On February 23, 2022, NISPA hosted a virtual, carousel style, event to discuss PA recruitment, structure, and best practices. The event was attended by 35 people from 18 member schools. The presentation was distributed to those who attended and can also be accessed in the member area.
Members were asked to fill out a survey prior to the event to facilitate the sharing of information. The event was well received as members shared how their schools structure their parent associations and tips on recruiting volunteers. It was interesting to hear the steps schools take to recruit volunteers and their vetting processes for Executive positions.
On January 25, 2022, NISPA co-hosted a virtual event with Havergal College. Alnar Meghji and Lisa Windover (Havergal College Parent Association Co-Chairs) and Katrina Samson (Principal), spoke and introduced Havergal College. The virtual event presenter, Garth Nichols, is the Vice Principal of Strategic Innovation & Design at Havergal College. Garth discussed the Digital Transformation of Education and how schools can use technology to teach students digital wisdom. Havergal teaches a course on Digital Wisdom to prepare students to be ready for the future. The course is designed to interact with an artificial intelligence screen and focuses on:
· maintaining your identity in a digital world
· being aware of your digital footprint
· strategies on handling an overwhelming amount of information
· tips on distinguishing what information is accurate
The digital future is changing exponentially and we need to stop thinking linearly, and instead embrace exponential thinking and learning. Vision, Understanding, Creativity, and Ambition are the characteristics that embody an exponential learner.
The event had 33 attendees from 16 member schools. The presentation will be distributed to those who attended.
NISPA continued to create opportunities for sharing ideas, challenge and successes with the Shop Managers of our member schools at our first bi-annual Shop Managers Workshop for this school year. Once again, this round table conversation was held virtually and took place on the 24th of November 2021. There were 21 attendees and 17 schools represented at this event. As we continue to modify the best way for this group to come together and share information, for this Workshop we had small groups come together to discuss various topics and then regroup to collectively share highlights from the breakout sessions.
The event started with a poll focusing on interest in forming a WhatsApp group, our Marketplace Trade Show, Roundtable Workshops, and joining a NISPA Marketplace subcommittee. Then in two session everyone discussed some key questions.
- How was your back-to-school fitting and selling season, including the successes and challenges?
- How was your move to online sales over the course of last year and this year to date?
- How are you coping with the extra time/work/inventory management with online sales being available 24-7?
- Did your school store remain open longer this past summer compared with pre-COVID years and what are the expectations for store hours for parents and students moving forward? Do you envisage a return to pre-COVID summer hours or is there now an expectation of being open longer during summer?
As always the conversations were in-depth, insightful and varied. One of the many key points that came to light was how much harder all the Shop Managers have been working, and mostly without additional support, since offering online options to their student and parent bodies. You are all the quiet superheroes of your school’s community.Thank you to all those who attended or sent in their comments to the questions raised for this Workshop. Thank you also to those who indicated in a poll held early in the Workshop, their desire to be involved in various sub-committees alongside NISPA executives. We will reach out to you in the new year to get started on those tasks.
On November 23, 2021, NISPA co-hosted a virtual event with Ridley College. Charmaine Bellefleur (Family Guild President) and Ed Kidd (Headmaster), spoke and introduced Ridley College. The event presenter, Sue Easton, is the Assistant Head of Wellbeing, Service and Global Learning at Ridley College. We had 54 attendees representing 26 NISPA member schools.
Sue discussed the importance of supporting wellbeing at schools through positive psychology. She covered how positive psychology and positive education work together to help develop flourishing students. She shared Ridley’s Definition of Flourishing which includes 6 Pillars: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement, Vitality.
On October 26, 2021, NISPA hosted the NISPA Connects and Roundtable event virtually. This event provided members an opportunity to share, engage, and learn about several Parent Association topics. Members were placed in breakout rooms and discussed the following questions in smaller groups, before joining the larger group for sharing.
- How does your PA receive funds? Do you charge a membership fee and if so, how much?
- How are you navigating events, community engagement and fundraising/friendraising initiatives while following Covid protocols?
- What are some of the short and long term impacts COVID has had on your PA in relation to community engagement (new, current and alumni parents), fundraising/friendraising initiatives
The insights and learning from all members was outstanding. The event had 40 attendees from 25 member schools. The presentation was distributed to those who attended.
On Tuesday, September 28th at 10:00 am NISPA held it’s first event of this school year. The Welcome Breakfast with Sandra Herbst presenting was a huge success. It was so nice to so see so many new faces.
In attendance we had 32 members, 3 guests and 8 executives at the Welcome Breakfast – total 43 people and 23 schools represented. In lieu of an in person breakfast, NISPA treated all attendees to a $10 Tim Horton’s gift card which was emailed to each individual.
The breakfast started with Helen Pereira-Raso, Head of School at Holy Trinity College. Helen shared with the NISPA membership how Holy Trinity School is approaching education and learning in today’s world. Transforming learning is key to the HTS Business Venture and future. It is critical to stay relevant and current by reimagining events and ways of doing things.
Then Sandra Herbst, Chief Strategic Officer of HTS took us through her process of Success Analysis Protocol which promotes a culture of interdependence and collaboration. Sandra explained how there needs to be a facilitator that doesn’t participate, a timed element to move discussions along, and a review of the protocol in the end.
The question discussed was what strategy, event, activity has your PA employed successfully to engage your parent community? There were many amazing successful ideas shared.
A copy of the presentation was emailed to all attendees. All NISPA members will receive the presentation in our upcoming newsletter and the notes will also be located in our Members only area on our website.
On May 26, NISPA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) via Zoom. The meeting was a well attended event with 54 attendees from 26 member schools.
