ISABC Newsletter October 2022



I used to teach an A-level English Language course ‘Language Acquisition’. So from the time my children have uttered words, I have recorded in a little notebook first their burgeoning vocabulary and then, when they started speaking in sentences, their amusing quotable quotes.  My records have been a source both of interest in tracking 4 young children’s developing language capabilities and insights into their world interpretation, as well as much entertainment. Recently over our evening dinner we chuckled through my collection which I read to the family. Particularly insightful musings on their world include:  
– On the Federal election: ‘The red team got 156; the blue team got 119; the grey team got zero because they are a silly bunch of people.  The green team got 3. They are the people who care about green things. And the earth’; 
 – On Santa: ‘ I don’t think Santa has a very good brain – because he needs a letter to remind him of what we want. He can see what we do when he checks up if we’re good or bad so why doesn’t already know what we want for Christmas?’ 
– And on the concept of God: ‘God is a man in the sky. God is a very mysterious person who is Jesus. God is a cloud. (Clearly, we have some work to do on many fronts…).   
And over the weekend, my daughter submitted her first piece of writing to our village’s writing competition – a Halloween iteration (with hints of the recent pandemic) which had to use the words ‘mask’, ‘skeleton’ and ‘creep’. We worked on it together at bedtime with her providing the content and me the (very bad) rhyme. Maybe she’ll win a (sur)prise!

It is enormously gratifying for any parent to see a child’s burgeoning spoken language starting to be translated into writing. But not all children slip easily into the language world of reading and writing. While ISABC schools are seen as academic communities preparing students for post-secondary education, our schools all have departments and personnel to support and transform students with learning differences. In particular, dyslexia is a reading challenge affecting up to 1 in every 5 people.    

This month is ‘Mark it REaD’ the official Canadian celebration for Dyslexia Awareness Month – also celebrated across the world. October 1st 2022 marked the start of the 5th annual national awareness-raising campaign. Each year across Canada, monuments and buildings are lit up red, schools and workplaces wear red, and cities and towns sign proclamations to officially declare the month of October as Dyslexia Awareness Month. 

ISABC school Fraser Academy is establishing itself as Canada’s and the world’s Centre for Dyslexia with a mission to “celebrate the unique strengths of individuals with dyslexia and language-based learning differences, empowering children and youth with choice and opportunity”. It has an ambitious strategic plan to reach dyslexic students beyond its walls through its community outreach centre (FAx) and is leading training programs for educators, schools and school districts. It is the only K-12 school program accredited by the renowned Orton-Gillingham Academy (OGA), having the highest number of certified OGA Fellows and practitioners in Canada within a single organization.  ISABC school Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School, too, serves the unique and diverse learning needs of their students and provides developmentally informed instruction that empowers children with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, in a passionate and inspiring learning environment.    

In this edition, in honour of Dyslexia Awareness Month, we have a focus on dyslexia and learning differences. It is gratifying to know that each of our 27 ISABC has robust programmes supporting literacy to ensure that students emerge as successful readers and writers so they can embrace whatever paths they wish in the next stage of their post-secondary lives. Also included are articles highlighting other means of social impact ISABC schools are having.  

In this edition peek into the Halloween activities underway in our schools, too.   May you have a fun and candy-filled Halloween.   

Elizabeth Moore 
Executive Director  

What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difference in reading. Kids with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing.
Dyslexia affects up to 1 in 5 people, but the experience of dyslexia isn’t always the same. This difference in processing language exists along a spectrum — one that doesn’t necessarily fit with labels like “normal” and “defective.” Kelli Sandman-Hurley urges us to think again about dyslexic brain function and to celebrate the neurodiversity of the human brain.
How common is dyslexia?
According to the International Dyslexia Association, 15-20% of the population has language-based learning differences. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Dyslexia affects males and females nearly equally as well as people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds nearly equally.

From Dyslexia Canada.
Steven Spielberg discusses his dyslexia.
Advice for parents
While dyslexia can make reading more difficult, with the right instruction, almost all individuals with dyslexia can learn to read. Parents who have children diagnosed with dyslexia should seek out reading instruction that is based upon a systematic and explicit understanding of language structure, including phonics.

