At the final meeting of the Home and School Federation of 2017, each board member brought forward an example of something meaningful he or she has done in the past year as a result of membership in home and school.
All board members spoke passionately of experiences they had, either in their local association or in relation to their work on the provincial board. The stories they told covered much of the broad range of the work of home and school in P.E.I. and covered much of the Island, from Charlottetown and Summerside activities, to action in rural areas on both the east and west sides of the Island.
Our secretary had an opportunity to attend the Atlantic caucus and enjoyed learning about what home and schools are doing in the other Maritime provinces.
Many board members spoke about meaningful changes that came about in their local schools as a result of home and school, often involving many hours of volunteer work. They spoke about the positive changes this work had on themselves and on their communities.
Through this discussion, it came up that the home and school has been influential in some major initiatives through the course of its 65 years, from advocating for the bridge to be built to Lennox Island to the implementation of fines for passing buses when the lights are flashing and improving air quality in schools.
Over the past few years, the discussion of school food has evolved and grown as a result of home and school efforts across the Island. A few years ago, this discussion focused around parents discussing how to feed their own child and teachers and schools discussing how to feed the growing minority of kids who come to school hungry in to morning. The discussion has since evolved to include local food, environmental sustainability, good nutrition, the social determinants of health, and food security. It is no longer just about feeding one child or one school or one community.
Now we are discussing how we might do a better job of feeding all Island children. And we have come to know that this is possible in the near future. And this began with one resolution from Montague Consolidated School in 2015.
If your home and school has been discussing an issue you think might be relevant to all the other schools in the Island, consider bringing that issue forward for the AGM in the form of a resolution. Resolutions should be submitted to the P.E.I. Home and School Federation office by Jan. 31. They will be discussed and voted on at our AGM on Saturday, April 14, at the Rodd Charlottetown.
Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week is Feb. 12-16. Local associations are encouraged to organize projects or events for this week that express gratitude to the dedicated educators and staff that work so hard, day in and day out, to help to educate children.
The P.E.I. Home and School Federation Extra Mile Awards are opportunities to recognize those within the school system who go above and beyond the call of duty to support students. The submission deadline is Jan. 12. More details can be found at http://peihsf.ca/extramile.
For 65 years, the P.E.I. Home and School Federation has been making a difference in Island life. Through resolutions, recognition awards and parent engagement work, it has advocated for the well-being and the best possible education of all Island children. I invite you to get involved in the work of home and school so that we may impact Island life for many years to come.
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 peihsf.ca or 902-620-3186.