Collaboration important consideration in federation

Collaboration is based on the assumption that the process of sharing diverse ideas in respectful discussion will result in more creative solutions and deeper understandings.

Collaboration is the opposite of competition. It is never a one-person show and to be successful, it requires members of a group to support each other and recognize the value of each individual voice.

The first five purposes and objectives of the PEI Home and School Federation are listed in our bylaws as follows:

– To provide an independent organization of citizens concerned with the establishment, encouragement and development of the highest standards in public education in Prince Edward Island;

– To provide members of the public with an understanding of the administration and the content of the various programs of the school system and to provide a meaningful voice in decisions affecting children; at each school level within the school system;

– To recommend improvements within the system of public education and to press for needed changes at all levels of authority; at each school level within the school system;

– To establish an effective and functioning communication system between parents, other citizens, various educational institutions and all levels of government in Prince Edward Island;

– To encourage and assist in the establishment of Local Associations, assisting each such group in every way possible to become an active and responsible part of the educational system.

In the coming months, we will be working to meet these objectives with a particular emphasis on assisting local associations to promote grassroots leadership and create collaborative learning communities at the local level. It is my hope that a spirit of true collaboration will guide all of these discussions and that we all bring our best selves to the table.

In support of these efforts, four home and school members were awarded the Dr. Helen MacDonald Collaboration and Facilitation Scholarship. Deanna Bellamy (West Royalty Elementary School), Leanne Feehan (Mount Stewart Consolidated School), Bobbi Ford (Donagh Regional School), and Shannon Johnston (Gulf Shore School) attended the first few days of the Collaborative Leadership and Facilitation Course at UPEI last week and will be prepared to assist local home and schools by next Spring.

The theme for our Semi-Annual meeting is “Building Healthy Communities around the School.” It will be held on October 25th at Gulf Shore Consolidated School in North Rustico and will provide tools and ideas to support local home and school associations in building networks around the school and strengthen the school community. Our partnership with the Culinary Institute of Canada for the screening of the film Cafeteria Man was so successful that we have invited Tony Geraci to meet us in person! We will also be holding a workshop on asset-based community development (Susan Roberts, Food Matters Alberta) and hearing from the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture about their new goals around wellbeing and character development.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~African Proverb

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Lisa MacDougall, President of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in North Rustico with her husband and two children.  Her column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Thursday of the month. She welcomes comments from readers and information for the column. She can be reached at or 902-620-3186.