Wednesday, April 30

Monday, April 21

Marimbas on YouTube

Parents & Guardians,

Please check out the links below – wonderful to watch these kids!

The VSB link is a Dickens class playing a fairly complex Marimba piece and the YouTube is a newly completed video of Charles Dickens Elementary and two other schools in Vancouver that are also teaching kids music through Marimbas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF_it-jBvXk

http://go.vsb.bc.ca/schools/dickens/Documents/Marimbas%20Performance%20by%20VSB%20students.mp4

Thanks to all parents/guardians & community who are continuing to send letters of support to Patti Bacchus patti.bacchus@vsb.bc.ca, Fraser Ballantyne fraser.ballantyne@vsb.bc.ca and the other Trustees in support of saving our designated music space at Charles Dickens School!
Happy Easter / Passover to all!

Christy Thomas
PAC Main Co-chair & Parent at Charles Dickens Elementary

Monday, April 14

Important Message from our School Rep. on the DPAC Executive

 

Good Morning,

My name is Stefanie Gajdecki and I'm your school representative on the DPAC Executive.

You may have heard lately that the VSB has released the proposed budget for next year.

The DPAC is letting parents know that the reductions greatly affect many students and also those with the most need in the schools.

What you should know

Many cuts have been proposed including eliminating/reducing support for:

1.      Band and String program - elimination (pg. 44)

2.      Speech pathology support  (pg. 51)

3.      Counselor support (pg. 49)

4.      Gifted consultant position - elimination  (pg.46)

5.      School psychologists - (pg. 50)

6.      Resource time for French Immersion (pg. 54)


You'll find the full list in the budget with details starting on page 22.

The full budget can be seen here: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/2014-2015%20Preliminary%20Budget%20Proposals%20Report%20%28April%208%202014%29.pdf


What are parents saying and doing

Parents are very upset and concerned and are coming together this week to speak to the cuts in front of the VSB Trustees. This is our time to tell the VSB Trustees what we think of the budget cuts - you do have a voice in your child's education and you need to use it now! 


What you can do at your school

You can help inform parents at your school immediately or it will be too late to be part of the process.


1.   Please spread the word and find the attached posters and petitions - these are generic and can be re-used at your school. Post the info at your school.

2.   Plan to attend the meetings this week  (April 15 & 16th - details below) I've included two meeting dates this week where parents have a voice and can come together in numbers to let the VSB know how we feel. Bring the signed petitions to the meetings this week or your own custom petition. If you haven't registered to speak we can represent you in the DPAC time slot. 


Meetings parents can attend this week

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm - Mount Pleasant Elementary school gym at 2300 Guelph Street, Vancouver, BC on . Childminding is available. The DPAC will be present.

Agenda: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/meetings/agendas/meeting-agendas-current?quicktabs_10=1#quicktabs-10


Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 8:00 pm - Boardroom, Vancouver Board of Education, 1580 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC. The DPAC time slot to present is on this day.

Agenda: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/meetings/agendas/meeting-agendas-current?quicktabs_10=2#quicktabs-10


Stay connected

Here are ways parents can stay tuned on the latest news via the DPAC updates:

•DPAC Website - e-newsletter signup available: http://vsbdpac.ca/
•Twitter: https://twitter.com/VanDPAC
•Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VSBDPAC


Thanks for your time.

Cheers,

Stefanie Gajdecki
DPAC Executive member & DPAC Secretary

Our children are the future and deserve a fully funded public education.


Please note: We're reaching out to PAC Chairs and DPAC reps we have on record - If your email address is not accurate please contact Steve Baker so he can update: steve@vsbdpac.ca 


Saturday, April 12

Target the VSB trustees now! re: Designated Music Space @ Dickens Main School

Hi Dickens PAC Blog readers, 
The beginning of this letter is similar to that which went out via class lists. However, there are additional action items at the end of the message, should you want other ways to help save a designated music space at Dickens and to support music education in our district.
Thanks!

Thank you so much to Dickens families and community members for the overwhelming response to our call for letters to support saving the designated music space. We gathered 95 support letters at the main school on Monday & Tuesday and over 65 were sent via email directly to the VSB. We had a considerable stack to present to Mark Pearmain, from the VSB, at our meeting on Tuesday morning.

In our meeting with the VSB we were told that the board would not be willing to fund a portable or consider constructing any other designated music space at Dickens next year.

The only way that the VSB will change their decision is if the Trustees instruct them to do so. This is an election year and the Trustees are our elected officials. We are trying to now set up a meeting with our Trustees to discuss our need for a designated music space at Dickens.

The only way for us to Save Our Designated Music Space at Dickens is with another loud, large response from the parents and concerned community members to the Trustees. 

We are still committed to ensuring that every child in our neighbourhood can attend our school. We are still advocating for a designated music space at Dickens School. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

1. Target the trustees NOW! 
Modify the letters previously circulated and still on the PAC blog site, http://dickenspac.blogspot.ca/2014/04/dedicated-music-space-dickens-main.html or write your own.

Ask the Trustee's to support having a designated permanent music space at Dickens in the form of a cost-saving, repurposed portable, not in use and recycled from another school.

Please email the following trustees:


Follow this link http://www.vsb.bc.ca/about-vsb/trustees and click on each individual trustee's name to get their phone numbers.

