Photo Credit: Steele Curry Grade 12 Student
Dear Carson Graham Community,
Wow! It's almost the end of May and it's difficult to believe that there is a little over a month left in the school year. It has been a busy Spring and this blog not only highlights a little of what has been going on at Carson Graham but also serves to provide information about some important issues. For regular updates, be sure to follow us on Twitter @suzette_dohm and @carsonsecondary.
I encourage you to discuss with your child the idea of finishing the year on a positive note. It is essential that students are able to balance their time between school, sleep and all of their other activities. One topic that consistently arises in these discussions is that of screen time. Many parents, staff and, for that matter, students have told me of the desire to instill in teens a balanced digital media lifestyle. I came across the following website that you might find interesting. It includes tips on navigating social media and screen time: https://screenstrong.com.
As mentioned in my recent letter, I would like to encourage you to attend the upcoming PAC meeting on Wednesday, May 22nd at 7pm in the school library. The PAC works with administration and staff to support students and build the Carson community. It raises money, oversees the gaming grant and votes on various funding initiatives that have a direct impact on our children. Some of these items include budget spending for field trips and workshops, special performances at the school and grounds and classroom enhancements.
Please note that the potential dissolution of the Carson Graham PAC will be an agenda item at Wednesday's PAC Meeting. You see, the PAC has barely made quorum at the last two meetings. The PAC receives about $30,000 a year of gaming funds but, without quorum, the money cannot be used. We only need a minimum of 7 parents to attend each PAC meeting so that quorum is reached but obviously want many more to attend. It is a good way to keep you and your family informed about what is happening at the school.
Vaping (Suzette Dohm- Principal)
Many have described teenage vaping as an epidemic and it is an issue that Carson Graham, the North Vancouver School District and Canada as a whole are dealing with. What started as a product meant to help adults quit smoking is increasingly finding its way into the hands of high school students, who may know little about the long-term effects and harm it can cause. Vaping is now the vice of choice for teens.
The rate of high-school students who use vaping products has gone up significantly in Canada over the past several years. According to Health Canada’s 2016-17 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, one in three students in grades 10 to 12 had tried an e-cigarette. The concern is that many of the students who do not smoke are picking up vaping and may become dependent long-term users with very likely negative long-term health effects.
I would like to draw your attention specifically to the liquid “juice” that is poured into the “vape”, heated and inhaled. In simple terms, there are 3 different types of “juice”. The first is a straight glycerol blend that is generally considered the least harmful to inhale. The second (and most common from what students have told me) includes the addition of different levels of nicotine. The third includes the addition of different levels of THC (the chemical compound in marijuana). All of these items can be found in many specialty stores on Lonsdale Avenue and across the lower mainland and ordered online. A vape can be purchased anywhere from $40 to $400, and the juice from $7 to $70.
Consistent with provincial and federal legislation, the Carson Graham and North Vancouver School District Codes of Conduct classify vaping products in the same category as smoking products. This means that vaping is not allowed on school grounds or in any school buildings and that students caught vaping will face consequences. Please note that some students are choosing to vape in the bathrooms but it is becoming increasingly difficult to know when students are vaping. Earlier models that produced large clouds of white vapour have now been replaced with versions that emit short puffs that quickly dissipate.
Earlier this Spring, the School District hosted Key Note Speaker: Dr. Milan Khara for a Community Conversation on Youth & Vaping. The evening event was led by Dr. Khara and included a panel discussion with students, parents and North Vancouver School District Administration. To view the video, please go to this Vimeo Link. Additionally, as mentioned in my last blog, Health Canada’s Consider the Consequences vaping awareness tour will be visiting our school on May 24th and will be educating many students with an engaging maze activity. We encourage you to have conversations with your child in advance and after the event. To learn more, and for more information and resources, please click here.
I hope that you find this information helpful. I would ask that you have a conversation with your child and encourage them to choose healthy options and behaviours. Vaping is a growing trend among adolescents and we must all take a part in educating our teens about this issue.
Library Lego Resource (Michelle Davis- Teacher Librarian)
“The Maker Movement is an innovative way to re-imagine education.”
~ Pepplar and Bender
This past year, through the generous donation of our school’s PAC, we were able to add Lego and a Lego wall as library resources. This new resource marked the beginning of our school Library Makerspace at Carson Graham. Makerspaces promote hands-on learning by engaging students with making innovative products to share their understanding. It didn’t take long for teachers to devise creative means to incorporate Lego into their assignments. From representations of literature in English class and historical explorations in Social Studies to DNA models and animated Lego videos in Science classes, Lego was utilized across a number of subject areas this year. Students found these projects highly engaging while teachers valued their interactions with students as they created. As Darren Wong, a Carson teacher attests:
“The Maker's Space was a powerful experience because it allowed me to evaluate the process of students creating work instead of simply evaluating the end product. By being present during the process, I could have authentic conversations with students about their understanding as they worked through their projects. This created an organic learning experience where I saw the path their learning was taking and I could shape that journey as I thought necessary."
