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Newsletter Vol. 25

Dear parents,

Parent-teacher meetings can be overwhelming, but there are ways to prepare and tackle these meetings with confidence. This newsletter is dedicated to helping you achieve that.

Here are four things to remember:
Preparation is key. Look through your child’s schoolwork and have questions ready.
Speak up. If you notice your child is struggling with something, don’t hesitate to bring it up. Your insights are important.
Discuss potential learning differences. If you suspect any, talk with your child’s teacher about an evaluation. Early intervention can make a big difference.
Treat the parent-teacher meeting as a partnership. You and the teacher are teaming up to work on your child’s academic success.

EPCA eagerly awaits the presentation of the Minister of Education's plan to combat school violence. Combating violence in schools is a top priority; however, the plan as presented at the end of October lacks details and action measures. We anticipate receiving additional information about the plan, including templates for anti-bullying and anti-violence policies, as well as additional measures to prevent and combat sexual violence - in both languages - as soon as possible.

Finally, we hope that an agreement between school staff and the government will be reached soon. Everyone is concerned about the disruption of educational services caused by the strikes, and we also remain concerned about the lack of staff in schools since the beginning of the year.

As usual, EPCA will pause its newsletter publication in favour of a holiday message in the month of December so I will wish you a warm couple of months until the newsletter returns in January.

Take care!
 

The difference between IEP meetings and parent-teacher meetings

If your child has an IEP, it can be confusing to have both an IEP meeting and a parent-teacher meeting. It may feel like both cover the same ground.

But the reasons for each meeting aren’t the same. The people who come to the meeting are different. And the conversations focus on different aspects of your child’s education. Here are the differences between IEP meetings and parent-teacher meeting.


IEP meeting

Parent-teacher meeting

The purpose

To review, revise, and update your child’s IEP.

To discuss your child’s academic and social progress in school.

How long

It depends on what’s being discussed. A meeting can be 30 minutes, or it can last an hour or more.

Schools typically schedule 10 to 20 minutes for a parent-teacher meetings.

Which students

Students with IEPs, or students being evaluated for special education.

All students.

Who attends

•Your child’s general education teacher(s)
•A special education teacher or case manager
•Someone from student services
•Other service providers who work with your child
•A professional who can interpret evaluation results (if there are evaluations to discuss)
•Your child, depending on age and whether you want your child to attend.
•Together, this is the IEP team.

You and your child’s teacher will attend the parent-teacher meeting. A second teacher or administrator may also be there.


Some schools are also moving toward student-led meetings. So your child might attend with you. Depending on what’s being discussed, your child might attend all or part of the meeting.

When they happen

Provincial law requires schools to hold annual IEP meetings. But you can request an IEP meeting at any time. The special education teacher or IEP case manager can also ask for one.


These meetings continue for as long as your child has an IEP.

However, you can ask for a meeting with the teacher at any time. It’s important to do this if you have concerns about your child, or if you need to talk through any specific issues.


Parent-teacher meetings occur until the end of high school

What’s discussed

It depends on the purpose of the IEP meeting.
For example, if your child isn’t making progress toward IEP goals as expected, you’ll talk about why. You’ll also talk about what needs to be changed. If your child has recently been evaluated, the team will talk about the results and recommendations.
At the annual IEP meeting, the team will talk about how much progress your child made over the last year. You’ll also discuss how IEP goals, services, and supports should be adjusted for next year.

Many parent-teacher meetings follow a set agenda. The teacher provides basic information about test scores and shares work samples. Then, the teacher talks through observations about your child’s academics and social life with peers.
It can be helpful to use a parent-teacher worksheet to make sure you cover any questions you may have. You can even email your concerns ahead of time. This is important since time may be limited.

Knowing the difference between an IEP meeting and a parent-teacher conference can help you make the most of both meetings. Learn how to talk to teachers about learning and thinking differences and how to decode teacher comments.

Halloween Tips and Trick’s

Halloween is a fun time. It's also noisy, hectic, and full of diversions. These are difficulties for children who battle with focus and self-control, such as those with ADHD. You may, however, limit difficulties without restricting your child's enjoyment. Here are some frequent Halloween obstacles for children with ADHD, as well as suggestions about how to assist them.

