Friday, September 5, 2014

Parents have the strongest voice in advocating for their children

The following is the text of an email message sent earlier today:

Dear PAC Chairs and DPAC Reps,
Please forward this message to your parent communities.
The role of NVPAC is to represent parents in the North Vancouver School District.  In addition, we have a duty to assist parents in informing themselves regarding educational issues.  In light of the current labour dispute affecting our schools, we hope to ensure that all parents in our school district have access to information that will assist them in advocating for their children.
The following are links to a number of sources, together with a link to the key group that represents parents:
While the Executive of the NVPAC recognizes that there is no clear consensus amongst parents in our district as to the best way to resolve the current situation, we have heard a strong message from parents that their children need better supports in place to assist teachers in educating the diverse needs in our classrooms.
Parents are the primary advocates for their children.  It is important for parents to recognize that their opinions matter.  The NVPAC Executive believes that the individual voices of many parents are needed to make a difference in this dispute, and we urge you to make your opinion heard by contacting:
Parents who are unsure who their MLA is may find the MLA Finder helpful. 

The Executive of North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council
Jane Lagden Holborne, Chair                                    Susanne Till, Member-at-Large
Karen Nordquist, Vice-Chair                                      Mike Sexsmith, Member-at-Large
David Whitehead, Secretary                                      Deborah Johnstone, Member-at-Large
Debra Dennehy, Registrar                                         Amanda Nichol, Member-at-Large
                                                                                   Heather Skuse, Member-at-Large

Monday, September 1, 2014

BCCPAC - District PAC Chair Summit - Richmond, BC

The British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) convened a full-day meeting of District PAC chairs in Richmond, BC on August 16th.  In addition to most of the elected members of the BCCPAC Board of Directors, there were 28 District PAC Chairs (or a designate) in attendance.  It was reported at the meeting that the parents of 81% of public school students in BC were represented at the meeting via their District PAC chairs.  I attended on behalf of NVPAC.  Most Lower Mainland District PACs were represented, and there were representatives from the DPACs of Victoria, Saanich, Qualicum, Haida Gwaii, the Gulf Islands, the Okanagan, Prince George as well as other school districts.

The meeting was dubbed an ”Emergency Parent Leader Planning Session” because of the current labour dispute in BC schools.  Participants expressed frustration at the slow pace of negotiations to date.  The BCCPAC Board stated that the goal of the meeting was not to take a position “for” or “against” either party in the dispute, but rather to find common goals and to understand the parent position going forward.  The BCCPAC Board of Directors wants to understand parent priorities so that they can advocate for public school students in BC.   

All in attendance agreed strongly that they wanted to see schools open on September 2nd, whether or not the labour dispute is resolved.  Further, there was general agreement that there is a need for additional resources in classrooms to support all students.  Longer-term goals were discussed, including a method of assessing teacher workload, a learning plan for every student, and, since many expressed a desire for parents to be “part of the power”, a program of ongoing parent education so that more can participate in discussions about education matters with other partner groups.  The concept of a “Classroom Resources Fund”, to be shielded from other cost pressures was explored.  This fund would be allocated after consultation and collaboration with all partner groups, and is intended to target the needs of each class specifically.
BCCPAC issued a press releasepress release the day following the meeting.