We look forward to further developing our Carson Library Makerspace and Maker programming next year.
Graduation Numeracy Assessment (GNA) for all Grade 10 Students (Suzette Dohm- Principal)
Part of the New BC Graduation Program requires ALL students to write the new Provincial Numeracy Assessment prior to graduation. The assessment will include numeracy tasks embedded in real world situations. While the previous Grade 10 Mathematics examinations focused only on the content within the Grade 10 Mathematics curriculum, the new Numeracy Assessment focuses more on students applying mathematical reasoning, understanding and insight across areas of learning.
The numeracy assessment is a graduation requirement for all students and may be used by students after graduation as evidence of their numeracy skills. It provides system-level information on performance in the area of numeracy and helps inform decision-making at all levels of the school system (school, district, student, province).
The numeracy assessment measures numeracy skills developed over the course of a student's K-10 education. The assessments will ask critical-thinking and problem-solving questions within relevant contexts and scenarios.
The numeracy assessments have been developed by practicing educators from across the province and are informed by post-secondary experts. The Carson Graham teachers are well versed and are preparing students to be successful in all aspects of this assessment and in the New BC Curriculum.
A student’s overall result will be reported on a four-category proficiency scale on their transcript and their performance will not affect their final Math 10 or 11 mark. Each category on the proficiency scale will have a corresponding description indicating what skills the student has demonstrated to attain at that level. Student results on the numeracy assessments will appear as a stand-alone item on their transcript. Assessment results are one piece of evidence of a student’s achievement for use in a post-secondary or employment setting.
Students will be able to rewrite the numeracy assessment.
All Carson Graham Grade 10 students will write the numeracy assessment on June 24 and 25th. This is an online assessment and students will be scheduled for assessment sittings.
For more information about the Numeracy Assessment, please see https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/assessment/numeracy-assessment.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum Conference (Suzette Dohm- Principal)
On April 26th and 27th, I had the opportunity to present at the IB Global Continuum Conference, co-hosted by the North Vancouver School District, the West Vancouver School District and the Independent Mulgrave School. Although this unique union is nothing new as we were first recognized in 2016 by the BC Ministry of Education for our collaboration and innovation around the International Baccalaureate (IB) approaches to learning skills, exposing ourselves at a global level was a different story.
The IB Coordinators (Liz Thornhill and Jennifer Tieche) and I had the opportunity to host almost 30 educators at Carson on the Friday afternoon. We started with a presentation outlining how we implement both the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP) at Carson. We were then able to tour the group around the school and into classrooms. People were amazed at how well our teachers and students were deconstructing, teaching, learning and assessing all aspects of the IB curriculum within their subject areas. In fact, we have received many follow-up requests to continue the Carson conversation with educators across the world. I am so proud of our school!
The Secret Path Film Presentation (Steph Maki- Indigenous Support Teacher)
On April 29, 2019, the NVSD Indigenous Education Team hosted a community screening of the film, The Secret Path, at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. The Downie Wenjack Legacy Schools Project is a program that provides “opportunity for classrooms/schools to lead the movement in awareness of the history and impact of the Residential School System on Indigenous Peoples” (downiewenjack.ca). The North Vancouver School District was honoured and greatly humbled that Mike Downie, from the Downie Wenjack Legacy Foundation was in attendance for this special evening. The NVSD Indigenous Education team believes that through three pathways of education: students, staff and community, that a greater understanding of the truth and the shared responsibility towards reconciliation.
The evening event was well attended with 576 in the audience, including many Carson staff, students and community members. The evening began with opening remarks from many District staff who all shared about professional and personal growth and understandings of Indigenous history and the impacts of residential schools.
Throughout the evening, students and community members also shared personal stories and song. Sempulyan, Stewart Gonzales, Squamish Nation, an Indian Residential School Survivor, shared his personal experiences of attending both Indian Day School and Indian Residential School. Stewart’s words were powerful, impactful and deeply moving. The Carson Graham Choir shared the Coast Salish Anthem and Oh Canada, while Mountainside student, Emma Jeffrey, sang two original songs. The Windsor Choir sang the Tragically Hip song, Ahead by A Century and The Secret Path.
Mike Downie, from the Downie Wenjack Legacy Project also shared his thoughts and personal experiences with The Secret Path and moving forward with his brother Gord Downie’s vision for a better community and country who understand and acknowledge the history and impacts of residential schools and are taking action.
