Violence Prevention Month and Anti-Bullying
Wed Feb 08 00:00:00 NST 2017

February is Violence Prevention Month and in our schools we take time to acknowledge our efforts to curb violence.  Recent commentary has highlighted the concerns of some parents and guardians with what they perceive to be a lack of attention to this matter and some common concerns have emerged, including parental requests for clear guidelines and appropriate responses and consequences. While there are defined processes in place - including responsibilities outlined in the Safe and Caring Schools policy and the Bullying Intervention Protocol, which all schools must follow - each specific scenario is unique and must be considered in that light. As educators, that is our role and it must be taken extremely seriously for the well-being of every student.

Schools and teachers today find the need to promote interpersonal skills development within, and among, our student community. There is a tremendous dialogue and debate across our country on how the digital society affects our children. The prevalence of technology and social media, even for our youngest learners, has increased the need to teach appropriate communication and social skills.

We have also identified the need to build resilience in our students, the ability to struggle but push through, to fail but to keep trying, to build a growth-mindset. We know that most things in life are achieved through hard work, dedication and focus. Relationships are no different. My generation, maybe unknowingly, learned dispute resolutions through unstructured play on our neighbourhood streets and playgrounds. Today, the heavily structured lives of many of our children mean that the development of these skills have not naturally evolved as a part of the growing process.

What does all this mean for our schools? It means we will continue to maintain a focus on promoting and developing positive behaviours. Furthermore, schools will engage students in discussions through programs and activities such as Morning Conversation Circles, Roots of Empathy, and other character development opportunities. We will continue to focus on the importance of relationships and further expand well-researched approaches, such as restorative justice. The men and women who work in our schools are always seeking to improve the safe and caring environment and respond effectively when a student does not feel safe.  We are committed to improving our response when working with children.

For parents and guardians, we ask that you continue to work with your school, respecting that everyone has your child’s best interest in mind, even when we may disagree. The hard work of establishing relationships is a process for all of us. We urge you to continue to work with your children to build resilience, promote positive behaviours, teach appropriate use of social media, and encourage positive relationships. Our schools are constantly working on these concepts, however, all of us need to reinforce these messages, both in the classroom and at home.

We need to work together to build a school community of confident and hopeful students. Let’s find ways to foster stronger and more positive relationships, thereby reducing instances of bullying and building confidence in our students.

Until next time.


A Fresh Start
Tue Jan 10 00:00:00 NST 2017

A new year often means resolutions: commitments to exercise, eat better, and live well. Generally I support those ideas and encourage those who find them helpful to begin and fulfil a resolution. 

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and during the break I did some thinking about why that is. And while I love the social aspect, including time with family, relaxation and good food, I came to realize one of the main reasons I enjoy Christmas is the overall positive feeling present; the good-natured spirit present in people. Family gatherings are jovial, with stories of past experiences and good times, as well as upcoming adventures. The mood is good and people are kind to one another. Most importantly, as the holiday season approaches, our schools and students are filled with positive attitudes and they undertake remarkable projects to help their communities. Similarly, many of us find the time to give back to our communities and do something extra to help those who may need additional support during this time of year. 

Well, this holiday season made me think that if we maintained such positive feelings and continued the positive actions throughout the remainder of the year we could certainly have more positive experiences and achieve a great deal more as communities. I recognize it can be easier to think this way during the festive season when we have more downtime and life has a slower pace. However, I think if we take the time to remember the holiday season, the feeling it brings us and how we strive to be a better version of ourselves, this is something that we can accomplish throughout the year.

So, while I do not make new year resolutions, I do plan to try and recall more frequently - every day or at least every week - the positive things and people that surround us and why we are so lucky to have the opportunities we do. I know we all experience significant challenges at times and I hope that if I can recall and maintain just a small portion of the holiday season feeling all year I can live a more productive and successful life, both at home and at work.

As you strive to attain your personal new year resolution, keep in mind the favourable aspects of the holiday period we just enjoyed, try to keep the good feelings flowing and maintain a positive relationship with your friends, family, coworkers and yourself. If we recall the many good things in our lives and that we are so fortunate to live in this province and country, we can live a productive and personally rewarding life.

A new year is a great time to start fresh with new goals and objectives and for the good of our personal and professional well-being, let’s take inventory and be appreciative of what we have.

Until next time!

Enjoy and Share the Wonders of the Season
Thu Dec 15 00:00:00 NST 2016

Since I started blogging, I have always done an entry focused on the holiday season and this year is no different. It truly is one of my favourite times of the year as we get the opportunity to spend a little more time with family and friends, relish some downtime for relaxation, watch classic black and white Christmas movies, and enjoy wonderful meals that are accompanied by great conversation.

