Nominations for this year’s BCPVPA Partnership Awards are now closed. Recipients will be announced soon and the Awards will be presented at the May 2017 Chapter Council meeting. Read about the 2016 recipients below.

The BCPVPA Partnership Awards recognize and honour the valuable support provided to principals, vice-principals, teachers and students by individuals and groups who have, over an extended period of time, shared their time, energy and expertise to support schools. Our thanks go to all our nominating Chapters and to every nominee. The Award itself is a beautiful framed print by Haida Gwaii artist Bill Bedard. The Partnership Award print features an owl and eagle. Bill has told us that the eagle travels between the physical world and spiritual world and signifies focus, strength, peace, leadership, and prestige. The Owl, he says, reflects the wisdom and the world of educators and their supporters because “the work does not end when the students go home, but requires many nights of hard work and reflection as we strive to prepare our students for a better tomorrow.”

2016 Partnership Award recipients
presented by BCPVPA President Kevin Reimer

YO BRO/YO GIRL YOUTH INITIATIVE, which was nominated by the Surrey Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.

YoBroSince 2009, the Yo Bro Initiative has supported the most vulnerable and at-risk students in the district’s schools. Founded by Joe Calendino, the Yo Bro Initiative helps students build the skills necessary to overcome great challenges and to contribute positively to their schools and communities. Surrey’s principals and vice-principals have said that “Joe and the Yo Bro/Yo Girl Youth Initiative are one of the best facilitators and programs we have ever experienced in the Surrey School District. They provide the support principals and vice-principals need and rely on to reach the kids that off often drift away from our schools due to personal challenges, outside influences, and our limited resources.” Joe draws on his experience and unique background — he went from being a successful businessman to losing everything to gangs and drugs — to build relationships with youth and to give them a sense of belonging while engaging in physical conditioning to build a sense of accomplishment, strength, and regulation. Joe’s tough love approach to youth, along with a healthy dose of street credibility, allow the students to trust him, to draw on his positive messaging, and commit to the program on an ongoing basis. As was written on the nomination letter — “it is only through external programs and truly caring individuals and organizations like Joe Calendino and the Yo Bro/Yo Girl Youth Initiative that principals and vice-principals have a change at helping those kids who are at the highest risk.” Accepting the Award was Joe Calendino, Founder.

The TILLICUM LELUM ABORIGINAL FRIENDSHIP CENTRE, which was nominated by the Nanaimo/Ladysmith Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.


The Friendship Centre has been has been providing services in the community for more than 50 years and in that time it has evolved from a coffee drop-in to an agency which offers Educational and Training Programs; Health and Counselling Services; Social Service Programs; and, a variety of cultural events and activities. The Centre works to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people living in an urban environment and uses Aboriginal teachings as a guideline in its work as Helpers. The Centre has been partnering for a number of years with the District on a variety of programs. Among them are a project-based learning Aboriginal Outreach Program and Qeq — Coast Salish for baby – College, which supports Aboriginal families and children as they prepare for success in Kindergarten. The program includes Inner City activities at an elementary school that are designed to introduce children to a welcoming educational environment. The Centre offers spring break and summer programs as well as after-school programs and they work with the individual schools to ensure that students are able to attend the program one day per week. For four years, the Centre also supported a Children’s Wellness Program counsellor who piloted and developed, in one of the district’s elementary schools, a Personal Safety Skills program on sexual abuse prevention. The Award was accepted by Linda McCandless, Instruction Coordinator,  Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre. The program includes Inner City activities at an elementary school that are designed to introduce children to a welcoming educational environment. The Centre offers spring break and summer programs as well as after-school programs a The Award was accepted by Linda McCandless, Instruction Coordinator,  Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

The CUMBERLAND COMMUNITY SCHOOL SOCIETY, which was nominated by the Comox Valley Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

CumberlandThe Society facilitates life-long learning, health, and well-being through community partnerships and collaborative use of school and community resources for the benefit of its community. A core believe of the SOCIETY is that “learning is a life-long process and that schools should exist not in isolation, but as part of the local community.” The SOCIETY “takes one of the largest public facilities – school buildings – and keeps them open on afternoons, evenings, and weekends for community activities to address the needs of all age groups, by providing programs for parents and babies, after-school programs, a healthy lunch program, adult education as well as youth programs and services.” The nomination letter from the Comox Valley principals and vice-principals detailed how, for more than 15 years, the SOCIETY has supported students during the lunch hour and outside regular school hours. Their healthy school lunch program provides lunches to approximately 70% of Cumberland’s elementary school-aged children and 20% of those healthy lunches are provided at no cost to meet the needs of the children most in need. The Society also provides free after-school programming to 65% of the students four days per week. Programs are offered on non-instructional days and partnerships have been formed with the Cumberland Recreation Center, the BMX track, and the Cumberland museum to offer additional off-site programming. The society itself is a nine-member volunteer board of directors and is staffed by individuals who are committed to offering quality programming for students. The Society draws on an initial budget of only $20,000 to secure donations and grants to create an operating budget of more than $100,000. Accepting the Award was  Sue Loveless, Executive Director.

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw NATIONS, which was nominated by the Vancouver Island North Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association.

NationsThe Nations have welcomed and supported Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre in their territory since 1997. The partnership between the host nations and Vancouver Island North School District is unique in that Eke Me-Xi is a public high school located on the Tsulquate Reserve. Over the years, the Learning Centre has evolved from being a small grade 8-10 program to a larger high school that offers a secondary graduation program. The program is designed to apply beliefs about learning and learners in a cultural setting. Students engage in their learning and participate in setting their own goals and dreams. The school strives to achieve this through fostering positive family relationships, hosting open house events, including Role Models from its communities and implementing Kwak’wala language and culture. During graduation ceremonies and other school events, Elders, parents, and community members frequently address students and staff; words of support, encouragement, and collective responsibility are always conveyed. Strong partnerships with the host Nations Treaty Department and the Our World film organization have created learning opportunities students in the area of digital filmmaking. The project brings youth and elders together with a focus on First Language speaking, translation and culture. Last summer, the Nations passed a Band Council Resolution to accommodate expansion and growth of Learning Centre. This commitment from the elected council supports the needs of the school’s learners and staff and as noted by the nominating principals and vice-principals, “we are acutely aware that we could not continue to grow without the Nations’ support.” Accepting the Award on behalf of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations was Leslie Walkus, Councillor.

JOHN and SANDRA BARTH, who were nominated by the Nechako Lakes Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.

BarthJohn and Sandra Barth are retired teachers, and school and district administrators in the community of Burns Lake. Since their retirement, more than 10 years ago, they have been instrumental in founding and running the Community Arts Council. Through the Council, John and Sandra bring at least three exemplary Arts performances per year to the community and the schools at no charge to the schools. Workshops are also organized for the schools and have included dance and drum instructors and ballet classes. John and Sandra do the organizing and come to the school with the performers, leaving the school, as the nomination letter noted, “to do nothing more than show up.” John and Sandra also facilitate and Arts 4 Youth program that runs year round and includes free shows and elementary school, dance workshops at the high school, and rock’n’roll  and visual arts camps. They also give generously of their time to support activities such as the Indigenous Arts festival, grad ceremonies, and Christmas concerts. As noted on the nomination letter, “John and Sandra Barth are fierce believers in public education and in the Arts. As former school administrators, they have never forgotten the work of the building principal. For more than 10 years they have done whatever they can to support the Arts in partnership with the schools and the community of Burns Lake. They have touched the lives of every student in our community.”