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David DeRosa

November 23, 2018 Message to Members

Coming Together

I feel fortunate for those occasions in the calendar where we move outward from our regular circles and can share time and conversations with members from around the province.

From November 22 – 24, our BCPVPA Board, Chapter Presidents and Chapter Councils will come together. As a Board, we look at the big picture of the association as defined by the Strategic Plan and its goals. The direction that we formulate together, and the actions that result, are longer-term processes that have significant implications for the association. Our collective examination of issues is critical, as are the different voices and perspectives that are represented on our Board.

As Presidents, we have few opportunities to come together, but it’s an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the wisdom in the room. At the President’s Meeting, common challenges can be recognized and shared, and there is space for solutions and positive strategies to emerge.

As Chapter Representatives, our members have the chance to gather and talk about their stories and successes, and to get vital feedback from their peers in other districts. This sharing of information, strategies and ideas helps to strengthen our processes and supports our people in their roles.

At the upcoming Chapter Council meeting, we will also take the time to thank and acknowledge our outgoing Directors: Read Jorgensen (Greater Victoria), Carol-Ann Leidloff (Kootenay Lake) and Kevin Reimer (Comox Valley). Directors dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to advocating for our members, and we are extremely grateful for the contributions of these three leaders.

This week’s meeting is our opportunity to view the BCPVPA and its work through a provincial lens: the unique voice of each region is represented and gives us insight into the needs of students, staff and communities as we support our members in leading familiar processes and exploring the implementation of new initiatives.

I look forward to sharing some highlights with you next week.

Take Care,


Annual Report

We’re delighted to share the BCPVPA Annual Report for 2017 – 2018. View here

David DeRosa

November 16, 2018 Message to Members

In Remembrance

In the transition of the seasons and the cycle of the school year, Remembrance Day 2018 has brought to our communities a deep sense of reflection. Across BC, within the smallest elementary schools, in our distributed and alternative programs and in our largest secondary schools, thoughtful ceremonies and activities brought together students, staff and special guests to pause and acknowledge the sacrifices of Canadian veterans.

As a principal, it was my role to support a team of students and staff as we conceived the plan for the school Remembrance Day assembly each year. If there was a time when I felt most proud of our students, it would be during these annual assemblies. Like many of you, I would invite our community to join us and I would hear how impressed they were with our students and their engagement as these young people led the events with quiet respect through songs, poetry and memorial projects. Although we are all invited to ‘remember’, we recognize that it is challenging for our youngsters whose direct connections may be limited. I would ask our students to pause and to really listen to the stories of sacrifice, many of which involved young people not much older than them. Most importantly, I would ask them to reflect on what they are thankful for in their lives, especially the little things that we might take for granted. I’ve been grateful to see the dawning understanding when a student retells a story that has resonated, because it gives me hope.

The poppy is a powerful and enduring symbol of sacrifice and remembrance. When I look out at a school assembly and see that field of poppies resting on shirts and lapels, I believe that the lessons of Remembrance Day are among the most meaningful that we can impart to our students. Thank you all for the impactful moments that you shared with your own students in the past week.

Take Care,


David DeRosa

November 9, 2018 Message to Members

Negotiation Representation

Negotiation: (n) formal discussions between people who have different aims or intentions, especially in business or politics, during which they try to reach an agreement.

 Representation: (n) the action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented.

The BCPVPA’s quest for negotiation representation has been a pivotal theme in our work over the past year.  During this time, we have had discussions with our members, Boards of Education, Superintendents and the provincial government. To date, we’ve visited members in more than 40 districts and if we haven’t spent time with you yet, we anticipate a visit in the coming months. Every conversation with our members and partners helps us to further reinforce our message, and to get a deeper understanding of our members’ needs.

We’ve seen progress: the standardized approach to principal and vice-principal Regional Salary Grids has been a success, and we feel that the next step is a standardized provincial framework for negotiation. Provincial negotiation frameworks have proven successful in every other province in Canada, and we believe that alignment with this approach will be mutually beneficial in BC.

We have just completed an in-depth report on negotiation representation for the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) that follows our presentation to the BCPSEA Board of Directors last spring. We look forward to their feedback as we continue along the negotiation representation pathway.

As a starting place, we believe that a provincial negotiation framework would recognize the BCPVPA as the negotiating representative for principals and vice-principals in BC, and the local association as the representative for principals and vice-principals in each district; that there would be a common, but limited set of terms and conditions of employment provincially; a fixed term for each agreement; language defining contract review and dispute resolution processes; and a common provincial language which still allows autonomy for local boards to negotiate on local items.

