December 2007 Volume 20 • Number 2 BCPVPA Journal

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December 2007 Volume 20 • Number 2 BCPVPA Journal Powered By Docstoc
					Adminfo
                                                           teaching to culture
                                                          separating the sexes
                                                        classroom community
                                                          celebrating diversity
                                                        evaluating homework
December 2007   BCPVPA Journal   Volume 20 • Number 2
                                             Complexity, tension and collaborative solutions
                                             BCPVPA President Les Dukowski says professional programs
                                             address some of the complex issues facing schools, but
                                             broad collaborative conversations are also needed.
                                             principals and vice-principals across        lowest on the priority list; and pro-
                                             the province. So the problem is rela-        moting strategies that draw in others,
                                             tively well-defined. Now what?               such as the health community, to aid
                                                A partial solution is solid and com-      in the provision of services that ad-
                                             prehensive preservice and inservice for      dress aspects of the expanded man-
                                             new principals and vice-principals. The      date of our schools.
                                             traditional requirement of a Masters           The BCPVPA started the internal
                                             degree as qualification for school lead-     conversation with our November Is-
                                             ership positions is inadequate and the       sues Forum and has advocated a na-

  P    ublic schools are complex. Edu-
       cators balance student needs,
community expectations, curricular
                                             need for ongoing professional learning
                                             for those in mid-career and end-of-ca-
                                             reer has never been greater.The BCPV-
                                                                                          tional conversation with the CAP.
                                                                                          Our plan now will be to include su-
                                                                                          perintendents, school boards and the
programs and learning delivery mod-          PA continues to offer strong profes-         Ministry. It will be hard work and it
els. Public schools also deal with signif-   sional programs under the leadership         will challenge our notions of the na-
icant tension. Schools’ dual academic        of Gaila Erickson; we’ve launched            ture of our work and of our assump-
and social mandates inevitably conflict      MyBCPVPA which includes a person-            tions of management and leadership.
from time to time and give rise to ten-      alized landing page on the web and           But then worthwhile undertakings
sion. Within fixed hours and limited         significant learning resources linked to     are seldom easy.
resources, the increased emphasis on         our Standards; and we continue to be
issues such as health promotion in-
evitably takes away time and resources
                                             a full partner on the Board of the BC
                                             Educational Leadership Council. The
                                                                                          B C P V PA
                                                                                          Board of Directors 2007–2008
from the achievement agenda.                 Association also expects to be involved
                                                                                           Les Dukowski, President
   Demographic changes mean de-              in discussions surrounding any devel-
                                                                                           ldukowski@bcpvpa.bc.ca
clining enrolment and workforce              opments in certification processes.           MariLyn MerLer, President-Elect
adjustments. Education funding is               Professional programs that enhance         mmerler@sd22.bc.ca
challenged and fewer students means          the knowledge and skills of principals        Directors
school closures. The shift in popu-          and vice-principals, however neces-           LesLie anDersson
                                                                                           andersson_l@sd36.bc.ca
lation age distribution and health           sary, are only part of the solution. I be-
                                                                                           JaMeeL aziz
needs put increasing pressure on gov-        lieve that our best chance for dealing        jaziz@sd73.bc.ca
ernments to spend a greater propor-          with the complexity and tension is to         Brian chappeLL
tion of provincial budgets on health         engage in purposeful and substantial          bchappell@sd57.bc.ca
care and schools are expected to take        conversations locally, regionally, pro-       cheryL Dew
                                                                                           cheryl.dew@sd57.bc.ca
a leadership role in health promotion        vincially and nationally. Those con-
                                                                                           Brian Jackson
activities in schools with limited or        versations need to include our princi-        Brian.Jackson@sd41.bc.ca
no additional resource allocations.          pals and vice-principals and, at some         susan Johnsen
   Of course complexity and tension          point, teachers, superintendents, and         sjohnsen@richmond.sd38.bc.ca
are not new. But we’ve reached a wa-         representatives from boards of educa-         chris Johnson
                                                                                           cajohnson@deltasd.bc.ca
tershed that is further complicated by       tion and the Ministry of Education.
                                                                                           eLaine McVie
leadership and succession challenges.           We will truly address complexity           emcvie@sd61.bc.ca
Our province is not unique. At the No-       and tension by examining the work             MyLes Mowat
vember meeting of the Canadian Asso-         of school leaders in its many contexts        Myles_Mowat@sd59.bc.ca
ciation of Principals (CAP), colleagues      and levels; redetermining priorities          pauL tayLor
                                                                                           taylor_paul@sd36.bc.ca
from across the country expressed the        with a view to eliminating, not just
same concerns as those I hear from           postponing, those activities that are                         ISSN: 1201-4214
                                                        December 07 • Adminfo • 2
Research/Engaging Aboriginal students in mathematics




         Culturally responsive teaching:
                        Connecting math, students and community
                   A program in Nisga’a explores culturally responsive ways of teaching




                          by Cynthia Nicol, Jo-ann Archibald, Heather Kelleher, Keith Spencer,
                                    Elizabeth Wilson and Lola Whonnock-Stephens




  W
              h a t                                                                                  all students, and in
              does it                                                                                particular Aborigi-




                                                                                                                            Teachers have brainstormed ideas for mapping cultural activities such as blanket making
              mean                                                                                   nal students learn-
to make math-                                                                                        ing mathematics.
ematics teaching                                                                                     Our project is
culturally respon-                                                                                   called, Transforma-
sive? Isn’t math-                                                                                    tive Education for
ematics a subject                                                                                    Aboriginal Math-
that is culture free?                                                                                ematics Learning
How can math be                                                                                      [TEAM1]. It is a
taught with cul-                                                                                     partnership with
ture in mind and                          cantly support Aboriginal learners or                      Haida Gwaii Na-
what difference would it make?            classroom teachers. In British Co-       tion and School District, Nisga’a Na-
  Mathematics can be an exciting          lumbia there is an over representation   tion and School District, the Vancou-
subject filled with mystery, challenge,   of Aboriginal students in courses that   ver School Board and the University
satisfaction, and artful inquiry. The     are not prerequisites to post-second-    of British Columbia. Working with
satisfaction of solving a challenging     ary education and under-represen-        students, teachers, parents and com-
mathematics problem can build self-       tation in courses that lead to post-     munity members we are exploring
confidence, self-esteem, and indepen-     secondary education or job training.     ways of teaching that are culturally
dence. Yet, mathematics can also be       Few Aboriginal students enroll in        responsive — practices that honour
a subject that undermines self-esteem     senior mathematics courses and, ac-      student thinking and emotions, re-
and self-worth, and erodes self-con-      cording to statistics from the Minis-    spect and build upon community val-
fidence. This is the case for many        try of Education (2004), by the final    1
                                                                                    TEAM-Learning is funded by the Social
students across the province, and par-    year of high school 54% of enrolling     Sciences and Humanities Research
ticularly so for Aboriginal students.     Aboriginal students fail to graduate.    Council of Canada, the Vancouver
  Over the years mathematics educa-         We are involved in a project that      Foundation, and the Canadian Council
tion has not worked well to signifi-      we hope will better meet the needs of    on Learning.

