Minutes – April 17, 2019

Updates from the Principal, on Dry Grad (needs volunteers), the drama program, and more! 


  • Lara Spence – PAC Communications (acting as Chair today, gr 9 + 11 parent)
  • Ms. Anjuli Enthoven (Drama Teacher)
  • Ramandeep Manhas (Co-Chair)
  • Damian Willman (Principal)
  • Ms. Siddeeq (Teacher)
  • Darnelle Moore (gr 8+9 parent)
  • Nancy Palejko (VESTA rep for JO, Teacher)
  • Paul Thandi  (gr 10 parent)
  • Aldena Wood (gr 11 parent)
  • Suzanne Smythe (JO PAC DPAC rep, parent)


7p.m. meeting was called to order.

Lara mentioned if you have things that you would like to get on social media let me know.

Introductions around the room.

Raman accepted the February 2019 minutes and Darnelle seconded it. All were in favour.

JO Staff Liaison Report – Nancy Palekjo

“We are currently in a bargaining position and we hope to finish by June 30th. The things that we bargain at the VSB local are non-monetary items. We have a concern right now: special education funding: any kids that are in life skills or have learning disability or autism.

Currently, if your child has trouble in school they will be tested (at some point, and maybe not too often) and given a designation. When our school board receives that information, they give our school board extra funding so that we can have smaller classes and it also goes towards other things that would support your child in learning.

The government would like to change that model.

This model has been created by a panel that had no representatives that had no parents or teachers on it. Instead of paying extra for every student that is designated, they would like to stop testing and just pay all districts an amount based on the typical average special needs children in the entire population They would like to take a snapshot and average it all out.

So, just to make it clear, the reality is that the count of special needs children in a school could vary a lot or a little from year to year. If you are a vocal and well off, you will have means to advocate for your child; if you are not then you will not. If no one tests children then over time the stats will become outdated.

In B.C. they wish to keep the numbers high and do a prevalence model. When school boards don’t do enough testing, several problems could occur. We would like you to contact your MLA and fight for funding for special needs students, not use the Prevalence model.”

Some questions and discussions occurred once Nancy described the issue. There were problems with using averages with the problem.

Lara suggested that the letter that Nancy wrote describing the issue be emailed to the JO PAC email address.

Principal’s Report – Mr. Willman

District news  – preliminary budget has been released. Mr. Willman will email it to Lara, plus it probably is available online. The point of the process is to engage. There is an online survey, it will close April 30th. If parents want input, now is the time to act.

In terms of the budget we are down. However, the additional funding with special needs students. We don’t have any sense of pending teacher lay-offs. At this point it is draft unless changes take place.

The long-range facilities plan: there is a meeting about this tonight. The VSB are using guidelines such as public consultation.

Good news, I met an artist who is creating a reconciliation pole today. There are totem poles being carved this month in front of the VSB building. These reconciliation poles will be interesting and powerful pieces.

April 1st we had visitors from the Netherlands. We had five break-out groups.

This year’s school play, Journey to the West, with the Studio 52 drama students, Ms. Enthoven, and members of Senior Band who played Mr. De Couto’s original score live, was amazing. Thank you to all the staff who put in time for this. And students. And parents for support.

REEL Canadian Film festival was also successful.

We have a neuro science project taking place among some of our students. Great opportunity.

The district calendar will be coming out shortly, outlining 2020 things such as Pro-D days.

Changes in reporting on marks next year: One thing I would like feedback about from the staff is the reporting timeline. The alignment of marking/reporting with the new curriculum means you would get an interim published by October 31. This is different. Staff would like to have a parent teacher interview on Nov. 21st to have discussion about student work. Particularly with students who are falling through the cracks. And to end the term on December 12th just before we break on December 17th.  The change is that the initial meeting will be without marks.

Ms. Enthoven made a statement in support of the suggested process. She felt meeting parents (nearer beginning of the year??) would be helpful.

It is also designed to extend the learning right up until the December break, so that students don’t kick back once they get their marks.

