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Regional Parent Symposium
Regional Parent Symposium

Annual Regional Parent Symposium – “Parent Voice Matters!”

March 29, 2017 - 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites
9005 Leslie Street, Richmond Hill, ON, L4B 1B2

The York Region District School Board and its Parent, Family and Community Engagement Advisory Committee (PEAC) has invited families from each school to an evening of learning and sharing. The symposium will focus on parent engagement and feature a variety of workshops that will engage parents in learning and dialogue. The theme for the event is Leadership, Innovation and Equity to Promote Student Success and Well-being

Speak to your school principal for more information on registration for this event or join us online for live streaming of the event.

Livestream  

 

Regional Parent Symposium Workshops

 

 Session A Workshops - (6:40-7:40PM)

 
  • A1. Google Apps - Your Child's New Backpack and Binder
    • Presenters: Sultan Rana

      Summary:  Participants will learn about Google Apps, the online tool that allows students to work in a closed and protected digital space. Participants will have the opportunity to try out some of the tools including Google Read and Write which allows students to engage in reading, writing and research in new ways.

      Panel: K-12

  • A2. Parent Engagement
    • Presenters: Rashmee Karnad-Jani

      Summary: Wanting to engage with your child’s school? Wondering where to begin?  This session seeks to examine the parent engagement skills and strengths of participants through an interactive process. The action oriented workshop then invites participants to examine their school context and list 3 information-engagement needs that they can support through collaborative partnerships in their school community

      Panel: K-12
       

      Key Messages:

      Parents in Partnership: A Parent Engagement for Ontario Schools (2010) states that Parents matter in education. They matter as vital partners who contribute much to the work of our educators, school and communities. They matter as parent leaders, parent mentors, and as models of commitment to excellence in education, and they matter everyday as they influence and support their children’s academic achievement (p.1).

      Resources:

  • A3. Promoting 21st Century Competencies using STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)
    • Presenters: Janice Bordonali, Janet Davis and Chris Tucker

      Summary: Please join the YRDSB Pathways Team in exploring STEAM experiential opportunities such as the York Region Skills Challenge, Promoting the Skilled Trades and Technologies, and other events. Connections will be made to the importance of developing “21st Century Competencies” which will enable our students to face complex challenges today, in the future and in their post-secondary destinations.  

      Panel: Elementary

      Key Messages:

      • Definition of STEAM activities
      • Identification of the 21st Century Competencies as defied in 21st Century Competencies: Foundation Document for Discussion and how they are supported by STEAM activates
      • Connection of STEAM activities to Elementary Science and Technology and Mathematics curriculums
      • Identification of system level experiential learning opportunities for elementary students
      • Highlight system resources to aid teachers in the delivery of STEAM activities within their classrooms

      Resources:

  • A4. Supporting Language and Literacy Learning for English Language Learners
    • Presenters - Nada Aoudeh, Mandy Lau, Chunha Park, Erik Rath

      Summary: This workshop engages family members of multilingual students who are learning English as an additional language in supporting a language and literacy-rich environment at school, at home and in the community.  We will explore how additional languages are learned, school support structures, benefits of multilingualism, and building relationships with the school and community to foster an inclusive learning environment.

      Panel: K-12


      Key Messages:

      We will be exploring:

      • How learning English as an additional language supports neurodevelopment, maintaining familial and community relationships, and modern learning
      •  Our roles as community members to support inclusive learning environments at school, at home, and in the community

       

  • A5. Learning Through Play in Kindergarten, and Beyond
  • A6. Raising Resilient Children in the Ontario Education System
    • ​Presenters:  Linda Matuga, Cathy Ng, Alice Sitt

      Summary: Are you raising a resilient child who can bounce back from setbacks? Does your child have the confidence to take the necessary risks for them to be successful in the Ontario education system and in the workforce beyond?  In our workshop we will engage parents and/or guardians in a discussion on how to support their children in developing assertiveness. When children are assertive, they are capable of standing up for their own rights in a clear,  appropriate way while taking other people's perspectives into consideration. It is important to solve problems and for positive relationship.

      Panel: Grades 7 - 12

      Key Messages::

      When resilient, children have a positive view about themselves, take responsibility for their own actions, have strategies to use when they encounter failure or make mistakes, and are better able to speak up for their needs while still respecting others.  

      Communicating assertively (as supposed to passively or aggressively) is a key skill in problem solving and relationship building.  Assertiveness skills have been positively linked to one’s health; these skills recognize the importance of making and learning from mistakes, seeking help when needed, and speaking up for oneself.  Communicating assertively is crucial to achieve success: in school, the workplace, and beyond.  
       