                                                    December 07 • Adminfo • 3
                                                                      The         Nisga’a as one way of addressing the systemic
                                                                  School District issue of Aboriginal marginalization
                 Students’ thinking                               in Northwestern with respect to mathematics learning.
                                                                  British Columbia Such practices are referred to as the
                    Habits of mind Community                      has 97% of its contextualization of teaching (Lipka
                                       knowledge                  school population & Moffat, 1998) or culturally respon-
                       Emotions                                   as Nisga’a or oth- sive pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995;
                                         Culture                  er First Nations Gutstein, 2006) and involves develop-
                                                                  ancestry. Almost ing instructional practices that honor
          Mathematics                    Values                   two-thirds of the and respect students’ culture, values,
                                                                  District’s teaching backgrounds and experiences.
                                                                  staff is Aboriginal          Our first steps for the project in
                                                                  and all the support the Nisga’a School District involved
                                                                  staff are Aborigi- receiving research approval to con-
                                                                  nal. The District’s duct the study by the Nisga’a School
ues and views, and prepare students goals as a partner in the proposed proj- District and the Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl
to be successful with mathematics in ect includes opportunities to mentor Nisga’a Board of Directors and a se-
a range of contexts that open possi- teachers as teacher-researchers and ries of full-day meetings with UBC
bilities for future study or careers (see opportunities for teachers to explore researchers, Nisga’a primary teach-
diagram above). Culturally responsive how students’ culture can be used as a ers, Nisga’a language teachers, sup-
pedagogy is wholistic2 and inclusive. It starting place for mathematics teach- port teachers and administrators. In
engages students spiritually (cultural- ing and learning. The Nisga’a School our meetings, teachers were inspired
ly), emotionally, physically, and intel- District is interested in building on to think more about how they might
lectually in the study of mathematics its initiatives in reading and writing attend to and become more aware of
for both heart and mind education.         to include the improvement of math- student emotions, and in turn how
   For Nisga’a primary teachers, ematics. As a rural community, the teachers might help students learn
Nisga’a language teachers and sup- district is interested in being part of a to identify and communicate their
port teachers the project offers a project that will allow them to share emotions and thus learn more about
space to bring together the study of ideas, resources, and expertise.                        themselves. Teachers questioned how
Nisga’a culture, language and math-          Teaching mathematics in ways that they might welcome emotion in the
ematics. We are working together as respect students and community and classroom and work with students
teachers, researchers and community acknowledge the interrelatedness of who fear math, doubt themselves as
members to adapt and develop mate- mathematics education issues with doers of math, or are angered by do-
rials and approaches to teaching that other social issues in local, national ing math. Given the prompt “What
flexibly and meaningfully incorpo- and global contexts is being offered might an emotionally healthy math-
rate Nisga’a cultural values, experi-


                                                Adminfo
ences, and practices. It is hoped that
TEAM-Learning will develop leader-                                                                                      VOLUME 20
ship capacity for transforming math                                                                                      NUMBER 2
education and will provide on-going
support to teachers. An important
                                            Adminfo is published five times per year by the BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.
goal is to work with the community
                                            Subscriptions for non-members of the Association are available for $32.10 per year, including
and schools to collect data on mathe-
                                            GST. Adminfo welcomes your editorial contributions and student artwork. All material should
matics teaching and learning that are
                                            be sent to: Richard Williams, Editor, Adminfo, #200-525 10th Avenue West, Vancouver V5Z 1K9
useful to schools, communities, and
                                            [call 604-689-3399 or 800-663-0432, fax 604-877-5381 or email: rwilliams@bcpvpa.bc.ca].
researchers.
2
 The term “wholistic” is used to de-
scribe a way of teaching that includes               Editor                                                    Richard Williams
the education of the human being as an
entire whole.

                                                              December 07 • Adminfo • 4
ematics classroom look like?” teach-       were then able to make suggestions          their experiences of teaching math-
ers brainstormed responses that in-        like bringing in elders and other com-      ematics through culturally responsive
cluded: trust, respect, listening, in-     munity members to talk about their          approaches. Teachers studying how
clusiveness, risk taking, acceptance of    daily experiences: stringing oolichan,      they use Nisga’a culture, students’
difference, caring, co-operation and       building a house, fishing, preparing        experiences and mathematical think-
hopefulness. Teachers also discussed       for and hosting a feast, all of which re-   ing to develop instruction will help
how mathematics curriculum and             quire some knowledge of mathematics         us understand the nature and impact
school practices can exclude students      in one area or another.                     of culturally responsive practices. The
through the types of word problems,           “As a First nations teacher, these       challenge will be to develop culturally
examples, and teaching strategies          initial discussions have allowed me to      responsive practices that honor par-
chosen and valued.                         see my own values for math and how          ticular local communities and cul-
  We are currently exploring how           I might have been imparting those           tures without trivializing, or general-
mathematics might be taught                values to my class. These discussions       izing learning across diverse groups
through the development of Nisga’a         have also shown me the wealth of            and locations.
stories or how stories might provide a     knowledge and experience within our           We are excited about bringing to-
rich cultural connection for students’     school and district that had yet to be      gether the areas of community, cul-
early development of mathematical          tapped in this way. I look forward          ture, students’ ways of learning and
thinking. We are also exploring the        to continued discussions and to the         math in ways that facilitate success for
potential of mapping for connecting        development of culturally responsive        all who are involved in the schools.
students, mathematics, culture and         material and approaches to math into        We look forward to sharing what we
community. Mapping is a way of get-        our regular curriculum.”                    learn about transforming math to be
ting to know a place — of learning or         Over the next few years of the project   more successful for Aboriginal learn-
re-learning home — and of learning         participating teachers will study, with     ers through the TEAM-Learning
about home from historical, social,        the support of the UBC researchers,         study.
cultural, and physical perspectives
(Sobel, 1998). In one meeting, for         Cynthia Nicol, Jo-ann Archibald and Heather Kelleher are researchers at the University
                                           of British Columbia. Keith Spencer is the Nisga’a District Superintendent. Elizabeth
example, teachers brainstormed ideas       Wilson helps coordinate the literacy and numeracy programs within the district. Lola
for mapping cultural activities such as    Whonnock-Stephens is a primary school teacher at Laxgalts’ap Elementary School.
oolichan fishing, blanket making and       References for this article are available by emailing Richard Williams, rwilliams@
basket weaving.                            bcpvpa.bc.ca
  Teachers value the opportuni-
ties to explore and work together to
consider how they might connect                                                         Early Learning:
mathematics, language, and culture                                                         The New Frontier
to students’ lives. Project participant,
                                                                                       in Elementary Education
Lola Whonnock-Stephens, a primary
school teacher at Laxgalts’ap Elemen-
tary School, shares her experiences                                                    A BCPVPA Academy
with the project to date:                                                                co-sponsored by
  “As a participant of the first set of                                           Human Early Learning Partnership
meetings I felt inspired to think of                                                   and StrongStart BC
mathematics and teaching mathemat-
ics from another perspective. Some                                                     February 4 and 5 • Vancouver
teachers expressed a negative feeling                                                http:www.bcpvpa.bc.ca for details
for math: fear. These discussions re-
vitalized their views, allowing us to                 “Simply put, it is to our collective advantage
think of mathematics, or cultures, and
our students rather than our personal
                                                             to promote the understanding
(sometimes unpleasant) experiences                      of early brain development research …”
learning and doing math. Teachers

                                                      December 07 • Adminfo • 5
Research/To each her own




                                    Boys and Girls
                                        In a class by themselves
                       Students are thrilled (and achievemet notches up) after
                 Glenmerry Elementary School in Trail separates the boys from the girls




                                                  by Kere MacGregor




   The all-boys class at Glenmerry Elementary takes a moment from classes and shares a common moment.




