We had the Lambton Public School P&C AGM (the parents and citizens association annual general meeting) tonight. In my president’s address I said:
We know that students with involved parents are more likely to:
- Do well at school
- Attend school regularly
- Have strong social skills
- Adapt well to school
- Complete high school and go on to postsecondary education.
This is one of the reasons that I am passionate about building a strong school community. Although school staff need to take a lead in promoting partnerships with parents, the P&C can also play an important role. When we organise events like the mothers and fathers day breakfasts, working bees, BBQs, the markets and events like that, we are helping to promote parental involvement and helping to build a strong school community.
We can also play an important role in encouraging parents to help in the classroom, learn about the school and what our children are studying and having a say in school decision-making. I’m really pleased that we are looking at communication between the school and parents as while I think we currently do well there is always room for improvement.
I believe that education involves a partnership between the school, parents and community and I hope the P&C can play an important role in promoting these partnerships.
I was quite heartened by the fact that 20 parents (and three staff) were at the meeting. In a school of 350 students and around 200-250 families, it was quite a good turn out. I hope that they will keep involved. Some of the things I think we can do to encourage people to remain involved include:
- Keep the meetings friendly and informal while also achieving something. We started the meeting by everybody saying who they were and saying what classes their children were in so that we knew who was in the room.
- Ensuring that agenda items include a mixture of topics. In particular ensuring that we address fundraising, issues affecting the school and community building.
- Encouraging parents to become involved to the degree to which they feel comfortable.
- Keeping the school community informed about what the P&C does and letting them know when there are opportunities to be involved.
One challenge for voluntary organisations like P&Cs is encouraging people to take on new roles, while also ensuring that appropriate people take on the roles. I’ve been involved in a few groups where people have been very enthusiastic but haven’t always had the necessary skills or personalities to be the right person for the role. It is really hard to know what to do when there is no-one else volunteering for the role. Sometimes people are very task oriented, which has positives, but tend to get others off-side. I don’t know the best way to address this. I know that some people feel our meetings go for too long and would move things through more quickly. I believe it is important to give everybody the chance to speak and to address issues that are important to them.
I hope that the P&C’s good start will continue and that parents will feel part a strong school community. I’ll try to keep you up-to-date.