Parental Involvement Committee Launched

March 10, 2017 | 5 Comments

Speaking today in the House of Assembly, Minister of Education Cole Simons announced the “launch of a progressive effort to involve and engage public school parents for the betterment of our public school education system.”

Minister Simons said, “Last month, immediately following my appointment as Minister of Education, I met with preschool administrators and school principals; and just this week I met with Department of Education staff at our Southside Office. At these meetings, I shared my views on the importance of meaningful relationships between students and educators.

“After continued consultation and engagement, this Government determined that we should put in place a Parental Involvement Committee. This was a direct response to the desire expressed by parents for proactive and strategic access to the Department of Education.

“The Parental Involvement Committee will:

  • Provide advice and feedback from parent perspectives;
  • Represent broad parental interests, including issues of concern;
  • Provide support to parent councils and PTAs;
  • Help parents support their children’s learning at home and at school; and,
  • Help to develop a parental involvement and community engagement strategy.

“I have appointed an educator, Mrs. Tamicia Darrell, member of the Board of Education, Deputy Principal at West End Primary School, Bermuda Union of Teacher Executive member, and a very proud parent and community member to serve as Chairperson of the selection team.

“Other members representing parents, the community, and the Board and Department of Education include Mr. Keithlyn Fleming, Mr. Noel Pearman, Mrs. Jo-Ann Pully and Ms. Kimberley McKeown.

“This selection team has already encouraged parents to consider participating for the betterment of our public education system. Parent councils, PTAs, and all parents of public school children are being asked to put their name forward for membership on the Parental Involvement Committee.

“I would like to emphasize and impress upon the listening audience that: What is possible for our education system will only be achieved to its fullest with sustained collaboration and strengthened partnerships with our parents.

“As such, I look forward to working with parents, all educators and the broader community towards the common goal of ensuring student success and achievement, improving our schools and elevating public education in Bermuda.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,

This morning I rise to share with my Honourable Colleagues in the House, and announce, the launch of a progressive effort to involve and engage public school parents for the betterment of our public school education system.

Mr. Speaker,

Last month, immediately following my appointment as Minister of Education, I met with preschool administrators and school principals; and just this week I met with Department of Education staff at our Southside Office. At these meetings, I shared my views on the importance of meaningful relationships between students and educators.

Mr. Speaker,

The teachers who left the most indelible mark on my life as a student to help shape the man who stands before you today, are to me like family.

We know that we cannot underestimate the value of family in a child’s education, and this Government has acknowledged and affirmed our responsibility to grow relationships and partnerships with parents, families and the community. Schools do this every day through PTAs and parent councils and through the important work of supporting and improving individual schools.

Mr. Speaker,

During the 2015 consultation process on what were then proposed amendments to the Education Act 1996, a parent asked the question – but what about parent engagement for the entire public education system?

Mr. Speaker,

After continued consultation and engagement, this Government determined that we should put in place a Parental Involvement Committee. This was a direct response to the desire expressed by parents for proactive and strategic access to the Department of Education. I emphasize the words proactive and strategic for good reason. Parents currently have access to the Commissioner of Education and other Department staff, but we want to better communicate to parents that their beliefs, skills and suggestions are encouraged and welcomed on important issues that affect them, their children and the system. We don’t just want parents to come to us – we want to go to them and seek their advice and representation not only when problems occur, but before they happen.

Mr. Speaker,

We see great things ahead for our public education system, for all schools and for all children. We therefore want and have invited parents, as well as other stakeholders in our public education system to be part of that vision and future.

Established by the Education Amendment Act 2015, the Parental Involvement Committee is an advisory body that will comprise public school parents who will work with the Commissioner of Education and school leaders, to improve parental involvement across all public schools. The Committee was created to give parents stronger voices to make a difference across the public school system.

Mr. Speaker,

The Parental Involvement Committee will:

  • Provide advice and feedback from parent perspectives;
  • Represent broad parental interests, including issues of concern;
  • Provide support to parent councils and PTAs;
  • Help parents support their children’s learning at home and at school; and,
  • Help to develop a parental involvement and community engagement strategy.

We want the very best for our children and in support of developing a great team of parents we have developed a selection and appointment process adapted from the Human Rights Act, 1981.

Mr. Speaker,

A dynamic selection team representing parents, the community and the Board of Education has been put together to:

  • a. invite persons, through advertisement, to serve on the Parental Involvement Committee; and
  • b. to review all applications, interview applicants, and ultimately recommend persons for appointment.

This includes promoting the Parental Involvement Committee and communicating what it is all about.

Mr. Speaker,

I have appointed an educator, Mrs. Tamicia Darrell, member of the Board of Education, Deputy Principal at West End Primary School, Bermuda Union of Teacher Executive member, and a very proud parent and community member to serve as Chairperson of the selection team. Other members representing parents, the community, and the Board and Department of Education include Mr. Keithlyn Fleming, Mr. Noel Pearman, Mrs. Jo-Ann Pully and Ms. Kimberley McKeown.

This selection team has already encouraged parents to consider participating for the betterment of our public education system. Parent councils, PTAs, and all parents of public school children are being asked to put their name forward for membership on the Parental Involvement Committee.

Mr. Speaker,

The criteria for consideration for membership on the Parental Involvement Committee were kept important but simple. Parents selected should represent a cross-section of parents across all public schools and:

  • 1. Have a child or children enrolled in a Bermuda public school;
  • 2. Be committed to family and community engagement;
  • 3. Be able to attend monthly meetings;
  • 4. Be able to work co-operatively and collaboratively; and
  • 5. Be able to engage parents and community partners, and represent their ideas and interests.

Mr. Speaker,

Let me say that I, along with the Permanent Secretary, Commissioner of Education and others in the Ministry of Education see the immense potential of the Parental Involvement Committee for public school education. The Committee was not established by the Legislature as simply another Government body, but it was supported as a mechanism to harness the power and value of parents to our schools and community. Therefore, I would encourage all public school parents to seek out more information from our Ministry website and consider applying to serve on the Parental Involvement Committee by the deadline of April 9th, 2017. Applications and any questions should be emailed to parents@moed.bm.

Mr. Speaker,

In concluding, I would like to emphasize and impress upon the listening audience that: What is possible for our education system will only be achieved to its fullest with sustained collaboration and strengthened partnerships with our parents. As such, I look forward to working with parents, all educators and the broader community towards the common goal of ensuring student success and achievement, improving our schools and elevating public education in Bermuda.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The full Parental Involvement Committee Question and Answer is below [PDF here]

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Comments (5)

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  1. watching says:

    Election coming!
    Pandering to the parents now.

    Like(7)
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  2. Average Bermudian says:

    he reminds me of baron (i mean robin)- not a &*^%$#@! clue themselves.

    Like(5)
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    • wahoo says:

      What are your thoughts and suggestions? I have kids and I am very involved - in fact I don't know/understand why a government needs to be explaining or encouraging parenthood to people. This is nothing to do with electioneering it is just reality for our broken social what-a-ma-call-it.

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  3. Gee says:

    Sounds exactly like a programme that was at Northland's years ago. The best proposal for parental reward was to offer scholarships to Bermuda College but we don't want to spend money like that on kids. At the end of the day it will be the shree Rs...reading.ritin' and rithmitic.

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  4. legalgal says:

    The new Commissioner sounds like he sees his position as a job for life (bit like some of the teachers) and is going backwards by abandoning an internationally recognized system. Needed to bring in a tried and tested, independent educator to overhaul the system. (I know the last one was run out of town!) Less policitising and endless talking, navel gazing and consulting more educating. Get results.

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