 A
          bout four years ago, Koo-      address this issue, “Action Research     grade 7 level based upon a litany of
          tenay School District #20      Grants” were offered to any school       research in books and on the inter-
          became increasingly con-       that had an innovative project that      net. Separating boys and girls is not
cerned over the gap in achievement       might help close the gap between         a new idea and is widely practiced in
between boys and girls. Girls were       boys and girls.                          private school settings and in some
excelling in the main areas of read-       Glenmerry Elementary School in         other countries. Improving student
ing, writing and numeracy while boys     Trail decided to explore the concept     achievement will not just happen by
seemingly were being left behind. To     of segregating boys and girls at the     separating boys and girls but rather
                                                   December 07 • Adminfo • 6
by thoughtful understanding of the            than boys. During the                performing a specific task
fundamental differences between               learning process boys will           well.
boys and girls and applying solid             often work silently and           •	 Use of Symbols: Boys
instructional practices that support          use less words whereas               often rely on pictures in
their learning styles.                        girls tend to understand             their learning because
                                              concepts by using it in              it stimulates the right
  What Research Shows                         everyday language.                   hemisphere which is

 W       hat we learned through our
         research was important in
our decision to separate boys and
                                         •	   Logic and Evidence:
                                              Girls tend to be better
                                              listeners than boys and
                                                                                   often more developed in
                                                                                   boys. Girls tend to prefer
                                                                                   written text rather than
girls in their learning environment.          able to work through                 diagrams and graphs.
Researchers have discovered that              things that might not             •	 Use of Learning Teams:
there are structural and functional           have a logical sequence              While working in teams
differences in male and female brains         whereas boys tend to                 is important for both
and that their approach to learning           hear less and need clear             genders, boys tend to
and living is from brain differences,         evidence to support a                create a more structured
not environmental forces. These de-           claim.                               team while girls form
velopmental differences are key to       •	   Boredom: Boys are                    looser organizations.
understanding how differentiating             bored more easily than               Boys spend less time
teaching strategies for boys and girls        girls; it often requires             managing the process,
is one key component to their suc-            more of and a variety                they pick leaders quickly
cess. Worldwide brain research shows          of things to stimulate               and focus on the goal.
ten areas of difference according to          them. This is significant
Michael Gurian, author of The Boys            in that when boredom           These general differences are what
and Girls Learn Differently Action            sets in, the likelihood      our teachers use to guide their prac-
Guide for Teachers:                           of disruptive behavior       tices and when designing lessons,
      •	 Deductive and                        increases.                   these ten generalizations are taken
          Inductive Reasoning:           •	   Use of Space: Boys tend      into account. Most often content ar-
          Boys tend to start their            to need more space than      eas are the same, but the way they are
          reasoning from a general            girls when they learn.       presented to the boys and girls can be
          principle and apply it to           Boys tend to spread their    significantly different.
          an individual case such             work out more, quite
          as fast multiple choice             often intruding into           Our Results
          questions. Girls tend to
          favor specific concrete
          examples and build to a
                                         •	
                                              someone else’s space.
                                              Movement: Boys tend
                                              to need more movement
                                                                             O    ur goal of compressing the
                                                                                  gender gap seems to be work-
                                                                           ing. Based upon last year’s FSA results
          general theory.                     to stimulate their brains,   for our grade 7 class:
      •	 Abstract and Concrete                movement to boys is
          Reasoning: Boys tend to             natural. Girls do not        Writing
          be better at calculating            need to move around as        Boys – 100% met or exceeded
          something without                   much while learning.          Girls – 100 % met or exceeded
          seeing or touching it,         •	   Sensitivity in a Group:      Numeracy
          they often excel when               Girls tend to work            Boys – 100% met or exceeded
          math is taught abstractly           more cooperatively in a       Girls – 88 % met or exceeded
          on the board. Girls                 group and are generally      Reading
          find math easier with               concerned with the            Boys – 86 % met or exceeded
          manipulatives and                   dynamics and overall          Girls – 82% met or exceeded
          objects.                            outcome. Boys tend
      •	 Use of Language: Girls               to focus on individual        We do use other methods of assess-
          tend to use more words              performance and              ment all year to track achievement

                                               December 07 • Adminfo • 7
                                                                                        •	 Teamwork: Any teachers
Same-sex classes at Glenmerry have been a great success.                                   who work with the segre-
Students say such things as , ‘we can be ourselves,’                                       gated classes should meet
and ‘it’s a dream come true.’                                                              on a regular basis and re-
                                                                                           view their teaching strat-
                                                                                           egies and coordinate con-
and guide practice, but needless to             improve student achieve-                   tent. Working as a team
say, our results have been well above           ment. At Glenmerry we                      allows common language
provincial average.                             use a variety of different                 around instruction and
                                                assessments to track indi-                 common academic and
  The Components of a                           vidual progress and guide                  behavioral expectations.
  Successful Segregated                         instructional practices.                •	 Review, Support and
  Program                                       Using the Performance                      Celebrate: Communi-

 S    imply separating boys and
      girls will not improve student
achievement. Success for our same-
                                                Standards and Learning
                                                Outcomes as part of our
                                                everyday instructional
                                                                                           cate with your team, ana-
                                                                                           lyze your progress and
                                                                                           celebrate your success
sex classes has come though a combi-            practice has significantly                 with students, staff and
nation of carefully thought-out com-            increased our focus on                     parents.
ponents.                                        results.
                                             •	 Be Goal Oriented: Have               Conclusion
     •	 Understanding the
        Research: It is impera-
        tive that those who are
                                                a well developed site plan
                                                and focus on those areas
                                                that have been identi-
                                                                                     S   ame-sex classes at Glenmerry
                                                                                         have been a great success. Our
                                                                                   boys and girls love being in their own
        involved in the same-                   fied. Last year 100% of            class, comments such as: “We can
        sex project have a basic                both boys and girls met            be ourselves” and “It’s a dream come
        understanding of the                    or exceeded expectations           true” are common amongst the grade
        ten fundamentals listed                 on the FSA’s in writing.           7s. Parents have been very supportive
        above. By understanding                 While same-sex classes             and our school district head office is
        these differences, anyone               were a contributing                very pleased with our results. While
        involved with their learn-              factor, our three-year             the creation of these classes has been
        ing can vary instructional              school-wide writing                a lot of hard work on everyone’s part,
        practices to better suit                strategy was a major               we are finding that boys and girls are
        girls and boys learning                 component.                         now in a class by themselves.
        styles.
     •	 Training the Appro-             Kere MacGregor, a former member of the BCPVPA Board of Directors, is
        priate Staff: Not every         principal at Glenmerry Elementary in Trail. He can be reached at kmacgregor@
        teacher is cut out to           sd20.bc.ca
        teach a class of 30 Grade                                                   Early Learning:
        7 boys. An enormous
                                                                                      The New Frontier
        amount of planning,
        energy, organization,                                                     in Elementary Education
        understanding, discipline
        and knowledge is re-                                                       A BCPVPA Academy
        quired to effectively plan                                                   co-sponsored by
        your instruction for each                                             Human Early Learning Partnership
        group.
                                                                                   and StrongStart BC
     •	 Focus on Results: After
        all, the main purpose
                                                                                   February 4 and 5 • Vancouver
        of same-sex classes is to
                                                                                 http:www.bcpvpa.bc.ca for details

