By Laurie TrembleLaurie is a member of the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) and former co-chair of the Waterloo Region Assembly of Public School Councils (WRAPSC). She is a parent to two boys – Luke attends grade 10 at Grand River Collegiate, and Sean attends grade 8 at Sunnyside.

Laurie Tremble

Laurie with her family

On Saturday, April 7, the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) was proud to host its 7th annual parent conference titled Parent Engagement for Innovative Education and Student Success. It was a busy day in and around our region with multiple conferences and special events going on. Despite that, well over a hundred people opted to spend at least part of their day with us. We’re very grateful to all our parents, caregivers and community members for joining us for a day of learning.

The morning kicked off with our very engaging keynote speaker Marsha Vanwynsberghe, Life Adversity Coach and author of “When She Stopped Asking Why…”. Her powerful story and message of self-care and dealing authentically with adversity really resonated with those of us lucky enough to hear her presentation.

Breakout sessions on topics as diverse as family math nights, anxiety, experiential learning opportunities and the use of Google Classroom by our teachers offered something for everyone in both our morning and afternoon sessions. Notes from all of the sessions will be available on the PIC website in the coming weeks. Watch for information about how to access them.

We closed the day with an inspiring closing keynote talk by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, MP, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, who shared her story about growing up in Waterloo Region and discussed the importance of a strong support network for students. She graciously agreed to speak to the student volunteers who helped out during the day as well, and mesmerized them with a personal talk after the parents had all gone home!

While the adults were busy learning, dozens of children spent the day in the gym engaged in numerous crafts, games and other activities. Overheard more than a few times at pick up was, “It’s not time to go yet is it?” Thanks to our amazing child care team who provided such a rich experience for the kids so their parents could learn how to support them and their education.

This conference is the work of many people, too many to thank individually. I would, however, like to highlight the many hours of work put in by our conference committee, made up mostly of parent volunteers from PIC. In addition, staff at the Ed Centre, staff members on PIC and many educators throughout our board supported this event by donating their time as volunteers, speakers and champions of the conference. Our community was involved as well by joining us as exhibitors, speakers and attendees at the conference. A big thank you must go to Bluevale Collegiate Institute for hosting us yet again. This event creates extra work for the staff, students and community of Bluevale and they handle it with grace and enthusiasm. Thank you everyone!

Finally, to the entire team mentioned above and to those who came out, your commitment to student achievement and well-being through parent engagement is obvious and appreciated! See you next year!

  • Laurie Tremble – Chair, PIC Parent Conference Subcommittee 2018

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