From the International Dyslexia Association.


City of Vancouver Proclaims October 2022 as Dyslexia Awareness Month
For the second year in a row, Fraser Academy is proud to share that the City of Vancouver has accepted their request to proclaim the month of October as Dyslexia Awareness Month in Vancouver.

Fraser Academy is appreciative to the Vancouver City Councillors who met with FA student representatives and staff at City Hall, and presented them with the proclamation. They are also grateful for the school’s ongoing partnership with the City of Vancouver.

In addition to the proclamation, the City of Vancouver illuminated City monuments on October 16 to celebrate October as International Dyslexia Awareness Month. Vancouver City Hall and the Burrard Street Bridge were illuminated red to acknowledge Dyslexia Canada’s ‘Mark it REaD’ for Dyslexia campaign.

Celebrating International Dyslexia Awareness Month
People with dyslexia, despite struggles with reading and writing, are known to be intelligent and have significant strengths in creativity, problem solving, communication, visualization and more. This has now also been endorsed by the World Economic Forum, University of Cambridge, and Forbes, amongst others. To learn more about what dyslexia is,
view this article.

In addition to the proclamation from the City of Vancouver, Vancouver City Hall, the Burrard Street Bridge, Vancouver Convention Centre, Canada Place, BC Place, Vancouver Lookout, and North Vancouver City Hall were all illuminated red to acknowledge Dyslexia Canada’s Mark it Read campaign.

On October 17, Fraser Academy students wore red shirts and capes at school, and the FA Parent Community hosted a BBQ in celebration of ‘Mark it REaD’ for Dyslexia Awareness Month. With its mission to celebrate the unique strengths of individuals with dyslexia and language-based learning differences, and empower children and youth with choice and opportunity, Fraser Academy has the pleasure of working every day with individuals with dyslexia at its school and outreach programs. 
To recognize Dyslexia Awareness Month, Aspengrove School’s Student Resource Centre has been helping to educate the school community on dyslexia. Student resource teachers spent some one-on-one time with a small group of students to create posters and signage that provided further information about what dyslexia is and how it can affect students’ learning.
In classrooms, videos were shared during Advisory class and open discussions within the class were held afterward to answer any questions students may have had.
In the library, books were displayed that either featured main characters with dyslexia, or highlighted the lives of real-life individuals with dyslexia – for example, Walt Disney.
In the PYP, one Grade 5 student even prepared a short speech about her experiences prior to, and after, being diagnosed with dyslexia.
On October 14th, St. Margaret’s School students and staff gathered on campus to welcome Tour de Rock back. This local organization which started in Saanich 25 years ago, continues to inspire by raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. The hometown heroes have raised to date more than $26 million.

While the Head of School, Sharon. Klein, addressed their guest riders and school community, ‘Grace and Gratitude’ sung by the late Olivia Newton-John, who lost her life to cancer in August, could be heard echoing across the campus.

One of SMS’ students, Charlotte B., in Grade 9, who lost her mother to cancer when she was only four years old, showed strength and courage by shaving her head in support of the cause, surrounded by her father, friends and teachers cheering with encouragement.

Before heading outside, students Abby and Taya addressed the School along with Ms. Waterfield, delivering a presentation on St. Margaret’s partnership with the Terry Fox Foundation. In addition, they spoke to the legacy of a beloved teacher and colleague, Michelle Twigg, who sadly lost her life to cancer in 2016. 

As the riders departed, one student noted, “We are already looking forward to next year’s visit!”
On October 22nd, 21 members of the York House School community enacted their school motto of ‘Not for Ourselves Alone’ by volunteering their morning at the Backpack Buddies warehouse in North Vancouver. The purpose of this initiative was for the YHS community to understand and act on the issue of food insecurity. Throughout the day, volunteers packed over 1,000 bags to be delivered to children.