                                                  December 07 • Adminfo • 8
Community/Stories of teaching




           The heart of teaching:
                        A pedagogy of community in the classroom

                                                   by Margaret Paxton




  A
           s a teacher                                                                             groups,” but worked col-
           of 12- and                                                                              laboratively. From John-
           13-year-olds,                                                                           son and Johnson (2004)
I am always looking for                                                                            I learned that since 1896,
ways to work smarter, not                                                                          more than 600 studies
harder. Early in my ca-                                                                            have been conducted on
reer, I would leave school                                                                         cooperative,      competi-
at the end of the day                                                                              tive and individualistic
exhausted, dragging my                                                                             learning, with the results
bag marking to the car,                                                                            indicating that achieve-
dreading a long night of                                                                           ment, quality of relation-
ticking and x-ing papers                  teaching and find new ways to make                       ships and psychological
and projects. As well, too much of        learning matter to my students.            health all show gains when coopera-
my energy was being spent managing           My enthusiasm was buoyed by Dr.         tive learning is taught and positive in-
my students, trying to control their      Barrie Bennett, of OISE, who con-          terdependence created. They believe
behaviour, so that I could “teach.”       ducted a summer institute in North         that “humans are small group beings”
On occasion, I caught glimpses of a       Vancouver in 2004. In his text, Be-        and that “the social competencies
different way of practicing teaching      yond Monet: The artful science of in-      necessary for interacting effectively
and learning. I saw that there were       structional integration (2001), he and     with others are central to quality of
fragments of time in the school day       his co-author state, “Teachers are in-     family life, educational achievement,
when there was a hum of learning          volved in one of the most complex,         career success, psychological health,
and active engagement in the room,        demanding and important profes-            and creating a meaningful and fulfill-
when we were all working together         sions in the world – a profession          ing life” (p. 40). Johnson and John-
on something that really mattered         where changes emerge in the blink          son (2004) argue that cooperative
to everyone. It was what Csikszent-       of an eye … To respond to the ever-        community, constructive conflict
mihalyi describes as a state of flow:     increasing demands and complexity,         resolution and civic values are three
“joy, creativity, the process of total    teachers must be aware of and act on       essential conditions for social and
involvement with life” (1990, xi). In     the science within the art of teaching –   emotional learning (p. 41). My own
recognizing the potential of flow in      a challenging task” (p. 3).                experiences taught me that when
the classroom, I began to seek ways of       I craved a more creative practice,      these conditions are in place, at least
creating more of it. I realized I would   but also a more cooperative one, in        to some degree, the practice of teach-
need to change my own patterns of         which students did not just “work in       ing is less of a Sisyphean struggle, for
                                                     December 07 • Adminfo • 9
we are all engaged in pushing the rock      development days, we attempt to as- if they’re left to their own devices, my
up the mountain together.                   sess the needs of teachers and provide students’ choices will not be appro-
  Once community is established in a        in-service activities that will help to priate, and their decisions may not be
classroom, a remaining feat to accom-       strengthen and enhance their skills inclusive and kind. However, I have
plish is delivery of the curriculum. In     and knowledge. In the classroom, found that when given some struc-
his book, Schools of hope: a new agenda     how often do we take inventories of tures, guidelines and boundaries they
for school improvement (2003) Terry         the variety of strengths, weaknesses, inevitably solve problems in sound
Wrigley proposes a pedagogy of hope,        aptitudes and gifts of our students? and often creative ways.
in which, “curriculum is reshaped,          There are many activities that en-            When observing students working
remade, reborn, recoded in what we          hance students’ self-knowledge and in their groups, I noticed many ex-
do with kids in classrooms” (p. 92).        appreciation of others and the time amples of “care and affection” that I
He speaks of the importance of meta-        spent on these is paid back three-fold, know would not have occurred had
learning, or learning how to learn,         as students squabble and argue less, the students sat in rows. For example,
as superceding the prescribed cur-          and cooperate more.                        Carys helped Lindsay with her mul-
riculum. This fits with my desire to          Collective Effort: I found that tiplication, pre-empting an explosion
empower students, to give them the          my students are greatly motivated of frustration. James, a grade six boy,
confidence that they can learn what         and enjoy learning activities in which helped Donna, a girl in grade seven,
they need to learn, when they need to       we had a common goal. I have taught to find the circumference of a circle,
learn it, just as a castaway learns what    them some games that do not require allowing me to help other students
he needs to learn to survive.               much skill or fitness, but strategy and in need. Meagan helped Henry, from
  During my post-graduate stud-             thinking, such as Group Rock, Pa- Korea, with his spelling. She did this
ies, I have read widely on the topics       per, Scissors and Line Tag. The key spontaneously, without any prompt-
of community building, cooperative          to these games is that everyone must ing. I was in awe of my students’ com-
learning, multiple intelligence theory      cooperate and communicate for the mon acts of generosity and kindness.
and differentiated instruction. My          game to progress.
hope was to complete a project which        They must work
would help me to solidify the think-        together or it is not
ing/feeling or intuitive parts of my        fun for anyone.
practice with clarity of purpose and          Informality:
direction for myself as an ever-learn-      Gibbs describes the
ing professional, but also an authentic     state of informal-
research document which might be of         ity as existing when
interest to other teachers. In Discover-    “transactions      of
ing gifts in middle school: Learning in     value are based on
a caring culture called Tribes (2001),      consideration; care
Jeanne Gibbs cites the work of John         and affection take
McKnight, a professor of education          place spontaneous-
and social policy at North Western          ly” (p.82). Among
University. In an article published in      teachers, I believe,
the Utne Reader (1992), McKnight            there is often a fear
describes five indicators of commu-         that     informality
nity: capacity, collective effort, infor-   will lead to chaos.
mality, stories and celebration. These      I also feel that fear,
are the headings I employ to organize       especially when I
my “stories” of teaching.                   am attempting to
  Capacity: In my discussions with          relinquish      some
other administrators, we speak of-          control that I have
ten about building capacity in our          traditionally held
teachers. In planning professional          – to the students. I                  Our cartoonist is Rod Maclean, a former Surrey principal.
development opportunities and staff         sometimes fear that                    For a weekly cartoon email Rod at ramaclean@shaw.ca

