Representatives from local home and school associations across P.E.I. gathered in North River on April 12 for the 61st Annual General Meeting of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation. Forty two schools were represented by 105 delegates, making the meeting one of the best-attended in recent memory.
In addition to the regular business of the federation, which included the election of a new board, eight resolutions, on topics ranging from technology to e-cigarettes to academic outcomes were debated and voted on. All are available for review on the federation’s website. Resolutions that pass are forwarded on to government for a response, and become federation policy. Members will gather again in the fall at the semi-annual meeting to receive updates on the progress of actions on the resolutions from government.
The morning concluded with a lively discussion on current educational matters with the minister of education and early childhood development and a representative of the English Language School Board.
Over lunch, the Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Gwen Clements from Bloomfield Elementary School, retiring board member Lee Gauthier was honoured with a Lifetime Membership, and Ken Williams, Michael Pendergast and Owen Parkhouse, also retiring from the board, were recognized with thanks.
The day concluded with workshops on robotics, on the StudentsAchieve system and on proposal and grant writing.
Of particular interest regarding StudentsAchieve was the news that parents at intermediate and high schools can request their local school administration turn on a feature called “auto-notify” that will email home information about attendance and marks once per day. Schools where this is in use report that parents find it very useful.
The robotics workshop focused on the federation’s collection 14 Raspberry Pi and LEGO robotics kits that member home and schools can borrow for two or three weeks to hold workshops with students.
Nominations for School Bus Driver of the Year Award are being accepted from local home and schools across the province until May 16.
If you have a bus driver in your school community who you believe deserves special recognition, contact a local home and school president or visit the PEIHSF.ca website for details and a nomination form.
As many local home and schools are busy planning school-year-end activities like socials and fundraisers, members are reminded that continuity from one year to the next is important and are encouraged to elect an executive for the 2014-2015 school year before this school year is out. The federation office can provide assistance with how best to do this.
One step that home and schools at intermediate and high schools can take to ensure next year gets off to a good start is to invite members from feeder schools to the last meeting of the year. This allows incoming parents to meet veterans and make sure that those parents who were in a leadership role at the elementary and intermediate level can continue to contribute without skipping a beat.
This theme of cooperation amongst all the schools in a family of schools is one that will be an ever important part of the federation’s agenda over the next year.
The new board, with one director per family of schools, is designed to help encourage this. Local members are encouraged to involve their partner schools in activities whenever possible. Home and school works best when all parents, teachers and administrators work together, and bridging schools is a great way to make it work even better.
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 through the federation office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-620-3186.
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