Parents play a key role in the advancement of Catholic education across Niagara. In addition to choosing to send their sons and daughters to our Niagara Catholic elementary and secondary schools and supporting our schools by assigning their taxes to Catholic education, parents are an integral partners with our staff. Their involvement in our schools as volunteers in classrooms, lunch rooms and on class trips, as members of our Catholic School Councils the Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee and the Special Education Advisory Committee, all of which, strengthens the fabric of Catholic education, improves student achievement and enhances the accountability of our system with all parents.
Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee
This school year 2010-2011, the Regional School Council evolved into the Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee. A new Board Policy No. 800.7 entitled, the Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee was adopted at the May 24, 2011 Board meeting. This policy supports the Mission of Catholic Education and the Niagara Catholic District School Board by providing a communication link to parents/guardians, Catholic School Councils, the Director of Education and the Board of Trustees for the improvement of student achievement and the well-being of all students in Niagara Catholic Schools.
The Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee is a statutory committee of the Niagara Catholic District School Board as required by the Education Act.
In 2007, the Niagara Catholic Regional School Council developed the “Student Learning a Parent Focus” program to overcome barriers, and to foster positive attitudes about effective parent engagement. The “Student Learning a Parent Focus” video supported the goals of the Niagara Catholic Regional School Council.
The Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee has updated the video and has titled it “Student Learning II - a Parent Focus” in DVD format which has been shared with parents at the Annual Meeting and Catholic School Council meetings. It is a resource for schools to further encourage the importance of parent engagement in the Niagara Catholic District School Board.
Parent Tool Kit
There is evidence that students who receive support and assistance at home are more successful at school. The Ministry of Education released a Tool Kit for Parents which was distributed to elementary schools in Ontario in order to support the learning process at home. The Niagara Catholic District School Board contributed ideas for parent engagement in the Tool Kit.The Tool Kit contains ideas that will help parents and guardians to engage the learning of their children. Information about how to be a coach, a mentor, and an advocate will assist all parents and guardians with supporting their children at home. Many interesting websites can be found in the Tool Kit such as TVO Parents, Discovery Education, Science Fair Central and Internet Safety.
Planning Parent Engagement: A Guidebook for Parents and Schools
The Planning Parent Engagement: A Guidebook for Parents and Schools is a guidebook to accompany the Parent Tool Kit. The guidebook provides examples of useful exercises and proven techniques for involvement and support for Catholic School Councils and for school staff to use in planning school-based activities to support parents’ efforts at home.
The Guidebook is based on the research of Dr. Joyce Epstein which is also the basis of the “Student Learning a Parent Focus” program in the Niagara Catholic District School Board. Therefore, the guidebook is a companion document to the original “Student Learning a Parent Focus” program for parents and guardians in all elementary and secondary schools in the Niagara Catholic District School Board.
Niagara Catholic District School Board, in conjunction with our Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee hosted the following events for the 2010-2011 school year:
Annual Catholic School Councils Chairpersons and Members’ Meeting
Thursday, October 20, 2011 the annual Catholic School Councils Chairpersons and Members’ Meeting provided parents/guardians with the opportunity to discuss parent involvement in Catholic Education in the Niagara Catholic District School Board with Trustees, Senior Administration and Principals and Vice-Principals. This meeting was an opportunity to share best practices to improve student achievement of all students and by enhancing the accountability to the education system to all parents/guardians in Niagara Catholic discussing issues related to Catholic education in the Niagara Catholic District School Board.
On Thursday, February 17th, 2011, at Notre Dame College School, Catholic School Councils and parents/guardians were provided an opportunity to participate in the Annual Faith Formation Session.The program for the Faith Formation Session was presented by Terri Pauco, Religion and Family Life, Consultant. The theme “Becoming Beatitude People” encompassed Catholic Social Teachings and the Catholic School Graduate Expectations.
Annual Catholic School Council Convention
In March 2011, the Niagara Catholic District School Board, in conjunction with the Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee, sponsored the Annual one day Spring Convention for Catholic School Councils/Parents/Guardians at Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School in Grimsby. The guest speaker for the event on the theme of “Raising Children and Social Networking: Silencing the Distraction and Getting Closer to God and Faith” was Teresa Tomeo. Teresa Tomeo, a Catholic broadcaster, brought her unique viewpoint on the importance of the influence of the media on young women, and the need for young women to understand their dignity, unique gifts and talents, and worth as a precious child of God. The afternoon consisted of various workshops designed to assist Catholic School Councils in fulfilling their mandate as advisors to their school communities.
The Niagara Catholic Parent Involvement Committee is committed to engaging parents in order to support students in our Catholic schools and continues to support this commitment so that all students can be successful and that their parents are involved in their Catholic Education.