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School board seeks improved communication

District Parental Advisory Committee reinstated
Mel Edgar

Powell River Board of Education is looking to further improve communication with parents after reinstating the District Parental Advisory Committee (DPAC) at its November 17 meeting.

Composed of representatives from each school’s Parental Advisory Committee (PAC), the DPAC will meet regularly with the school board.

However, according to some PAC members, principals and not the DPAC are the first line of communication between the board and parents.

“The principal is there and she tells us what is going on at the school board,” said Janelle Behan, recently appointed president of James Thomson Elementary’s PAC. “We have a great relationship with our principal, Jasmin Marshman, and she attends all of our PAC meetings and keeps us in the loop.”

Behan said the PAC’s job is to raise funds for what they think the school needs, but superintendent of schools Jay Yule said the DPAC has a different purpose.

“The DPAC looks at broader policy initiatives that might be of interest to all schools,” said Yule. “We meet to talk about district policy initiatives, rather than specific school initiatives.”

According to Yule, the DPAC had “faded” in years past before ultimately being disbanded by the board due to declining interest from parents.

Yule said the DPAC was reinstated this year as part of the board’s initiative to increase parental involvement.

At Brooks Secondary School, PAC president Kristy Cote said while they also mainly learn about school board activities through their school’s principal Jaime Burt, she supports any initiative that enhances communication with the school board.

“Learning in high school is more independent and there are less in-class ways to participate with your children,” said Cote. “As an attendee at DPAC meetings, I definitely feel a strong commitment and engagement from the school board trustees to further the communication channels with parents.”

The first meeting of the reinstated DPAC is scheduled for 6:30 pm, Tuesday, December 15, at the Powell River School District 47 office.

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