Niverville Collegiate to Elect All-New PAC

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If students were considered the body of a school and administration the legs by which things run, then the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) could be considered the heart, carrying out tasks behind the scenes to make student life beat with a vibrant rhythm. 

Last month, the four-member Niverville Collegiate Institute PAC kicked off the year with an organizational meeting on September 12. In attendance were three of the previous year’s PAC members, Principal Michael Koester, and six parents. Since the meeting date overlapped with Niverville’s Recreation and Wellness Showcase, many parents who wished to attend were unable to.

Though the agenda was, indeed, to organize for the coming year, it resulted in a shock to parents in attendance. All four of the previous members decided to step down. As a result, nominations were held to fill the lead role of PAC chairperson. Parent Tanya Pomaranski was nominated and elected. 

Pomaranski admits that this was a disappointment, although she says that she understands their positions, citing reasons of meeting-time conflicts and busy schedules.

“I am excited for an opportunity to work with NCI parents and continue to build on a solid foundation [which was] established and provided by the previous NCI PAC members,” says Pomaranski. “There are many dedicated parents in our community. Learning from each other and working towards common goals with NCI staff and administration is a journey I am looking forward to.”

The meeting opened with an address by Koester to those gathered, making introductions and establishing a common time for future meetings. Pomaranski anticipated that the subsequent October 2 meeting would provide an opportunity for nominations and elections for the remaining positions of vice-chairperson, treasurer, and secretary.

Going forward, she says that items on the agenda will include learning the processes and policies required of a middle years to senior years PAC, building on the constitution established by the previous PAC, and discussing fundraising approaches they’d like to add to their platform. She adds that they’ll continue to carry on previously supported PAC programs such as My Blueprint and graduation scholarships.

In the coming years, Pomaranski anticipates that the PAC’s role will evolve as the school evolves. With the expected move of the senior years students to a new school in the fall of 2019, this PAC’s responsibility will then scale back to address only middle years needs. In the meantime, the current PAC will embrace their role, working for the benefit of a broad range of students from Grades Five through Twelve.

“Parent Advisory Councils are very important to the work of our schools and we appreciate their commitment to the education of our students,” says Randy Dueck, Superintendent of the Hanover School Division. “Our schools have regular and ongoing dialogue with PAC members and are always open to discussing ways in which we can improve PAC representation and their voice in the education process. We also encourage PAC, along with any concerned parent, to speak directly with school leadership on any concerns specific to their school community.”  

Pomaranski wants to remind all parents of NCI students that PAC meetings are public. She anticipates that the new committee will be sensitive to parent volunteer commitments, recognizing that family time, busy home schedules, and work schedules take first priority. 

“We are a growing community and with that comes many needs, goals, expectations, and commitments,” Pomaranski says. “I expect that many parents will have ideas, concerns, and suggestions, and we’ll do our best to build a [list] of items that we can prioritize and work through.”

At the top of her list to discuss with the new PAC is her desire for broader communication with parents using electronic modes of communication. The Hanover School Division does not currently allow the use of PAC-centric Facebook sites, so other means would have to be looked at. They will still make full use of the “Parent” tab on the school’s website.

Parent Leslie Bardal is looking forward to some positive engagement with the NCI PAC as her daughter makes the transition to Grade Five this year. As a previous member of the NES PAC for six years, she recognizes the important role PACs play in a school and the community at large.

“PACs have to work alongside the administration and divisional staff on projects involving students and their needs at school,” says Bardal. “The student voice can guide them, but divisional and provincial policies are the rudders that steer the ship. I would like to encourage parents to not only become members of the PAC but to receive the minutes and to email PAC executive with their concerns, ideas, and feedback. Attending meetings is not possible for all families, but virtual involvement can be vital to an organization such as a PAC in representing over 400 families and their students attending NCI.”

Though none of the outgoing PAC members offered comment to The Citizen,
Pomaranski anticipates they will continue to provide support where needed.

“They were pleased to see such a turnout for a PAC [meeting] and encouraged us to go forward,” says Pomaranski. “While it is unfortunate the previous members are unable to attend new meeting timelines, I am grateful for their dedication and support and look forward to working with them as we move through a transitional year.”

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