Thursday, February 27, 2014

Advocating for your Child Workshop Report

Advocating for your Child Workshop 

Objective:  Provide a broad overview to parents as to how and when to advocate for their child.  
·         Overview suitable for all type of needs ranging from minor to serious.  (eg my kid is getting too much homework all the way to we need more support for my child special needs)
·         Teach parents basic etiquette and protocols
·         Help parent know where to look for more detailed resources
·         Provide practical advice on how to deal with specific challenges raised by attending parents.
·         Help parents understand that advocacy is better when proactive and positive
·         Help parents broaden their perspective on how to approach challenges.
Panel Composition

·         High School Administrator: Adam Bauman
·         High School Counsellor:  Katherine Sigurdsson 
·         High School Teacher: Terry Mitruk
·         Elementary school Administrator: Rick Chan
·         Elementary School Teacher: Lori Kennedy
·         Student Leader: Sara MacIntosh
·         Wise Parent 1: Cindy Gerlach

Four key elements of advocacy

1)      Goal
·         Before you start to address a problem decide what you think should be the outcome:  A change, an apology, restitution, justice, revenge…
·         Define the desired outcome as clearly as possible:  What do you want to happen.  How will you know when it has?
2) Information
·         Having adequate information is a basic requirement of becoming an active participant in the system
·         Learn everything you can and become an empowered participant in the system.
3) Voice
·         With information, support and resources, people are their own best advocates.
·         To really have a voice, people need the opportunity to say it “their way” to someone who really listens and can do something about it.
4) Inclusion
·         When everyone who “cares” or “should care” has a voice, better decisions will be made.
·         Inclusion is not just about inviting people to the table –it is about genuinely welcoming and considering their point of view.
·         Effective advocacy can only happen in a climate of mutual respect. Act respectfully in all of our relationships with participants in the advocacy process.

Key Resources:

BCCPAC Advocacy Pamphlet
·         An outline of parents’ and students’ rights and responsibilities.
·         A guide to working through a problem.
·         An approach for dealing with parents’ fears.
·         Information about bullying/harassment.
·         Tools to help parents stay on track.
·         Information about the public school system.
·         Places to look for more help.

BCCPAC Individual Education Plans  A Guide for Parents
·         Collaboration—What Does It Look Like? 3
·         Sample IEP Goal Showing Collaboration 4
·         Understanding Learning 6
·         Our Child’s Learning Style
·         More

BCCPAC Guide Supporting Student Success
·         How to help your kids yourself and how to play on the greater team

Parent Support Services Society of BC:  Steps to Effective Advocacy
·         General guide on how to advocate effectively

North Vancouver School District ( NVSD) : Inclusive Education Website
·         Links to all sort of services  1st stop when looking for help

NVSD Policy 211: Special Education Services and Programs
·         Specific practices and services available in North Vancouver

NVSD Policies on Child health welfare
·         Specific policies and links to additional resources for different challenges ( eg abuse, bullying, medication)

NVSD Policy 406: Complaints Concerning Personnel, Programs or Procedures
·         Procedures for dealing  with complaints

NVSD Advocacy efforts
·         Examples of how the school board has addressed advocacy on behalf of your students

Ministry of education:  Awareness of Students with Diverse Learning Needs,  What the Teacher Needs to Know, Volume 1
·         Information intended to assist classroom teachers in understanding the implications for classroom instruction and management of a number of diverse learning needs. Each section includes a definition, recognition signs, classroom strategies and contacts for more information.
·         Lot of  links to support organizations

Ministry of Education:  Special Education Services:  A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines
·         Provincial policies: Help understand constrain in school system
·         Links to supports

Ministry of Education: The BC Safe Schools Strategy
·         Resources on social responsibility and bullying avoidance

Ministry of education Dispute resolution Process
·         Instructions for escalation of issues to province

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February Meeting

NVPAC’s February General Meeting will be devoted to a panel session with the topic “Advocating for your Child”.  The objective is to provide a broad overview to parents as to how and when to advocate for their child.

NVPAC Program Facilitator Mike Sexsmith will present a short introduction to advocacy and an overview of existing supports, including organizations and on-line materials.

The main portion of the evening will feature a question and answer session with a panel of experts representing several key perspectives, including the following:

-          an educational services expert from the school district
-          a secondary school administrator
-          a secondary school counsellor
-          a secondary school teacher
-          an elementary school administrator
-          an elementary school teacher
-          a wise parent

Meeting attendees will be able to submit questions anonymously, and each question will be answered by at least two panel members.

