NCDES Newsletter February 2013

Phone 635-7944 or 1-800-663-3865
Any Time, Any Place, Any Pace!

One to One Computing in Schools– Vice Principal’s Message


For several years I was involved in a special project to see what would happen if in a classroom every student had a laptop computer. I got together with a group of teachers, each from a different school in the district and we laid out our plans and started to dream. We dreamed about how our classrooms would have no walls. We dreamed about how we would be creating authentic work for authentic audiences, that learning could be more like discovery and less like trying to remember the irrelevant– more like lifelong kindergarten. We dreamed that our students could collaborate and interact with authors and scientists and with people form all over the world, and with each other, that students could share discoveries and resources and write collaborative essays, and that students and teachers could describe their experience of life using various media like podcasts  wikis and blogs as well as video and slide-shares  We dreamed that students would learn more of the learning skills that truly matter, become knowledge-able rather than just knowing stuff, and that in this way schooling itself would transcend to a new level of productivity, engagement and relevance. We dreamed that if each student had a computer, that school itself could utterly transformed.

Dream we did but– well, life goes on. We all had some kind of fun with our students. Years later I found myself in a distributed learning school. Then one day the obvious dawned on me. In Distributed Learning EVERY STUDENT HAS A COMPUTER! How awesome is that? It’s the biggest one-on-one project ever. Let’s make the most of it. We can all do our part to make learning all of the wonderful things it can truly be.

Then There Were Six. . .

Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne speaks at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne speaks at the convention in Toronto on Saturday January 26, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Never before in Canadian history have so many women been at the helm of power in Canada’s provinces! With Kathleen Wynn being elected the leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, there are now six female premiers. They include Christy Clark of B.C., Alison Redford of Alberta, Eva Aariak of Nunavut, Pauline Marois of Quebec, and Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador. Interestingly, Canada has yet to have an elected female prime minister, as Kim Campbell was only elected party leader of the ill-fated Progressive Conservatives in 1993. However, considering just 100 years ago, all of the accomplishments for women in Canadian politics mentioned above were impossible, the current accomplishments for gender equality and representation in Canada would no doubt make Nellie McClung and the other members of the “Famous Five” quite happy. As such, it’s really only a matter of time before their statues on the grounds of parliament in Ottawa are graced by other women dedicated to a life of public service, the first of which will likely be the Right Honourable Kim Campbell.

The Plot Thickens. . .

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Imagine being stranded on a life boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for over two-hundred days. . . with a 300 pound Bengal tiger!!! So is the adventure for Pi Patel, a young man who meets disaster on a tragic voyage as he as his family transport their zoo from India to Canada. Not only does Pi have a peculiar name, but he practices three different, and at times conflicting, faiths. Find out how he survives his catastrophe and unlikely shipmate in the bestselling novel Life of Pi written by Canadian author Yann Martel and the new multiple academy award winning motion picture of the same name directed by Ang Lee. Both are beautiful works of literature/cinematic brilliance that are sure to have you smiling by the end.


Scratch Programming Language LogoWhat is Scratch? It’s a fun, cool programming language for beginners. Almost anyone can learn the basics of programming as they drag and drop blocks to create games and animations. You can then share your wonderful creations with family and friends as all they need is a browser to play your game. To find out more click here (

Math and Physics Tips for the avid Golfer!

Anything can be broken down into its purest form!



Spring Break

Please note that Spring Break is fast approaching and teachers will be away from their desks from March 18th – April 1st inclusive. During this time, our NCDES clerical staff will continue to be available and the office will remain open. We encourage students to continue working, if they wish, and teachers will be back in the office on April 2nd.

Enjoy the break!


Anti-Bullying Day (a.k.a. Pink Shirt Day)

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Wednesday, Feb. 27, is Pink Shirt Day.

Wear pink to symbolize a stand against bullying.


Anti-Bullying Day, or Pink Shirt Day, started as a protest against a bullying incident at a Nova Scotia high school  in 2007. The original event, organized by grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price (who bought and distributed 50 pink shirts), turned the tide against bullies who picked on a male student for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school.

Join us in taking a stand against bullying!


Here are a few resources/links and videos that may be of interest.



Social Media and Digital Age Children

NCDES is very pleased to see the recent enthusiasm and activity on our Facebook page. To support students and parents who may be new to the use of digital technology, we recommend reading a Parents’ Guide to Facebook (click link) by Anne Collier and Larry Magid. As stated by Susan Lucille Davis in A Letter To Parents Of Digital Age Children (posted by

Our young people are still learning their way around the digital landscape largely on their own — when what we need to do is confidently take them by the hand, show them how to look both ways, and cross the street with them — at least at first. That means staying up-to-date about digital safety, the rules of the road, and what’s going on in the neighborhood. Finally, we need to foster the kinds of personal relationships that encourage our kids to talk about where they are going and what they discover along the way (their successes as well as their mistakes) once we let them travel on their own.

We encourage you to explore the digital landscape together. Feel free to let us know what you learn and what you find interesting! 

Discover Trades BC Presents SHOW US YOUR SKILLS Video Contest

Students, here’s an opportunity to win an Apple iPad and cash for your school! For further information on the Discover Trades Video Contest, please click here.

Online PSI Selections

PSI selectionsGrade 12 students are encouraged to complete the Online PSI Selections form if they are graduating and applying to a Post Secondary Institution (PSI) this school year.

Note:  Students who do not yet have a SSW account will need to create one at the above SSW website prior to gaining access to the PSI Selections form.

  • New for 2013 – Students must complete the PSI Selections form by March 1, 2013 to have preliminary transcript information forwarded in mid-March to the BC Electronic PSIs list and to the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) institutions.  Preliminary transcript information will not include interim marks for courses in progress. It will only include final marks for completed courses and a list of courses students are currently taking.
  • Students must complete the PSI Selections form by May 1, 2013 to have interim transcript information forwarded in May 2013 to the BC Electronic PSIs list and to the OUAC institutions.
  • Students must make their PSI Selections by July 15, 2013 to have their final transcript information sent to PSIs by July 30, 2013.
  • In addition to the BC Electronic PSIs option and the OUAC Electronic PSIs option in Section 1 of the form, students may submit a maximum of six selections from Sections 2 and 3 of the online form.
  • Students only need to complete their PSI Selections form once in the current school year.  If they select BC Electronic PSIs and/or OUAC by March 1, 2013, their transcript information will be forwarded automatically for the preliminary transcript file in March, the interim file in May and the final file in late July.  Students may submit additional selections from Sections 1, 2 or 3 at any time up until July 15, 2013.

Note: Requests to send transcripts to additional PSIs can be made for a fee by submitting an online transcript order at:

If a specific PSI is not listed in Sections 1, 2 or 3 of the PSI Selections form, please send an email with the name and address of the PSI you wish to see added to:

  • After making selections, students may print a confirmation page for reference purposes, and at any point students can view their selections on the SSW by using the “View PSI Selections” menu option. PSI selections will appear on the updated Transcript Verification Reports (TVRs) beginning in May as well as the PSI Selections Student Summary Report detailed below.

Clerical Tips

contact imageHot tips from NCDES Clerical:

Our clerical team reminds students to inform NCDES of any contact information changes, including change of email address, phone number, or mailing address.  NCDES must maintain accurate records to properly report progress.

When completing assignments, be sure to include your name on uploaded documents.  Email addresses do not always clearly specify the sender’s full name.  Including your name on your assignments is a simple solution.  Thank you!


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