      In this workshop, we will provide strategies and tools to support parents on how to teach, model and practice the skills of resilience and assertiveness with their children. Parents and children will be able to use these skills and strategies everyday.
       
      Resources:

       

  • A7. Supporting Math Learners
    • Presenters: To be decided (Contact Imtiaz Damji, Curriculum Coordinator for Math)

      Summary: In this workshop, we will share some ideas about how to help children use mathematical knowledge, skills and practices to be confident problem solvers while looking at the comprehensive Math program.

      Panel: Grades 4-8

      Key Messages:

      In school, teachers support math learning by creating an environment where students view themselves as mathematicians who work collaboratively on challenging problems and who develop mathematical fluency through a variety of ways.  We will discuss ways parents can support children in their math learning and engage in some hands on activities to support mathematical thinking.
       

      Resources:

      The York Region District School Board math page has some valuable resources for parents. 

       

  • A8. Mindsets and Habits: The keys to supporting your child’s success in school and in life
    • Presenters: John Steh

      Summary: Based on the best-selling book by Stephen Covey, this Introduction to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People will give parents the opportunity to explore practical leadership principles and mindsets their kids can apply to the tough choices they face every day,  as well as learning how to gain greater control of their lives, and building relationships high in trust. Parents will gain insights that will help build their child’s self confidence and interpersonal skills, and support and elevate their achievement in school, and in life.

      Panel: K-12

  • A9. Challenging Classism to Engage Parents in Authentically Relevant Ways
  • A10. What you need to know to teach my child, Racialized parents speak up!
    • Presenters: Shernett Martin, Executive Director Vaughan African Canadian Association

      Summary: Have you ever felt challenged in building positive relationships with parents? Do your parents feel misunderstood? Do they feel the school or a teacher does not care about their child? Do teachers feel frustrated by the same group of parents? This workshop was created in partnership with parents who have had challenging relationships with the school. The workshop delves into cultural norms and expectations of communities who have historically felt distanced from their child’s school and teacher. We discuss real scenarios and address the positive ways to deal with difficult situations. We look at racialized communities, in particular the African-Caribbean community and use small group activities and open-discussions to have courageous conversations about race, class, and inclusion.

      Panel: K-12

       

       

       

       

 

 

 Session B Workshops - (7:50-8:50PM)

 
  • B1. Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
    • Presenters: Sheila Hetherington & Janice Bordonali

      Summary: Starting this year, Ontario is moving forward with the most ambitious reform of student financial assistance for post-secondary education in North America. This workshop will provide families with an overview of the OSAP transformation and information on how it impacts students from low and middle income families.

      Panel: Secondary

      Key Messages:

      • OSAP is an integrated program funded by both the federal and provincial government – ONE payment; ONE repayment
      • OSAP provides needs-based assistance through loans and grants to help qualified students and families with the cost of postsecondary studies
      • the OSAP application will be released in Spring of 2017
      • OSAP is dependent on citizenship, Ontario residency & applying to an OSAP approved post-secondary school
      • financial aid is based on financial need
      • students must apply for OSAP every year
      • changes to OSAP will result in free tuition and no provincial debt for:
        • Dependent students whose annual family income is less than $50,000
        • Independent students whose annual income is less than $30,000.
      • Students with family incomes above $50,000 will receive a mix of grants and loans, based on their family size and income

      Resources:

       

  • B2. Secondary Pathways Programs and 21st Century Competencies
    • Presenters: Lori Rice and Kim Vrensen

      Summary: Please join the YRDSB Pathways Team in exploring secondary school programs such as the SHSM – Specialist High Skills Major, Dual Credits and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. Connections will be made to the importance of developing “21st Century Competencies” which will enable our students to face complex challenges today, in the future and in their post-secondary destinations.   

      Panel: Secondary

  • B3. Exploring a Circle of Caring
    • Presenters: Mohini Athia

      Summary: A Circle of Caring was designed to support safe, strong and free schools and communities. This grassroots approach was created in collaboration with First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and community leaders. This workshop will examine topics such as cultural pride, helping our children succeed, understanding bullying and discrimination, getting involved in school life, and nurturing safe and healthy schools and communities.

      Panel: K-12

  • B4. Transitioning to Kindergarten with Parents as Partners in their Child’s Education
    • Presenters: YRDSB Early Years Team members (Sandra Sanz, Fiona Weller, Towana Brooks,Jill Javelosa-Alvarez)

      Summary: Parents will engage with materials from the WTK bags in a variety of ways to build awareness of how families can extend learning at home.  Practical ideas for supporting transition to school will be shared and discussed.  Visuals will provide an opportunity for parents to have a window into the Kindergarten classroom and spark discussion.

