Education discussed at Atlantic Caucus of Home and School/ School Councils meeting

Press Release:  Charlottetown, P.E.I. November  2013——The 10th Annual Atlantic Caucus of Home and School/School Council Federations meeting took place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on November 2nd.  Representatives from the Home and School Federations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Federation of School Councils in Newfoundland Labrador participated in the meeting. The group concentrated on common Atlantic province public education concerns.

There was discussion on a variety of topics during the meeting including organizational structures of the federations.  Provincial board of directors, varying from 5 to 13, are designated to represent their various school board regions.  Federations are seen as the Parent Voice that speak on behalf of parents/guardians as current issues arise; each advocating for the best possible education and learning experience for each child in our provinces.

Atlantic region school board models vary.  New Brunswick has district education councils with a district education council having persons who are elected during municipal elections.  Newfoundland has an appointed board of trustees.  Nova Scotia has an elected school board model with elections coinciding with municipal elections.  Prince Edward Island has an interim appointed trustee board with elections to occur in June 2014.  PEI is working on a recommendation on elected school boards for its education minister.

Other key conversations included curriculum, representation on department and board committees, government testing and evaluation, bullying prevention, health and mental wellness, transitions at all levels of education, school safety, technology, communications between home and school and school administrations.  Connections exist between families of schools, local and other feeder schools in the Atlantic regions. These benefit the whole school community.

The Atlantic Caucus is looking ahead to future discussions with partners in education.  Ministers, superintendents, trustees, and parents are all focused on advocating for the best possible education system for students.   All partners have the same interest – the child and his/her learning experience!

"This level of regional collaboration and cooperation among parents talking about education builds a better understanding of the many challenges that face children, parents, teachers and administrators in all four Atlantic provinces, and collectively improves communication that benefits students in our region." says Pam Montgomery, President, PEI Home and School Federation (PEIHSF).

Nathan Whalen, President Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils comments, "This meeting of Atlantic Canada's leaders of educational advocacy and community engagement showcase the importance of collaboration, idea sharing, and working together to improve the lives of children in our respective provinces and across this great country. The passion and energy in Charlottetown was electrifying; I am even more confident that due to the efforts of families and School Councils in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador, our students are better equipped to achieve their full potential."

“Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations feels the collaboration and mandate of the Atlantic Caucus is one of great importance which offers its members the opportunity to collectively share and offer input to enhance each province’s home and school associations.   The Atlantic Caucus assists parents/guardians in having their voices heard and will continue to share ideas and promote education to ensure a bright future for all children.” says Cambee Dorrington, President,  New Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations.

Cynthia Richards, President, New Brunswick Federation of Home and School Associations comments,  “The sharing of ideas and information is a great asset for the Atlantic Federations and School Council. Through this exchange of ideas and concerns we are better able to serve our members in our respective provinces. Despite the differences in our makeup we all have the common goal of striving for the best educational experience for all of our students. It is of the utmost importance that our parental voice be heard and that we be knowledgable of the issues facing participants in the educational arena.”

The Atlantic Caucus of Home and School/School Councils’ purpose is to encourage discussion on common issues in public education in Atlantic Canada and bring added value to provincial associations.

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For more information, contact:

Pam Montgomery, President PEI Home and School Federation
Tel: 902-620-3186

Nathan Whalen, President Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils
Tel: 709-765-8680

Cynthia Richards, President New Brunswick Federation of Home and School Associations, Inc.
Tel: 506-339-5104 or 451-6247

Cambee Dorrington, President New Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations
Tel: 902-266-7960