NW School Board (January 7, 2017) Sanctuary Schools Policy

This past meeting was an Education Committee meeting for the New Westminster School Board. It was the presentation of the Safe and Welcoming Schools For All policy that was the highlight. After much discussion and some concern expressed about the possible “unintended consequences” of people sneaking into the district and international fee paying students (who contribute millions of dollars to NewWest Schools, the School Board unanimously adopted the Sanctuary Schools Policy (I will update this with an amended copy when I get one). If my notes are accurate then this is what the beginning of the policy will look like,

New Westminster Sanctuary Schools Policy

The New Westminster Board of Education takes pride in its commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all children and families who are ordinarily resident in New Westminster, including those with precarious or no immigration status.


To uphold the Board’s commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students who are ordinarily resident in New Westminster, including those with precarious or no immigration status.


2.1. All school age children who are ordinarily resident in  the school district, including those who are with precarious or no immigration status in Canada, are entitled to admission in school.

It was an incredibly moving evening with members of our community talking about some of the struggles they had to overcome to be able to leave their countries and move to a safer place in Canada, and in our community, New Westminster. Of concern was the comments that some of them made about being in New Westminster for months and being denied the right to put their children in school. I give special thanks to Mark Gifford who brought this forward and led the committee to develop this policy. For over 30 years as a Trustee I was told that there was nothing that we could do with children who were not legal immigrants to Canada and that enrolling them in our schools with not be legal. It took the addition of Kelly Slade-Kerr and Mark Gifford to the New Westminster School Board to move this issue forward to this exciting resolution and I will be forever in their debt for that leadership.

This should mean that, as of the adoption of this policy (hopefully February 28), when anyone goes to a New Westminster school to register their child for school the only answer will be yes.

Below is a copy of the amended policy.


The New Westminster Board of Education takes pride in its commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all children and families who are ordinarily resident in New Westminster, including those with precarious immigration status or no immigration status.


To uphold the Board’s commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students who are ordinarily resident in New Westminster including those with precarious immigration status or no immigration status.


2.1.      All school age children who are ordinarily residents in the school district, including those with precarious immigration status or no immigration status  in Canada, are entitled to admission in school.

2.2.      The personal information of enrolled students or their families shall not be shared with federal immigration authorities unless required by law.

2.3.      The Board shall not permit Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials or immigration authorities to enter schools or Board facilities unless required by law.

2.4.      All public school employees and volunteers shall be informed of this policy, and it will be communicated to requisite stakeholders including immigrant communities.


The Board will implement communication protocols and admission procedures in accordance with these requirements.

3.1.      This policy and relevant provisions of the School Act will be communicated annually to all school administrators, school office staff, and school teachers. Such materials will also be prominently displayed in school offices, admissions offices and on the Board’s website.

3.2.      The Board will provide orientation and training for all staff regarding the policy in order to promote expertise and sensitivity regarding the needs of students without immigration status in Canada.

3.3.      A thorough communications plan will be developed to share this information in immigrant communities.

3.4.      The appropriate instructions for staff and public information materials concerning admission procedures will be revised to reflect the above policy. Such revisions will also be included in all training and orientation programs for staff and community agencies who have responsibilities in this area.

3.5.      All student registration forms, including electronic databases, which refer to immigration status in Canada, will be deemed strictly confidential.

3.6.      All student registration forms, including electronic databases, will provide clearly stated options for any family which does not wish to share proof of immigration status as a means of establishing that they are ordinarily resident in New Westminster.

3.7.      Where there is a need to verify a student’s name, home address, or date of arrival in Canada, and where the usual supporting documentation is not available, the Board and schools will accept combination of tenancy agreements, utility bills and/or letters from lawyers, medical doctors, religious and community leaders and others confirming their personal knowledge that the student is ordinarily resident in the school district.

3.8.      Schools will continue to comply with current Ministry of Education requirements in the case of students for whom ELL funding claims are made, but will not disseminate students’ personal information.

3.9.      An independent or third-party based complaints mechanism will be set up to hear from families who have been denied admission based on immigration status and appropriate accountability measures developed to ensure that no child is turned away.

3.10.    There will be an annual review of the implementation of these policies by Board of Education, which includes input from community organizations and stakeholder groups represented in the development of this policy. 

SD No. 40 (New Westminster)


New Westminster School District Mission and Vision Statements (Part 5)

The School Board is meeting tonight (Tuesday, February 7) to discuss a new Vision Statement for the District. Here are the ones that we are considering tonight (6:51pm).

Comments?  Suggestions?