There are currently six schools participating in the Downie Wenjack Legacy Project. École Windsor Secondary, Norgate-Xwemélch’stn, Ns7e’yxnitm la Tel:’wet Westview, Carisbrooke, École Sherwood Park and Ridgeway Elementary. Carson has been invited to join this group for next year.
French 10... and Food! (Lucas Mann- Teacher)
Students in Language Acquisition French 10 participated in an interactive and cultural workshop on crêpe making. At the end of their unit studying food adaptations and food sustainability, students participated in a workshop led by a professional Francophone chef from Les Petits Chef. This interactive workshop not only gave students information about crêpes, it also showed students the proper method by a professional chef trained in France. The authentic experience gave the students an appreciation for an authentic experience using the language skills they have acquired. All students left with a happy tummy and a new understanding of crêpes.
The Importance of Holocaust Education (Lauren Fishman- Grade 10 Student)
When it came around the time to pick a topic for the Personal Project, I wanted to find a topic that I would be personally interested in. After visiting my grandfather, an escapee of Nazi Germany and being given old war documents and records, I decided that doing a project on his life would be worthwhile and fun. I decided to create a historical documentary about his personal experience during the war. I only knew a small amount of information on the Holocaust and how Jews were persecuted before the project and my grandfather was never that open about it with my cousins and me. Luckily, he was very involved with public speaking and giving interviews about the Holocaust, so by using those materials, I was able to complete my project and research. Many people, including myself, looked at the Holocaust as more of a big picture event in history. Seeing my grandfather’s personal story showed me that every small detail of the war could affect a person’s life. My grandfather escaped from Germany to England when he was young without his parents and stayed with a foster family until the end of the war. He reunited with his family 5 years later after they survived a concentration camp in the Czech Republic. Looking closely at the events that occurred in his life, I didn’t realize that he went through his formative years without his parents who he was barely in contact with and didn’t know were safe or not. My perspective completely changed from looking at the Holocaust as an event in history to an event that changed the course of a person’s life.
On April 24, the grade elevens and grade tens including myself invited to attend a Holocaust Symposium hosted by Carson Graham and the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre which also had a speaker who was a witness of the genocide. The presentations gave information of the genocide of the Holocaust along with a timeline of that period in history. I already knew the basics of the history. However, I learned new insights. The historian who presented, Dr Lauren Faulkner Rossi, taught about the beginnings of anti-Semitic actions in Europe along with propaganda. These were parts of the Holocaust I did not know about before. Since I studied the events surrounding my grandfather’s story to a large extent, I did not look at the other parts of the Holocaust so having a clear presentation opened my eyes to the other parts of genocide I was not aware of. This was a unique experience because many witnesses and survivors of the Holocaust are no longer living or have memory, so we were lucky to hear his story firsthand. The second presenter, Serge Haber, was a witness to the massacres that took place in Eastern Europe. His story that followed him escaping Europe to finally ending up in Montreal and then Vancouver also was something that my peers and I found interesting. He also talked about his struggle with Communism in Romania which was intriguing. My grandfather also had to leave his home and ended up in Montreal so that part of his story I felt a connection to. The presentation was educational for my classmates and me and exposed a part of history that is important to learn about.
Work Experience: The Year in Review (Work Experience Facilitator- Holly Castle)
With the school year fast approaching, there are so many accomplishments worthy of significant praise that highlight the hard work, dedication, and ambition of our Carson students enrolled in Work Experience, a Grade 12 elective course, available to students in Grade 10, 11, and Grade 12. I congratulate all our Work Experience students on their placements, and am pleased to share the following success stories:
The NVSD has a long-standing partnership with the RCMP, and has a vigorous academy dedicated to youth, whom aspire to a career in law enforcement. This year, Carson was represented by work experience student, Adam Frost - a grade 12 student with incredible commitment at obtaining his goal as being a future RCMP.
The Academy was a gruelling 8 day undertaking, not for the faint of heart. 4:00am morning drills; late evening squad drills, and classroom time in-between rounded out the experience that provides the students with hands-off, real-life scenarios, and prepares them for a life of crime prevention; community partnerships, and life-long friendships with like-minded youth.
Upon returning to school, Adam expressed to me that “attending the Academy was the BEST experience of his life”! I look forward to seeing Adam achieve his post-secondary goals after completing schooling in Law Enforcement, and continuing on towards becoming a RCMP. Way to go, Adam!