                                             December 07 • Adminfo • 10
Frequent opportunities for practic-        making meaning.                               We all belong and despite our differ-
ing kindness are essential in a caring       Celebration: In functional com-             ences, we are equally important and
community of learners, in addition to      munities, people socialize, and in do-        deserving of respect.”
frequent opportunities for autonomy        ing so, “the line between work and               The greatest impediment to build-
and influence, and an emphasis on          play is blurred and the human nature          ing community in the classroom has
common purposes and ideals.                of everyday life becomes part of the          been time. It feels that there is too
   Stories: More than anything, my         way of work” (McKnight, p.90). Cel-           little time to accomplish everything
students loved stories, both from fic-     ebration, I have learned, is not merely       that I wanted to, both in the overt
tion and “real life.” Shared stories       about parties. I think it is more about       and covert curricula. I console myself
seemed to satisfy some deep need, some     reflection, and can happen many times         by rereading Terry Wrigley’s words in
raw hunger. When we had a few min-         a day. It is a ritual acknowledgement         Schools of Hope: “Curriculum is re-
utes before recess or lunchtime, they      of something important that has tak-          shaped, remade, reborn, recoded in
begged for a story. Sometimes I read to    en place. In the course of conducting         what we do with kids in classrooms.
them from my ancient, battered book        my research, I have found a number            Pedagogy re-mediates, frames and
of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Sometimes we       of ways to celebrate student learn-           rearticulates what will count as knowl-
simply share our own stories.              ing in the classroom. I cannot prove          edge in classrooms. So no matter how
   In An imaginative approach to teach-    that it has lead to greater academic          we theorize or “fix” the curriculum
ing (2005), Kieran Egan continues          achievement or improved test scores.          – either centrally or locally – it won’t
his discussion of teaching as story        I do believe it has served to heighten        make much difference if our pedagogy
telling. He writes, “The great power       the importance of social competency,          isn’t up to scratch.” (p. 92).
of stories, then, is that they perform     for I have observed evidence of in-              Like a pedagogy of hope, a pedagogy
two tasks at the same time. They are,      creased confidence and what Gibbs             of community seems to me to be not
first, very effective at communicating     describes as social competence, “trust        only reasonable, but an essential part
information in memorable form, and,        in others, perspective taking, sense          of school. My practice has changed
second, they can orient the hearers’       of personal identity, awareness of            dramatically since I began to teach
feelings about the information being       interdependence” sense of direction           with community in mind, to the point
communicated” (p.10). In explaining        and purpose” (1995, p.49). Through            that I do feel I am working smarter,
how successful teachers hook their         daily, small acts of celebration we           not harder, I am enjoying my students’
students into content through story-       are reinforcing what Chris Watkins            company, and I am finding my pro-
telling, Egan concludes, “Teachers         (2005) calls the “hallmarks of com-           fessional life more fulfilling. Through
who do find that emotional engage-         munity,” namely, agency, belonging,           emotional engagement with my stu-
ment typically find themselves ener-       cohesion and diversity. We are saying,        dents, and in allowing them choice in
gized rather than drained by the end       “Everyone can be successful at some-          and responsibility, I have witnessed the
of the day. And their classes have more    thing and we will acknowledge that            power of the creative, imaginative, and
children who are themselves imagina-       success. People can improve and we            compassionate potential that exists in
tively engaged, and that in turn ener-     will acknowledge that improvement.            every student.
gizes the teachers further” (p.215).       Margaret Paxton is vice-principal of Brackendale Elementary in the Howe
   Gibbs describes stories as “reflec-     Sound School District. She can be reached by email at mpaxt@sd48.bc.ca
tion upon individual and community         References for this article are available by emailing Richard Williams at rwil-
experiences (that) provide knowl-          liams@bcpvpa.bc.ca
edge about truth, relationships, and
future direction” (p. 82). More than
anything, the act of sharing of stories
helps to build community because it
requires all of the behaviours that en-                                  Cover art Our cover art this month is by
able people to function in a commu-                                      Hannah B. who is a grade one student at Ecole
nity: attentive listening, taking turns,                                 Marigold School (French immersion program) in
practicing restraint, participating,                                     Victoria. Our thanks to Hannah, Mme Mark,
respecting others ideas and opinions,                                    her teacher, and Elaine McVie, her principal, for
and most importantly for school:                                         submitting this work

                                                     December 07 • Adminfo • 11
Good news/The joy of diversity




                                 multi-culturalism
          Embracing Vancouver has students from 32 countries.
    Chartwell Elementary in West
      They speak 18 different languages. They know they are all connected.



                                                      by Leslie Dyson




                                                                                     each story is the key to each child’s
                                                                                     success.
                                                                                        The Malhotra family, coming
                                                                                     from a private school in Indonesia
                                                                                     five years ago, chose Chartwell over
                                                                                     a nearby private school. The mother,
                                                                                     Sangeeta, said that her husband talk-
                                                                                     ed to the principal beforehand and
                                                                                     was impressed with the philosophy of
                                                                                     the school.
                                                                                        The parents knew they’d made the
                                                                                     right decision by the end of their old-
                                                                                     est son’s first day at school. “My son
                                                                                     came out the door shouting ‘I love
                                                                                     Vancouver! I love Chartwell!’ (and) if
                                                                                     he’s settled, then we’re settled.”
                                                                                        Malhotra added, “It’s been fantas-
                                                                                     tic for us. Every effort is made to al-
                                                                                     low everyone’s differences and back-


  J
      ennifer Anderson, principal of       was seen as a positive thing and people   ground. They [the staff ] try very hard
      Chartwell Elementary School,         have really embraced it.” Anderson        and they’re very successful at allowing
      grew up in that school’s com-        described Chartwell as “a school that     the children to fit in effortlessly. Our
munity of West Vancouver and she’s         represents the global community.”         children thrive in this school.”
seen dramatic changes over the past          More than 50 per cent of the 270           One of the best features about the
25 years. “What’s been interesting in      students attending the kindergarten       school is the energy that goes into
Chartwell’s story is that it has evolved   to grade 7 school were born outside       making the other members of the
as the community and student popu-         of Canada, according to Judy Dun-         family welcome as well, she said.
lation changed. When I grew up, it         can, vice-principal. They come from          Malhotra credited Anderson and
was mostly Caucasian – certainly not       32 different countries and speak 18       the previous principal, Christy Whit-
the multicultural and diverse mix that     different languages. “Every student       ley, with setting the tone, “They be-
you see now. That change [in culture]      has a story,” she said. Getting to know   friend everyone very quickly. The ef-

                                                     December 07 • Adminfo • 12
fort starts on Day 1. The school puts on   enter a float every year in the West        Chartwell since 1983, said she’s seen
a welcome tea and has interpreters for     Vancouver Community Day Parade              a lot of progress at the school. “Social
Farsi-, Korean- and Mandarin-speak-        and hold an increasingly popular mul-       responsibility should be at the core
ing parents.” Other language groups        ticultural festival for the community in    for teachers and students. It’s always
are supported as the need arises.          the spring. Malhotra said the parents       been part of the [Chartwell] school
  The welcome to parents doesn’t end       bring a wealth of talent to this project.   culture but there wasn’t always specif-
there. The principal also offers morn-        The mother of two also acknowl-          ic vocabulary put to it. It’s just valu-
ing coffee meetings along with inter-      edged that the size of the school           ing kids and their backgrounds. The
preters for parents from the various       makes a big difference for students         kids know that they’re respected.”
language groups. They learn about          and their parents. Her oldest son             Duncan said her Chartwell experi-
the school’s educational philosophy,       came to Chartwell from a school of          ence taught her that she had to get to
discuss the difference in learning ap-     1,000 students.                             know her students well if she wanted
proaches in their own countries and           Anderson, who has been an admin-         them to be successful. She related one
ask questions about other issues that      istrator at the school for four years,      incident as an example. From all ap-
come up.                                   credits the staff. The highly col-          pearances, two students seemed to be
  Duncan agreed that the school has        laborative atmosphere is what drew          getting along well. One was from Ja-
made a special effort to reach out to      her to the job. “There’s a real ethic       pan, the other from Korea. It came
parents. This year, administrators         of care. They’re very professional          as a bit of shock to learn that the
decided to offer English-language          and engaged. There’s a lot of teacher       Korean-born student was carrying
classes for parents. They are popular      leadership.” Programs and activities        his parents’ animosity toward Japan
and give parents a chance to develop       designed to help students feel con-         stemming from Japan’s annexation
a social network too,” she said.           nected to their school, their teachers      of Korea in 1910. “It played out at
  It is no surprise to learn that          and their peers are being added and         school,” Duncan said.
Chartwell benefits from great parent       refined all the time.                         Staff also stress active witnessing.
participation. The school is able to          Teacher leader Patti Williams, at        News media reports about bullying




