Sunday, March 3, 2013

NVPAC Feb 21st Meeting Summary

The North Van PAC Feb 21st meeting began with an update on IT systems from Monty Bell and then continued with a number of speakers describing their particular parent education options.

IT Update

North Vancouver School District is rolling out a new web communications system from a company called Scholantis.  They expect all schools will have moved over to this system by the fall which will enable the school administration and teachers to manage their own web pages and enable parents to have much better information on their children's school activities. At the meeting we heard about the benefits of the new system and we are encouraged to hear that teachers will soon have a better way to communicate with parents as this will help more parents to engage with their children's education.

We had hoped that this new system would also be able to host PAC websites as every PAC currently builds and manages their own system. Unfortunately we heard at the meeting that for privacy reason's PAC are not going to be able to host their websites on the NVSD system. Schools will be able to link to any PAC maintained websites but the district will not be providing a PAC website management system. 

Email management is in a similar situation. For privacy reasons the school district will not be providing their parent email lists to PACs or collecting email lists on behalf of PACs (through consent forms for example.) PACs will still be able to send email to parents using School Connects via the District will need to send the email to the District staff to have them send it to the appropriate lists.  

We recommend that PACs plan to build and maintain their own websites in September and that PACs ensure they have systems in place to gather and maintain parent email address lists. 

Parent Education Options

We had invited a number of groups to present their parent education options to us at the meeting to raise awareness of different parent education options. We'd like to get feedback from PACs that attended on the event, format etc. Please contact the presenters if you'd like more information on their particular programs.

Teresa Triggiano - Stand by Me - Bullying and respect
Stand By Me is a program that focuses on empathy building, social responsibility, restorative justice and self-awareness. The program helps students identify bullying behaviours, understand how those behaviours make students feel and take responsibility for the choices they make. Students are given an opportunity to speak about how they feel at school and to offer apologies to classmates. No one is asked to say anything they do not feel comfortable saying.

Tina-Marie Meyer - Joy of Learning Network - Motivation; stress; and leadership
1. Motivation, Goal Setting, and Communication for middle and high school students
2. Stress and Organization for optimal performance
3. Personal Leadership in the 21st Century: Who am I? and How do I fit in?

Brittany Palmer - Unlock Your Future Scholarships - How to find scholarship
Presented her in-depth scholarship seminar to illustrate funding opportunities and provide a step-by-step program to access them. Brittany outlined her scholarship seminar package and how the Unlock your Future program can benefit the students by providing them with the tools and the encouragement they need to confidently find and pursue scholarship opportunities.

Helen Yeung - VCH Foods That Fit workshop - Food health for school lunch coordinators
VCH has developed this workshop to help PACs learn about healthy food options for schools including food safety, how health and nutrition is taught in schools and the opportunity to sample from the school menus at different local vendors. North Van PAC will be presenting this workshop on May 8th from 5:30-8:30pm at the Education Services Centre, all PACs are invited.

Kim Shetler - North Shore Multicultural Society - Settlement Workers in Schools
Kim presented the North Shore Multicultural Society's Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) Program for helping integrate newcomer family experiences when arriving in Canada. This program is offered by the NVSD and services are provided by the North Shore Multicultural Society. Services are provided to the schools and newcomer students and families of the School District to assist the orientation and integration of newcomer families. Services include working 1-1 with the students and families, helping with communication between the schools and students/families, and also helping the students/families connect with the school communities.

Many newcomers come to Canada looking for a better opportunity for their children and want to be engaged in the parent community but need help to understand how to contribute through PACs etc. The North Shore Multicultural Society would like to work with PACs to facilitate these families to be able to volunteer and participate with their school’s communities. The Society would like to assist any PACs that would like help to invite newcomer families to become involved in their children’s schools PAC. If your PAC is interested in reaching out to your school’s newcomer families and would like to engage our services, please contact

Jo-Anne Landolt - Kids in the Know - School safety
Jo-Anne presented the "Kids in the Know" education program. The program is a interactive safety education program available to schools to help them teach children how to stay safe and reduce their risk of real-world and online victimization.

Ashley McIntosh - iGirl - On empowerment for 9–12 year old girls
iGirl is a straight-to-the-point, lighthearted, empowerment workshop that prepares 9–12 year old girls to make smart decisions in even the toughest situations. Knowledge is power and the iGirl workshop, created by Saleema Noon B.A. M.A., gives girls the power to make smart decisions and to successfully navigate the changes galloping into their young lives.