Parental Engagement Initiative

In response to the recommendations by the Task Force on Student Achievement, the Minister of Education asked the Prince Edward Island Home and School Federation (HSF) to lead the development of a province-wide Parental Engagement (PE) Initiative. This request represents a strong endorsement of Home and School Associations by the provincial government and recognizes our emerging role as a learning and teaching partner in the education system on Prince Edward Island. The overall vision of the PE initiative is to establish collaborative home and school learning environments for our children so that they can succeed as individuals, as students and as citizens.

In May 2007, a survey was circulated to principals and local presidents to gather information on the current nature and extent of parent involvement, so as to learn about effective approaches or activities that are already underway and to identify needs and priorities. Twenty-five responses were received which included suggestions for parental engagement topics and activities. To complement the activities already underway, the PEIHSF entered into a partnership with Learning and Reading Partners – LRP (Mait MacIsaac and Sandra Rendell) to design supports for parent involvement in learning and to launch a pilot program in 10 Island schools. LRP has extensive experience in literacy, parent program development and community engagement. The initial survey responses were consolidated into six topics for schools to consider.

  • Training Parents as School Volunteers — parent volunteers as learning partners in the school
  • Immigrant Parents Understanding the School System — parents helping immigrant parents in the school
  • Parents and the School Curriculum — helping parents understand the school curriculum so that they can better assist their children with school learning and assignments
  • Father Engagement — fathers working on strategies to assist their child with reading development
  • Family Math — parents working on strategies to assist their child with math/numeracy
  • Professional Development for Parents — parents learning about various topics to help them better understand how their children learn

In September 2007, these options were communicated to local Home and School presidents and school principals, who were asked to work together to identify a topic of greatest interest. Twelve schools responded and were enrolled in the pilot program. During the 2007/2008 school year, Mait MacIssac and Sandy Rendall criss-crossed PEI, working with Home and School associations, teachers and principals at each of the Partners in Learning (PIL) pilot sites to develop and launch their parental engagement activities based on a collaborative team approach. In addition, Mait and Sandy along with the PEIHSF organized a well-attended planning session on February 20 for H&S presidents, parents, school principals and school staff from the PIL sites. The purpose of this get together was to provide an opportunity for the leaders at the individual PIL sites to share experiences/stories, to support one another and to establish the beginnings of a province-wide network for parental engagement.

The following table outlines the schools participating in the PIL pilot projects and the activities that are developing. The sites are at different stages of implementation. These activities represent Phase I of the Parental Engagement Initiative. The PEIHSF has received funding from the provincial government for Phase II, which will look to expand the initiative to further develop projects already underway and to include more schools. So stay tuned!


Parental Engagement Activity

Belfast Consolidated

Organize a games evening in the school for parents and children to help establish effective playing/learning strategies.

Central Queens Elementary

Organize professional development sessions for parents with a focus on literacy.

Donagh Regional

Support parents and other volunteers to enhance children literacy skills and learning through nonclassroom activities.

Glen Stewart Elementary

Organize professional development sessions for parents with a focus on literacy.

Grand Tracadie Elementary

Organize professional development sessions for parents with a focus on school curriculum.

Gulf Shore Consolidated

Organize professional development sessions for parents with a focus on learning.

Kensington Intermediate Senior High

Train parent volunteers to enhance literacy skills during regular volunteer activities.

Queen Charlotte Intermediate

Establish a Parent Language Club to help immigrant parents understand the school curriculum by first helping parents make friends and develop language skills.

Rollo Bay Consolidated

Organize professional development sessions for parents with a focus on literacy.

Sherwood Elementary

Make a video for parents demonstrating best practices for family reading.

St. Teresa’s Consolidated

Organize math workshops and produce a math dictionary for parents.

Tignish Consolidated

Organize an event where parents can get together to share experiences and celebrate their existing involvement with the school.


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