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!