickens Main, we'll have:
  • Hotdogs by Tami & Karim
  • Hanging Garden Plants and BAG CHECK by Jody
  • Sunflowers by Laurie Lee & Miranda
  • Paper Baskets and Delicious Drinks by Valdine

Friday, May 27

Classroom Basket Deadline Extension - for Dickens Main School only

Thanks to all parents/guardians who've given their donations!

We’ve extended the deadline to Monday, May 30
If you haven’t already, PLEASE SHOP THIS WEEKEND for your Classroom Basket contribution and bring it this Monday!

Here are the Class Themes for these Silent Auction Baskets:

  • Chloe & Peggy - BC Wines
  • Maria / Kimberly & Kim / Jenn - C2 (Coffee & Chocolate!)
  • Paula - The Beach
  • Karen & Jenny / Wendy & Jeanne - LEGO!
  • Valdine - Baking
  • Allan - Sports
  • Cathy & Jeanne / Sheila - Polish Me Pretty!
  • Blake & David - Craft Beer
  • Jody - Afternoon Tea
  • Tami & Karim / Amy - ART
  • Marinda - Outdoor Everything
  • Kelly - Sports
  • Travis - Family Night!
  • Crystal / Jennifer - Date Night

SPRING FLING News Flash!

Thursday, June 2 from 4-8pm 


Reptiles are back this year! And what's NEW? 

1) BAG CHECK: Come & check your purchases/winnings or jackets at Jody’s "BAG CHECK" in the Red Court!

2) We'll have a Storyteller, in a classroom venue, for younger kids who need a relaxing break during the event. 

Here's the scoop on class tables at the Marketplace, in addition to Made It, Art Wall, Bake Sale and the Plants Sale.

  • Dickens Annex will be selling hand-crafted Art Cards, hosted by Dickens parent, Carol Duffy. 
From Dickens Main, we'll have:
  • Hotdogs by Tami & Karim
  • Hanging Garden Plants and BAG CHECK by Jody
  • Sunflowers by Laurie Lee & Miranda
  • Paper Baskets and Delicious Drinks by Valdine



Thursday, May 26

Volunteers needed for SPRING FLING!

We still require some volunteers to fill these spots! 
If you're able to assist with any of the following, please contact Mariko at dickens.spring.fling@gmail.com  - Thank You!

  • Cotton Candy: 1 person for 6-8 pm
  • Recycling/Garbage: 2 people for 5:30-7pm, 1 person for 7-8 pm 
  • Storytelling: 1 person for 5-6 pm
  • Face Painting: 5-6 pm (2 people), 6-7 pm (1 person), 7-8 pm (2 people)
  • Silent Auction: 2 people for 6-7 pm

Wednesday, May 25

Memo for Cake Walk at SPRING FLING!

Hello Dickens Families,

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up for bringing a cake to the Cakewalk. 

This event is always a big crowd pleaser, and there are never enough cakes to go around! So, if you haven't considered it, how about baking a cake for the Cake Walk?

See our two posters below, for dropping off info at the Main & Annex. 

Many thanks to all,
Rossana
Cake Walk team lead

Dickens Main Parents/Guardians:

Dickens Annex Parents/Guardians:

Brief Update on New BC Curriculum

Parents/Guardians,

If you were able to attend our last PAC General Meeting on Apr 27, we touched a bit on the curriculum. The takeaway was that, within Dickens, the shift to the redesigned curriculum is a minor one vs other schools where the change may be more dramatic. 

Why? Because we are very fortunate to have a different methodology at Dickens than other schools and our staff are already doing several of the things that are now part of the new upcoming BC curriculum.

On behalf of parents, both Carol Duffy and I attended, together with Anna Maria Niccoli-Mullett, Nik Chiu and Erin Gibbs, the official VSB session regarding the redesigned curriculum last week Tuesday.

I wanted to share some info with you and a PDF presented at the meeting, and to draw your attention to a few key points - see the PDF link at: https://goo.gl/7VIKUI

This is the first time the province has involved teaching professionals and parents in the redesign of the curriculum - much feedback has been incorporated and has helped shape many areas.