      Panel: K to Grade 3

      Key Messages:

      • What children learn with you at home helps them to learn with us at school!
      • Opportunities for families to ask questions specific to their child’s transition to kindergarten
      • Ideas for activities to support learning at home
      • Practical tips to help you prepare you and your child for a successful start to Kindergarten 

      Resources:

       

  • B5. The Power of Recreation to Prevent Student Bullying and Substance Misuse
    • Presenters: Julie Anderson, Curriculum Consultant HPE, Healthy Schools and Workplaces, John Shep, Caring and Safe Schools Consultant

      Summary: Students appear to be experiencing increasing levels of stress and anxiety.  Many find themselves turning to negative coping mechanisms, including substance misuse and becoming involved in bullying. Learn to become advocates for an evidence-based of promoting positive mental health and developing resilience in youth: engaging in physical activity, sport and recreation at schools.

      Panel: K-12

      Key Messages: Promote your children’s mental health and well-being through physical activity in schools!

      Resources:

       

       

  • B6. Games for Learners of all Ages
    • Presenters:  Kim Pollishuke Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, Lisa Donohue Digital Literacy Resource Teacher, Jeanette Hummel, Jennifer Birse

      Summary: Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games for learners of all ages. It presents students with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve, communicate effectively, build resiliency and think critically.

      Panel: K-12

      Key Messages:This session will introduce an innovative approach to teaching problem-solving skills, collaboration, resiliency and the importance of teamwork.

      The majority of this session will involve active, hands-on learning as participants work together to “breakout”!

      Resources:

      BreakoutEDU

       

  • B7. Parent Involvement to Parent Engagement
    • Presenters: Paul Woods and Diane Loveys

      Summary:  The Ministry of Education has moved from Parent Involvement to Parent Engagement over the past several years.  This workshop, presented by parents and staff on the Parent & Family Engagement Advisory Committee (PEAC), will provide insight and strategies on parent advocacy, community engagement and School Council communications.  Multiple policies and provincial resources will be explored and shared.

      Panel: K-12

  • B8. The Road to Equity is Paved with Inclusion
    • Presenters: Parents Anne Mason & Rahilla Chugtai from PEAC

      Summary: This workshop will discuss how the school community can work together to promote better inclusion of identified students, especially students with ASD. Topics will include: what does true inclusion looks like, how inclusion relates to equity, parent involvement in an inclusive community, and the benefits of inclusion for all students.

      Panel: K-8

      Key Messages:

      • Examining the true meaning of inclusion
      • Inclusion benefits all students 
      • Inclusion can look different for various people
      • Parents, Students and Educators all play a role in an inclusive school
      • Enhancing participation through Inclusion
      • Positive examples of Inclusion
      • Student and parent perspectives on inclusion

  • B9. Volunteers Supporting Schools: GIVE
    • Presenters: Oksana Majaski, Yasmin Mawani

      Summary: Develop skills to support your school community. Research shows that parent and community engagement increases student achievement, well-being and success. Learn more about the role of volunteers, communication skills, human rights and how volunteers support student learning and well-being.

      Panel: K-8

       

      Key Messages:

      • Program Models Social Inclusion, Development and Engagement.
      • Improves  participants personal growth, social integration, builds self-esteem, communication skills, life skills, employability and enhances citizenship skills.

      Resources:

  • B10. Healthy Foods = Healthy Minds - Creating a Healthy School Food Culture at YRDSB schools
    • Presenter: Susan Finkelstein

      Summary:   This workshop will allow participants to learn how to make an impact on school food culture. A Registered Dietitian from Public Health will share information on BrightBites, a new online program, and how it can help boost school nutrition and receive recognition for the school

      Panel: K-12

      Key Messages:

      • A healthy food culture exists when what is taught in the classroom about healthy eating is echoed in the broader school environment such as for classroom celebrations, school events, catered lunch programs, fundraising initiatives and role-modeling by school staff
      • As parents and students are bombarded by food marketing through school, play and even at home, it becomes more important to support a healthy eating food culture and practice healthy eating behaviours
      • When students are actively engaged in developing and implementing a healthy eating initiative in their school, their self-esteem and confidence improve which contribute to positive mental health
      • BrightBites, a provincial web site, supports all school community members with tools, information and other customizable resources based on evidence and best practice to create a healthy school food environment
      • Sip Smart!Ontario is an evidence-based, classroom educational resource for teachers of grades 3 to 7, which contains lessons about sugary drinks and making healthy drink choices, and reinforces the creation of a  healthy school environment

      Resources:

 

 
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