2. Parents and community members are invited to provide input into the VSB budget.

The meetings for Public Input on 2014/2015 Preliminary Budget Proposals are April 15 at 7pm at Mount Pleasant Elementary and 8pm on April 16 at the VSB Education Centre.

We will be presenting at the Wednesday meeting which starts at 8pm at 1580 W Broadway.

Sarah Westwick will be representing Dickens, and our committee, as a music educator. A Dickens parent and student will also speak on our behalf.  We need as many people to attend as possible to support our Dickens save our designated music space campaign.
If you want any further information on  meeting please email Sarah Westwick at swestwick@telus.net

The VSB is also accepting written submissions about the budget no later than two working days before the meeting so if you wish to send a letter, please do so before Monday to the Vancouver Board of Education, Attention: Administrative Coordinator, Secretary-Treasurer's Office, by email to budget2014_2015@vsb.bc.ca or by fax to 604-713-5049.


FURTHER ACTION ITEMS:

1. MARIMBA FLASH MOB. Parents are organizing an event for the whole community and the media on the greenway in which some kids will be playing the marimbas.  Details to follow. 
Please let us know if your child would like to perform and/or speak to the media or if you can help organize this event. If you have media contacts, are social media savvy and/or work in public relations and want to help, please let us know. Photographers and videographers are also needed. Please contact Anne-Marie Long at amlong@telus.net

2.  One of the (many) reasons why there is such a financial shortfall on school boards is that the government is shifting half of the costs of seismic upgrades onto the school boards. Contact your elected officials at the provincial level and tell them to assume the cost of these necessary upgrades. (This won't happen soon enough to save our music space, but is a worthwhile endeavour to reduce the impact of recurring financial shortfalls on the quality of our kids' public education.)

You can also share your thoughts about the VSB's current budget with Premier Christy Clark <mailto:premier@gov.bc.ca> (premier@gov.bc.ca), Minister of Education Peter Fassbender <mailto:educ.minister@gov.bc.ca>  (educ.minister@gov.bc.ca) or Vancouver MLAs (contact info here: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/about-vsb/trustees/advocacy-work/mla-contacts).

3. The Vancouver School Board is proposing cutting to all elementary band and strings programs. An alternate proposal, instead of cutting the programs, would be to raise the cost of participation from the current $25 per student yearly, to $250 per student. Though realizing the tough position that the VSB is in, this is a fairly drastic step that has long term consequences to thousands of children. 

The Coalition for Musical Education in BC is leading a push to ensure that  proposal does not go through please use these links to show your support: http://www.cmebc.org/  and they have a form letter here http://www.cmebc.org/VSB%20Sample%20Letter 

4. If you want to get more involved and/or have other ideas to share contact Anne-Marie Long at amlong@telus.net

Thanks for your support!
From Dickens parents,
Anne-Marie Long
Kathryn Sutherland
Christy Thomas (PAC co-chair)
Sarah Westwick

Sunday, April 6

Dedicated Music Space @ Dickens Main School

Dear Dickens Parents,

This is our second posting to you in regards to Saving a Dedicated Music Space at Dickens Main School.  We are meeting with a VSB rep, to discuss the loss of our dedicated music space, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 so please send in your letter as soon as possible. 

Please note though that after Tuesday is still ok to send letters as this is an ongoing process.   

We have created a long and short template letter [click on the links below] that you can use as a whole or part. We have also given you all the emails (on the template letters) for sending your letter of support today. Please share these templates with everyone you know that will support our efforts:  

Long Template Letter:

Short Template Letter:

The only hope we have of maintaining a designated space for music at Dickens is for parents and community members to let the Board know how much we value the program.

In case you missed the previous posting on the PAC blog, here is the info:

As you have heard from Anna Maria’s note home we will be losing our dedicated Music Room next year at Dickens due to an increase in student enrolment and the need for another classroom.

We are a group of interested parents who believe that we must make room in our school for all the children in our neighbourhood. We also believe that we cannot lose the dedicated Music Space for our Marimba program. Without dedicated space it will be impossible to continue to deliver a full marimba program to the kids and could mean a very watered down music program at Dickens.

We invite you to join in our strong, quick and decisive response to the Vancouver School Board on this matter. The only hope we have of maintaining a designated space for music at Dickens is for parents to let the Board know how much we value the program.
We are a group of interested parents who believe that we must make room in our school for all the children in our neighbourhood. We also believe that we cannot lose the dedicated Music Space for our Marimba program. Without dedicated space it will be impossible to continue to deliver a full marimba program to the kids and could mean a very watered down music program at Dickens.

We invite you to join in our strong, quick and decisive response to the Vancouver School Board on this matter. The only hope we have of maintaining a designated space for music at Dickens is for parents to let the Board know how much we value the program.
We invite you to join in our strong, quick and decisive response to the Vancouver School Board on this matter. The only hope we have of maintaining a designated space for music at Dickens is for parents to let the Board know how much we value the program.

We will keep posting updates on how you can help with Saving our Dedicated Music Space at Dickens Main in the coming weeks.

Thanks,
Kathryn Sutherland (Dickens Parent), Sarah Westwick (DIckens Parent), Anne-Marie Long (Dickens Parent) and  Christy Thomas (PAC Co-Chair & Dickens Parent).