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Regional Parent Symposium
Regional Parent Symposium

Annual Regional Parent Symposium – “Parent Voice Matters!”

April 4, 2018 - 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 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.


Regional Parent Symposium Workshops


 Session A Workshops - (6:40-7:40PM)

  • A1. How Families and Schools can Together Promote Belonging
    • Presenters: Michelle Cassidy

      Summary:  Having a sense of mattering to others is foundational to mental health. Feeling interconnected to others, knowing others value being in relationship with us and that they are making a contribution is of critical importance for all children, youth, and adults. Feeling we matter is associated with strong positive feelings, while feeling we do not matter and experiences of marginalization are very painful and impact on mental health very negatively. Mattering is important for all of us and there are ways we can intentionally promote a sense of mattering in others. Join us to learn more about this very important topic as we learn together about how to ensure our kids know they matter!

      Panel: K-12


  • A2: Mindsets and Habits: The keys to supporting your child’s success in school and in life
    • Presenters: John Steh

      Note: Maximum 40 Participants

      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


  • A3. Inclusive Design in School Planning: Case studies in using parent and community voice towards ongoing
    • Presenters: Sara Leung, Hirosh Abeywardane, John Ippolito

      Summary: An interactive workshop where participants will learn about a YRDSB parent and community engagement initiative called the “Gathering”. We will share how the project evolved, and discuss challenges and successes. We will also discuss how the data and narratives from all stakeholders have been used to inform school planning and improvement. Participants will then map-out the parent and community voices they would like to hear from to support school planning. 

      Panel: K-12


  • A4. The Outdoors is a Classroom too!
    • Presenters - Karen O’Neil and Julia Osborne

      Summary: This well-being and equity workshop will help you to consider the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. In addition to creating some resources to take away, you will leave feeling inspired and excited to get outside with your kids for learning opportunities that you may not have considered. Outdoor learning acknowledges that children can demonstrate their knowledge and abilities in many ways and we will show you how!

      Panel: Primary


  • A5. Engaging Parents, Families, Elders and Community
    • Presenters: Shahida Fazal, Jeannie Chandy, Rita DeAla, Kevin Merkley

      Summary: This workshop will explore how when engaging parents, families, elders and communities, it is imperative that schools actively pursue the perspectives of all families, most importantly, seeking out those who are traditionally marginalized by the education system. Through Aldergrove PS’s journey, we will look at how we have intentionally worked to engage our parents, families, elders and communities to support student achievement.

      Panel: K -12

  • A6. Why the World Needs More Colour: Exploring the Role of Art in Modern Times
    • ​Presenters:  Danielle Zafirovski

      Summary This workshop will explore how art, in classrooms and at home, can be used to elevate critical-thinking skills and to develop an innovative mindset. Through discussing the arts in today's classrooms and schools, this workshop will illustrate how the arts play a pivotal role in encouraging independent critical thinking while fostering an inclusive learning environment. In addition, this workshop will investigate how art is perceived in the ever-changing modern world, and the role of the arts in educating our future.

      Panel:  K - 12



  • A7. Raising a Millennial: Learning in the 21st Century
    • Presenters: Stephanie Vecchiarelli and Melissa Abballe

      Summary: In this workshop, parents will unpack the term Modern Learning and understand how the effective use of technology helps to create deep learning experiences and prepare students for the 21st century.

      Panel: Primary and Junior


  • A8. Nurturing your child’s love for math and literacy in kindergarten-“Collaborating for success!”
    • Presenters: Rita Angellotti, Shalini Saini, Galit Goldberger and Falguni Karia

      Summary: The workshop is designed to help parents intentionally create a literacy-rich environment where early mathematics and literacy is incorporated into their daily routines in meaningful ways. Tools and strategies will be shared to help parents extend and challenge their child’s learning (i.e., through dialogue, games and activities). Participants will leave with a DIY game, practical ideas and references to help them draw out math and literacy learning in their home.

      Panel: K-3


  • A9. Movement Matters...Be an advocate!
    • Presenters: Marlee Corcoran, Helen Hart, Krista Keirstead, Julie Anderson, Jenny Pavlovic

      Summary: Participants will be invited to engage in small amounts of physical activity (i.e. team building, small-group activities), to self-assess the powerful and positive effects that movement can have on one’s mood. We will present the most recent data from York Region DSB communities as well as national and international organizations that prove that physical activity has a positive impact on mental health, academic achievement, and overall well-being. As parents or community leaders, you will learn to become advocates for physical activity and its significant benefits for our children and youth.