                                                     December 07 • Adminfo • 13
                                      son should not be seen as a response        is brought in to talk about that aspect
                                      to boredom. It is, however, a typical       of the Second World War. The his-
                                      symptom of the culture shock stage.         tory of racism in B.C. is the subject of
                                      Many of these students seek out sup-        another workshop. Students also en-
                                      port from other new immigrant chil-         gage in anti-racism role-playing with
                                      dren for a sense of belonging.              the help of high school students and
                                         Duncan and Williams call the next        practise making assertive responses to
                                      stage culture stress when some prob-        racist remarks. The North Shore Mul-
                                      lems of acculturation are solved while      ticultural Society later introduces the
                                      others continue. Students feel neither      children to many of the other “isms.”
                                      bound to their first culture nor fully         Recently, the conference organizers
gave greater urgency to this issue.   adapted to their new culture. This          encouraged students to explore the di-
Williams said former principal Whit-  confusing stage can last several years.     versity of learning styles. A brain spe-
ley presented the idea of the dough-     The final stage, integration, reflects   cialist was invited to talk to students
nut theory. While there may be a      acceptance of the new culture and           about how the brain functions and
dispute between two people, there     growing self-confidence.                    why people excel in different areas.
are others around who are watching.      The process isn’t usually neat and       They learned to value the wide range
Active witnessing requires those on   linear and everyone moves through the       of interests and abilities in themselves
the outside to help solve the problem phases at different rates, Duncan said.     and others. “Everybody is a star,” said
or find someone else who can. “This      The importance of understanding          Williams, “They recognize that ev-
is something we’ve really worked on.” each child’s story led to another proj-     eryone has his or her own gifts.”
Williams said.                        ect. The school is publishing a Book           The school always looks to core Ca-
   Duncan and Williams created a      of Hope. It’s a collection of stories       nadian values, such as respect, respon-
teaching tool to explain to parents   that the students have written about        sibility, honesty, fairness, inclusion
and other educators about the issues  their parents’ and grandparents’ resil-     and tolerance, as guideposts. “There
facing children from different cul-   iency in overcoming barriers in their       is a sense that this is the way we op-
tures and other parts of the world.   journey to integration in Canadian          erate,” said Anderson. If a problem
“It sums up all the things we need to society. “Some are incredibly tragic        comes up between students, parents
do to help these students in the ac-  and some are very exciting too,” said       or staff, “this is what brings us back.”
culturation process,” Duncan said.    Duncan.                                        A thematic approach to virtues,
“You have to look behind the exter-      The school has also had success          family grouping activities that focus
nal appearances.” (Their presentation with a Diversity Conference held ev-        on particular cultures, regular class-
can be seen at http://www.insinc.com/ ery two years for their middle school       room meetings and a restorative jus-
bcpvpa/20070124.)                     students. Regular programming is put        tice model also instill those values.
   They noted that typically new Ca-  on hold for five days so that students         Last year, in an effort to have stu-
nadians experience four stages in their
                                      can delve into a range of topics.           dents recognize their roles as global
journey to integration. The first is     New Canadian parents at the school       citizens, the school brought in the
the honeymoon phase. It’s similar to  are invited to talk about the adjust-       Honduran ambassador and decided
the joie de vivre you experience when ments their families had to make            to raise funds for orphaned children
you’re on holiday in another country. when they first arrived. This helps         in that country. Grade 6 and 7 stu-
However, it doesn’t last. In fact, it’s
                                      students appreciate the struggles that      dents sold crafts made by children
replaced by the most difficult period some of their classmates are experi-        at the orphanage and helped the dis-
culture shock.                        encing and builds empathy.                  trict raise $10,000. “Basic needs are
   Duncan said some teachers don’t       Staff members were surprised to          looked after for most of the students
realize the pressure put on students  learn that many students knew noth-         here,” said Williams, “but they know
from home and school. Overwhelm-      ing about the Holocaust so a survivor       there are others less fortunate.”
ing burdens can lead to fatigue and
disengagement. Putting their heads Leslie Dyson is a regular contributor to Adminfo. She can be reached by email
on their desks in the middle of a les- at dyson@uniserve.com

                                                December 07 • Adminfo • 14
1
                      I grew up with the belief
                       that regular homework
          st
                           would boost my
                       academic achievement
                      and that it was good for
                            me and would
                             prepare me for
                           the “real” world.
                         I carried this belief,
                                                                           W
                                                                                       hile driv-
                       instilled by my parents,                                        ing     to
                                                                                       school I
                     into my teaching practice                            happened to catch a
                                                                          CBC interview with
                        and dutifully provided                            Alfie Kohn. Kohn is a
                                                                          prominent education-
                      homework assignments                                al researcher and on
          person        for my own students.
                                                                          this day he was shar-
                                                                          ing his recent book,
                                                                          The Homework Myth:
                                                                          Why Our Kids Get Too
                                                                          Much of a Bad Thing.
                                                                          Kohn challenges the
   Lori Driussi,                                                          commonly held be-
                                  liefs that homework reinforces learning and teaches re-
 a principal from                 sponsibility. He claims that such beliefs fail to pass the test
 Burnaby, shares                  of research, logic or experience. As an elementary school
                                  teacher and principal my interest was piqued as I have of-
   her thoughts                   ten questioned the benefits of homework.
— and questions —                    Like many, I grew up with the belief that regular home-
                                  work would boost my academic achievement and besides
about the value of                that, it was good for me. Working independently and
    homework.                     meeting deadlines would prepare me for the “real” world. I
                                  carried this belief, instilled by my parents, into my teaching
                                  practice and for many years dutifully provided homework
                                  assignments for my own students.
                                     Feedback from parents was mixed. Some appreciated that
                                  their child had something to do besides watch TV or play
                     December 07 • Adminfo • 15
                                                                Lori Driussi reviews some class work with students at Parkcrest.