Lara wondered about making sure that parents would have a chance, with this new marking/reporting, to have enough meeting opportunities with all teachers your kid has on parent/teacher interview days. Because there are so many students/classes and usually a limit that each parent can only see 4-ish teachers. Mr. Wilmann will look into expanding the # of teachers you can book with.

There was discussion regarding My Ed BC, both about log-in (it’s your son or daughter’s student number such as 7xxxxxx and password reset is attached to their email – and you can work with them to get logged in and then add your email as an ‘alternative email’) – https://www.myeducation.gov.bc.ca/aspen/home.do. Suzanne mentioned that the report card disappears after about a month. Many did not know about this. So, if you want to keep the comments from the various report cards, download them. (Lara tested this May 3, 2019, and the last report card is still there, more than 1 month later. But the fall report card, and 2018 report cards, are not there. You’ll see the marks of course from this year’s report card as it’s cumulative, but not the comments from Term 1 or Term 2 on the Term 3 report).

Suzanne: The other districts decided to a family log-in instead of a student log-in, but VSB did not. You should get the login from your child. If they won’t share it with you, then work with the school as, really, they should just share it with you.

Mr. Willman: They are considering switching CP days to using the morning instead of the afternoon. This way students would get to come in to school late. Please give us feedback if you think that anyone would like to do that.

We are also timetable building.

The cafeteria was vandalized, unfortunately. Two other schools in area were vandalized too. Not our students. Police looking into it. It is a long process to get it back in order. The cafeteria needs to be cleaned and the health department needs to be involved.”

Treasurer’s Report – emailed in by Michelle Koski

The combination PAC Bingo and fundraiser the current balance is: $8,000.

We also are looking after the Ken McLeod legacy fund. It may be used for a scholarship. There is  $800 in this fund. In the legacy account there is $4,449.16; of that $800 is the Ken McLeod.

The gaming account has $6852.52. We will spend $2500 on scholarships, $900 on staff lunch and Michelle Koski, Treasurer, thinks we should keep the $2400 for the rest of the year.

Two students from last year did not cash their cheques and now those cheques are stale dated. Michelle Koski is looking into this.

Eat at these 4 JO-Dad-Owned Restaurants & Make Money for the PAC!

Thanks to the generocity of Chander, a JO Gr 8 student’s dad, people can ‘dine out’ and make money for JO PAC – what a great way to give back to your school! Fun fundraising! Any JO family, friend, staff, alumni that eats at these 4 restaurants, and puts their receipt to the PAC box (there’s an envelope), or mails receipt to the JO office attention “Dine Out Chander PAC”, JO PAC will receive 15% of regular priced items as a ‘gift’ from Chander, a JO Dad. He’ll do this tally quarterly. The restaurants are Deacons Corner Main and Kits, Los Cuervos at Kingsway/Frasher, and the Wolf and Hound at 10th/Dunbar 3617 W Broadway. Share the news!

Dry Grad: May 15th  – Parent Help Needed – Ms. Siddeeq

There are very special events for Grads at John Oliver.

Grad Breakfast in early December (PAC gives about $1000 for that).

Spring Dance is a grad fundraiser but for all kids.

There’s the prom (fyi Coast Hotel Coal Harbour June 21st this year). Expensive so not all people can attend. Fundraising happens during the year to help subsidize this event.

Grads also have the school leaving ceremony (big event at Chan Centre).

There’s also Dry Grad. It is subsidized. The PAC gives $3000 a year for this event. For the last four years (how long Dry Grad has been happening at John Oliver, started by Mr. Harkinan), Dry Grad has been part of the big list of events that Ms. Siddeeq and grad (student) committee organize.      

Dry Grad is to include everyone. It is also to get the message out about safe, responsible celebration. We want to educate them prior to the Prom and the end of June. Dry Grad is always done close to Prom to reinforce the message about having a good time and not using drugs/alcohol.

There is a lot of work behind the scenes for Dry Grad. Ms. Siddeeq needs people to take on certain tasks for Dry Grad as she is at her limit. Ms. Siddeeq handed out a list of tasks that need to be done. She is handing this over to the PAC. She discussed the flow of the night and planning. For 2020, the hope is Dry Grad will be run by JO parents.