      Panel: K-8

  • A10.Secondary Pathways Programs and 21st Century Competencies
    • Presenters: Lori Rice and Kim Vrensen, Christopher Tucker, Reshma Badiani, Sheila Hetherington

      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




  • A11. Community Partner Fair
    • Summary: Our Community Partner Fair will allow participants to move freely and at their own pace and engage with key service providers from our Community. Information and resources will be available to take back to your schools or families to assist you in accessing needed services. A few of the participating agencies will cover Mental Health Supports, Nutrition, Family Services, Culturally Specific Supports, to name just a few.

      Panel: K-12



 Session B Workshops - (7:50-8:50PM)

  • B1. Town Hall
    • Presenters: Paul Woods and Scott Milne

      Summary: Participants will be taken through a town hall process in which they will explore the YRDSB’s most recent School Climate Data collected from parents across the Region. They will have the opportunity to identify which sections of the data are of most concern to them and why; what stakeholders should be involved in supporting school and system responses to the data; and suggest ways that marginalized stakeholders could be included in the process.

      Panel: K-12


  • B2. Reducing Math Anxiety for Students and Families Alike
    • Presenters: Justin Hui and Ken Pettigrew

      Summary: For many families, math homework can be a real challenge. Often, it is not the math itself that is the problem; rather, it is the approach taken to engage in the math. In this session, we will examine the Comprehensive Math Program from the lens of a parent. Our aim is to build understanding so that families feel better equipped to support their children with math learning, while honouring the math knowledge and approaches already inherent in the family. Supporting our children is not about abandoning past practices, but marrying diverse approaches in the pursuit of deeper understanding.

      Panel: K-8


  • B3. Games for Learners of all Ages
    • Presenters: - Jocelyn Kervin, Shailah Damji, Jen Giffen and Digital Literacy Resource Teachers

      Note: Max 40 participants

      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



  • B4. Zoning in on Zones of Regulation: Fostering Self-Regulation in your child
    • Presenters: Julie Andrews

      Summary: This workshop will take a in-depth look at the Zones of Regulation resource focusing on understanding the specific language and coping strategies used to support self-regulation through a social emotional lens.

      Panel: K-8





  • B5. Individual Education Plan (IEP)
    • Presenters: Karen Mahoney

      Summary: Learn about the key components of the Individual Education Plan. Further develop your understanding of what information should be included, how to interpret the information in various sections of the document, how to collaborate with schools about the Individual Education Plan, and how this document can support students to reach their potential.

      Panel: K-12



  • B6. Interrupting Widely Held Misconceptions about Parent Engagement
    • Presenters:  Peter Clutterbuck, Kristine Carbis, Charmaine Brown

      Summary: The Provincial Knowledge Network for Student Well-Being (KNSWB), Community of Practice on Equity and Inclusion for Low-Income Students and Families, will present current research that explores the multiple barriers faced by low-income parents, many of which are grounded in good intentions, misconceptions, unconscious bias and stereotypes. Successful alternatives will be discussed, including relational, community based approaches to capacity and leadership building among parents. Parents please join us, share your successful and unsuccessful experiences and tell us what our network can recommend that schools do differently.

      Panel: K-12


  • B7. Parents as Partners in Building Nature Connection
    • Presenters: Tanya Murray, Environmental Literacy Consultant, Gina Marucci, Environmental Literacy

      Summary:  Participants will have an opportunity to circulate through a variety of stations that will support growing ideas to build nature connection back in their school communities and learn how they can support outdoor learning and education in their own schools. Research on the importance of getting our children outside and its benefits will be shared. Also, opportunities to extend that knowledge in our parent community will be shared, such as the Outdoor Council of Canada Field Leader training. 

      Panel: K-12



  • B8. Building Healthy Families
    • Presenters: Susan Warren, Leena Nayyar and Family Services York Region

      Summary: Building Health Families, Healthy Communities is key. This workshop will explore the effectiveness and sustainability of two community development approaches that cultivating parent leadership within our schools and communities. This session will provide vital support and connections for families which helps reduces isolation especially for families who are new to Canada and to York Region.

      Panel: K-12


  • B9. Inclusive School Councils
    • Presenters: Parents -Anne Mason, Rahila Chughtai, PEAC and Brandon Kliman

      Summary: This workshop emphasizes the importance of inclusive School Councils that are open to all members of a school community. Topics will include: new families attending a council meeting, inclusion success stories and strategies to develop and support inclusive School Councils

      Panel: K-8


  • B10. Parent Engagement on a Deeper Level-
    • Presenter: Cathy Ng, Joanne Tang, SEPYR and Shuang Liu

      Summary:   Does your school have parents or caregivers who have a desire to participate in their child's education and would like to get inspiration on how to initiate deeper engagement in the school setting? In this interactive workshop, presenters will share their experiences about how to become more involved at school, beyond volunteering. Some of the strategies that will be discussed include parent focus groups, parent ambassador training and information sessions in first language.

      Panel: K-12



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