PIC 2014 a big success as hundreds attend event in Oakville

Parents enjoy the keynote speakers at PIC 2014 held in Oakville in October.
PIC 2014 a big success as hundreds attend event in Oakville
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Parent Victoria Orr attended the recent 7th annual Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) conference at White Oaks Secondary School to acquire more tools to add to her parenting toolkit. She felt the conference more than achieved these goals.

Orr was among several hundred parents and guardians who attended the 2014 PIC conference at the Oakville school on October 18. It’s designed to give parents an understanding of what is happening in their child(ren)’s school and what they can do to participate in their learning.

“It’s been a really enjoyable morning,” she said as she made her to way to the many workshops offered that day.

Board officials were pleased so many people attended the conference that addressed the theme, Year of the Family, which supported the United Nations 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

Numerous conference workshops addressed family- and parent-based topics ranging from 21st century learning and pathways to success to health awareness, equity and diversity. As well, this year’s two guest speakers provided parents with engaging and informative presentations to equip them with tools and ideas for their families.

Mary-Jean Gallagher is the Assistant Deputy Minister from the Student Achievement Division at the Ministry of Education and George Couros is the Division Principal for Parkland School Division in Alberta and an Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership consultant.

Superintendent Rob Eatough said the conference went “really well” and felt the keynote speakers successfully conveyed to parents the current state of education in Ontario as well as how technology influences modern teaching methods.

“We hope the message received was the importance of parent engagement in all levels of education,” he said, adding workshops were designed to provide parents with opportunities to better understand their child’s learning and what they can do to get involved.

In addition to complimenting the effectiveness of the workshops, parents were impressed with the message guest speakers Mary-Jean Gallagher and George Couros brought to the conference. They felt they were informative, engaging and inspiring in bringing 21st century education to a relatable level.

“We wanted to learn more about the school system and how we can help our children succeed,” said parent Ted Szczucki. He was happy to hear while the provincial education system is doing well, educators are always “looking to achieve better results.”

“It’s nice to see our kids are well looked after and in a good position to succeed.” Szczucki said.

Addressing the crowd, Gallagher said parent engagement is “critical” in ensuring success for children in school.

“When you are part of the PIC committee, when you are a member of your school council, when you are engaged in your school in other ways, you also bring a lot of parents with you,” she told the captive audience. “In my mind, that is critical in helping others understand the connection between good learning, student commitment and dedication. The Halton District School Board is well-respected across the province for the work it’s doing and its commitment to students doing their best.”

According to Couros, technology allows parents to connect with their child’s learning like never before and it can be a powerful tool in teaching literacy and numeracy skills.

“I think one of the biggest opportunities we have in the world today is to really bring parents into the conversation about what is happening in schools,” he said. “You can see what your child is learning, what they are sharing and what’s happening in their classroom.”

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