Synthesis Design Inc.:
A passion to create, design, and implement ideas to “pen & paper” are just a few ways to describe the motivation & drive that fuels Work Experience students, Pablo Esquivel (grade 12), and Rodrigo Ortiz Ochoa (grade 11), and their ambitions of becoming Architects. Enter Synthesis Design - - a talented and dedicated design team, with North Shore roots, whose collaborative nature, fast-paced and edgy approach to the design world has earned them top-billing in their industry. After speaking with Synthesis Design Founder & Design Principal, Curtis Krahn, I was able to arrange for Pablo and Rodrigo to interview for an internship placement. The original concept was to select only 1 candidate for the role, but after giving convincing interviews, both Pablo and Rodrigo were successful in obtaining 6 month internships; providing them with university level experience and learning from the expertise of a team grounded in giving back to the next generation of artists, designers, and acclaimed architects. The student’s internship concluded with a final presentation of their design concepts, presented to the Synthesis Design team, myself, and the North Shore News.
Since completion of their placements, grade 12 student, Pablo Esquivel has confirmed his acceptance into the prestigious Emily Carr Institute of Design, where he will continue to challenge himself as an Artist, and work towards his goal of being an Architect. Grade 11 student, Rodrigo Ortiz Ochoa will be returning to his home town of Cancun, Mexico at the end of this school year, and will look forward to graduating high school next year with the powerful knowledge he gained from his placement, which will no doubt, be instrumental in his career path in the field of Architecture.
An online article was published by the North Shore News, highlighting the students' final presentation: https://www.nsnews.com/community/carson-students-design-dream-homes-at-synthesis-1.23810439
The PAC Corner (PAC Chair- Cheryl D. Mitchell)
On behalf of our school’s Parents Advisory Council (PAC), of which you are members as parents/guardians of Carson Graham students, I attended the BC Confederation of PACs Conference (BCCPAC) on May 3rd. The Minister of Education listened to parental concerns and there were informative workshops, such as a PAC 101 Treasurer Bootcamp. The keynote speaker was Dr Shimi Kang, the author of the book, “The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy Motivated Kids”.
Eight PAC scholarships will be awarded at the upcoming June 20th graduation ceremony to assist students in their post-secondary education. Recipients are selected by the school’s Scholarship Committee. Please consider donating to this worthy cause (and receiving a charitable tax receipt ) by clicking on the school district link in our website at www.carsongrahampac.ca. Donations help free up more PAC money to be used on other worthy causes.
Lastly, as you will have seen from Principal Dohm’s message above, the PAC faces potential dissolution due to poor attendance at some of its five meetings a year. We cannot spend money without quorum and are not permitted to function without at least 3 executive members. Please attend our May 22 meeting at 7 pm to ensure the PAC’s continuation and to vote on important matters, such as the election of a new executive (Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Communications, Secretary, District PAC representative, Members at Large). If you are interested in running for any position, please feel free to email me at email@example.com for more information.
It has been an honour to have been your PAC Chair these past two years. I look forward to advising and assisting the PAC this upcoming school year as its Immediate Past Chair.
University and College Fair (Romina Mahinpei- Student)
Want a head start with your post-secondary application? Then come to the CG University & College Fair on Friday, June 7th, from 3:15-4:30! This free event will take place in the Agora and will feature over 15 local institutions, including UBC, SFU, Capilano, Emily Carr, and many more! No registration is required. Drop by and have local representatives answer your post-secondary questions!
Following the CG University & College Fair, there will be Carson Alumni Presentations from 4:45-5:30. This free event will take place in the library classroom and will feature six of Carson’s alumni who attend UBC, UVIC, McGill, and Capilano University. As a part of the event, free pizza will be provided, and all participants will also enter a draw to win a gift card. Registration is limited, so make sure to sign up using the link below:
We encourage all students to drop by and take advantage of these opportunities!
Relay for Life (Shannon Van Baalen and Rob Olson- Teachers)
Our Community Initiatives classes are in the midst of planning our first ever Relay For Life at Carson on June 7th. We would love for your support by creating a team or making a donation. The event will run from 2 pm until 8 pm. Most teams have a theme and wear costumes or t-shirts as part of the fun. Teams are usually 6 - 10 people each and the fundraising commitment is approximately 100.00 per individual.
More information can be found at www.relayforlife.ca/carsongraham.
Upcoming Events and Dates
May 22 - PAC Meeting @ 7 pm
May 25 - "One Night Only" Music Department Fundraiser
May 29 - Staff Collaboration 9:55 Start
May 30 - Year-End Choir Concert
June 4 - Year-End Band Concert
June 5 - EPIC Wednesday - 8:35am Start
June 6 - Year-End Guitar Concert
June 7 - Relay for Life
June 7- University and College Fair
June 8 & 15 - Music Department Car Wash Fundraisers
June 17 - Carson Awards Evening
June 20 - Grad Ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Theatre @ 7pm
June 21 - Last Day of Classes
June 24 - English 12 Provincial Exam @ 9am
June 24-25 - Numeracy Assessments
June 26 - Communications 12 Provincial Exam @ 9am
June 27 - Grad Banquet at Westin Bayshore