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Sutherland Secondary

Vision to Goal Setting

What is our Vision for Learning?

What is our raison d etre? The visioning process encompasses reflecting on our core mandate and purpose, articulating our guiding beliefs and shared values, and setting goals for a preferred future. In the North Vancouver School District, we envision a school-based engagement process that highlights the strengths in our school community while identifying areas for future focus and development.

Consectatio Praestantiae - Striving for Excellence

Sutherland strives to develop students’ skills, intellect and personal growth in a supportive, respectful learning environment, and to prepare students to become responsible citizens.


2021-2022 was a year of new beginnings for Sutherland Secondary and one of our key areas to focus was to update the School Plan to align with the District’s new Strategic Plan, to reflect the current needs of our students, and to better represent the goals of our school community. Key to the process of updating our school goals was to hear from the students and ensure their voices were at the forefront.

As a school leadership team and broader school planning team (including parents, staff, and students) we met to fine tune the content and questions for a school-wide student survey around updating the School Plan. Although COVID, once again, stalled the process, by March, students were given the opportunity to complete the survey, adding their opinions and feedback on what they wanted to see as key focus areas for the school. We had just under 650 students respond to the survey and through the process of collating the data, were able to update, change, and add new goals and objectives to our School Plan.

Coming out of a year interrupted by COVID, we are keenly aware of the need to focus on student Mental Health and well-being and the students echoed this in their survey feedback. This is a new goal for Sutherland. The other two goals around Belonging and Learning remain, but have been updated to reflect the feedback from students and the school planning team.

The 2020-2021 school year was like no other anyone has experienced. The COVID-19 pandemic caused everything to change – the school schedule, the delivery of instruction, how we interacted, where people could be in the school – everything changed.

Particularly at a time when the whole world was experiencing a collective feeling of disconnectedness, the team at Sutherland put great focus on our goal of strengthening the sense of belonging within the school community for students and for staff. At the forefront of our planning this year was to ensure we were all working through a lens of compassion, care, and flexibility. Students and staff were all experiencing the COVID-19 Pandemic in unique ways, working through anxieties and unique circumstances to varying degrees. This meant that we needed to be mindful of peoples entry points as they entered the building or re-engaged with learning. We focused on ensuring students and staff felt a sense of comfort when they were at the school – that they were safe, cared for, heard, and seen. The ability to communicate to students through MS Teams allowed for a greater sense of connection – even when in-person classes were running every other day, allowing for regular check-ins with students. Our staff created a Wellness Team with the overarching goal of ensuring that every person in our School had time and space to focus on well-being. We knew that if the adults in the school were prioritizing wellness, then this would disseminate through to our students. As we continue this work, we want to ensure that mental health, wellness, and well-being is being considered and cared for in every classroom at Sutherland.

Even with a deep focus on the social and emotional well-being of staff and students, our focus on growth in curriculum, assessment, and instruction continued to evolve and strengthen this year. With a shift to Hybrid learning for our Grade 9 to 12 students and to classes running on a quarter system, staff were in a unique position to completely shift teaching practices to support learning and to focus on curriculum, assessment, and instruction in innovative new ways. Many of the strategies will definitely continue on even when we return to schooling in a more normal way. We witnessed a real focus on Big Ideas and on Curricular Competencies that were essential to learning and understanding. While we maintained high and motivating expectations for all learners, staff were able to differentiate to meet the needs of all learners through more inquiry and project-based learning. The hybrid model also allowed for increased opportunities for formative assessments along students learning paths.


The plan for 2020-21 had been to build upon our renewed goals developed early in the 2019-20 school year. The disruption to education that has occurred since the spring of 2020 has left us with many new skills and strategies for teaching and learning that were not foreseen just two years ago. Moving into the 2021-22, we will continue to build upon the innovative practices that grew out of the shift in education during pandemic teaching. We will look to revise our goals and rewrite objectives to better align with our time and place and preparing our students  for success within, beyond and outside of their formal Secondary School experience.

