Sunday, 4 December 2011

Parent Engagement in the RCDSB

Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) principals and Parents’ Council representatives shared ideas on how to provide the best education possible to students in Renfrew County.
The RCDSB Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) hosted the Wednesday, Nov. 30  Director’s Forum at Fellowes High School.
All RCDSB principals and many representatives from the various school councils in the county were on hand at the meeting.
PIC Chair Shari Kosowan talked of the progress of the RCDSB PIC, which was formed even before these committees were mandated as a requirement of boards by the provincial government.
“We’ve had quite an expansion and we’re really excited about that,” said Kosowan who has been a PIC member for the last seven years.The group has grown from five members to 17.Kosowan said the objectives of PIC are “parent engagement, parent involvement and student success.”The formal part of the evening began with a panel discussion on the question, “What does Parent Involvement or Engagement mean to you?” First year PIC member teacher Scott Buffam spoke of the importance of parent involvement.  He has been with RCDSB for 12 years and has been a student success teacher for the last seven years.
“I’ve been looking for the magic bullet,” he said. “There is no easy solution to have our kids buy into the program.”He said relationships “with students and parents” are the most important part of the connection. “Parents play a key role in a child’s education.”Board Trustee Wendy Hewitt was the next speaker on the panel and she said her life as a parent is what led her to seek the trustee position.“You’re always asking your children questions about their social and academic life,” she said. “You don’t want to do everything for your child, but you want to make sure you are not doing so much in your life that you don’t have time for your children.”
After the panel presentation, Kosowan led a powerpoint presentation on the five stages of school council development review.  She was followed by Craig Myers, Vice-Principal of RCIS who showed a brief clip of a Ken Leithwood video on “Utilizing Research to Support Student Success.  
Following the video, a table discussion on best practices used by councils to support student achievement and parent engagement took place.
Article written by Jake Davies, Communications Coordinator, RCDSB

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