UHE Teacher & Staff Appreciation Day Wednesday June 6, 2018

Hello PAC Members

Thank you to those of you who have already committed to volunteering food, flowers and/or your time!  It is much appreciated.!! There are still opportunities to donate.  Please see the notice below.

Subject:  UHE Teacher & Staff Appreciation Day 2018

Hello Parents,

Our annual Teacher & Staff Appreciation Lunch is fast approaching.  This is the one day of the school year when parents prepare home cooked dishes for the teachers’ morning and lunch time breaks. It is a great way to show our teachers how much we appreciate their hard work throughout the year….and they always enjoy the wonderful selection of foods!

Food Donations

See the Google document below to let us know what dish you would like to prepare and bring.  You can drop off your food donations throughout the morning, starting at 8:30.

Volunteers Needed

If you are willing to volunteer your time that day to share in the camaraderie of set-up, serving and clean-up for the Teachers& Staff who do this for our children the rest of the year, there are a number of times available.  Please provide your name and email address in the space allotted.

**Fresh Flower Arrangement

If one of our parents has fresh flowers from their garden and would like to create flower arrangements for the Food Table and four round tables where staff sit, it would be greatly appreciated.  Please provide your name and phone number in the space allotted on the attached Google document and on the day, please label your vase with your name.  There are some vases available in the Staff Room.

To volunteer food, flowers or your time, please click here: Appreciation Day. When you have typed in your information, just close the document and you information will be saved.

Thank you in advance for your food, time and flower contributions!

PAC – Appreciation Lunch Event Team

What do your kids want in a playground?

Thank you for the outpouring of support for the development of our new playground.  This really is an opportunity for us.  We are starting the process of first gathering information about what kinds of things our key stakeholders want in a playground, and will follow that with a prioritization exercise to determine which aspects are most important to our community.

We need your help!  This weekend and through June 10th, please take your kids to any playgrounds you like, and ask your kids what aspects of the playground they like and don’t like, and share your feedback and pictures here.  This includes, but is not limited to: features (what specific structures do they like: slides, zip line…), themes (a nature theme, a pirate ship…), aspects that make the playground accessible to children with special needs, and layout (pieces that are spread out, circuits. etc.).  Please also note the manufacturer of the playground if this is visible.

Please help us by visiting playgrounds and sharing your input HERE by Sunday June 10.  Even if you didn’t visit a playground, but have aspects/opinions that you would like to share, please fill out the brief survey.  *Please note that you can fill in the survey straight from your phone!**

Thank you!

Playground Update

Dear Parents

As you may or may not have heard, our UHE playground has been closed. We know that there are a lot of rumors flying around, as well as a lot of uncertainty.  Please take a few minutes to read the whole story. You will see that while there is some short term not great news, the overall picture is very positive.

Last week, an assessment was done of the playground, deeming it unsafe for use.  On Wednesday, a fence was placed around the structures, and the children were informed that they could no longer use it.  On Friday at the PAC meeting, Principal Froese informed parents that the structure had been condemned and would be removed on Wednesday, May 30.  Since then, PAC has been in close communication with the VSB, and has found them to be very open in their communication and approach, and we are committed to working with them to come up with the best solution possible.  We see the events that have unfolded as a great opportunity for our school, and one that we hope you will consider getting more involved with.

This morning Doug McClary, Manager of Maintenance and Construction, VSB, and a professional engineer visited UHE to determine the status of the playground, and to see if anything could be done to save the structures. While he had left by the time PAC arrived, we had the opportunity to meet with Geoff Pearmain, the Grounds Foreman for the VSB. He was very informative and open about the findings and the process. He informed us that Doug and his team had found that certain components of the structures were what they call “Type A hazards”, or hazards that could result in life threatening injuries. Specifically, these hazards are: the bridge and slide, as well as the section where kids hold on and “zip” across to a nearby platform.  These sections will need to be removed, and until this is done, the remainder of the playground (including the highest part of the structure, as well as the toadstools and monkey bars) cannot be reopened. For this reason, the damaged sections of the playground will be removed on Wednesday, May 30, with the rest of the playground reopening on Monday.

This however, is a short term solution, as the whole playground was poorly constructed and the company that installed it went out of business shortly after it was installed in approximately 2006.  Frequent repairs have been made over the years, but these repairs are increasingly challenging as the necessary parts for this now out of business structure are hard to find, and, according to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), playground structures in schools need to be repaired using pieces manufactured by the company that made the playground. This of course, is no longer possible now that the company has gone out of business. As a result, VSB has decided that the rest of the playground will need to be removed this summer.  That is the bad news, but please read on for the good news.

