The District Parent Advisory Council wants to push parent engagement during the upcoming school year.
“Teachers, it’s like their domain and sorry, you’re the family, you’re not included,” said Monica Moberg, the new DPAC chair. “And parents are feeling like they’re not being listened to and heard.”
That was just one of the many priorities identified at this past weekend’s annual retreat.
The district council is going to work to make schools more culturally, physically and psychologically safe and to address low aboriginal graduation rates.
The parent council plans to focus on the transition from Grades 5 to 9, a time when Moberg says schools start to lose students.
DPAC is concerned about early diagnosis and intervention when it comes to learning disabilities, gifted children and those with mental health disorders.
“It’s not even a matter of funding so much as it’s a matter of having the people with the skills to do the testing,” Moberg said. “People with those qualifications can make so much more money in the private sector that they’re really not interested in working for the school board.”
DPAC plans to concentrate on advocacy within the system for parents and children on an individual level.
“One of the things that’s happened over the years is that advocacy programs from BCCPAC [the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils] on down have been eliminated and we’d like to get them started up again, for any kind of advocacy that’s required,” Moberg said.
When it comes to seismic upgrades for schools, parents want to feel like they’re being heard.
“We don’t like kids in portables and we’re worried about our heritage buildings,” she said.
DPAC is also concerned with fundraising, equity and breakfast programs not being provided in every school because they’re based on a percentage of vulnerable students.
“But there are vulnerable children in every school,” Moberg said.
DPAC plans to continue to meet with other Lower Mainland DPACs to learn best practices and build strength in numbers.
Two spots remain available on Vancouver’s DPAC. Individuals need to be nominated by their school’s PAC.
“We are very fortunate in that we have a United Nations of people on DPAC this year. We have several Chinese members, we have people from Iran, we would like to have somebody representative of every ethnicity,” Moberg said. “Ideally, if we could get a Filipino and a Vietnamese member, then we would have the whole gamut.”
Moberg encourages parents to sign on to DPAC’s mailing list at vsbdpac.ca.
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