School communities have opportunity to provide input for change

A second set of public meetings around the review of schools is taking place over the next week. These meetings are intended to give school communities an opportunity to provide input on options for change. Input can also be submitted online or through small group presentations. Details can be found on the Department’s Better Learning for All webpage. Although change has been a constant in Island schools over the past few decades, somehow, the change that is in the air right now seems larger and filled with more interesting possibilities.


Building Healthy Communities around the School was the theme for our 63rd semi-annual meeting and the focus was on building communities around food. With over 80 attendees, it was one of our largest semi-annual meetings ever held. During his exciting week on the Island, Tony Geraci had the opportunity to meet hundreds of young people in schools. He cooked lunch with the Premier, chatted with farmers and politicians at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market, and spoke to home and school members at our semi-annual meeting. You can read about Tony’s visit on our website: Before Tony’s visit, a universal provincial school lunch program seemed like just an idea, but now it seems like more than a real possibility. It is an opportunity. Stay tuned!


Home and school associations are encouraged to discuss how they can bring their school communities together to think differently about their approach to school food. What assets already exist in our communities? How can we work together at the provincial level to make school food better? How can we put students front and centre in our discussions about school food? How can we get young people involved in the decisions that affect their health?


The federation attended the public release of the 2014-2015 School Health Action Planning and Evaluation Survey (SHAPES) on October 20. The survey gathers information about students in grades 5 to12 and reports on trends in mental fitness, physical activity and health eating. The findings tell us that there is more work to be done to ensure the health of our young people. These complex problems require new and innovative ways of thinking and collaborative action from schools, communities and government. More information can be found at:


The PEIHSF office staff are available to provide assistance to local associations in their deliberations about everything from public consultation meetings, to school food, to preparing for parent teacher interviews. Email or phone 902-620-3186 or 1-800-916-0664.


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Lisa MacDougall, President of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in North Rustico with her husband and two children.  Her column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Thursday of the month. She welcomes comments from readers and information for the column. She can be reached at or 902-620-3186.