For 2019-20, the 5th year of the current School Planning process, the Sutherland Staff worked to renew our goals, focusing our commitment and efforts on student achievement, connection and well-being. We started the school year by embarking on a dialogue process to narrow the themes and to identify specific targets within, as well as markers of progress to indicate our effectiveness in each area. Professional Learning Communities were then formed, and much work carried out, but unfortunately the interruption caused by the timing of the COVID-19 health crisis and the move to remote learning prevented the completion of a few important steps in the plan for this year. We look forward to continuing our work on the new goals in 2020-21, adding in findings and strategies gained learned from the PLC project work that has taken place, and additional consultation with all school stakeholders to continue to move forward. We are also appreciative of the many advances in learning that have come out of the sudden shift to online learning – some of which are closely linked to our School Plan – and have added some reflections and information collected into our plan.

The 2018-19 school year was a year of transition at Sutherland with a fully new administrative team and a 20% staff turnover. While the new curriculum at grade 8 and 9 rolled into its second year of full implementation, staff continued to explore and work with the new grade 10-12 curriculum ahead of its full implementation for 2019-20. As part of goal #1, assessment practices have also been reviewed and adjusted to better align with the revised curriculum as classroom based assessments are given a higher profile in overall assessment and provincial assessments increasingly used as a snapshot in time.

The 2017-18 school year saw the full implementation of the revised curricula at the grade 8 and 9 levels. Through staff collaboration and professional development day presentation, Sutherland staff continued with rich dialogue and action on the goals identified in the previous year plan. As implementation of the revised curricula begins for grade 10 in September 2018, individual departments focused on the possibilities that the school potentially can offer around 2 credit courses. Other areas of significant effort involved Student Self-Assessment and Communicating Student Learning.

Student Self-Assessment: The Sutherland staff effort to implement student self-assessment was significant. Over the course of the year much staff collaboration time was devoted to developing a process that would result in meaningful self-assessments in a streamlined process. Many staff members developed their own unique processes around the Core Competencies and implemented them in a variety of ways as part of their regular formative assessment practices. During the last week off April, students in grades 8 to 11 completed the student self-assessments during FOCUS block.

A significant effort at Communicating Student Learning was also made this past year in alignment with ministerial and district policy.

Plans for directing the school plan for next year will be made by the incoming school principal. An area of focus would be around gaining greater student/parent input and developing a plan for data collection and analysis to determine efficacy of the plan.

School Plan 2017-2018 Action Plan

Goal 1a: The Revised Curriculum

In the 2017-2018 school year, Staff will continue to implement the revised curriculum at the grade 8 and 9 level. During this time, staff will also have the year to continue development and discussion around new course offerings at the grade 10-12 levels.

Professional Learning Communities – How to proceed, status quo or a change up in PLC grouping? Changing PLC groups would allow staff to engage in another aspect of the revised curriculum and expand their repertoire.

Phase three of the school plan will reflect the involvement of students and parents as part of the School planning team.

Goal 1b: Core Competencies and Student Self-Assessment

Developing a continued awareness and application of the Core-Competencies in all curricular subject areas. Lesson plans should reflect the vocabulary of the core-competencies, as students will be required to reflect and self-assess their learning in respect to the competencies.

Goal 2a: Student Well Being

Continued staff exploration of themes/speakers/programs to support student’s social-emotional needs.

Implementation of SOGI 1 2 3 resources.

Involving parents and more staff in the Mental Health Curriculum.

Goal 2b: Sutherland Family of Schools Connections (FOS)

Continue to develop staff relationships between the Sutherland FOS. Collaborating around Professional and Curriculum Training Days. Continue to explore/expand the Grade 7 Articulation process.

Schools are foundational to creating society and the shared values that bind us together. A great school is often described as a community of learners including students, teachers, support staff, parents and community members. Engaging the community of learners in recognizing the many quality attributes of the school while highlighting future directions and areas of focus is the intention behind school planning.

Historically, in British Columbia, school planning has taken a couple of different forms. Pre 2002, the school accreditation process that included an external team assessing the work of the school was the primary method to enable school planning. From 2002 to 2015, each school community was asked to develop a school growth plan. Unfortunately, the school growth plan movement was not designed in a collaborative manner, it was solely achievement oriented, and as such did not engender commitment from the full community of learners.

