Saturday, January 30

New PAC Chair needed for 2016-17

One of the key positions for the PAC Executive to secure for the 2016-17 school year is the role of PAC Chair. For the past two years, Andrea Sinclair has held this position and, like her predecessor, she has improved the post and has helped to make it more structured with documentation and processes to guide new members. 

The Chair doesn't work alone. It's just one part of the larger Executive Team (we have 26 members this year) who all work together, each taking on different roles and responsibilities throughout the year. 

As the Exec's goal is to ensure succession planning and continuity, and as Andrea's kids will move into Grade 7 in September, we need to find a new person to take on the role of Chair. Andrea will finish out the current school year of course, and will be there "behind the scenes" next year to help orient and guide the new Chair.

While we don't hold elections until June 2016, we do need to begin our search for willing candidates - we are looking to YOU, our next generation of parents, to take on this role! 

This role can be done by those currently on PAC or by a parent who has been on a PAC before or even by a parent who has never been on the PAC Exec. The new Chair is fully supported by both the Exec Team and the Past Chair. It's a team working together!

Like all positions on the PAC Exec, this is a volunteer position and the individual will become a member of the PAC Exec with the same voting rights as the other members. 

For the interested parent/guardian, at either the Annex or the Main, becoming the PAC Chair:
- is good experience and is a great resume builder 
- provides the ability to be part of a team and bring the goals of the PAC through to fruition through supporting the students, staff and funding programs at both the Main & Annex 
- requires 5-10 hours per week with online/offsite work (you don't need to be at the school); the number of hours depends on the time of year
- requires a 1hr per month meeting with the School Admin Team (flexible)
- requires attendance to one PAC Exec meeting per month during the school year
- requires someone who can multi-task and is comfortable leading a meeting

More details are found in the PAC Bylaws and Constitution

Sound like you or someone you know?  If you are curious or interested or have any questions or concerns, we urge you to please email Andrea Sinclair at:

Thank you,
Dickens PAC

Important Notice about Parking at the Main & Annex Schools

Anna Maria Niccoli-Mullett, Principal at Dickens, has asked us to remind parents/guardians of the following:

As has taken place in the past, please note that the City of Vancouver Parking Enforcement Team has been consistently visiting the Dickens Community. Parents/guardians should ensure parking signage around the Main & Annex schools is being followed.  

Thank you!

Friday, January 29

Media Updates on BC Education Funding

Members of PAN (Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education) and FACE (Families Against Cuts to Education) hosted an event on Tuesday, January 26 to deliver more than 1,500 postcards and online petition signatures to ​Premier Christy Clark’s Vancouver Office to demand better funding for schools.

PAN's Letter to BC Education Minister, Mike Bernier, sent on Jan 20 was picked up and quoted heavily in the Vancouver Sun on Jan 21.  

CKNW News Talk AM980
Dickens PAC Chair, Andrew Sinclair, was interviewed by Simi Sara on Friday, Jan 22.

The PAN and FACE event on Tuesday (Jan 26) and corresponding media coverage appears to have helped, as Mr. Bernier stated the next day (Jan 27) that the "95% was flexible".

Here is some of the media coverage on January, 26: 

CTV (Vancouver) - News at 6pm

Global NEWS (BC region)

Additional article on Global News:

CBC Radio 1 – On the Coast
(Listen to Audio from: 20:00 to 22:15). 
Dickens PAC Chair, Andrew Sinclair, was interviewed on CBC local news.

By-election Candidates' Views on Public Education

Two questions were posed to the Candidates of the February 2, 2016 By-elections: 

Representatives from PAN (Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education) and FACE (Families Against Cuts to Education) sent an email to the 5 candidates for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and to the 6 candidates for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.

The two questions and the candidates' responses are available for viewing and/or downloading here:

Feel free to share this info with anyone you know who lives in the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain regions.

Thursday, January 21

Join us this Tuesday for better Education Funding!

Members of our Dickens community involved in PAN (Parent Advocacy Network) are holding an event - a protest if you will - to deliver hundreds of our "I Stand with the Standing Committee" postcards and our online petition signatures toChristy Clark’s Vancouver office, at Canada Place, to demand better funding for schools.  

We hope the media will pick this up and support us! The campaigns are still ongoing and we will continue to collect postcards [ Click here for Postcard Campaign info ] and petition signatures [ Click here for Online Petition info ] through February.

Representatives of PAN will be presenting the materials we have collected to date to staff at Premier Clark's office on Tuesday, January 26 at 10a.m.

We will need a large group of parents/guardians and PAN members to attend, to show your support (we need numbers) as we are pushing this to the media on Monday, January 25 in the hopes of getting coverage and generating greater awareness within the Greater Vancouver parenting community.


WHO?  As many parents/guardians as possible.

WHAT?  To present all our postcards and online signatures obtained thus far to the Liberal Government. Let's make a stand and show up with a large number of people and signage!

WHERE?  Premier Christy Clark's Vancouver Office: 740 - 999 Canada Place, World Trade Centre, Vancouver, BC  V6C 3E1.  

WHEN?  Tuesday, January 26 at 10 a.m. (it will take approx. 30 minutes).

Please R.S.V.P. BY SATURDAY, JANUARY 23 by replying to this email:

We need to know how big our group will be, and to work on the final logistics before Tuesday.

We hope we can count on you to make time to show your support!

​Thank you,
Dickens PAC

​P.S. Our PAN Letter to Mr. Bernier on Wed, Jan 20 was picked up and quoted heavily in the Vancouver Sun: Click here to see the article

Online signature petition:
For most current info, visit:
Follow PAN Vancouver@PAN_Vancouver on Twitter
Like PAN on Facebook:

Monday, January 18

New Team Lead Urgently Needed for SPRING FLING!