The first half of the AGM dealt with the business portion of the meeting. NISPA President, Krystie Robinson-Vincent, welcomed all attendees and went through the agenda. There were several items that needed to be voted on during the meeting which will be highlighted in the minutes. The financial summary was provided by our Treasurer and the event highlights, including all the many speakers NISPA offered throughout the year, were shared with the group.
NISPA’s Nomination Committee developed the slate for the 2021-2022 Board members.
- Chair — Domenica Coppa
- Vice Chair —Tanya Giaquinto
- Treasurer — Susan Ianni
- Secretary — Kathy Vucic
- Director — Jackie Sklenka, Nicol Andrea Domingues, Jo Hanna
- Past Chair — Krystie Robinson-Vincent
The second half of the AGM focused on fostering Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within Parent Associations with our guest speaker Mahlon Evans-Sinclair.
The key objectives of the presentation were:
- Make links between how nature and nurture work together in the socialization process of perpetuating stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination.
- Reflect on key terms and their contextual application.
- Consider where best to start on the journey of EDI in their own settings in support of their learners and school environment
Mahlon identified macro and micro inequities and how we can lead purposely from the inside out. We need to start with our own understanding:
- Acceptance of bias and intention-setting
- What key terms still need greater understanding
- Tackle bias consciously
- Catch yourself in the act
- Name bias and analyze
- Feedback from others
On May 12, the second Shopkeeper’s Roundtable workshop occurred with great discussion. There were 26 attendees representing 20 schools. It was a wonderful turnout. The focus of the workshop was centred on 3 questions with opportunity for general discussion.
For this workshop, the groups answered the following questions:
- What are your plans for back to school including the school’s choice to stay with casual uniform or going back to full uniform?
- If you go back to uniform, how are you planning to handle fitting both this year’s students and 2021 students?
- What have we taken away from this year to help us plan for next year? In particular, what have been the surprise successes or what has worked really well?
The plans for back to school uniforms ranged from still wearing casual clothing from slacks, quilts and golf shirts, to full uniform. Shopkeepers are working with their school administration closely to ensure inventory is sufficient based on the decision. If schools were wearing casual clothing at the onset of the school year, there would be a move in 2022 to be in full uniform. There were a few schools that were still undecided.
In terms of fittings for new parents and returning parents, there was a combination of in person fittings based on appointments giving sufficient time to the parents and students to try on clothes with those schools providing only online shopping. Some of those shopping online or via zoom have the opportunity to return items if they do not fit as long as tags remain on the item. It appears all shopkeepers have gone online with curbside pickup throughout the year. Also, many shopkeepers were on their own serving parents and students as a result of the pandemic.
Lastly, shopkeepers expressed that it has been a challenge navigating the changing needs of the school and assisting parents and students. However with the challenges, many benefits were highlighted:
- Flexibility of schedule
- Curb-side pick up allowed step count to be great — excellent workout
- Updated inventory
- Appreciate the students who are the soul of our schools
- Resilience and adaptability — we can manage on our own while appreciating our volunteers
- Community support and understanding
A big thank you to the shopkeepers for helping us keep our children in uniform, being flexible in the ever changing requirements because of the pandemic. We appreciate all that you do!
The End of Year Reflection was held on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 via Zoom. It was well attended with 39 members attending from 24 schools.
The morning started with an introduction to Kundalini Yoga by Sheila Claudi-Partrat who guided us through relaxation and breathing exercises. We learned how these techniques help with calming and focusing the mind, creativity, language and logic.
We then moved to the roundtable discussion which focused on three topics: Parent, Volunteer and Student Engagement with specific questions to frame the discussion. Breakout rooms were used for small group discussion and then we came together to share each of the groups’ information. The conversations ranged from successful virtual events, meaningful ways to celebrate volunteers and plans for graduation.
It was evident that Parent Associations worked diligently and creatively to engage parents, volunteers and students during this challenging pandemic year. Using the latest technology, communities came together in new and exciting ways to celebrate and spread joy in their schools and foster a connection between all members. It is difficult to predict what the next school year will look like, but most likely, PAs are considering the use of a combination of in-person and online events to support their community engagement programs.
Our Leading with Intention workshop was an engaging and informative session with a presentation, breakout rooms and whole group participation. Members were also able to ask questions and contribute feedback using the chat feature on Zoom.
Sandra Herbst led the session which explored the question, “What counts…what matters…what is important for a Parent Association to work as an effective team in achieving its mandate?” She drew on her experience as a teacher, school leader, superintendent and advisor to Ministries of Education as well as author, speaker, coach, mentor and consultant. She is currently serving as Chief Strategic Officer at Holy Trinity School.
She shared a sample of an effective meeting agenda:
- welcome and beginnings
- for learning-norms of collaboration that lead to success
- for discussion-effective meeting structures and protocol
- for information-essential communication moves for leaders
Sandra expanded on each subtopic referring to slides and practical examples from everyday situations. In the “for learning” section, it was noted that highly performing teams create their own norms and refer to them on a regular basis. Attendees were led through the process of co-constructing norms of collaboration. In the “for discussion” phase, discussion and reflection protocols were shared and explained. Lastly, in the “for information” section, Sandra highlighted six significant items a leader needs to pay attention to: paraphrasing, questioning, pausing, presuming a stance of positive presupposition, setting aside unproductive listening patterns, and pursuing a balance between inquiry and advocacy.
Sandra concluded her presentation with a message to all leaders which is clarity brings equity. Furthermore, if we lead from the side, we promote a more positive and inclusive environment for all volunteers.
NISPA would like to thank Sandra Herbst for her dynamic and educational workshop and for all the valuable information that was shared. Also, a big thank you to Holy Trinity School for its collaboration and support of this presentation.