These draft statements will be discussed at the February 7th, 2017, Special Open Board Meeting scheduled from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Below please find the draft vision statements for further discussion:


  1. To inspire each student to reach their full potential.
  1. A place where the learning of every student contributes to a more inclusive, generous and sustainable world.
  1. Every student has knowledge and relationships to adapt and thrive in a complex changing world.
  1. Shaping the future by providing a welcoming, caring, and inclusive School District that creates a sense of belonging and purpose.
  1. Engaging schools that build our students strengths, interests and talents.
  1. Ignite passion for learning.
  1. To prepare learners to be empowered to reach their full potential to become tomorrow’s leaders.
  1. Every student graduates with confidence prepared to contribute to a global society.
  1. Every student graduates prepared to make a difference in the world.
  1. Every student graduates capable of realizing their full potential.
  1. Each student finding their passion
  1. A Learning Organization
  1. Creating a Climate of Possibility!
  1. Creating a Climate of Possibility for Each Student!
  1. Creating Possibilities for Each Student!
  1. Connecting Possibilities for Each student!
  1. Increasing the Life Chances for Each Student
  1. Inspiring Every Child’s Passion to Learn.
  1. Inspiring Each Child’s Passion to Learn.
  1. Inspiring Each Child’s Passion
  1. Each Student Graduating with Purpose and Possibilities
  1. Each Student Graduating with Purpose and Life Chances
  1. Inspiring Each Child.
  1. Inspiring Each Student.
  1. Inspiring Learners.
  1. Inspiring All Learners.
  1. Passion and Purpose – each student – each day!
  1. Meaningful, purposeful and relevant learning for each child.
  1. Meaningful, purposeful and relevant learning for each student.
  1. Personal, meaningful and relevant learning for each student.

New Westminster School Board Mission Statement (Part 3)

I am anticipating that the New Westminster School Board will be adopting a new Mission Statement on Tuesday, January 24 or perhaps adopting it and then sending it out for consultaton and feedback (which has been the practice for the past 35+ years). There are 4 choices and I would appreciate some feedback on which one people prefer.

1. To engage each student in personal, meaningful and relevant learning.

2. To engage and enable each student to learn in a caring environment.

3. To inspire each student with relevant and safe learning experiences.

4. To engage and enable each student to learn in a caring and inclusive environment.

Tuesday, January 24 New Westminster School Board Meeting

New Wesminster School Board’s New Policy Manual

I believe that the work between Senior Administration and the School Board should be a collaborative approach with the School Board providing overall guidance through policy and then the School Board regularly reviewing with Administration their implementation of those policies. I do not believe that the currently proposed new Policy Manual provides the balance necessary for proper governance and oversight of administration or the ability to work collaboratively with our senior administration.

This Policy Manual is to be reviewed for final adoption at this Tuesday’s committee meeting and I do not think that it is ready for adoption. I think that we need more discussion on the implications of the implementation of the Policy Manual.

I have included the Policy Manual here since it was not uploaded to the School District website for Tuesday’s meeting.


I have also included my proposed amendments since they were also not included.


Item: Requiring Action   For Information    


I believe that some of our new policy ignores, and even abrogates, our duty of oversight of  New Westminster Schools.  While we can delegate responsibility for achieving our policy objectives the ultimate responsibility, under the School Act, rests with the Board of Education, and we exercise that responsibility through oversight of our administration.

I am proposing some significant changes to our proposed policy.  In instances where I am taking policy directly from the West Vancouver Board of Education I have indicated that, otherwise the wording is all mine. as I am sure you will all figure our my changes, whether to include West Vancouver wording or my own, the changes are highlighted in yellow (on this website they are underlined).

I look forward to finally discussing our new Board Policy at an open Committee meeting, where I intend to move each of the changes.

Policy 2


Boards of Education have been established by provincial legislation and given authority by the School Act and attendant Regulations and elected by the citizens of New Westminster, to, as a corporate body, provide Democratic Oversight, overall direction and leadership to the District that is reflective of local values and a local context, to, within the local context, provide overall direction and leadership to the District.

2. Accountability to and Engagement of Community

2.3 Provide for two-way communication between the Board and stakeholder groups. (West Vancouver)

4. Policy

4.2 Delegate authority to the Superintendent with appropriate and timely information and reporting to the Board before significant decisions are made.

5. Board/Superintendent Relations

The Board shall:

5.2 Work in collaboration with the Superintendent to provide clear corporate direction to improve appropriate educational programs and services and managerial practices for the students and community in New Westminster.