It was a privilege to work alongside the team at Backpack Buddies and support the brilliant work that they are doing. While packing over 1,000 bags was an achievement, this is only a quarter of the 4,000 bags that are needed on a weekly basis to ensure that the children of Greater Vancouver are being fed on the weekends, demonstrating how prevalent the issue of food insecurity is amongst youth in Vancouver.
Glenlyon Norfolk School’s Grade 10 students recently took part in a workshop developed by GNS faculty entitled “Managing Conflict with Respectful Communication”, where they were provided with a safe space to discuss healthy conflict resolution. During the workshop, students were introduced to the different types of conflict, conflict resolution, healthy communication and support in conflict.  
Social-Emotional learning has always been a mission of the school, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a more visible need to help support students in this area. This need is supported by the IB Approaches To Learning Skills framework, which specifically addresses many of the effective skills that are so important for young people to develop.
Meadowridge staff took a step toward reconciliation through experiential blanket exercise. As part of Meadowridge School’s commitment to advancing Indigenous Education and working toward reconciliation, Meadowridge teachers and school staff explore and reflect on the history of Turtle Island, the impact of colonization, and the lasting effects on Indigenous Peoples and communities today through an experiential, interactive KAIROS Blanket Exercise.

Facilitated by Elder Kelly and Shona Sparrow, the powerful and moving exercise concluded with a traditional sharing circle, where teachers and staff shared what they learned and how they will be connecting this knowledge to their lives, in their classrooms, and by learning Indigenous history to become allies of the Indigenous communities.
Southpointe’s annual ‘We Scare Hunger’ food drive is happening again this year. ‘We Scare Hunger’ is a campaign hosted by an organization called WE, encouraging students to donate food to those in need during the Halloween season. This event takes place across Canada, and Southpointe is proud to participate. 

As a school that promotes service-learning, compassion, and global awareness among its students, Southpointe recognizes the importance of giving back to the community. They strive to develop young people of character who contribute positively to society, and ‘scaring hunger’ plays a significant role in that process.

The Junior and Middle School Student Leadership Councils started collecting and canning non-perishable food from Kindergarten to Grade 12 students. Last year, the Junior School Leadership team collected 475 food items, and we aim to double that number this year.



Grade 11 St. Michaels University School student Houtian Zhong was recently named one of the top young music composers in the country, having come in first place in BC and second place in Canada for his age group in a student composer competition. 

His piece “Winter Fantasy”, which you can listen to below, is inspired by the snow-covered landscape outside his house when Victoria was hit by heavy snowfall in January. The five-minute composition takes listeners through “the winter landscape, hearing the sounds of winter creatures and those of a massive avalanche.”


Halloween Festivities
Halloween preparations at Aspengrove School are well underway, with the PYP hosting a number of Halloween-themed crafting sessions. Students are also looking forward to a costume contest on Halloween day.

Additionally, Aspengrove School’s Student Council, in partnership with Nanaimo Loaves & Fishes, will be hosting Aspengrove’s Annual Halloween for Hunger Food Drive this month.
Last year, they were able to raise 1,329 lbs of food for the community. Aspengrove School’s staff and students are pleased to support an organization, which serves more than 15,000 people in over 30 communities on Vancouver Island. 

Updated Logo & New Website
This month, Aspengrove School was thrilled to share the launch of its updated logo and new website.

As the school approaches its 20-year anniversary, this has been an exciting journey as they reimagined the shape and colour and picture of Aspengrove, while building on the images created by its Founders.


Collingwood School’s Grad & Kindie meet-ups are always delightful days. To celebrate Halloween, the school’s Grads visited their little buddies to paint pumpkins and play games. 


Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School participated in a Pumpkin Carving Contest this week for National Pumpkin Day, which was on Wednesday, October 26th. The school loved seeing the creative ideas that each class came up with.


UA Teamwork Leads to Haunted Classrooms
Urban Academy’s Grade 6 classes entered into a friendly Halloween classroom decorating competition to see who would be the victor and ultimately earn the title of “The Best Haunted Classroom.”

Students were tasked with collaborating and finalizing a spooky design and executing it within a short timeframe. Being able to work through collaborative projects—this early in the school year—sets the stage for a positive learning environment for the months to come.

UA Remains Safe as Grade 4’s Catch Spooks the Ghost
As part of their language arts project, students were tasked to find Spooks each day in their classroom. However, Spooks is a very clever ghost that stays hidden around the classroom.

