On Tuesday, September 19, NISPA was very excited to host an in person Welcome Breakfast at Holy Trinity School. Interest and participation were high with 34 attendees from 16 schools represented. A BIG thank you to Holy Trinity School for opening its doors to host this event and showing its support of NISPA. Thank you to the members for attending and taking part in the conversations.
This year our theme is creating community. Community creates conversations, connections and engagement while supporting and encouraging change. We saw this during this past year as NISPA members wanted to get back to in person events.
Our speakers Helen Periera-Raso (Head of School), Laura Hostick (HTS Parent Association President), and Antoinette DeSimini-Caruso (HTS Parent Association Past President) discussed their shared journey of how the Parent Association learns alongside faculty and staff at Holy Trinity School (HTS).
Helen Periera-Raso discussed how HTS staff, PA members, and students came together this summer, for a week, to learn and collaborate on how the school community can work together for the best interest of the students.
Laura Hostick and Antoinette DeSimini-Caruso shared how their Parent Association came together to discuss their commitment to the school and even created their own manifesto. Antoinette divided the attending members into groups and asked them to share their thoughts on the guiding questions HTS used to develop their manifesto.
- What do we believe in?
- What are the things we value together?
- What is our role when it comes to the experience at our school?
- How do we work best together?
It was a wonderful event. A big thank you to Holy Trinity School for treating us to a yummy breakfast and informative presentation.
On Thursday, February 23rd, NISPA hosted an online presentation by guest speaker Christina Becker (MBA). Christina spoke about Governance as Leadership, Pillars of Good Governance, and the Role of the Parents Association within this framework.
Pillars of Good Governance
- Structure – bylaws, job descriptions, mission statement and purpose – so people know what to do
- Get the Right People – need people with expertise in specific areas but also must have soft skills (can work with others, be responsible)
- Check Ego at the Door – You are Ambassadors and Champions of the PA – act united once a decision is made
This interactive presentation featured a discussion on governance and strategizing tips for Parent Associations. There was a lot of information shared and free resources are available at canadian-nonprofitacademy.com.
On Thursday January 26th, NISPA hosted an online volunteering workshop in conjunction with Hillfield Strathallan College. The event was very well attended and received by NISPA members. Bianca Barton, Alumni Relations Officer, spoke about how she works with the Parents’ Guild to achieve connectedness within the whole school community; past, present, and future. The Hillfield PA strives to connect with parents at every opportunity, from a welcome letter to new families, to handing out business cards with meeting dates at drop off, to an Alumni Committee which continues the legacy connection with the school, “No connection is too big or too small”. Bianca states that “Presence Matters”, the personal connection is so much stronger than just another email. Many members shared their volunteer challenges, ideas, and successes. All of these can be found in the notes that were sent to attendees.
On Wednesday November 23rd, Appleby College hosted an in-person event on Positive Education. The event was very well attended and received by NISPA members. Wellbeing has been a guiding principle at Appleby College since 2013. In March 2018, five faculty members trekked to Australia in a quest for knowledge about Positive Education. Visits to the Institute of Positive Psychology and schools such as Geelong Grammar School were eye-opening! Now in 2022, Positive Education is at the core of “all things” Appleby.
Andy Jelinek, Diana Dodd, Theresa Blake, and Amanda Sobol presented the benefits of Positive Education and how it doesn’t mean everyone at Appleby is happy. All schools have their issues with social norms, especially after Covid, but they gave great insight into what little steps we can take to bring a positive change to one’s mindset and focus on a person’s wellbeing.
At Appleby, the Advisory Program has been built around the key elements of Positive Education.
Appleby Prefects Madhav, Kate, and Zaydan highlighted the success of implementing Positive Education into the Appleby curriculum. They acknowledged the challenges all students face and through their presentations explained how Positive Education provides them the tools needed to manage these stresses. They exemplify that hard work, a supportive environment, and positive education work together to make an environment that fosters success.
A big thanks to Appleby College for hosting such a wonderful event.
On Wednesday, October 26th, 2022, at 10:00am, NISPA hosted a Zoom workshop on Fundraising. Over 40 PA members participated in this event which was an opportunity for them to share their fundraising and “friend raising” initiatives.
The event began with a poll and an icebreaker. Then the session was divided into two parts with opportunities to answer questions in breakout rooms and then come back together and share ideas.