  • Slide #3 - Purpose of the revised curriculum - some good points here.
  • Slide #5 - Concept based - important to understand its foundation.
  • Slide #6 - Some good principles to follow which are guiding principles for this curriculum.
  • Slide #7 - The Education Citizen - my favorite in the deck.
  • Slide #8 - timeline for developement & implementation across K-10.
  • Slide #9 - www.curriculum.gov.bc.ca - the key place for info to parents - review the "What's New" and "What's the Same" tabs - info here is updated regularly.
  • Slide #13 - Core Competencies - key to understanding the curriculum.
  • Slide #15 - Know, Do and Understand (KDU) - another key element to understanding.

Last but not least, PACs can invite the VSB participants conversant in the curriculum to speak at more hands on sessions to larger parent & guardian communities, e.g. at a PAC General Meeting in the fall, if you are interested. We'll keep you posted with updates here on the blog.

Sincerely,
Andrea Sinclair
Dickens PAC Chair

Saturday, May 21

PHOTOS, RECIPES & THANK YOU - Staff Appreciation Luncheon

Deb, Mariko and Nicole want to thank Dickens parents & guardians with all their hearts for the wonderful spread provided at our annual Dickens Staff Appreciation Luncheon on Friday, May 13 at the Annex. 

The 65-plus staff attending from both schools thoroughly enjoyed the scrumptious appetizers, main course and desserts some of which can be seen in the photos below.

Your delectable homemade dishes, beverages, cash donations, and hands-on help on the day, made it once again a huge success. Thanks for helping to make our teachers & staff feel extremely appreciated. It could not have been done without your support! 

See two favourite recipes from Deb Copeland, at the end, after the photos :-) 


Click on the photos below to enlarge for viewing - 


Tents and table settings

Buffet style

Florals

Appetizers & main course dishes

Desserts
 

Beverages

Door prizes and thank you's 

On left: Sharon and Nicole sport our stylish aprons
On right: Deb hands outs the door prizes 


Root Beer Pulled-Pork
2.5-3kg pork loin (or preferred cut)
4 onions, diced
1/2 head of garlic cloves (whole or chopped)
1 355ml bottle of your favour of root beer
1 bottle of bbq sauce
Salt and pepper


Place the onions and garlic in the bottom of your slow cooker. Sit the pork loin on top of that and season with salt and pepper (alternately, you could use a spice rub! Mmmm!!!) cover with the root beer and cook on low for 8 hours. 

Drain the liquid, keeping the cooked onions and garlic. Remove the strings from the pork loin and begin to break it apart with 2 forks. Cover with as much or as little bbq sauce as you like. Heat it through and serve with yummy coleslaw on fresh buns!

Lemon Yoghurt Bundt Cake
3 cups (426 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 1/2 cups (490 grams) granulated sugar 
2/3 cup (174 grams) plain yogurt
1/3 cup (75 grams) whole milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces.
5 large eggs, at room temperature.

To make the cake:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Butter and flour a 10-cup (9-inch) Bundt pan or 2 loaf pans. 
  • Whisk together the flour, soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In another medium bowl, rub the sugar and zest together. This helps to spread the lemon flavor throughout the cake.
  • Whisk the yogurt, milk and lemon juice together.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Slowly add the lemon sugar and continue beating until light in texture and color, about 5 minutes. Don’t skimp on this step, since it is crucial to the texture of your cake.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour. Add half the yogurt. Repeat with another 1/3 flour mixture, followed by the yogurt and finishing with the flour, scraping the bowl as you go.
  • Put the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.
  • Allow to rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

Not necessary but I (Deb) made an on the spot buttercream to fancy it up a bit! For the buttercream topping:
4Tbsp butter
2 Cups icing sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Beat the sugar and butter together either by hand or in the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment adding the lemon juice until you reach your ideal lemony flavour. Spread over the top of your bundt and chill until firm.