FISA March 2017 Newsletter; Issue #220
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What can Independent Schools do to support the May 9th Election?

Each provincial election creates a degree of uncertainty for independent schools as the outcome can never be taken for granted. Each political party will make pronouncements about independent school funding which we expect them to honor if they form government. FISA has enjoyed significant success in recent years by strengthening relationships with government bureaucrats as well as elected politicians on both sides of the Legislature. As a non-partisan organization, FISA has successfully worked with a variety of political parties that formed government during the 50-year history of the Federation and will continue to do so.

It is important that the independent school authorities engage with their local candidates to determine their views on public funding of independent schools. FISA has prepared an election package that offers suggestions on how to get involved in the election process in ridings that contain one or more independent schools. We encourage schools to collaborate in hosting an all-candidate meeting as this demonstrates a tangible way of serving the common good in your community.

The election package will be sent to member schools in the first week of April and will include responses from the leaders of the political parties that are currently represented in the Legislature. FISA requests that you share these responses with families in your school community so that they are informed about each party's position on independent school policy and funding.

School media representatives should refer to the document entitled, "Part One - A Political Strategy and Media Toolkit for Independent School Authorities", for information about independent schools when responding to the media or the general public.

Finally, please encourage all eligible voters in your school community to cast their ballot in the May 9th election for the candidate of their choice.

Survey Confirms Teacher Shortage in Independent Schools

In view of the massive hiring of teachers in the public sector, FISA conducted a survey on March 8-10, 2017. This was to ascertain the causes and scope of the problem. Of the 296 member schools, 60% completed the survey. FISA is confident that the alarming results reflect what is happening in independent schools across the province.

The survey resulted in four recommendations that have been forwarded to the Deputy Minister of Education and the TRB for consideration. They include:
  • Immediate issuance of a temporary letter of permission certificates from the TRB to qualified individuals who may not hold a current BC teaching certificate.
  • Expedited issuance of BC teacher certification to new graduates, certified teachers from other provinces or other jurisdictions/ countries.
  • Inclusion of independent schools in any efforts by government to recruit teachers from other provinces or other jurisdictions.
  • Prevention of public school districts from hiring teachers who are under contract to independent schools in the middle of the school year.
A complete summary has been sent to member schools as a separate document and a response on how FISA might help during the current staffing crisis.

FISA has sponsored several Level 1 and Level 2 ERASE training sessions around the province. Our thanks to Aberdeen Hall School, Queen Margaret's School, Kelowna Christian School and SCSBC for hosting these events. There are still available slots for the Level 2 training in Kelowna on May 8-9, 2017.
Register here for May 8-9 ERASE training
Registration for the May 17 - 18, 2017 Level 2 session for Metro Vancouver is full.  If you want to be added to the waitlist, please email
FISA has confirmed that a second ERASE Level 2 for Metro Vancouver is planned for May 30 - May 31, 2017 at the John Paul II Pastoral Center located at 4885 St. John Paul II Way, Vancouver, BC.
Register here for May 30-31 ERASE Level 2 Training

$29.4M School Supplies Boost for BC Classrooms, including Independent Schools

Government is giving schools throughout the province a funding lift to support student learning, cut costs for families and bring BC's new curriculum to life in classrooms with the new $29.4M Student Learning Grant. This grant will help schools purchase supplies and resources to deliver BC's new curriculum.

Funds will be delivered to independent school authorities by March 31, 2017, amounting to $28/FTE  for Group 1 schools and $20/FTE for Group 2 schools. These funds can be used for instructional supplies including electronic resources, textbooks and other classroom supplies serving an educational purpose, athletic equipment, as well as resources for non-enrolling teacher's programs.

FISA would like to thank the Ministry of Education for providing these funds to support the new curriculum.

Celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation

From April to October, 2017 the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre (VAMSC) Education Team will lead a national tour with our celebrated mobile "wet lab" visiting 150 schools, camps and community groups from coast to coast. AquaVan150 will travel across Canada to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation including participation in the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.

Connecting Canadians Through Ocean Conservation

AquaVan150’s programming, offered in both official languages, will facilitate personal connections by allowing youth to touch live marine invertebrates. Programs will include information on Canada’s waterways and highlight region-specific information including local history, First Nations content and current environmental challenges. This project will foster civic appreciation and enhanced stewardship of our environments among Canadians by connecting them to their local aquatic habitats.

150 Stops Across Canada

Through this ambitious flagship initiative, VAMSC will showcase part of its transformation into a global leader for ocean conservation. By investing in education and youth, we will inspire our marine nation to celebrate and conserve aquatic ecosystems for the next 150 years. In focusing our experiential programming around watersheds and ocean literacy for the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic and inviting communities to participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup®, we will engage and empower up to 75,000 young Canadians as ocean champions.

