Handsworth 101 - Parent Glossary
A parent's A-Z guide to everything Handsworth

Athletic Council – chaired by the Athletic Coordinator, includes two staff coaches, a member of the PE department, one administrative officer, two students, and two parent representatives (elected by the HPAC). The council provides advice and consultation to the athletic coordinator and school administration about extra-curricular athletics budgets, uniforms, coaches and teams. The council will monitor and influence the direction of athletics at Handsworth. (source: Athletic Handbook 2012)

Athletic Coordinator
 – staff person at Handsworth responsible for coordinating the extra-curricular athletic program at the school.

Athletic Leadership – grade 11/12 elective credit course which provides students the opportunity to take a leadership role in the school athletics and intramural progams.

Awards Night
recognition evening held in June, for students receiving honour roll certificates and other academic achievement and school awards. Parents will be notified by email that their child is to receive an award.

– school colours, also used to denote beginning and advanced levels in music and sport teams, especially at grade eight level.

Choices   The Choices program supports Handsworth students with social/emotional and/or behavioural circumstances that may act as a barrier to school success. Students work with grade counsellors and the Choices team to recognize learning barriers, understand the genesis of the barriers, and strategize on possible solutions.

Course Programming Meetings­
– in February, counselors make in-class visits with students and hold information evenings for parents to provide information and advice on course planning for the following academic year.

– vary from year to year depending on interests of students. Each club must have a teacher sponsor and be approved by the Student Council. List of clubs.

Go Card
– the name for the student photo identification card, supplied by the school after photo day. The Go Card allows students to purchase bus passes and tickets at concession rates.

Grad Council
– grade 12 student group with teacher sponsor that organizes school-sanctioned grad events and fundraisers.

Handsworth Newsletter
Royal News is the electronic school newsletter sent to parents via email each month.

– each student is assigned a “homeroom” teacher and classroom at the start of the year. Students assemble in this class on the first day of school to receive paperwork for parents and then return on various occasions throughout the year to pick up report cards and/or other documents or important information.

Honour Roll
– North Van School District Honour Roll standards are described here. To be recognized at Handsworth’s Awards Night, students must achieve Honour Roll or Honour Roll with Distinction standing in both Term 1 and Term 2.

Heritage Fair
–showcase of individual and group grade 10 social studies projects featuring aspects of Canadian History, held each year.

Interim Reports
– issued throughout the year at teachers’ discretion to keep students/parents informed on student progress.

Grade Eight Parents’ Night
– opportunity for parents to meet each of their children’s teachers as they tour the school following a condensed version of their students’ timetables. Hospitality is sponsored by the HPAC.

Late Start
– on the last Wednesday of each month except December, March, and June, school starts at 9:50. A revised bell schedule will apply. Refer to the School's website Calendar

Parent Teacher Interviews
– held in Term 1 and Term 2. Interview request are made via an online system. You may not be able to book times with each teacher. Parents are welcome to set up a meeting with a teacher at any time during the year.

Parent Volunteers
– parents are involved in the school in many capacities. Parent Advisory Councils are the legislated (BC School Act) as the parent voice at the school level. At HPAC meetings we have parent representatives from the Handsworth Music Parents Association, the Athletic Council, and Canadian Parents for French. We receive Drama news from Drama parent volunteers and regularly invite sports team parent volunteers to share their news at our meetings. NVSD Volunteers in Schools policy

Passport to Education
- Ministry of Education program, phased-out 2015, that recognized academic achievement in grades 10-12 meeting specific criteria.  Passport “stamps” were awarded to students which could be redeemed for specific $ amounts towards post-secondary tuition. More information

Peak Performance
 - North Vancouver School district enhanced program that affords students who are high level athletes or performers the opportunity to balance their academic schedule with the demands of competition and training. More information

Peer Tutoring
– academic support available for junior students provided at lunch and after school (and sometimes in the Learning Centre) by trained senior students.

Peer Tutoring 12
– elective credit course designed for grade 12s to volunteer as peer tutors to grade 8 and 9 students.

Photo Day
– professional school photographers come to the school to take photos of all students. Parents may order photo packages. All students will receive a Handsworth photo identification card, known as a Go Card.

Pink shirt Day
– student-led anti-bullying initiative with national connections.

