Teacher-Staff Appreciation Week, February 14 to 20, 2016, provides each public school community with an opportunity to shine light on the work that teachers, administrators and staff do each day that serves the total well-being of our youth.
This work takes on many forms. There is the school crossing guard, standing on the side of a slushy city street. The bus driver that waits at the end of the lane to make sure a young student makes it home okay. The custodian who takes pride in ensuring their school is a safe, healthy environment for learning. The teacher who spends hours, in and out of the classroom, working to ensure that every one of their students gets the individualized education they need. The educational assistant, working one on one with students to enable the truly inclusive classroom. The administrative assistant, acting as the logistical nerve centre of the school. The administrator, providing leadership to their school community and creating a welcoming environment for community engagement.
All of these members of the school community, supported by staff at the school board and Department of Education, working together, are what it takes to make an effective public education system. Teacher-Staff Appreciation Week is a way for the home and school community to say “thank you.” Home and school associations are encouraged to find their own ways of doing this, and the PEI Home and School Federation office can provide suggestions for what’s worked well in past.
This month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance and go!PEI will be launching Count Your Cubes: The Sugary Drink Challenge. This 28-day challenge, will encourage Islanders to count and reduce the number of sugar cubes they’re consuming in common beverages like pop, juice, sports drinks and vitamin waters. The PEI Home and School Federation has been working with a coalition of Island partner groups to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by our youth, and home and school associations can join the effort by spreading word of this challenge.
Family of Schools District Advisory Councils will start meeting in February and March – representatives selected by each school will be contacted shortly with date and location for the meeting in their family of schools. Retired educator Pat Campbell has been hired to coordinate the work of the councils, and will play an important role as liaison between the councils and the Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture.
The membership of the PEI Learning Partners Advisory Council was announced on January 28 and this group will also meet for the first time in February. While the Family of Schools District Advisory Councils will focus on public school operational issues, the Learning Partners council will take a broader look at education from the early years to old age, focusing on developing longer-term education policy. The PEI Home and School Federation is represented on this council by the Federation Past-President.
The 2016 Annual Meeting of the PEI Home and School Federation will be held on Saturday, April 9 at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. Home and School presidents will be receiving information packages in February (also available online at peihsf.ca) with details of the meeting, registration forms for delegates, and the policy resolutions that will be voted on at the meeting.
Presidents should make a point of discussing these policy resolutions at their February or March meeting of home and school so that their school’s delegates can vote according to the wishes of their school community.
If you have questions about the Annual General Meeting, about resolutions, or about any aspect of home and school, contact the Federation office at email@example.com or by telephone at (902) 620-3186 or, toll-free, 1-800-916-0664.
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Peter Rukavina, president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Charlottetown with his partner and their son. His column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Wednesday of the month. He welcomes comments from readers and information for the column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-620-3186.