5.4 Annually evaluate the Superintendent in accordance with a pre-established performance appraisal mechanism and create a performance management framework for the Superintendent, that: has clearly articulated and appropriate timelines for achievement; is developed collaboratively between the Board and Superintendent to promote transparency and open, two-way communication; and is reviewed two to four times per year. (Milburn Report R18)


1 Annual evaluation of Superintendent 17 months (November 2016)

2 Evaluation of Secretary-Treasurer (January 2015)

6. 1. Political Advocacy

The Board shall:

1.2 Advance District positions and priorities either directly or through relevant provincial organizations and associations.

8. Fiscal Accountability

The Board shall:

8.13 Monitor the fiscal management of the District through receipt of quarterly financials and quarterly accountability reports including variance analyses and year-end projections through Reports from the Board’s Audit Committee.

Selected Responsibilities

9. Approval of, alteration to and cessation of Board established academies and programs of choice.


Policy 3


A trustee who is given corporate authority, by the Board, to act on behalf of the Board may carry out duties individually but only as an agent of the Board. In such cases, the actions of the trustee are those of the Board, which is then responsible for them. A trustee acting individually has only the authority and status of any other citizen of the District.


2. The District will provide financial support for trustees to attend British Columbia School Trustees Association seminars and the BCSTA Annual General Meeting.

3. The Board Chair, Vice-Chair and Superintendent ……


Policy 5


1. Act as the official spokesperson for the Board, except for those instances where the Board has delegated this role to another individual.

3. Prior to each Board meeting consult with the trustees and confer with the Superintendent, Vice Chair and Secretary Treasurer on the items to be included on the agenda, the order of these items and become thoroughly familiar with them.

4. The Board Chair and Vice-Chair are responsible for ensuring that all the proper documentation is attached to Board meeting agendas before they are distributed.

8 Be in regular contact with all trustees and with the Superintendent ….


Policy 6


Vice-Chair and Chair are equal and the Vice-Chair shall be included in all meetings that include the Chair of the Board.

Specific Responsibilities

The Vice-Chair shall take primary responsibility for establishing and maintaining a District/Community engagement process.


Policy 7


The Board operates and governs itself in a manner that models respect for individuals and strengthens relationships within the education community.Within this framework decisions will be made that serve to ensure quality learning opportunities and maximize learning outcomes for all students of all ages. (West Vancouver)

1. Board Composition and Elections

As indicated in Trustee Elections By-law No. 1-93 attached as Appendix A seven trustees are elected at large to the Board of Education for a four year term. The one electoral area for the district is the Municipality of New Westminster. Therefore all trustees are elected at large.

6. Notice and Agendas

6.3 (1) Duty to Document and Inform

All items on the Board agenda must be accompanied by a Backgrounder

(1) outlining what the purpose of the agenda item is,

(2) outlining options for the Board consideration, and

(3) making a recommendation for the Board

All presentations must be attached to the Board agenda when it is distributed. If presentations are not attached, the presentation will be postponed.

No decisions can be made by the Board without proper and full written documentation. The Board Chair and Vice-Chair are responsible for ensuring that the proper documentation is attached to Board meeting agendas when they are distributed.

No verbal reports, material or items may be added to Board meeting agendas without the unanimous consent of the Board.

6.9 Where material or motions are introduced at a Board meeting, not related to a matter that is on the agenda and which has not been made available to Trustees in accordance with section 6.6 and 6.8, a Trustee may call notice on any motion arising from such material and that motion accordingly shall be considered on the agenda of the next Board meeting.

7. Minutes

The Board has a Duty to Document how and why decisions were made to preserve the institutional memory of the reasons for decision making therefore the Board shall maintain and preserve by means of minutes a record of its proceedings and resolutions.

7.1 The minutes shall record:

7.1.10 Duty to Document

All materials from the Board agenda that led to a Board decision reflecting the decision making process of the Board and must be kept securely to properly document Board decision making.

All presentations must be attached to the Board minutes, if those presentations led to a decisions of the Board.

9. Public Participation

The Board welcomes and provides for a variety of forms of public participation by members of the community. Public participation may be through presentations by a delegation, through formal question/comment periods in regular Board meetings or in the form of written communications. Such opportunities shall not be used to address matters which must be dealt with in in-camera meetings as noted elsewhere in this policy. For example, individual student matters must not be dealt with in a public setting.  In addition, structures have been defined in legislation and collective agreements to deal with labour management issues. The public participation opportunities noted below are not to be used to deal with such matters. The Board respects and honors employee groups’ contracts and official representatives and will therefore deal with labour management issues through defined legislated and collective agreement processes

9.4 The Board shall not formally respond by motion to a Presentation or Delegation without the unanimous consent of the Board. Such responses, if desired by the Board, shall be at a subsequent board meeting.