Planning 10/12
– required courses for graduation. Goal of Planning 10 is to enable students to develop responsible decision-making skills in the area of education/career, health and finances. Planning 12 further supports students in education and career planning and in Graduation Transition requirements.

remind – new texting communication program for students and parents to receive text information updates from the school.  For parents to sign up, text@hssparents to 604-210-6527

Royals Gear
– Handsworth logo wear and accessories marketed by senior business students. More information

Royals Lunches
– the hot lunch program run four days per week by the Football parents volunteer group to raise funds for the football program. More information

Santa’s Breakfast
– student council-led event for grade 8s, admission by donation of food item for Christmas Hamper.

Safe Grad
– organized by parents, this “dry after grad” is not an official school event. More Information

– many opportunities exist for students seeking financial support for post-secondary pursuits. More information

School Nurse
 – Vancouver Coastal Health supports a Comprehensive School Health framework. A public health nurse is assigned to Handsworth and is available to students each Wednesday 12:00 - 2:30 pm in room 109. Ms Claudia Lefebvre can provide support, education and referral as requried  on issues of healthy living, sexual health, mental health, anxiety, and disordered eating. More information

School Plan – each year the School  prepares a plan that develops, monitors, and reviews, the school’s goals for improving student achievement. The substance of the school plan reflects the goals of the North Vancouver school district while respecting the unique circumstances of the school.

Senior formal
– formal dinner dance for grade 11 and 12 students held in late January each year.

Service Hours
– refers to (i) the 30 hours of paid or volunteer work experience that are a part of the “Graduation Transitions” requirement for graduation. Students may start accumulating (and documenting) these hours in grade 10 (ii) volunteer hours accumulated by students gr. 8-12 in service to the school.

Sports Team Parent Volunteers
– the extra-curricular athletic progam at Handsworth appreciates and values the support of volunteer parent groups. Parent volunteers are involved in such activities as team management, transportation, concessions and fundraising. Terms of reference for these groups may be found in the Athletic Handbook on the Handsworth School Site.

Strachan Hartley Run - charity run held each fall at Handsworth in memory of Handsworth alumnus Strachan Hartley who died from cancer at age 30. The run raises funds for the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation which provides youth with opportunities to achieve their full potential through sports and education.

Student Council
– the council is formed of two representatives from grades 8 to 10, one each from grades 11 and 12, and an executive council and members-at-large made up of grade 11 and 12 students. The council’s purpose is to unite the student body, promote school spirit, and support student needs. It organizes events, approves new clubs, and undertakes special projects. Elections are held near the end of the year, with the exception of the grade 8 reps that are elected in the fall.

Student Leadership Council – council formed of representatives from each secondary school in the North Vancouver School District. More information

Take our Kids to Work Day –  Grade 9 Take Our Kids to Work  is an annual program in which Grade 9 students are hosted by parents, friends, relatives and volunteers at workplaces across the country every November. The program supports career development by helping students connect school, the world of work, and their own futures,

Volunteers in Schools  – The North Vancouver board of Education believes "the active involvement of parents in a volunteer role has the potential to provide considerable benefit to the intellectual and social development of students". See the Board policy for More information

Youth Awards (DNV) – the District of North Vancouver has designated a number of awards to recognize the contributions of Youth to our community and to commend those who support and develop youth. More information

Youth Outreach Workers – provide one to one support and advocacy for teens. Youth workers hold office hours at Handsworth and can be reached after school too. More information

Youth Week – celebrated the first week of May to promote and raise awareness of the positive contributions of youth in our community. More information

Abbreviations & Acronyms

APAdvanced Placement


BCCPACBC confederation of Parent Advisory Councils


CPFCanadian Parents for French 


DLDistributed Learning, aka “online learning”


DPACDistrict Parent Advisory Council 


HPAC/HSSA – Handsworth Parent Advisory Council/Handsworth Secondary School Association

HMPAHandsworth Music Parents' Association

IBInternational Baccalaureate

IEP – Individual Education Plan. The IEP is a documented plan developed for a student with special needs that describes individualized goals, adaptations, modifications, the services to be provided, and includes measures for tracking achievement. (Source: BC Ministry of Education)


LC – Learning Centre. The Learning Center at Handsworth Secondary School is reserved for students with ministry designated learning disabilities. However, throughout the year, students with significant academic struggles may be referred to the Learning Center by their grade counselors at the monthly School Based Resource Team meeting. In the Learning center students are asked to bring their current academic subjects and are given learning support in conjunction with current work. (Source: Handsworth Program Guide)


SEA/EA – Special Education Assistant or Education Assistant. More information

SWIS – Settlement Workers in Schools. School-based outreach program to assist newcomer students & families settle into school and community. Services available in Farsi, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and Filipino (Tagalog). More information