A note on Prom: For as long as recent memory, prom is school-sanctioned (eg. And run by staff) at JO. At some VSB secondary schools, it is not sanctioned (Lara says it is run by staff at VanTech too). Ms. Siddeez doesn’t think that it will be unsanctioned soon.

Presentation on JO Drama Program – Ms. Enthoven

“Next year JO will offer drama and dance. The drama stuff is going great. I am excited to offer dance because it was my main training. A great opportunity for me and for JO.

Sadly, lighting in the auditorium is a huge issue. The equipment is ancient and the electrical is a problem too. I will be back with numbers and what is needed money wise to get some better, upgraded LED lighting.”

Staff Appreciation Lunch – May 16th – Parent Help or Cooking or $ Needed

$900 budget, unless we get a lot of donations of food from people and local businesses. Ramandeep reported she will be there or her husband to accept food brought in by parents in the staff room – please bring it by 11:15. We need help with set up and clean up 11:15-12:30pm, and for parents to bring lunch / dessert items and it’s fun actually to hang out and visit with the staff.  Or you can donate $. Every year, we order some food in as there is a large staff and sometimes potluck isn’t quite enough. Often we do Indian or Greek. Las Cuervos was suggested as a source for catering by Darnelle since the dad is JO parent and he is supporting us with the 15% Give Back to JO PAC already. Tracey Santos will contact Chander about this. Anyone who wants to volunteer or bring something or donate funds for the lunch, please email ramandeepkaurminhas@hotmail.com and pac_jo@vsb.bc.ca. Thank you!

DPAC Report – Suzanne Smythe

Suzanne: “I just sent the JO PAC the survey. The consultations have been great. The district is now referring to a School Consolidation list – not a School Closure list. This is helpful. We are in a high-risk school and we are over-sized for the number of students that we have. It would be great if you could have a look at the plan. It’s on the PAC website.

The VSB is wisely making it more difficult to go cross-boundary. Going local is the goal. All high schools in Vancouver are only allowed a limited amount of students to attend cross-boundary. This is reducing student enrollment in [west side] schools. This means east side school populations should increase in some ways while west side will go down (though people leaving Vancouver in general will be a problem due to real estate prices).

It is difficult to predict how big a student population will be in future. The whole decision around “School Consolidation” and who is up for Seismic Upgrades is VSB Facilities management vision led. The dialogue is not education led. I will get an update tonight. What this means for JO is that we are still in a vulnerable position. I would like to see the school rebuilt. If JO was rebuilt, there is a chance that we would not have as extensive shops, possibly not the auditorium and other things. What feels important is that parents advocate that decisions about who, when, where, how be education led (done with thought of the students as learners in a community, not just buildings/desks/humans). For JO rebuild, whenever that may be, it is likely there will be a re-development of the site, which will be good.

Questions? Email pac_jo@vsb.bc.ca or sherilgelmon@gmail.com (PAC Chair).

Meeting Adjourned at 8:41pm.

The next PAC meeting to be held Wednesday May 22, 2019 at 7pm in the JO Learning Commons. Save the evening June 19, 2019, as we plan to have a casual “celebrate the year PAC party” at Los Cuervos at 7pm.

Get more info on John Oliver:

John Oliver website: go.vsb.bc.ca/schools/johnoliver/  

PAC site: http://blogs.vsb.bc.ca/jo-pac/

FB: www.facebook.com/john.oliver.secondary   

FB for Mini: www.facebook.com/johnoliverminischool/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JO_School  

Sign up for PAC Email here: https://mailchi.mp/84a856a6e2d1/jopac

School Info: 530 E. 41st Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5W 1P3 | (604) 713-8938

JO Writing Club: https://jo-canvas.com/ and https://www.instagram.com/jowriting/

JO Music Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/musicjohnoliver/

JO Athletics Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jokersathletics/

JO Student Council Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jostudentcouncil/

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