10. Trustee Remuneration and Expenses

10.1 Annual Remuneration

10.1.3 Trustees shall be allocated with a Board Business Expense budget of $2,000.


Conference and Travel Expenses

10.2.6 Trustees will inform the Board, in advance, of their intention to attend a conference/seminar or travel on Board business. and shall obtain prior approval of the Board for such attendance. Trustees shall book registrations, travel and accommodations in consultation with the Superintendent’s office. Trustees must seek Board approval to exceed their Board Business Expense budget.


Policy 8


Standing Committees

Standing Committees are established to assist the Board with work of an on-going or recurring nature.

There shall be three standing committees of the whole: the Education Policy and Planning Committee of the Whole,  the Operations Policy and Planning Committee of the Whole and the Board of Education Audit Committee.

11. Board of Education Audit Committee

11.1 Purpose

11.1.1 To provide the Board of Education recommendations on various strategies, financial situations, risk management scenarios, and other complex issues.

10.1 Powers and duties

10.2 Membership

A committee of committee external experts, chaired by a Trustee.

10.3 Meetings


Policy 9


Civic and Community Committee Representatives

The Board seeks to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the New Westminster Municipal Council and to that end welcomes invitations from the council to have District representation on civic committees.

1. Normally such committees deal with administrative matters and therefore shall be represented by administrative staff selected by and reporting to the Superintendent.

2. When an invitation is received for District membership on a civic or community committee, the Board shall determine if the terms of reference for the committee requires Board representation. Normally if there is such a need the Board corporate will seek a meeting with the Municipal Council to determine the issues to be addressed and the most appropriate means of addressing these issues of mutual interest to the two governing bodies. Major facility construction, for example has resulted in a Task Force being established.

School Liaison Trustee Role

School liaison responsibilities shall not:

• Inhibit or circumvent administrative authority or responsibility

• Include any decision making authority

Parent Advisory Councils as per section 8 of the School Act may advise the Board and the principal and staff of a school. Therefore, the role of school liaison trustee does not include attendance at Parent Advisory Council meetings. If the Council wishes to advise the Board corporate, that advice is to be sent to the Board.

The role of liaison trustee is to provide information to the school community on district and Board of Education information and to provide visual support for school activities including but not limited to athletic competitions, fine arts performances and displays, school celebrations, and recognition events. The role allows trustees to become knowledgeable of public school events while keeping manageable the time demands should there not be some limiting of expectations for Board or Trustee attendance at such public events.


Policy 11


In the absence of Board policy in cases where an immediate administrative response is

required the Superintendent will:

1. If time permits, consult with the Board Chair and ViceChair.

2. Inform the Board as soon as is practicable and at the next regular meeting of the action taken and the nature of the emergent issue and where warranted, the need for policy in the event of future occurrences.

3. The action must be taken with regard for the tenor of the Board’s foundational statements. (West Vancouver)


Policy 12


The Superintendent shall:

Specific Areas of Responsibility

1. Student Learning

1.2 Support instructional strategies, assessment and resources that reflect sensitivity to diversity and incorporate themes such as inclusion, respect and acceptance. (West Vancouver)

4. Personnel Management

4.2 Monitor and improve the performance of all staff. (West Vancouver)

8.Organizational Leadership and Management

8.1 Promote at all times a high standard of collaborative professional leadership, effective human relationships, and a spirit of educational innovation and advancement throughout the District. (West Vancouver)

10. Leadership Practices

10.2 Model appropriate value systems, ethics and moral leadership. (West Vancouver)


Policy 15


The Board believes that the recruitment and selection of District personnel is a shared responsibility between the Board and the Superintendent. (West Vancouver)

The Board is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all individuals in every aspect of personnel practice including recruitment, selection and promotion, and to establishing an educational work force (administrative, professional and support) that is reflective of both the ethnic and gender make-up of the New Westminster community. To this end, the recruitment, selection and hiring of professional staff will occur through a multi-step process.


All professional staff vacancies will be advertised in appropriate professional publications, internally and externally. Advertisements will include statements of essential and desirable qualifications. A minimum of two weeks must be allowed for advertising vacancies, except in exceptional circumstances for unanticipated vacancies, which may require shortening advertisement times to no less than one week.