During the pandemic, shifts have occurred from fundraising to community building “friend raising”.
- Are you continuing with “friend raising”, or going back to fundraising, or a combination of both?
- What initiatives are you focusing on this year?
- Where do you get your fundraising ideas? Do you work with advancement/community partners etc.?
How do you measure the success of your fundraising initiatives?
- Do you set goals prior to the events? How do you track metrics?
- Is there a post event analysis done? Surveys?
Ideas and notes will be organized by school in chart form and will be distributed to all those who participated. It will be shared on the NISPA website in the members only section.
NISPA would like to thank all those who attended and contributed to the conversation. Your input and feedback is greatly appreciated!
On Tuesday, September 20, NISPA was very excited to host our first in person Welcome Breakfast since 2019. It was held at St. Michael’s College School where the excitement was high with 17 schools represented. Thank you to St. Michael’s College School for opening its doors to host this event and showing its support for all NISPA members. Thank you to the members for attending and taking part in our survey to understand the needs of our members.
This year our theme is creating connections. Connection creates conversations, community and engagement while supporting and encouraging change. We saw this during these past two years as PAs created connections in a challenging environment that didn’t allow for in-person events.
We use Brené Brown’s definition of connection –
“the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Our speakers Kimberley Bailey and Dan Lumsden discussed parent engagement at St.Mike’s through advancement and through student programs within the school. Their perspective for these programs was based on parent engagement being defined as the degree to which parents invest their time, energies and knowledge for positive school outcomes and partnership.
Kimberley Bailey spoke about the changes to fundraising events such as the Shop Local program to support St. Mike’s family businesses during the pandemic (still running today due to its success), to working with parents and parent associations engaging parents, students and alumni, parents in the school community and working with the Advancement team. There was no fundraising at St. Mike’s during COVID, however more donations were received during the pandemic than before the onset of restrictions.
Dan Lumsden spoke about his role as Community Engagement and Learning Lead where he brings in alumni and parents into the classrooms to discuss their work roles while relating it back to the subjects in class. The focus is engaging/connecting the current students, alumni, parents, PAs inside and outside the school community. He also discussed student overseas trips that engaged students, along with programs such as Archangel’s Den that brings back student alumni, engages students and works with universities.
A big thank you to St. Michael’s College School for hosting this event!
On Wednesday May 25, 2022 NISPA hosted its AGM at the Weston Golf and Country Club. After 2 years online, it was lovely to meet the members that were able to attend, in person.
The first half of the AGM dealt with the business portion of the meeting. NISPA Chair, Domenica Coppa, welcomed all attendees and went through the agenda. There were two items that were voted on during the meeting. Our financial summary was shared by the Treasurer and event highlights were shared with the group.
We would like to thank our outgoing NISPA Board members for their dedication and contributions to advancing our NISPA initiatives including Jackie Sklenka and Jo Hanna. We also would like to welcome three new incoming Board members – Kathy Leeder (St. Michael’s College), Alnar Meghji (Havergal College and Upper Canada College) and Emily Bernhard (Country Day School).
We are pleased to present the following as our incoming NISPA Board members:
Past Chair – Domenica Coppa
Chair – Tanya Giaquinto
Vice-Chair – Kathy Vucic
Treasurer – Susan Ianni
Secretary – Kathy Leeder
Directors – Krystie Robinson-Vincent, Nicol Andrea Domingues, Alnar Meghji, Emily Bernhard
GUEST SPEAKER – JESSE JONES
After the AGM, Jesse Jones joined us for a fireside chat. The discussion was casual and informative as all members participated in sharing on our topic: As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, the ramifications of COVID-19 have been profound and its ripple effects will be with us for a very long time. As leaders and volunteers in our school communities, how do we move forward in a way that fosters true belonging and connection following more than two years of disconnection?
Jesse Jones is steadily becoming one of Canada’s go-to connectors and media personalities. Known for his thought-provoking, inquisitive and approachable conversation style, Jesse gets to the heart of important conversations taking place across the country by creating a safe and non-judgemental way into the topics on the minds and hearts of Canadians.
NISPA Theme 2021/22: True Belonging
As described by Brené Brown in her book Atlas of the Heart, True Belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.
NISPA Theme 2022/23: Connection
Connection, also described by Brené Brown in her book Atlas of the Heart, is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
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.