2016 SPRING FLING - New Team Lead Needed

Planning has already begun for our annual fundraiser event, SPRING FLING, which will be held on Thursday June 2, 2016.

One of the key positions for the PAC Exec to secure is the role of Spring Fling Team Lead. For the last three years, Andrea (Andy) Mitchell has held this volunteer position and like her predecessor before her, she has improved the job and made it easier and more seamless.

We thank Andy for the great job she has done but understand that after three years of being Team Lead, she will be stepping down. We are now looking for her replacement!

This can also be a co-lead position, i.e. a job shared by two parents. Andy Mitchell and Christy Thomas co-led the event in 2015 and both will be happy to assist the new lead(s) this year where needed.

Without a new Team Lead, this event may not go forward!

The Spring Fling is our main fundraiser for the school:

We are therefore looking to YOU, our next generation of parents/guardians, to take over the planning, co-ordination and initiation of this event. Andy has created a complete binder with all the details and timelines to pass on to the new person(s).

The new Team Lead(s) will be supported by a team of Section Heads who manage their own Departments.  We had over 180 volunteers last year who helped put on this amazing event, together with the assistance of the PAC Exec, the Staff and Admin Teams.
The Team Lead Role:

For interested parents/guardians, at either the Annex or Main, this position will require approximately 8-10 hours each month between January and June.

The Team Lead Role is a great resume builder and is very good experience. It's a great way to meet other parents/guardians and have lots of fun!

Sound like you or someone you know? If you are interested or have any questions, we urge you to please email Andrea (Andy) Mitchell at or Christy Thomas at

If we are unable to secure a new Team Lead this year, this event may not go forward.

Thank you,

Andrea Sinclair
Dickens PAC Chair

Thursday, January 14

PAC Bylaws Revision - for your review

All PACs and DPACs are governed by their Bylaws and in the case of our Charles Dickens PAC, our own Bylaws & Constitution and Code of Conduct have not been reviewed or updated since 2006.

While the core of the Bylaws continue to be applicable and adhered to, there were a number of sections that needed to better reflect current day processes and practices. The goal was also to help with transition and succession planning regarding Executive roles and responsibilities, and to reiterate to the larger parent community that the PAC Executive is about openness, transparency, inclusion, and respect.

So your PAC Exec began the process of revisions in Spring of 2015 and now present to you the revised Bylaws for January 2016. The changes were suggested, reviewed and proposed by the PAC Governance Committee during 2015 and have now been approved by the PAC Executive on January 13, 2016. 

Per these Bylaws, its important for all parents in the PAC to be aware and understand the Bylaws & Constitution and for the Executive to be transparent with the greater Parent/Guardian Community.

Highlights of the Changes:

- Overall formatting, language clarity and date correction type changes
- Addition of new sections such as Mission Statement and Terms
- Addition and clarity of roles of the Executive for succession planning
- Updates to removed items no longer relevant or applicable and updates to include items from actual process and practice 
- Updates and additions for greater clarity on financial accountability

Our goal is to ratify these revised Bylaws at our next PAC General Meeting on Wednesday, January 27 just prior to our guest speaker that evening: Info on Ishtar Beck's Presentation

If you have any questions regarding the Bylaws, please email us at

Tuesday, January 12

Petition for Adequate Funding for BC Schools - Sign Today!

The Parent Advocacy Network (PAN), in conjunction with Families Against Cuts to Education (FACE), is targeting the provincial government with a goal to deliver hundreds of paper postcards - campaign well underway - and thousands of online signatures from citizens declaring “I Stand with the Standing Committee”.  

Our goal is to make a bulk delivery of signed postcards and online signatures to the Minister of Education demonstrating that parents will be holding his government accountable to adequately fund public education. 

We need your help in spreading the word! 

We hope that you will join us by sharing the link below with fellow parents, neighbours, family and friends and through your own social networks.

The all-party provincial Select Standing Committee on Finance & Government Services Report of Budget 2016 Consultations found - for the second year in a row - that the top priority for British Columbians is K-12 education funding. Sadly, these have previously been ignored. They cannot be ignored in Budget 2016!

The Select Standing Committee on Finance & Government Services recommendations:

1. Provide adequate capital funding to school districts for facility improvements/seismic upgrades/additional schools.

2. Provide stable, sustainable and adequate funding to enable school districts to fulfill responsibilities to continue to provide access to quality public education, with recognition of the increased costs school districts have incurred.

3. Review the Ministry of Education funding formula for programs and services, as well as administrative staff compensation levels to ensure adequate and competitive compensation.

Sign the online card petition NOW and "Stand with the Standing Committee"!  

Thank you for helping to spread the word! The more signatures we gain, the stronger our collective voice - together we can make a difference!

Saturday, January 9

Apologies again to all Blog Subscribers

There appears to have been another overnight "glitch" in Google's Blogger-Feedburner systems.  

The blog sent out an email of an older article, to all subscribers on Saturday Jan 9, without being set up to do so. 

Sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused to our readers - this 'rogue posting' will be removed to prevent it from randomly happening again. 

Thank you for your patience in this matter. We may have to look into the possibility of switching to an alternate blog and/or subscription system. 

Wednesday, January 6

Presentation at Simon Fraser Elementary

The Learning Brain 

by Dr. Lara Boyd, PT, PhD

Tuesday, January 19 2016

School Gym - Simon Fraser Elementary
100 West 15th Avenue, Vancouver 

Dr. Boyd will review how the brain changes with learning and development. She will discuss how stress and anxiety affects the brain and learning. In addition, she will present recent data showing brain plasticity in children and conclude with some practical tips for maximizing learning and brain plasticity.

Tickets: $5.00 
Available online at:

Dr. Boyd comes with glowing reviews - it will be a great session!