Thursday, February 18

2016 SPRING FLING Update

A new SPRING FLING Team Lead has been established for this year's event that will be hosted by PAC on Thursday, June 2Thank you Tamara Shand for taking on this crucial role!

We are, however, still searching for a Silent Auctions' Team Lead - this can be a shared role! 

Please see details on the poster below:

If you are able to assist with our Silent Auctions or have any questions about this role, contact Tamara Shand at:

UBC Research - Invitation for Dickens Parents

Researchers at BC Children’s Hospital are interested in learning about the ways parents’ opinions and concerns about childhood vaccinations (shots) change over time.

The “Decreasing Parental Vaccine Hesitancy in Middle Childhood” study aims to explore shifts in attitudes about vaccines among parents of primary school children. They are currently recruiting parents through the help of PACs  in Vancouver to let potentially interested parents know about the opportunity to participate in interviews with this study. They would like to ensure that a variety of perspectives are represented. 

If you have a child ages 6-12 years, and your thoughts and feelings about vaccinations have changed since you first became a parent, you may be eligible to participate in a confidential interview that will improve healthcare in BC. 

Interviews will take place in a private place and participants will receive a $25 gift card as a token. Thank you.
If you would like more information or are interested in an interview, please email or call 604-875-2187 and leave a message including your name, contact information, and that you are interested in the study “Vaccine Hesitancy in Middle Childhood.”

Tuesday, February 16

VSB Strategic Plan and Public Consultations - fill in the survey by February 21

The VSB is seeking feedback from parents, staff and students on the creation of a new Strategic Plan (this is different to the Long Range Facilities Plan and the input being sought for that). 

Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, it's important we as parents provide input and have our voices heard! 

The strategic plan will have real implications for funding decisions around programming, staffing and resource distribution across the district. This is a great opportunity for parents/guardians, teachers and all other stakeholders to give their feedback! 

We need to capitalize on this chance and encourage everyone in our networks to fill in the survey, candidly and thoughtfully.

What is the Strategic Plan?

The Strategic Plan is a blueprint that sets the educational priorities of the Board for the next five years. To review the previous strategic plan (2011-2016) go to

The Strategic Plan is based on the following questions:
  • How can we make sure that all students have equal access to quality education?
  • How can we engage our students to reach their full potential?
  • What role should our schools play in their communities?
  • How do we set priorities and use resources most efficiently?

How can you get involved?

1. Fill in the survey - - Deadline is Sunday, Feb. 21.

Issues to consider that relate to our PAN (Parent Advocacy Network) mandate for high quality, accessible and equitable public education for all children are noted below - these may assist you in answering this survey.

-Choice schools are not accessible to all and can undermine diversity in neighbourhood schools. Neighbourhood schools are the key to community strength. The Board should prioritize and advocate for their preservation. Surplus capacity should be addressed through right-sizing and/or partially repurposing spaces.

-All schools should provide ongoing supported curricular elementary education in Visual Arts, Music and Drama, and have access to a Library staffed by a Teacher Librarian.

-Resources (learning materials, musical instruments, sports and science equipment) must be equal across schools, not dependent on the fundraising ability of individual PACs and communities.

-Expand food programs to children at risk and continue to advocate with the ministry for more poverty reduction funding.

-Children with special needs should be provided with intervention programs, workers and teachers trained to build the specific skills and independence they require to succeed and integrate. 

-The new curriculum’s emphasis on personalized and hands-on learning, collaboration, creative problem solving and technology must be supported with funding for sufficient training, staffing and appropriate spatial requirements necessary for its implementation.

-The advancement of technology in schools must be balanced by careful consideration of child health, child privacy and the cost of equipment/infrastructure.  It should not come at the expense of relational building between teachers and between students.

-All schools and not just new schools with Neighbourhood Learning Centres should have adequate space for Arts, Recreation and Services that would serve the unique needs of each community.

2. Attend the "Ideas Fair" on Thursday, Feb.18 from 4-7pm at Prince of Wales Secondary, 2250 Eddington Drive, Vancouver. This will be an open public forum, drop-in style.

3. Attend the Open House on Thursday, April 21 from 4-7pm at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, 419 East 24th Avenue, Vancouver. 

How can I get info updates going forward?

If you're interested, you can sign up for VSB email updates at:

They have also posted an informative animated video:

Advocating for Special Needs in BC Schools - a Conference for Parents/Guardians

Do you have a child who needs extra support at school? Wondering how to get your child what they need to survive and thrive in the system? Exhausted and unsure where to go for help? Tired of waiting for the school system to finally get that assessment or write that IEP? 

Join the conference on Saturday, April 2, 2016 - 

For more info go to:

Register by March 1 for an early bird discount!

Contact if you have any further questions.

Slide Presentation from Ishtar Beck - Parenting ABCs

Here is the PowerPoint presentation that was part of the insightful discussion at Ishtar Beck's talk on "Parenting ABCs" held on January 27:

Wednesday, February 10

Special Needs Advocacy Group


Parents/guardians of Kids with Special Needs Access to Education is a group of about 525 parents in BC. The group started just over one year ago with about 10 parents and has grown quickly thanks to their tireless efforts. 

They have been a driving force behind much of the media coverage and the "Forced Out" study. Some of their members were also involved in the restraint and seclusion guidelines when they were revised during the school year. 

They have a broad range of experience: Members have fought the system, left the system, sued the system... you name it. They've got someone who can help with every situation.

Here's an impressive infographic which tells it like it is  - take a look at

They run a quiet, less public group on Facebook - by invitation only. For more information on how to join the group, visit:

Friday, February 5