The current BC government is looking to fund playgrounds, and each fiscal year (July 1- June 30) asks each district to nominate a school to get a new playground.  According to the VSB, UHE would be first on this list to be nominated in the new fiscal year (i.e., after July 1) to receive provincial funding for a brand new playground.  While the processes taken by the BC government is not fully known by VSB (understandably as it is outside their domain), they did strongly recommend that we go ahead with deciding exactly want, and so if/when we get selected for the playground, we have all our documentation, including a quote and our specs ready to go.  Geoff spent considerable time speaking with us about which companies to reach out to, as well as what to consider.  We (UHE PAC) are forming a committee of interested parents asap (getting significant input from teachers and school staff such as the individuals who help our students with special needs) to move quickly with contacting the various companies that VSB recommends to get quotes, visit other schools to see aspects that we like, solicit input from key stakeholders. We want to make sure that we areas informed as possible, and are collaborative and transparent in our approach, while also moving the process forward in a timely and efficient manner (so as not to miss out on this huge opportunity).  If anyone is interested in being on this committee, please let us know asap. PAC can always be reached by email at uhillpac@gmail.com

While all of us would prefer it if the existing playground could remain open and usable by our children, we are also in agreement with the VSB that we do not want our children playing on a structure that is unsafe.  It is unfortunate that the existing structure will be removed this summer, but it is exciting that UHE will first on the list of recommended schools within the district to received playground funding from the provincial government (hopefully within the July 2018/June 2019 fiscal year).  It is going to take significant effort on our part to solicit input for a new playground from relevant stakeholders, explore options for playgrounds by visiting other schools, obtain quotations and options from VSB-approved vendors, and create a proposal to submit through the VSB to the province as early as this July.  What a great opportunity for you to get involved in your child’s school.  Please contact us at if you are interested in being on a committee that works collaboratively with parents, teachers, staff, VSB and other stakeholders to make this happen.  In addition, depending on what choices we make regarding the playground (for example, there are two ground covers that are officially wheelchair accessible, but one is MUCH more accessible, but is also about $80-100K more expensive), we may still need to raise additional funds for the playground.

We realize that this is a lot for you, and for your children to digest. Please feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns or suggestions that you have.  In addition to reaching out directly to PAC (uhillpac@gmail.com), Aaron Davis, Director of Instruction at VSB has been very open and transparent in his assistance on this issue, and is happy to hear from parents who have additional concerns or questions. We look forward to continued engagement and collaboration with the VSB towards the common goal of ensuring that UHE children have a safe playground as soon as possible.

Warmest regards,

Jen McCutcheon, PAC Chair 2017/18


Walk or Bike to school this Week!

Dear Parents,

My apologies for not sending this out earlier, but this week is Walk and Roll week!  That means that in addition to all the mental and physical benefits of having your child walk, bike, or scooter to school, s/he is eligible for prizes if s/he does so!  Thanks to amazing support from UBC UTown (thank you Mustafa and your team!!), there are points across campus where you can drop your child to have them walk safely to school with a volunteer, or you can meet at the Acadia Park Commons Block to have your child ride to school with the UHE Bike Bus.   Please note that your own arrangements need to be made for getting your child home.

Your child should have received  a “passport” from her/his teacher.  Have your child bring this passport to school each morning this week, and if s/he walked or rode to school, s/he can get a sticker from the volunteers in yellow t-shirts.  At the end of the week, prizes will be drawn.

Please see below for more info from UTown.

Lace up your shoes, jump on your bike, scooter or skateboard during Walk ‘n Roll to School Celebration Week from May 28 until June 1.

Lots of prizes to be won including scooters, skateboards, bike locks and more: To win, make sure to collect a sticker each day you walk ‘n roll to school. Hand in your passport at school by Friday, June 1.

New daily Bike Train from Wesbrook and Hampton Place: In addition to existing walking school buses, we have added two pick-up points for bike trains from Wesbrook Village and Hampton Place. Routes will be led by UBC staff and volunteers who will ensure a fun and safe ride.

Krank it up! On Thursday, May 31, join us at recess to decorate and fix-up your bike to ride the beautiful trails and cyclist-friendly routes at UBC.

Make sure to check out the Walk ‘n Roll pamphlet for more details and pick-up points for our daily walking school bus and bike trains. Details can also be found online: www.utown.ubc.ca/walknroll