Spooks helps to keep an eye out for spooktacularly wonderful behaviour in Grade 4. He also likes to stay hidden, so when students find him, they know to keep his secret of where he stashed himself away that day. Spooks has been a wonderful introduction to procedural writing for their Grade 4’s. Starting with instructions and step-by-step strategies for catching Spooks, they then write about their own journey in what they did to find their illusive ghost friend.

Grade 8 St. Michaels University School students Liam and Fraser are in the running for a $5,000 grant from the Science Fair Foundation BC for their creation of a self-heating life jacket to help prevent hypothermia.

Island Pacific School is getting ready for this year’s 2nd annual Monsoon Madness Mudder fundraiser. The Monsoon Madness Mudder will be on Oct. 29 from 11am – 3pm. Teams of two to any number take on a two-kilometre course with six obstacles with physical challenges (such as climbing over or under things). “Invariably, they’ll be getting muddy as they go,” says Scott Herrington, IPS’s Head of School. 

This is an event for the entire community, all ages are welcome — waves of teams will run the course between 11am and 3 p.m. Back at IPS, there will be a social gathering – outdoor tents, warming stations, kids activity stations, homemade chilli and hot chocolate. 


Brockton’s Senior Boys Volleyball team has had an outstanding season. Over the past weeks, they have competed across the lower mainland. Highlights have included moving up a rank in the BC School Sports Boys Volleyball ‘A’ league to sit at 2nd; watching Grade 12 Ryan Benedet win the fastest spike at the GW Graham tournament in Chilliwack; winning the silver division of the Trinity Western Spartans tournament; and coming out on top as winners of the ISAA Senior Boys Volleyball Championship.


To celebrate Diwali, Collingwood School’s Kindies painted their own tea light diyas.


Meadowridge celebrated Diwali on October 14th and it proved to be an exceptional experience for all. The festivity, led by more than 50 parent volunteers provided the students with classroom activities, sampling of cultural cuisines, and an afternoon of show-stopping performances. 


Consider nominating an educator for a 2023 Prime Minister’s Award. Download the nomination package and poster by visiting their website.

Help celebrate those who go above and beyond to create safe spaces for their students, continue to work hard to make learning fun and inspire the next generation to be bold innovators and creators. 

Prime Minister’s Awards recipients for Teaching Excellence, Teaching Excellence in STEM and Excellence in Early Childhood Education can receive:

•      A certificate from the Prime Minister

•      National recognition and promotion of their best teaching practices

There were no independent school awards in the Premier’s awards sadly and few entries. Please consider submitting a nomination for the Prime Minister’s Award, the details of which are here. We have ISABC colleagues who are worthy of these honours.   

Premier’s Award (BC) 
There are short videos of the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education event for each of the nominees and we would encourage people to watch and share these inspiring stories from the education sector.
FOR ACTION, INDEPENDENT SCHOOL PRINCIPALS/VICE-PRINCIPALS, AND SCHOOL COUNSELLORS – 2022/23 Handbook of Procedures and BC Graduation Program Policy Guide: The 2022/23 Handbook of Procedures for the Graduation Program and the companion BC Graduation Program Policy Guide are now available on the Graduation Information for Administrators web page. Please see the “What’s New” sections and review both documents for minor updates to procedures and policies. Contact [email protected] if you have any questions regarding these documents. French versions of both the Handbook and Policy Guide will be available soon.


Sharing Stories is Dyslexia Canada’s first-ever podcast. In each episode, guests of the show share their latest book recommendations and tell listeners about their reading journey. If you love books and want to know what to read next, you’re in the right place.

It was Mental Health Week at the beginning of October. Good mental health is essential to overall health and well-being, and this year, the public education campaign by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental health (CAMIMH) provides shareable content and the latest stats about mental illness in Canada and the need for greater access and support.

Learn more – download and share the facts here.


If you are interested in sharing your expertise, we are looking for engaging speakers. Please email Veronica at [email protected] to get in touch. You can also visit our website to learn more about the ISABC Professional Development Day.
Visit our website for current employment opportunities.

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