Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jan 17th General Meeting Summary

There were three main topics at our January meeting the school calendar, student giftedness and parent engagement. 

Meeting Minutes 

School District Calendar

We started the meeting with an update on the school calendar discussions from Karen Nordquist, our parent representative on that committee. With recent Ministry policy changes, school district's are now able to establish local school calendars. The school district is seeking parent and community input into how to organize the school year and is considering a range of options such as lengthening the year to include more breaks, having professional days coordinate with other holidays and potentially year round schooling for some students.

From Karen's update we now know the District is not intending to make any radical changes in the short term but they are looking at options and seeking parent and community input into the matter. There will be a survey in February on potential options and North Van PAC has been invited to have 20 parents attend a forum at 4pm on January 24th discussing the options. Interested parents should email if they wish to attend.

Understanding Giftedness in Children

The main topic of the evening was how to assess and understand giftedness in children. Marcia Garries, District Administrator: Learning Services presented this very topic to a packed room of over 100 parents. Much of the evening was spent enabling parents to discuss the characteristics of gifted children and revealed the broad scope that the term covers. Gifted does not mean gifted in everything. There are many definitions but academic success may not be one of them and many times gifted children struggle to fit into the school system both because they may be ahead in some areas but also struggling in others, especially if their learning styles do not fit well with the programs.

North Vancouver's gifted program is intended to help gifted students receive the support they need to succeed.

The key for parents is to keep an eye out for giftedness, document it if you see it and build a profile of your children and their interests (hobbies, reading etc) to help you and them understand their gifts. Most importantly, a profile will help both parents and students to communicate their needs. It is true of all students, but the better students and their parent's are able to communicate their needs and interests to the classroom teacher the more likely the teacher will be able to create opportunities that meet the needs of the child.

Marcia also discussed the potential of refreshing the North Shore Gifted Children's Association as a way for parents to network with each other and their children. Interested parents may wish to contact Marcia about this opportunity.

Parent Engagement

To end the evening, Jane Thornthwaite, MLA, North Vancouver - Seymour presented a summary of her role working with the Ministry of Education to improve parent engagement with the school system. Work is currently at a preliminary stage but the Ministry has recognized that one way to improve the success of BC student's is to engage parent's in the school system by finding ways to provide parent's better visibility of what is going on in schools. MLA Thornthwaite is currently talking with parents and other groups to find ways to better support parents to support their students throughout their educational careers.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jan 17th General Meeting Agenda

Welcome to a new year.

Our January (17th) general meeting features a talk from Marcia Garries on children's giftedness. More information on this talk can be found below. I hope to see you all this Thursday.

Date: Thursday, Jan. 17th
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Location: Education Services Center, 2121 Lonsdale Ave

Meeting Agenda:
7:00 pm: call to order & Welcome - David Whitehead
7:10 pm: Update on School Calendar - Karen Nordquist
7:15 pm: Workshop - Discovering my child's intellectual self
8:45 pm: Parental Engagement - Jane Thornthwaite, MLA North Vancouver - Seymour
9:00 pm: Adjourn

Workshop: Discovering my child's intellectual self
The facilitator is Marcia Garries, District Administrator for Learning Services, from the school district 44. She will be presenting an overview of children with high abilities and giftedness and will explore some of the characteristics and traits as well as some of the myths and misperceptions around giftedness.