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Get involved in students' learning
With school back in session this week, parents may have been breathing a collective sigh of relief.
But September is a great time for parents to head into the school, too. Connecting with teachers — and getting familiar with the rest of the school system — can pave the way for a better education, said Dr. Karen Nelson, superintendent for School District 78.
And there are numerous ways to get involved, she added, from simply getting to know a child's teachers and the school administrators, to reading every night together.
“The Board of Education believes that consultation with parents is a desirable and necessary part of a complete school program," Nelson said.
"Continued parental involvement in the education of children/youth throughout all grade levels contributes greatly to student achievement and a positive school environment."
Some of the ways she suggests getting involved include "participating in classroom activities and school-related activities, functions and events; participating in the activities of Parent Advisory Councils and other school-related advisory governance activities; working cooperatively with the school to create positive, productive learning environments both at school and at home; and supporting the school in instilling an appreciation for the value of education and a sense of individual responsibility for learning and achievement."
Getting familiar with the teachers, joining the PAC and even attending board meetings can help parents understand the school system, too.
While teachers have been busy for weeks planning their school year, the school board also has a mandate to help students achieve success in school.
They have four main goals outlined in their District Achievement Contract.
They are to improve literacy and numeracy skills, as well as IEP goal attainment for all Kindergarten to Grade 9 students, improve aboriginal students' sense of identity and achievement, and to improve preparation for post-secondary eduction and future jobs for all students in Grades 10 to 12.
Finally, they aim to improve grade-to-grade transition rates for all students in Grades 8-12.
Positive year ahead
Nelson is looking to a "very positive year ahead" in the district, working closely with teachers.
The school year started off in late August for teachers, trustees, administrators and support staff, who got together for a Teach Meet at Hope secondary school.
The Teach Meet, held August 27, was organized by the Fraser-Cascade Teachers' Association, and focused on integrating technology into the classroom.
"We started off the year on a very positive note," she said.
There is also a new program starting in this school district, an initiative of the Ministry of Education called Changing Results for Young Readers.
"The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of children who are engaged, successful readers," Nelson said.
There will be "action research teams" in every school district, and Nelson said there currently one to two primary teachers in each of the district's schools involved in the program.
Those teachers will meet with a facilitator from MoE throughout the year, learning more about what fosters reading success, and equipping them with more strategies to improve reading.