                                                               have also read that          homework develops positive
                                                               regular homework             non-academic skills like time
                                                               sessions guarantee           management, self-discipline
                                                               improved academic            or independence.
                                                               achievement. Some          Why then do parents, educators and
                                                               research states that    even students continue to believe that
                                                               homework is of          homework is an important and valu-
                                                               no benefit at all at    able part of school success? Kohn sug-
                                                               any age. One pa-        gests that parents and educators are
                                                               per claimed that        holding on to outdated ideas about
                                                               “greater family har-    learning. For example: the more in-
computer games. Others thought the        mony and equity would be achieved            formation we put into students, the
interactive homework provided an          by eliminating homework altogeth-            more learning will happen; and, pro-
opportunity to talk with their child.     er.” Perhaps of more value to students       viding homework will keep children
Sometimes they complained that            would be increased family time, din-         busy and out of trouble.
there was no time for homework be-        ner table conversation, physical activ-          Kohn thinks that research can im-
tween soccer, dance and dinner. And,      ity and the opportunity to engage in         pact our practice only if “we know
at other times they expressed concern     imaginative play. My own experience          it exists, understand it correctly, and
that homework was a terrible struggle     tells me that the purpose and type of        take it seriously.” Research is often
leading to frustration and even tears     homework assigned determines its             ignored when it doesn’t support our
for parent and child.                     value.                                       commonly held beliefs or support
   Student feedback about homework           In a recent article, The Truth About      our personal experiences. It is some-
assignments was also mixed. They          Homework: Needless Assignments Per-          times ignored when not understood
liked it better when the homework         sist Because of Widespread Misconcep-        or when causal relationships are in-
was interactive, for example: inter-      tions About Learning, Kohn questions         correctly assumed. Students who
view a family member to learn about       our basic acceptance of homework as          regularly complete homework tend
your ancestry. They enjoyed activities    beneficial and finds holes in much of        to do well in school. However, these
that required viewing things in their     the past research that supports this         students are also likely to have a host
home to provide critique or make          view. He claims “decades of inves-           of other factors contributing to their
comparisons. For example: compare         tigation have failed to turn up any          success, such as a stable home life, a
the nutritional information on three      evidence that homework is beneficial         love of reading and parental support.
different cereal boxes or watch a half-   for students in elementary school.”          As our awareness and understanding
hour TV program noticing specific         His extensive review of the research,        of learning deepens and we are ex-
ad features during the commercials        summarized in Abusing Research: The          posed to more educational research,
or product placement within the pro-      Study of Homework and Other Exam-            our practices must be refined to ben-
gram. They did not like anything that     ples, indicates:                             efit all learners.
smacked of “practicing skills,” for              •	 there is no evidence                  Listening to Kohn on CBC, read-
example: a page in the math text, a            showing a causal relationship           ing a few articles and considering my
grammar worksheet or spelling lists.           between the amount of                   own experiences, I find myself believ-
   The research about homework                 homework completed and                  ing, more and more, that one size
value is conflicting. I have read that         academic performance at the             does not fit all. A cliché statement,
homework extends classroom learn-              elementary level and                    I know. However, not every student
ing, builds study habits and nurtures            •	 there is no evidence               will benefit from the same type or
independence and responsibility. I             to support the belief that              amount of homework. It seems that
        At other times parents expressed concern that homework was a terrible struggle
                    leading to frustration and even tears for parent and child
                                                    December 07 • Adminfo • 16
homework serves students best when              •	 an interactive component          to see the subject of homework, its
it is assigned judiciously and consid-        with parental support.                 benefits and its shortcomings, com-
ers the following:                          These are criteria I can use when as-    ing up more and more in the media
       •	 a clear purpose with            signing homework and when discuss-         lately. Parents and educators are no
     plans for immediate                  ing the benefits, or lack thereof, with    longer taking for granted the fact that
     classroom follow-up,                 parents, students and colleagues.          homework is beneficial and must not
       •	 individual student                It is interesting and encouraging        be questioned.
     capability and family                Lori Driussi is principal of Parkcrest Elementary in Burnaby. She can be reached
     circumstances and                    by email at ldriussi@shaw.ca

(Ted Whiteland, continued from page 19)   ment research. The evidence that             I would also recommend the fol-
StrongStartBC centres lead early          the quality of early experiences plays     lowing websites http://www.council-
learning activities to help children      a significant role in children’s social,   ecd.ca and http://www.earlychilddevel-
grow in a multitude of ways and to        emotional, intellectual and physical       opment.ca to those who are interested
become comfortable in a school-like       development continues to grow. So          in learning more about the value of
environment. StrongStartBC centres        many of those critical pathways are        Early Child Development and the
are located in schools with available     established in the first three years of    significant role that they might play
space, thus turning the challenge of      a child’s life, everything from the cen-   in fostering its growth. I would also
declining enrolment into an oppor-        tral auditory system to language and       invite all readers to consider attend-
tunity.                                   emotional control. This opportunity        ing the Early Learning Academy on
  So, why is all of this important to     to lead communities with embrac-           February 4 and 5, 2008. Informa-
principals and vice-principals?           ing positive approaches through such       tion on this worthwhile professional
  Simply put, it is to our collec-        programs as StrongStartBC is a proac-      development activity is available on
tive advantage to promote the un-         tive strategy to increase the individual   the BCPVPA website (http://www.
derstanding of early brain develop-       child’s readiness for school.              bcpvpa.bc.ca).




                                                    December 07 • Adminfo • 17
                   The                                                                      I t is 4 pm and I am looking
                                                                                              through my office window
                                                                                           over the front yard. It is raining,
                control                                                                    the last of the leaves are blowing
                                                                                           down and darkness is coming on.

                 factor                                                                    There is something melancholy
                                                                                           about fall, a little like getting to
                                                                                           the end of a career and thinking
                       by                                                                  about retirement. For now, for
             Vince Devries                                                                 me, it means an end to the raking
                                                                                           and carting of leaves to the back
                                                                                          yard, which fortunately slopes
                                           down. Of course, I would not be living here if I did not enjoy gathering,
   Vince Devries is retired after many
     years as a pension and financial
                                           pruning, repairing an arbour or cleaning up a flowerbed. When it is all done,
          consultant with the BCPVPA.      I sit in our sunroom, sip a Scotch, look down over the back yard and mull on
He still prepares, for a fee, retirement   the yard work ahead. When you are in control, retirement can be good.
financial plans for BCPVPA members.           Last issue I mentioned that on a trip North, staying at the Logpile Lodge
  Vince can be contacted by email at       near Smithers, we ran into the local BCPVPA chapter conducting a workshop.
                 vincedevries@shaw.ca
         or by phone at 250-245-0907.
                                           I saw many familiar faces and now, several weeks later, I have an invitation to
                                           lead a Smithers workshop and to prepare a number of Financial Retirement
                                           Plans. I like doing workshops, especially if some younger members come out.
                                              Doing the right things today, can save money and maximize both your
                                           current and retirement income. Let me give you an example. A member makes
                                           an annual lump sum payment of $5,000 to the mortgage. Paying a mortgage
                                           off ahead of schedule and before retirement saves interest and increases your
                                           disposable retirement income. But this member also has enough RRSP
                                           deduction room and his spouse’s projected retirement income will be low
                                           (which means a marginal tax rate of 21% in retirement). If this member pays
                                           $5,000 into a spousal RRSP in his spouse’s name, he will receive a refund of
                                           $2,050 resulting from his current marginal tax rate of 41%. Those funds can
                                           be applied to the mortgage. The couple now has $5,000 in an RRSP (accruing
                                           tax-sheltered income), and those funds can be withdrawn in retirement at
                                           (her) 21% tax rate. The $5,000 will grow much faster in a tax-sheltered
                                           account until withdrawn. The couple will also have the interest savings from
                                           the $2,050 reduction of the mortgage balance. If you project this scenario
                                           over several years, this second strategy puts them well ahead financially.
                                              These are the things I look for when doing a Financial Retirement Plan and
                                           when delivering a workshop. I also talk about getting just enough life insurance
                                           coverage at the least cost, borrowing just enough money for less, investing
                                           savings using some simple Internet tools and avoiding the poor financial
                                           advisors and the multitude of dreadful mutual funds that are out there.
                                              I keep hearing from members: “I don’t have enough time to look after my
                                           financial affairs.” So they give their money to one, accept insurance advice from
                                           another, have their tax returns done by a third, buy a car at 0% financing from
                                           a fourth and forget to make out a will. Yet, a small investment in time to find
                                           the Internet tools and a few hours per month to check on things, will vastly
                                           improve their finances and will give them that important “I am in control”
                                           feeling. Because if you are not in control, at home or at work, life can be misery.
                                           Believe me, I have been there and what I share with you is based on my own
                                           experience, both before and after my retirement, here in Ladysmith.

