The entire premise of the Home and School movement is to – listen, to learn, to share ideas and advocate for the best interests of all school students in PEI’s school system – was the focus of the 66th Annual General Meeting’s over 100 delegates and guests on April 13th.
Resolutions rise out of learning, health and well-being student needs at the school level. Action statements, in the form of resolutions, come from the parents, guardians, teachers, administrators and staff. These are extensively discussed and debated at the local level before being considered provincially at annual meetings. Approved resolutions form home and school’s statement of policies and collectively represent the federation’s position on key education policy issues facing the province of Prince Edward Island. Resolutions are forwarded to the appropriate destinations with request for change in the areas being addressed. Final resolutions are online at: https://peihsf.ca/agm/resolutions
The election of officers took place with the following volunteers filling board positions for 2019-2020: Donna MacLeod, treasurer (Kinkora Family of Schools); Haley Zavo, secretary (Montague Family of Schools); Darby McCormick, Director (Kensington Family of Schools); Leigh Dyment, Director (Three Oaks Family of Schools; and Dionne Tuplin (Westisle Family of Schools). Special thanks go to outgoing directors Karen Clare, Jana Weatherbie, Bev Campbell, Krystal Jamieson, and Katie MacLennan. Their service to the home and school movement is greatly appreciated.
What percentage of students are able to reach their potential? Geoff MacDonald, Education’s Student Well-being Team lead, presented details on PEI’s new approach to supporting resilience and well-being in Island school-aged children and their families. Their team approach embraces the connection between mental and physical health and puts the emphasis on mental health rather than mental disorder by shifting the focus from a deficit model of illness to health potential. Their goal is to empower the whole population rather than simply reacting to those in crisis. They work in schools advising, consulting and providing direct service to children and youth who are struggling with mental, social and physical health issues. Student Well-being teams exist in the Westisle, Montague, Bluefield, Colonel Gray, and Morell-Souris families of schools, and teams will be in place this fall in the Three Oaks, Kensington-Kinkora, and Charlottetown Rural families.
Teams consist of school health nurses, mental health clinicians, school outreach workers, an occupational therapist, and a board-based counseling consultant. Referrals are created by parents, students, teachers, principals, or community organizations. Team members help students understand what they are going through and provide them with tools to deal with life’s challenges.
Discussions offered the opportunity for partners in education to gather in discussion on issues in education, to celebrate successes, examine challenges, and to learn from each other about how to best carry out the home and school mission and influence educational policy from the bottom up. Topics included student well being, safety, healthy school food, building strong relationships within school communities, support the needs in classrooms, engaging newcomers and parent engagement.
In other Home and School news, anyone with a favorite School Bus Driver should submit a nomination before the May 10th deadline for the School Bus Driver of the Year Award. More details and nomination forms are at https://peihsf.ca/bus.
With the provincial election over, I want to personally thank outoing Education. Early Learning and Culture minister Jordan Brown for his contribution to education. I developed a great working relationship with him during his time as minister, and wish him all the best. I look forward to working with the new minister to continue to develop policies that benefit Island all children and youth.
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Cory Thomas, president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Summerside with his wife and two children, who both attend Elm Street Elementary School. His column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Thursday of the month. He welcomes comments from readers and information for the column. He can be reached at peihsf.ca or 902-620-3186.
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