Moving forward, SD 44 has embarked on a process to define and develop a more authentic school planning process that reflects the values of individual communities while maintaining a commitment to the Mandate of Public Schooling.

Design Process from March 2015 to July 2015, in consultation with representative School Planning Councils and student leaders, a team of educators that included teachers, Educational Assistants, School Principals and Directors worked together to define the role, purpose and direction of the school planning process. The working group developed shared understanding and general processes as the initial foundation to meaningful school planning. Meaningful school planning should enable the development of a vibrant community of learners defined by:

  • A focus on student engagement and learning
  • A culture of teamwork and collaboration
  • Respect of adult and student diversity
  • As strong sense of community and collective responsibility
  • Strong Systemic Structures (e.g. SBRT, Collaboration Time, Staff Meetings)
  • Ongoing and relevant communication of student learning

  • *NVSD School Planning Discussion Paper
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Planning & Implementation

What is our Action Plan?

To create engaging and authentic learning experiences that reflect diverse student needs to develop inquiring and knowledgeable citizens

  • through engaging subject matter and teaching
  • through inclusive practices – acknowledging and teaching to diversity
  • through diversity in teaching strategies and assessment
  • through indigenous ways of knowing
  • through connecting learning to real-world experience and practical skills
  • through ongoing meaningful self-assessment of the core competencies
  • through strong Career instruction, mentorship, and community connections

To foster connections that reflect an inclusive, caring, and safe sense of belonging within the Sutherland community.

  • through vibrant school culture through school spirit events
  • through building an inclusive environment through spreading awareness of and celebrating a variety of cultures, events, and perspectives
  • through fostering a caring environment and greater personal connections between staff, students, and community members
  • through recognizing diverse student success
  • through forming multiple pathways for community members to reach out, express ideas, and receive help
  • through visibly integrating indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the school

To support mental health and well-being at school in order to produce positive relationships with ourselves, each other, and the environment. 

  • through fostering compassionate, inclusive learning environments
  • through trauma-informed practice
  • through building a variety of wellness resources and promoting them among the school community
  • through connecting mental health instruction to the curriculum to build understanding and resilience
  • through creating more accessible safe spaces in the school
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Monitor Evaluate & Adapt

What are our Indicators of Progress?

2021-2022:  Seeking to update the School Plan to align with the District’s new Strategic Plan and to better reflect the current needs of our students, we set-out to gather information that we could synthesize together with the learnings of the previous two years, to update and create a plan that is meaningful to our current time and community.  It was critical to the process of updating our school goals that we ensured student voices was at the forefront.  To capture this voice, the school planning team developed a school-wide student survey, which, after just under 650 students completed, provided opinions and feedback from the student perspective for what they wanted to see as key focus areas for the school.

Coming out of a year interrupted by COVID, we are keenly aware of the need to focus on student Mental Health and well-being and the students echoed this in their survey feedback. Based on this feedback and recognizing the success we have achieved in our previous “connections” goal, we moved elements of the previous goal into “learning” and created the new goal of Well-being.  The other two goals around Belonging and Learning remain, but have been updated to reflect the feedback from students and the school planning team.

2020-2021:  The sudden move to remote learning in the Spring of 2020 interrupted our next steps for fully adopting the newly revised school goals both within and across department planning, it did create an unplanned and unique, though forced, opportunity to innovate. While the schedule for implementing action items to enhance Learning, Belonging, and Connections at Sutherland was interrupted, still, great progress was made and many specific tasks completed. Moving into 2020-21, with the uncertainty and trepidation that came with in-person learning during a pandemic, the necessity for flexibility, adaptation and innovation with the need to create authentic opportunities for student engagement more than ever, became our focus. Below are our themes as we reflect on the learnings from the COVID era of instruction and learning, some reflections taken from our staff capture in June 2020, as well as summaries of the progress and achievements of some of our PLC groups. In addition to the PLC work described below, a Code of Conduct Review has been completed, and work is ongoing in Cross-Curricular Collaboration and Indigenizing our Space.