                                                     December 07 • Adminfo • 18
Early childhood development
and the StrongStart initiative
The BCPVPA’s executive director, Ted Whiteland,
champions the benefits of early child development
“What we envision will be a first “tier” program for early child
development, as important as the elementary and secondary
school system and the post-secondary education system. The
system should consist of community-based centres operating
at the local level within a provincial framework …”
                                       M. N. McCain and J. F. Mustard
           Reversing the Real Brain Drain: The Early Years Study (1999)



  W       ith the introduction of
          StrongStartBC programs in
this province, both the public and
                                           by the World Bank (Young, M.E.
                                           2002. From Early Child Development
                                           to Human Development, Washington:
                                                                                    volved with early child development
                                                                                    is the importance of providing par-
                                                                                    ents the opportunity to gather in a
professional eye are beginning to fo-      World Bank). In this book, the au-       one-stop location where they can
cus on the benefits of early interven-     thors emphasized the importance of       interact with other parents, children
tions on the long-term growth of our       tier one of human development (Ear-      and professional staff from a variety
youngest and often most vulnerable.        ly Child Development) for human          of service providers. These centres are
To fully appreciate just how impor-        development. The Dutch economist,        designed to support what we have
tant this initiative is to the growth of   Jacques van der Gaag in his work         learned about early brain develop-
our population, one must understand        for the World Bank, has emphasized       ment in such areas as problem based
the underlying research.                   that early child development sets the    play, parenting, resource choice, pre-
  A critical 1999 report written by        foundation for learning, behaviour       natal and postnatal supports, and nu-
M. N. McCain and J. F. Mustard for         and health and helps build social        trition, just to note a few.
the province of Ontario entitled The       capital and equality, all of which are     Similarly, in BC, StrongStartBC
Early Years Study focused on Ontario,      crucial for prosperity and reducing      centres target preschool-age children
but this hallmark has had considera-       poverty in the developed and devel-      readiness for kindergarten. By offer-
ble influence in Canada and other re-      oping world.                             ing a free drop-in program for par-
gions of the world in that it created a      One of the critical undertakings       ent or caregivers and their children,
renewed awareness of the importance        that is recommended by those in-                             (continues, page 17)
of early child development (ECD) in
relation to human development.
  If one were to question the eco-          BCPVPA Management
nomic value of early interventions
in the development of the child, the                                                                   Ted Whiteland
2002 sequel, The Early Years, Three                                      Executive Director twhiteland@bcpvpa.bc.ca
Years Later From Early Child Devel-                                                                  Sharon Cutcliffe
                                            Legal and Contractual Services, Student Leadership sharon@bcpvpa.bc.ca
opment to Human Development: Ena-
                                                                                                      Gaila Erickson
bling Communities, would certainly                                       Professional Programs gaila@bcpvpa.bc.ca
support the earlier publication with                                                                    Ian Kennedy
specific references from experts across                            Legal and Contractual Services ian@bcpvpa.bc.ca
many disciplines, including global                                                                      Carol Powell
                                                                                        Finance carol@bcpvpa.bc.ca
economics.
                                                                                                    Richard Williams
  One such reference found in the                                           Communications rwlliams@bcpvpa.bc.ca
latest publication was from a book
                                                     December 07 • Adminfo • 19
BCPVPA Scholarship Winners
honouring academic achievement and student leadership


                                                     Children of members
                                                                                Andrew Boss SD#43 Terry Fox Secondary
                                                                        Clark Dudzik SD#34 Robert Bateman Secondary
                                                                         Jacqueline Koot SD#37 South Delta Secondary
                For many years,                                        Brittany Kosty SD#36 Clayton Heights Secondary
              BCPVPA members                                            Brooke Kosty SD#36 Clayton Heights Secondary
                                                                                Lindsay Lee SD#22 WL Seaton Secondary
     have generously supported                                                Michael Richmond SD#78 Hope Secondary
               the Association’s                                                  Terry Savage SD#74 Ashcroft Secondary
                                                                             Jessica Schoen SD#73 Valleyview Secondary
   Student Scholarship Program.                              Yumi (Janna) Simonson SD#34 Mount Boucherie Secondary
                                                                    Marion Stupich SD#68 Cedar Community Secondary

     This year, BCPVPA members                       First Nations
 awarded $19,500 in scholarships                                              Danis Bachek SD#82 Caledonia Secondary
                                                                          Brooke Pighin SD#70 Alberni District Secondary
  to the following students who
        graduated in June 2007.                      Non-members
                                                                            Darian Arman SD#44 Handsworth Secondary
                                                                          Michelle Beaudry SD#08 L.V. Rogers Secondary
              Eleven children of                                           Gia Bogetti SD#74 South Kamloops Secondary
                                                                           Karla Carreras SD#48 Howe Sound Secondary
BCPVPA members were awarded                                                   Daniel Chow SD#41 Byrne Creek Secondary
        scholarships along with                                         Alexander Cole SD#74 David Stoddart Secondary
                                                                             Michael Decker SD#05 Sparwood Secondary
   two scholarships awarded to                                           April Duthiel SD#50 Queen Charlotte Secondary
          First Nations students                                                    Quinn Harris SD#73 Sa-Hali Secondary
                                                                                     Adriel Lam SD#45 Sentinel Secondary
   and 26 scholarships awarded                                         Sarah Logan SD#70, Alberni Secondary Secondary
              to other students.                                         Rebecca MacLeod SD#08 L. V. Rogers Secondary
                                                                          Laura McAllister SD#34 W. J. Mouat Secondary
                                                                                Alison McLean SD#61 Oak Bay Secondary
                      In addition,                                         Gregory McLeod SD#37 Burnsview Secondary
                                                                        Meagan Moi SD#82 Caledonia Senior Secondary
 four scholarships were awarded                                               Kevin Morse SD#43 Charles Best Secondary
              by members of the                                            Duncan Peterson SD#68 Dover Bay Secondary
                                                                     Amie Pendleton-Knoll SD#36 Earl Marriott Secondary
         BC Retired Principals’ &                                          Sameer Phadkar SD#43 Centennial Secondary
     Vice-Principals’ Association.                                               Thomas Riekki SD#63 Stelley’s Secondary
                                                                             Lyse Rowledge SD#36 Tamanawis Secondary
                                                                           Marisa Sequin SD#35 Langley Fine Arts School
                                                                            Lauren Sherwood SD#53 Osoyoos Secondary
                                                                         Morgan Vander-Bee SD#71 M.R. Isfeld Secondar
                                                                              Jeff Wang SD#41 Burnaby South Secondary

                The BCPVPA would like to thank
           the scholarship screening committee,      Scholarships provided by the BC Retired PVPA
                                which consists of                         Jenna Angle SD#83 Salmon Arm Secondary
                        Ted Baxter, Ben Cutcliffe,                    Meagan Blyth SD#73 South Kamloops Secondary
       Karam Gopaulsingh and Wally Richardson,                              Emily Gauvin SD#42 Westview Secondary
                four retired secondary principals.                      Amira Tmar SD#43 Dr. Charles Best Secondary