If you have any questions, please contact Brent Munro, Director of Curriculum, by phone (250) 508.4532 or email
For more information or to book a visit, please click the link below
Early networking is "meeting a new friend" at the elementary school level. Students in the grad years need to know what it means to "be in the world" and their "digital footprint". These concepts are covered in the new career education curriculum. The entire draft curriculum, K-12, is available and up for feedback on the curriculum site.

This new curriculum further develops the big ideas that were present in the K-9 curriculum posted last year. It expands the curriculum to now include two complete graduation program courses called Career Life Education and Career Life Connections. These two proposed courses will be worth 4 credits each. Both will be full courses and will be graded. These will replace Planning 10 and Graduation Transitions.
The Career Life Connections is the final course intended to be offered at the Grade 12 level. It includes a program guide on completing a Capstone Project.

These two new required courses will be set at the Grade 10-12 levels so there can be flexibility in which grades they are taught.
Thoughts on the new curriculum? There is still time to provide

Enrollment Increases in Independent Schools

 All  five associations increased in enrollment in 2016-2017 with an overall increase of 1.8% or 1,425 students (HC). There are 80,048 students enrolled in FISA member schools which is slightly lower than our highest enrollment of 80,080 in 2014-2015.
FISA represents 94% of the overall independent school enrollment in British Columbia.

FISA International Education Committee Established

Many independent schools offer an educational program for international students but FISA has very little information about these programs. Likewise, when the Ministry of Education is looking for input from independent school international programs, FISA can not speak authoritatively on behalf of the schools. Therefore, the FISA board has approved the establishment of a standing International Education Committee representing the five associations of FISA.

We thank the following representatives for serving on this committee:
Stuart Morris (ACSI BC), Michael Raap (AMG), Marlene Bylenga (SCSBC), Brian Roodnick (ISABC), Sheri Onushko (CIS), Peter Froese (FISA) and Catherine Brazier (AMG), as chairperson.

Please direct any inquiries to Catherine Brazier at

FISA Board Meets to Develop a New Strategic Plan

The FISA Board of Directors met on February 20-22, 2017 at Harrison Hot Springs to refresh the current Strategic Plan that was developed in 2013. The sessions were facilitated by Jim McKinlay, a consultant who specializes in Strategic Planning, Strategic Leadership Development and Human Resource Management. The Board worked hard during the two days and successfully developed a vision statement, a revised set of core values, and refreshed the goals and objectives for FISA over the next three years to 2020.

FISA will share this information once the final document is approved by the board and published for presentation to our member schools.

ICT Specialist Day – Awakening Possibilities

The Ministry of Education in BC has placed a renewed focus on the development of code and computational thinking training for students across all areas of the curriculum. What does this look like, and how are teachers to engage and unlock student’s abilities to think computationally?
ICT: Awakening Possibilities is a day of professional development for ICT leaders, teachers, and administrators who want to know about how to carry out the coding initiatives and who want exposure and experience with entry points into the development of computational thinking.
To join for an informational and hands-on approach to learning about coding and computational think, please register here:

Monday, April 3, 2017
8:45 am – 3:30 pm
Cloverdale Christian School
5950 179 St., Surrey, BC

Librarian Specialist Day

School libraries are constantly responding to the needs of learners and the associated needs for supporting learning and awakening possibilities and curiosities of students. Creating environments that facilitate inquiry, support reading, and encourage research is an essential component of what librarians and teacher-librarians do! You may join for a day of professional development which concentrates on all of these aspects in a community of other professionals.
Friday, April 7, 2017
8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Richmond Christian Secondary School
10260 No. 5 Rd., Richmond, BC
(refreshments and lunch provided)

Khalsa School

The Khalsa School in Surrey hosted a presentation in February 2017. It was televised internationally by Punjabi Channel (PTC) 537. The event was about all the possible ways of preventing bullying and reporting all types of bullying at school as well as at home. Khalsa School expresses their gratitude to RCMP Constable Steven Ritchie.

Annual Random Acts of Kindness

For four years, students from Richmond Jewish Day School and Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy gather together for a joint community-building exercise. This is symbolic of the growing partnership between the two-faith-based schools.

On January 17, 2017, students from these schools travelled to Vancouver Eastside in Vancouver. The students hand-delivered 1,000 sandwiches, made by the parents and teachers, to the less fortunate residents.

