Workshops result in resolutions that will be considered at P.E.I. Home and School Federation’s Annual Meeting (Guardian Column)

This winter the P.E.I. Home and School Federation held brainstorming workshops in Montague, Charlottetown, Summerside and Bloomfield. The workshops brought together parents, guardians, teachers, and administrators with an eye to identifying issues in public education, over the medium to long term, where the federation could take action – through resolutions, advocacy, or special projects – that would result in positive change.

The workshops were well attended and the discussions were focused and positive. Among the issues that were discussed were income and food security, breakfast and lunch programs, class composition, the role of French immersion, school busing, standardized testing, school attendance zones, and the need for a closer connection between health and education policy and operations. Notes from all of the workshops are available on the PEIHSF website, peihsf.ca.

Actions have arisen from the workshops already: several of the resolutions that will be considered at the federation’s annual general meeting on April 11 find their roots in discussions at the workshops, and the federation’s board has used the feedback from members at the workshops to help guide projects and plans for the winter and spring.

Discussions about food security, breakfast and lunch programs, for example, have led to a resolution calling for the establishment of a universal school lunch program in all Island schools, to a meeting with the PEI Healthy Eating Alliance, participation in a workshop on sugar-sweetened beverages, a planned meeting with the school board on intermediate and high school cafeterias, and a workshop on food and nutrition at the annual meeting.

Concerns about standardized testing, student achievement and class composition led to a meeting with the school board’s director of the school effectiveness about his department’s work, a meeting about competency-based education with Dr. Glendenning, the founder of Holland College, and to a workshop on progress monitoring that will take place at the annual meeting.

The issues raised at the workshops will also be used as the jumping off point for roundtable discussions at the annual meeting, where the theme, From Ideas to Actions, is intended to communicate our power, as a network of parents, guardians and educators, to bring about positive change, from the bottom up, in public education.

It’s still possible to register to attend the April 11, annual meeting, being held at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel. Each association member is eligible to send up to 5 voting delegates and associations are encouraged to include parents, guardians, teachers, administrators and staff in their delegation. There’s no limit to the number of non-voting delegates who can register, and retired educators and administrators and members of the community at large are encouraged to attend.

The meeting will feature keynote speaker Gary Clarke, superintendent of the Chignecto-Central regional school board, the business meeting, voting on resolutions, small group discussions, a buffet luncheon and afternoon workshops. Complete information and registration details are online at peihsf.ca or by phoning the P.E.I.HSF office at 902-620-3186.

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