The provincial terms and conditions of employment could include ongoing Regional Salary Grid implementation, standardized benefits, contract review and dispute resolution language, short-term disability provisions, salary and benefits enhancements and indemnification as possible areas of negotiation should we be voluntarily recognized by our government and employers as the provincial negotiating representative for principals and vice-principals.

At our upcoming Presidents’ and Chapter Council meetings this month, we will provide updates on negotiation representation and seek member feedback about our approach. As I mentioned, our chapter visits will continue and we are beginning to take a similar approach in helping Boards of Education, as the employers, to better understand the benefits of negotiation representation. As we move forward, we will also ensure that our members have the information they need to speak comfortably about negotiation representation if asked by a Trustee or any other contacts.

Our goals in attaining a provincial framework are fairness, equity and sustainability for our members, and a focus on success for BC’s students. Principals and vice-principals take great pride in achieving excellence in our schools, and we want to ensure that our members feel valued for the amazing work you do.

Take Care,


Connecting Leaders 2019

Find out more about the 2019 conference here


Find out more about BCPVPA Professional Learning and Development here

BCPVPA Webinars

BCPVPA Webinars can be viewed here


Read the latest edition of our BCPVPA newsletter here

David DeRosa

November 2, 2018 Message to Members

New Beginnings

I was fortunate to be part of an historic occasion last week, the birth of a new association with goals much like our own. The Public School Administrator’s Association of Nova Scotia (PSAANS) invited myself and our long-time Manager of Finance Carol Powell to join them for their inaugural conference and AGM, along with Allyson Otten and Joanne Robinson of the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), Carol Campbell of The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, TedEx speaker and founder of Peace by Chocolate Tareq Hadhad

The event took place at Pier 21 in Halifax and — by chance — led me to discover my own connection to that place: after WWII my father and his family embarked on an arduous journey from northern Italy, arriving in Halifax at Pier 21 to start a new life  in Canada.

My family story gave me context that while a new beginning is a time for celebration, it is also a time of change that can present many challenges. Our colleagues in Nova Scotia have ‘landed’ on this new shore but now they are looking up at the hill ahead, uncertain of what may lie on the other side. We could sense their apprehension and their anticipation, those emotions that can be difficult to reconcile when so much is unknown.

Carol and I, along with Allyson and Joanne, were there to share the stories of the BCPVPA and the OPC. Both Carol and Joanne carry a vast institutional knowledge of our associations, each of which celebrate landmark anniversaries in 2018: 20 years for OPC and 30 years for BCPVPA. It was remarkable to have our three organizations together in one place with a focus on discussing new beginnings and the paths that we have followed, and to recognize that changes not chosen can take us out of our comfort zones, but that the results can be extraordinary.

The BCPVPA looks forward to growing our new relationship with PSAANS, and I invite you to follow their association on Twitter @PSAANS, to say hello or to send them a message of support.

Take Care,


David DeRosa

October 26, 2018 Message to Members

Contemplating “Connecting Leaders”

I’m still thinking about the Connecting Leaders conference: there’s something very special about being in a room with members who have gathered from around the province to put aside the needs of the week for a short time. We had the opportunity to truly connect.

The three keynote speakers couldn’t have been more different: a researcher from Australia, an artist & storyteller from northern BC and a lawyer turned comedian & broadcaster from New Brunswick. Simon Breakspear engaged us with strong messaging about leadership and process. My greatest takeaways were about small steps that may not look like much, but are meaningful over time; about simplifying, reducing complexity and doing less better; and about having an awareness of the impact of our actions.

Roy Henry Vickers is a master storyteller: a leader, healer and teacher. He wove his stories of his life in a beautiful and peaceful way and left us with this: “when you speak from the head, others will hear you, but when you speak from your heart, others will connect with you.”

Candy Palmater’s honest and truthful messages were something we all needed to hear and believe. As principals and vice-principals, “You are enough, the role you need to fill is not perfection: it’s persistence, that’s what we need from you” and that we all need to accept that we’re going to fail, and that’s when we’ll get better.

The time we spent with these inspirational speakers were markers along the journey of the conference. We learned and shared with our colleagues in breakout sessions and table talk, and we spoke with members who were already formulating plans for integrating the new learning at their schools on Monday.

One experience that I haven’t yet mentioned will stay with me for a long time. Elder Lolly Good opened our conference and welcomed us along with Lawrence Mitchell. Lolly invited conference participants to choose an instrument from her travel bag, and to join her at the front of the room to greet the day in song. The sight and sound of so many of our colleagues coming together in open joy – with smiles that wouldn’t fade – was an incomparable start to a day of learning.

I hope that you were all able to experience something new and motivating as part of the Pro-D Day last week and if you did, please share your learning.

Take care,


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