Random Acts of Kindness is an apolitical North American movement for positive change. With such event, the two schools now participate in more events with one another.
This is to remind you of the upcoming deadlines for two British Columbia International Scholarships:
  1. International Student Ambassador Scholarships for K-12 and for Post-Secondary Entry. Application Deadline: March 31,2017. For more info, click here.
  2. British Columbia-China Award for Excellence in Chinese. Application Deadline: March 31,2017. For more info, click here.
If you require further information on the application procedure, please contact the British Columbia Council for International Education at
The following information is provided to you as a service of your membership in FISA BC.
No FISA BC endorsement is given or implied on this section
In an effort to support inclusive education in the classroom, Microsoft has partnered with Inclusive Education Canada to provide free professional development workshops and resources for educators in Canada.

“Educators today are faced with the challenge of integrating technology into the classroom and teaching students of all learning styles and abilities, including students with accessibility needs. As overall student usage of computers continues to rise, there is greater demand to provide assistive technology solutions to ensure all students have equal access to educational opportunities”. – Janet Kennedy, President, Microsoft Canada.
National Inclusive Education Month was started in February 2017 and will run through April 2017. Inclusive Education Canada (IEC) works to provide students with the tools they need to excel, regardless of different learning styles or accessibility needs.
Educators in Canada can attend free workshops in-store, in-class, at EDU conferences and online. A webinar workshop will be held on March 30, 2017.
In British Columbia, there will be two in-store Microsoft workshops in Metro Vancouver. One is at Pacific Centre in Vancouver on April 8, 2017. The other is at Metropolis in Burnaby on April 14, 2017. Here are the links to register:

April 8, 2017 at Microsoft, Pacific Center, Vancouver
April 14, 2017 at Microsoft, Metropolis, Burnaby

Kindergarten children eligible for free eye exam and glasses

The BC Doctors of Optometry once again encourage teachers and principals to continue to promote the Eye See...Eye Learn (ESEL) program and to remind parents and guardians to bring their child in for a comprehensive eye exam.

Eye See ... Eye Learn  is a program that provides free eye exams and eyeglasses if necessary to kindergarten children by a BC Doctor of Optometry. Visit to book your child's eye exam with a participating doctor.
Spring into Action to Help Your Child See their Full Potential
School-age children's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play so it's important to ensure they are working their best. Your child may not realize they have a vision problem - they may simply assume everyone sees the way they do.
Canada's Most Informed Student Competition

ChatterHigh is announcing the 2nd qualifying round of Canada's Most Informed Student Competition. Last year, 500 grade 11 students participated and $6,000 in scholarships were earned by the top students.
What: A ChatterHigh competition to encourage students to explore and keep connected with as much as post-secondary, career, labor market, and health/financial literacy information from across Canada. The 10-minute activity provides 10 questions per day and can be done at any hour. Students who answer 275+ quiz questions correctly in the qualifying round will advance to the final round in the fall.
Here is ChatterHigh in 60 seconds (video).
When: Qualifying round: April 10-May 19; Final round: Oct/ Nov. 2017
Who: Any grade 11 student in Canada (Sec IV in Quebec)
Prizes: $4,000 in ChatterHigh scholarships, broken into 5 prizes for the top 5 finalists. Plus, $5,000 Bishop's University and $1,000 University of Ottawa scholarships offered to the highest placing student attending either university.

View competition page

BC Youth Leadership Seminar

Seminar for:
  • Leadership Classes
  • Student Council
  • PE Leadership
  • LINK Crew
  • Environment Groups
  • Indigenous Student Leaders
April 26, 2017 (Thursday)
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Chandos Pattison Auditorium
Pacific Academy
10238 – 168th St, Surrey, BC

For more information or to register, please contact:
Bill Edgecombe
Federation of Independent School Associations
FISA Board of Directors
President              DOUG LAUSON (CIS)
Vice-President      ED NOOT (SCSBC)
Secretary              ELIZABETH MOORE (ISABC)
Treasurer              HARRY MOES (AMG)

Board Members
Sandra Marshall (CIS)
Beverly Pulyk (CIS)
Phil Graham (ISABC)
Maureen Steltman (ISABC)
Charles de Jager (SCSBC)
Dave Loewen (SCSBC)
Board Members
Phil Hills (ACSIBC)
Stuart Morris (ACSIBC)
Arnold Grimm, (AMG)
Corazon Pabo (AMG)
Rabbi Don Pacht (AMG)
Lloyd Robinson (AMG)

Executive Director   PETER FROESE
Executive Assistant  MAGDA HOGEWONING
Office Assistant       GINA LOZANO
FISA is pleased to provide the March 2017 Newsletter in a format suitable for your mobile devices. Your feedback will be welcomed.

Copyright © 2017 FISA BC, All rights reserved.

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