2020-21 Disruption as Opportunity


  • Essential Ideas
  • Purposeful and Deliberate Planning
  • Adapting as Needed
  • Active and Engaging Instruction
  • Assessment for Learning


  • Teacher-Centred and Student Passive Design
  • One-Size-Fits-All Planning for Instruction
  • Content Heavy Instruction and Assessment

The focus on connections and wellbeing was primary. Our Daily Staff Connections was a great model to get on the same page, cover questions quickly, and update staff as things changed at a rapid pace. Through our Sutherland Team, all staff could use different channels to communicate with one another, collaborate and share ideas quickly.

Tech abilities of staff progressed at a rapid pace, and they shared out some emerging practices that worked well to maintain connections and community: the ability to contact students easily through chat, share work in the channels for everyone to see, plan one week at a time, send messages to the whole class, and prioritize consistent one-on-one check in.

The outreach process for tech/computer for students in need was one way to limit disparity between students and families during the suspension of in-class instruction. In addition to this, the process we used for connecting to students on a daily and/or weekly basis was developed quickly and utilized to maintain the sense of connection.

Our priority learners were a primary focus and LSTs and support staff quickly developed mechanisms to connect on a daily basis with our students most at-risk. The social and emotional well-being and health of staff and students was at the center of decision making, process and procedures.

Standards-Based Assessment

The Standards-Based Assessment group began later in the PLC process, but generated much interest and many ideas from collaborative discussion. Our general focus question was: How can Standards-Based Assessment be applied more effectively in the school to better support student learning?

We conducted research by reviewing the following resources: the BC Ministry of Education curriculum and assessment resources; books such as Rethinking Letter Grades and Teaching to Diversity; Blooms taxonomy, Webbs Depth of Knowledge, and The Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrices; as well as by sharing our own personal experience in developing standards, assessments, rubrics and evaluation tools.

This research makes a strong case that by formulating clear standards and assessing based solely on meeting those standards, students achieve better, more equitable outcomes and are more active and informed about their progress. However, there is often a barrier of entry for teachers in that adapting their practice in this way takes a significant investment of time. While the Ministry of education provides the standards (curricular competencies) to assess, they do not provide the tools (rubrics) with which to assess them. Therefore, we decided to narrow our focus on collaboratively creating general standards-based course rubrics that could be distributed widely and adapted as necessary in each department. As our work was interrupted, not all rubrics were completed. However, one for English 12, Social Studies 8 and Digital Literacy 8 were completed. These were shared during a staff meeting as well as on the Teams platform.

Financial Literacy and Problem Solving

This PLC had a dual goal, develop a coherent, broad view on the Finance Literacy curriculum within the Math department as well as focus on how to better deliver Problem Based learning to the various grades in a systematic way.

Problem Based learning has been a key focus of the department for years and the discussion centered around problem presentation as well as how to formalize and organize chosen problems. The problem presentation process is ongoing, but the group has created a shared-drive structure where we can locate specific problems with certain courses to avoid repetition for students through the years. This library will build over time as a departmental resource.

Financial Literacy has become more prominent in the revised curriculum and carries increasing educational importance for all students moving out of high school. The PLC group looked broadly across the years to identify locations where project-based learning could be used. Suggestions, such as family budgeting projects, have emerged as good real-life ways for students to engage in their financial literacy learning. An idea for future consideration is the creation of a Finance Fair in later years, along the lines of our current Math Fair at the grade 9 level, to give students increased, tangible learning before they leave high school.

Student Recognition

After brainstorming as a Student Recognition PLC group, the overarching inquiry question below were developed.

Inquiry question:

How can Sutherland best recognize student achievements to celebrate excellence, create community and foster core values?

Random sub questions:
What values are we actually trying to foster?
How do we define excellence?Academic? Athletic? Arts? Leadership? Service?
What format would best create and build community?
Who are the stakeholders in a recognition program?Students? teachers? parents?
Does recognition need to include parents? Ex. An evening awards session at the end of the year.
Who are we doing this for? Would it help to meet stakeholder groups to get feedback?
How can we recognize a broader group of students without diluting the idea of recognizing students?
Is there a way for students to recognize students?

Some research was done to see how other secondary schools were recognizing students within their communities. Readings were discussed on the positives and negatives of public recognition and how students react to being highlighted.

