Author: kondrik4

deepening roots finding voices getting messy considering others a daughter, sister, friend, teacher, wife, mom, advocate

Thinking about … #being male & #being female about … #real strength & #care


Every Child Matters: Orange Shirt Day & The Secret Path – powerful tributes to the First Peoples of Canada


On October 22, 1966 near Kenora, Ontario, Chanie Wenjack died when he walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Fifty years later, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has taken Wenjack’s story and turned it into the Secret Path project, including a solo album, a graphic novel and an animated film.

Community Mentorship – a root of VCS – a poem


(after 3 years … a reflection)


Like the fishes and loaves

We began with a few

Only a few

Eager though

And interested

Desiring to connect

Loving youth

Loving too their passions

science, writing, Chinese medicine, the inner world of emotions, music, yoga

And we didn’t have space

And we often forgot

That what they were offering was a gift

That what they were seeking was a relationship

And we often forgot

That they didn’t know how to handle disrespect

That they were unsure of how to handle hormonal rambunctiousness

Still Lisa found abundance in the few fishes & pieces of bread

Still more


And interested

Desiring to connect

Loving youth

Loving too their passions

Technology, city planning, the natural world, art, creativity

Upon reflection

Three years later

I remember the Red Carpet Evening

The faces

The joy

The medals and

The thank you’s

From voices rarely heard

Words spoken

Of gratitude

Of purpose

The criticality of mentors

From a few fishes & loaves …


NeW bLoG !

Click here for our NeW bLoG all about designing learning plans at VCS:


Here is an excerpt from this NeW bLoG: 

Nel Noddings, an educational scholar from Stanford University, has provided ample nourishment for the cultivation of Vernon Community School (along with many others).  She reminds us of the basic human need of care, and its substantial impact on the rest of our lives.  This is particularly true for developing humans who are vulnerable to educational demands that trigger a variety of defenses.  For growth to happen – for the seed to open, for risks to be taken, to bounce back after mistakes – care is critical.

To live caringly in the educational ecology of VCS, students are given the opportunity to design & then redesign (repeat) their unique learning plans (and a formal Learning Plan each fall) – looking towards graduation and beyond.  We recognize like John Dewey, however, that education is not preparation for life – but education is life itself.  This blog,then, will contain the resources students require to discern and determine their unique pathways over time – beginning in grade 7.

Some specifics:

There are core courses which all students at VCS receive for their participation and engagement in a variety of experiences (incorporating all aspects of the BC Curriculum), as well as learning and growth as a result.  This is documented through “Examinations of Learning” (fall, winter & spring), as well as teacher initiated documentation of learning on Fresh Grade.  Additional course credits can be given for students who document their work and learning from mentors and community partnerships on Fresh Grade (both inside of and outside of school).

For most students – ages 12-15 – the core courses are english, math, social studies, science, health & career, p.e., and electives (mentor work and community partnerships).

For most students – ages 15-19 – credits for a variety of courses are given to students throughout these “grad study years” – english, math, social studies, and science are core with electives (academic & vocational mentorships/college courses/online learning, etc.) chosen by students based upon interests and passions.  80 credits are required to receive a “Dogwood” certificate – the credentialing required for all post-secondary studies.

VCS is committed to co-creating programs which lead to “Dogwood” graduation for all students.  Students may remain at VCS until they are 19 (without cost) in order to achieve this.  Students may also achieve these requirements and leave school early with their “Dogwood.”  These decisions will be made through conversations with students, parents, teachers, and mentors, and documented in personalized Learning Plans (developed or reviewed each fall).