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BACK TO SCHOOL: Parents and teachers must work together
Heidi Hass Gable is calling on parents to be supportive of teachers as they head back to school.
The chair of the District Parent Advisory Council for School District 43 said it's likely many teachers are in new posts or have additional responsibilities in the wake of $12.1 million in cuts made to the district budget. As a result, she said parents need to be more aware that teachers can't be all things to all people.
"Teachers can't bear this alone and just that act of going in and asking, 'Are you in a new position this year? Is there anything I can do to help?' We have to do that and we have to pull together this year," Hass Gable said.
Like many people with a stake in the education system (Hass Gable's youngest is in Grade 3), the DPAC chair was gripped by the drama of the district's financial situation. And now that the cuts have been made, she acknowledges there will be impacts.
For example, Hass Gable expects that cuts to staff development (12 cuts, leaving six people in place) will mean mean fewer learning support teachers to provide advice, mentoring and professional development to teachers in the classroom.
She also expects there may be more difficulty in getting supports for vulnerable kids when there are fewer teachers and special education assistants. But key to getting through the year, she said, is building relationships.
To that end, DPAC will be hosting parent-orientation meetings and an Ignite talk, during which experts will be brought in to talk about proposed changes in the education system, such as non-letter grade report cards. The discussions will also be videotaped so parents who can't make it can watch them online.
"Parents really need some background and foundation [to new education initiatives]," she said. "Lots of times we don't even know what questions to ask.
• Information will be posted at http://inspire.dpac43.org/
The meetings dates are: Sept. 25 and Oct. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Gallery Room at Winslow Centre, 1100 Winslow Ave., Coquitlam.