Action Ideas at the time:
1) Shinning Sabres: Review the current program, build on last year and make it ongoing. Teachers can submit Shinning Sabres now and presentations will take place towards the end of the semester. Review the idea of presenting in class and consult staff.

2) Weekly student recognition: Teachers are given recognition cards. When a student does something that demonstrates the values we are hoping to encourage they can give them a recognition card. Student can write their name on the card and drop in a jar in the office. Every week a student is picked from the jar and recognized on the announcements (also projects on the TVs).

3) Recognition Assemblies (one per semester): Student are recognized in front of their peers (Jr/Sr assembly).

4) Year end gathering/gala to recognize both academic achievements and Shining Sabres

Summary and Discoveries:
A staff student recognition committee and a student led recognition committee were created.
Building on the previous year, the Shining Sabres were further defined to focus, acknowledge and foster the values of Leadership, Learning, Community and Character within Sutherland.
There was a strong input and communication from both committees that culminated in the two recognition assemblies that focused on first semester successes within these 4 core values.
Shining Sabres were teacher nominated and some students did feel that they were left out. Staff felt that it was very important to recognize academic achievements as well as the values from the Shining Sabres in June. Plans were made to implement a student recognition card (that teachers could give to students) and a framework was created for a year end Recognition gala(?)/mixer? Unfortunately, Covid-19 interrupted this progress. In the end, academic and brilliant scholar recipients were posted on the webpage.
Further discussion about the Brilliant Scholar and Iunior Summa and its place in recognition within the committee would be helpful next year.
With the limitations on assemblies, could we do virtual recognition videos and release them next year?

EA & Teacher Collaboration

Areas of Strength

  • amazing LSC and LAC teachers who support classroom teachers and EAs
  • relationships of communication, collaboration and welcome
  • co-teaching and honouring of expertise

Areas for Growth

  • communication
  • team teaching
  • introducing everyone in the class and ensuring equality of all the educators
  • use of universal classroom for the teacher
  • framework and time frame for the collaboration between all educational partners

Narrowed Focus:

  • Communication
  • Universal classroom design

Inquiry Question:

How can a communication framework between educational partners (EAs & teachers) support the implementation of universal classroom design?


  • What does the universal classroom design look like?
  • What are the shared roles between EAs and teachers?
  • Can we establish a framework for building communication/collaboration between EAs & teachers?
  • How do we model strong collaborative relationships between EAs and teachers?
  • How do teaches include EAs in classrooms — what are the different models?
  • How can EAs/teachers team teach?
  • How can LST support this framework?
  • How do we find time to collaborate?
  • How can EA/teachers together give opportunity for student agency to use classroom time
  • Are there templates of how to establish the communication already out there?

Research Questions:

  • EA roles and responsibilities. What does this look like?
  • How can School Administration support building a framework for implementing collaboration standards
  • How can universal classroom design support shared roles and collaboration between teachers and EAs?
  • Which communication tools (questionnaires, templates, worksheets) would be most effective to build onto the relationship that already exist?

Next Steps:

  • To follow up on the template that EAs have been working on for a framework to support collaboration between EAs and teachers. This includes a worksheet / set of questions to focus the collaboration and expectation of our roles with each other and the students
  • Review and edit the framework questions drafted in February and provide copies to the EAs and the teachers as they meet in September.
  • Create a timetable/schedule of how EAs and teachers could collaborate in the planning for our emergent learn
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Communicating Progress

How do we Communicate our Progress?

The school planning process is intended to support an ongoing dialogue within the community of learners to promote understanding, respect, and shared values. Communicating the vision, values, accomplishments, and future directions enable dialogue. Ultimately, schooling is a foundation to democracy and prepares students to be engaged citizens. An important feature within a community of learners is continual communication about what we value most.

Over the course of the school year we will communicate good news stories and community building events happening at Sutherland. As well, we will endeavour to communicate the progress of our goals. Communication will include:

    • Updates to the school website and Twitter account
    • Administration report and presentations from staff and students at PAC meetings
    • Student grade assemblies
    • Updates to the online School Plan
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Latest Progress & Updates