The intent of the screening process is to identify all candidates with the necessary and sufficient

qualifications for all Administrative positions.

A Screening  Committee will operate to screen candidates for interviewing and will be composed of up to two representatives from each of the stakeholder groups and the other of members of the senior management team. The Screening Committee must recommend more candidates then positions available. The Screening Committee recommendations are consultative and do not bind the Superintendent or the Board.The Screening Committee will make it’s recommendations to the Superintendent. 

The Board reserves the sole authority to recruit and select an individual for the position of Superintendent. Further the Board has designated the Superintendent of Schools as Chief Executive Officer for the District. The Superintendent of Schools/CEO has sole authority for recruiting and selecting all other staff within existing legislation, budget allocations and collective agreements.


1. The following process will be followed for Assistant Superintendent and Secretary-Treasurer


1.1 The Superintendent will use a screening committee to conduct initial interviews composed of .

1.2 The screening committee will recommend candidates to be interviewed by the selection committee.

1.3 The Board and Superintendent shall constitute the selection committee.

1.4 The selection committee will attempt to achieve consensus. In the event this is not possible, the successful candidate must be supported by a majority vote of the trustees.

1.5 These positions shall have a role description and the person occupying each of the positions shall have a written contract of employment.

1.6 The compensation grid will be determined by the Board and placement on the grid by the Superintendent. (West Vancouver)

2. The Superintendent is delegated full authority to recruit and select staff for all other

positions. (West Vancouver)


Policy 19


These non-restricted funds can therefore be used to mitigate any negative impact unforeseen circumstances might otherwise cause, at the discretion of the Board.

2. Restricted Surplus Funds

2.5 The Board shall maintain within the restricted surplus funds an allocation for contingencies equal to $1,000,000.

NWSS Site Stories

The power of the arts to inspire

Site Stories was an incredible multi-media presentation by Grade 10 students from NWSS. They took the sights and sounds of NWSS and have preserved them for all time. It is a wonderful example of creative collaboration between teachers and classes to create a memorable exhibit. It is a fantastic example of the power of the Arts in inspiring students to be creative and descriptive. My thanks go out to Dragana Sacco  and Jenny Simpson for an exciting example of professional collaboration.

The following is the ArtStart  Press Release on the Exhibit. Followed by my pictures from todays Exhibition.

Site Stories Exhibition at NW Secondary School:

10th graders to share new art works inspired by stories of their school

NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – January 4, 2017

After 14 weeks of exploring the sites and stories of their school, sixty 10th graders from NWSS will share their original art works in a three day exhibition. The opening reception will take place on Wednesday, January 11 from 5:30-7:00pm, and the exhibition will be open during school hours on January 12 and 13. The show features new 2-D, 3-D, site-specific and time-based works conceived and completed by the students.

Since September 2016, artists Mark Cunningham and Julie Hammond have collaborated with classroom teachers Dragana Sacco, English, and Jenny Simpson, Art, to implement a program that paired expanded ideas of art making with explorations of the school building and location. Each week students learned about and used contemporary art practices—from scores to readymades to text and street art—as jumping-off points for making drawings, temporary sculptures, audio recordings, and carrying out a stencil bomb of the school hallways (sanctioned by school administration, of course). In-school activities were supplemented by research at the New Westminster Archives, a visit from Qayqayt Chief Rhonda Larabee, and field trip to Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery.

“As the NWSS community wraps up our time in the current building, we were thrilled to dive deeply into exploring what this space is and has been,” said English teacher Jenny Simpson. “It’s been remarkable to see students use and develop art tools to question and investigate places they have previously taken for granted.”

“As artists, we can illuminate the past and imagine the future in unexpected ways,” adds artist Julie Hammond. “Through this project students have been given the freedom to explore what matters to them and how they want to share their ideas with the community.”

MORE INFO: www.nwsssitestories.blogspot.ca

The Site Stories project was made possible in part by an ArtStarts Artist in the Classroom Grant and the NWSS PAC, and takes place on the traditional and unceded territories of the Qayqayt First Nation.

Posted by Mark Cunningham and Art Starts




Mission Statement (Round 2)

The New Westminster School Board met in an open public meeting last night (with no public in attendance) and decided to continue developing the Mission Statement. After working for almost 90 minutes the Board and Senior Staff pared it down to 4 statements:

  1. To engage each student in personal, meaningful and relevant learning.
  2. To engage and enable each student to learn in a caring environment.
  3. To inspire each student with relevant and safe learning experiences.
  4. To engage and enable each student to learning in a safe, caring and inclusive environment.

Thoughts? Comments?