It is also a time of year to remember those who may be less fortunate than us and may not have the same opportunities to experience the traditions and family time so many of us take for granted. Our school communities certainly do a wonderful job of keeping this in mind and encouraging our students to help those who may need a little extra assistance or extra cheer during this time of year. Please do keep this in mind over the holidays and continue to ensure the message of hope and confidence is shared with everyone - no matter their personal circumstance. Sharing your Christmas light with someone can have more of a positive effect than you know. Let’s also celebrate and extend the spirit of the season to all our community members who represent a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds and who have wonderful, long-standing traditions that enrich our province.

As always, I encourage everyone to enjoy themselves over the holidays and spend time with those you care the most about. Enjoy the time of year to the fullest and the best of your ability while preparing for the new year, new challenges and great accomplishments to come.

On that note, I know at this time of year we do a lot of reflecting about accomplishments, highlights and exciting moments. Well, to conclude my last blog of 2016 I thought I would attempt my own Top 10 for 2016.

So, here goes:

10). Bought a jeep - (yes, a late mid-life crisis occurred in 2016)
9). The Chicago Bears won a few games…there is only one direction to go now!
8). Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography was released.
7). The Leafs drafted Austin Matthews, he scored four goals in his first game and I am eternally optimistic - hope and confidence folks...
6). A new District website was launched.
5). I ran a personal best 10K
4). The District moved to Google Apps for Education
3). School board trustee elections were held.
2). Seeing my second granddaughter (who lives away) walk and hearing her speak for the first time.
1). My youngest daughter graduated high school.

Merry Christmas and all the best to you and yours for the coming year!

Computer Code: An Exciting and Valuable Language
Wed Nov 30 00:00:00 NST 2016

I am going to start this blog with a confession: I have never been very good at learning other languages. Try as I might, my French language ability is limited to some cordial phrases, and when I travel to other countries I focus on collegial and helpful words like 'hello' and 'thank you.' For the most part, I rely upon the kindness and language abilities of others to help me along the way.

However, I have found one "language" to be of great interest to me and that is the language of computers, specifically computer code. I have always been a person who prefers mathematics and science and during the course of my career, I found myself teaching some computer classes, including some additional night classes to adults. The ability to write what a computer program does next is remarkable and computer coding is extremely interesting and powerful.

The language of computers is becoming ever more important in our world. Computers are pervasive and having the the ability to understand how they work is extremely advantageous. In fact, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI) states that the technology industry in our province accounts for almost 4,000 jobs and is valued at $1.6 billion. It is hoped that the industry will double in the next 10 years, providing rewarding career opportunities for our residents. In many ways, technology may very well be the way of the future for our province and our students.

The potential for a worthwhile career is one good reason for schools and students to participate in Hour of Code Day during Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11, 2016. Another more important reason, coding is a tremendous amount of fun. Last year, we encouraged our schools to participate in Hour of Code activities and the schools that did reported students loved the activities and were completely engaged, which as an educator is something that I love to hear.

Seeing the faces of students who learn to make a robot complete a task or have a character move on screen because they wrote the code is truly rewarding. This is hands-on, problem-based learning which engages, challenges, and promotes creativity and collaboration. As we endeavour to develop 21st Century learning skills in students, we can use technology to expand classroom practices.  Learning Code supports the development of 21st Century learning skills and engages students, and they also develop technological skills that better position them for our new economy. That is why I believe participating in Hour of Code activities is certainly an activity worth trying.

The District has created a webpage that provides information about coding for teachers, students and families. You can find promotional materials, online coding activities, tips and advice, along with further information about the IT industry on that site. You can access these links and resources here:

It is also important that we break down common misconceptions of people who code. The truth is coding is everywhere and everyday people of varying backgrounds and interests are discovering the value and enjoyment of coding. There are great videos on the Code website ( which show leaders in governance, social justice, technology, arts and sports speaking passionately about their experience with code and how it has benefited them.

So, take some time to explore a new language and encourage our students and schools to do the same.

Until next time,


Darrin Pike
CEO/Director of Education

Quick Links

Blog Archive Wall

Click on a blog note below to view. For blogs not displayed, click on the Blog Archive link above.
95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706
95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · Canada · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Feedback

© 2017 Newfoundland & Labrador English School District
All Rights Reserved.

LEGEND: View Story Attatchment External Link Other Doc Form Presentation