Please forward this message to your parent communities, and plan to join us for this informative event:

7:00 pm - Wednesday, 26th February, 2014
Mountain View Room – 5th Floor
Education Services Centre
2121 Lonsdale Avenue

Free parking is available in the underground garage; enter from 21st Street.  Proceed via elevator to the 5th floor.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meeting Minutes: Jan 22. 2013 General Meeting (draft)

NVPAC General Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
7:00 pm Mountainview Room, ESC, 2121 Lonsdale Avenue

Chair:  Jane Lagden Holborne (Sutherland)
NVPAC Attendance: Jane Lagden Holborne, Karen Nordquist, Debra Dennehy, David Whitehead, Joanna Woronchak, Mike Sexsmith, Amanda Nichol
Regrets: Deborah Johnstone, Alex Best,
Attendance: 18
(DPAC Reps & PAC Chairs): 14
Schools Represented:  Blueridge, Braemar, Brooksbank, Canyon Heights, Cleveland, Handsworth, Larson, Mont Royal, Queensbury, Ross Road, Seycove, Seymour Heights, Sutherland

1.   Welcome & Introductions:  Jane Lagden Holborne called the meeting to order at 7:08pm

2.   Approval of Minutes: Debra Dennehy (Queensbury), Seconded by Amanda Nichol (Braemar), moved that the minutes of the Nov 2013 General Meeting minutes be accepted as written.  All in favour; carried.

3.   Upcoming Parent Involvement Opportunities
Jane listed a number of events of interest to parents that the district is hosting in the near futur including the Feb 4, March 11 Finance and Facilities meetings, budget discussions, and the calendar survey

4.   PAC registration Update: Debra Dennehy reported that we now have contact info for all 32 schools. Please keep this information up to date. May 29th BCCPAC spring conference (new date). Proposed resolutions deadline recommended to be circulated by Jan 30th to be able to be circulated for discussion beforehand.

5.   Treasurers Report:  Joanna Woronchak:
$115 left in gaming account. $6000 in other accounts. FOS grants for Handsworth, Windsor and Sutherland? BCCPAC  we only have 14 receipts for reimbursement so far. All speaker and spring conference grants are now allocated. PACs, should please submit their receipts so we can reimburse them.
Discussion of how to manage requests so early movers don’t end up consuming the entire budget. Options disussed: Limit # of grants to 1 per school until a certain date.  Possibly more justification. Consideration of need. Bottom of list following year.
6.   School Calendar Steering Group Report: Karen Nordquist
3 Options under consideration
·         No longer a provincial standard
·         Starting to experiment this year with addition of collaboration time
·         No consensus within the meeting
·         Option A – combines spring break and Easter. Adds 10 minutes a day to the calendar because of the teacher contract. Inconsistency between school districts is an issue, especially for teachers with kids in other districts
·         Option B – goes with the 1 week holiday
·         Option D – closer to the Vancouver, WV, etc otherwise but means Easter and Spring Break separate. Teachers prefer D
·         30 day comment period starting soon, will be announced via school connects.
·         Teachers really find value in the collaboration time.

7.   Parent Services Role for School PACs: Mel Montgomery
Mel Montgomery discussed her experience as a “parent services” representative for Cleveland PAC. As an example of best practice in engaging with parents.
Next month’s event will be on best practices for advocating for your child at the school
       Creating more inviting PACs
       Welcome to Cleveland program –
       Getting volunteers is hard, always the same people
       Why would someone volunteer? For every action there is a reaction. Most correspondence is general – the school as a whole – needs to be more 1 on 1 interaction to make it personal and done on an ongoing basis
       Starts with the kindergarten tour, introduce the people on the PAC and how parents are involved, all the activities, show the parent pride in the school and the parent engagement.
       Participate in the tour to offer information on the schools in the tour.
       Start the contact there and keep the contact going. Invite people to contact you individually.
       Kindergarten orientation
       Meet the parents, introduce them to each other, get their contacts, start the conversation, build the community.
       Give them more information than they need from the start, all the practical things they need to know to orient themselves to the new school. Provide the information over the summer.
       Demonstrate the relationship with the administration
       Summer Socials – at the school playground with the kids
       Get to know the parents, get them to know each before school starts/
       Give them the parking info before they first show up – where can they park!
       Setup the walking school bus
       3rd session to introduce the school and Where to go on the first day of school ahead of time and how to navigate the school. Good time to hit them with the volunteering, especially in the classroom.
       Kindergarten is for learning about the volunteering opportunities not the year to hit them with the main volunteer roles.
       Same thing for new families
       Become a trusted representative for them in the school.
       They become unable to be anonymous on the playground and very willing to volunteer.

8.   Draft Parent Services Handbook – Mike Sexsmith
30 minute session to identify best practices for PACs to raise parent engagement.

9.   Meeting adjourned at 9.28 pm.
Next Meeting:     February 22, 2014
7:00 pm
Education Services Centre,

2121 Lonsdale Avenue

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Parent Workshop: "Through the Child's Eyes: Worries & Wonders"

Queen Mary PAC, together with the Carson Graham Family of Schools PACs is hosting a parent workshop, "Through the Child's Eyes:  Worries & Wonders", presented by registered psychologist Dr Vanessa Lapointe.  The roots of anxiety will be discussed, and participants will learn how to support their children who may be struggling with too much worry. The workshop will help participants understand their children's anxieties and show how to transform that worry into wonder.  This event will be held on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 from 6 - 8 pm in the Queen Mary Gym, 230 Keith Road West.
Space is limited; please RSVP to or (604) 290-2384.