1. Following safety precautions

When children fail to pay attention or act without thinking, they increase the risks. When it comes to trick-or-treating, many children rush from door to house. However, children with ADHD are more prone to flee without looking both directions. Alternatively, they may become isolated from the group.
What you can do: Before your child leaves the house, go over street safety regulations with him or her at least once. Talk about stranger safety as well. You can even plan your trip ahead of time.
If your child is older, consider only allowing him or her to go out in a small group. This can help to reduce distractions and increase your child's likelihood of staying with the group.

 
2. Overindulging in candy

 
Halloween sweets and other treats can be found at classroom celebrations, community activities, playdates, and trick-or-treating. When there's so much nice stuff around, many kids struggle to keep it together. However, rejecting temptation is extremely difficult for impulsive children.
Make a "candy calendar." Ask your child how much seems appropriate to eat at parties, after trick-or-treating, and in the days after Halloween. Once you've determined, assist your child in filling up a calendar with the agreed-upon numbers. Children who are active in decision making are more likely to follow through.

 
3. Winding down before nighttime

Children with ADHD may have difficulty transitioning from active to sleep mode. And it can be especially difficult to unwind after Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. Furthermore, children with ADHD frequently struggle with emotional management. They may become furious or have a tantrum if Halloween is over.
What you can do: Allow plenty of time between trick-or-treating and bedtime. Connect with your child a day or two before Halloween to plan a special sleep ritual only for that night. Maybe you'll read a spooky (but not too scary) book or watch a Halloween movie.
You could also delay bedtime. Just make sure to leave the same amount of time as usual for
your youngster to get ready for bed.

 
4. Shifting gears

Halloween is a hectic day with many transitions. Kids rush from schooling to a class party, then home to trick-or-treat. This can be difficult for children with ADHD, who frequently have difficulty switching gears and determining how to adapt their behaviour dependent on the task.
What you can do: Talk to the instructor about methods to make transitions easier for your child at school. Perhaps the teacher might offer a five-minute warning before beginning a new task. Alternatively, your youngster could be set a task to complete at the end of the celebration. This can help children refocus and slow down before returning home.

 
5. Dealing with sensory overload

 
Costumes can be itchy and uncomfortable. Decorations such as faux cobwebs might provide strange sensations. And sudden loud noises might be stressful. On Halloween, sensory input can be overwhelming, affecting many children with ADHD. The ultimate outcome could be a meltdown rather than Halloween fun.
What you can do: Try on the costume at home once or twice before the big day. Wearing regular clothes underneath may help. If not, consider a fun blouse or sweater with a Halloween motif.

If noise and lighting are an issue, you may want to forego neighbourhood trick-or-treating. Malls, recreation centres, and parks may provide a more low-key trick-or-treating experience. You might also start new Halloween traditions, such as inviting a few friends over for a costume contest.

Newsletter Vol. 24

Dear Parents,

I trust that your children's transition back to school was smooth and that all the essential educational resources are readily available to ensure their academic success. If you encounter any service disruptions in your school, such as issues with resources, transportation, or daycare services, or if you have observed any shortcomings related to your school’s Annual General Assembly (AGA), please inform us. The purpose of EPCA is to support student success by serving as a provincial voice for parents' concerns and assisting you in establishing yourself in the educational setting. We have many resources readily available and have many educational stakeholders and partners who are also just a call away who can help as well.

In October, Parents' Committees will hold their first meeting for the school year, where they will conduct elections for their Chairs and representatives on different committees. EPCA also has many resources for parent governance, which offer valuable guidance and tools for members of PCs and other school-based parent participation bodies. EPCA is also available to support you and answer any questions you may have.

This issue of our Newsletter will provide valuable insights on IEPs and offer resources to assist parents in effectively navigating through this crucial process. We will follow this up with information on progress reports and parent teacher meetings in our next edition, to assist you in getting ready to meet with your children’s teachers.

EPCA is also aware that our children are deeply impacted by events happening across the world at this moment. We have included in this issue some tips on how parents can navigate difficult conversations at this challenging time.

As parents and guardians, it is important we show our children that we value education through our active involvement in the schools as it is equally important that we show empathy for others and provide a source of strength for them as we move forward with the school year.

Take care everyone.

EPCA and QESBA call for transparency in Canada-Quebec

Montreal, October 11, 2023 – The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) and the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) are increasingly concerned with the manner in which the Quebec Government accounts for and distributes the monies received under the Canada-Quebec Entente envelope ear-marked for the English minority community in Québec.

Both the EPCA and the QESBA have been advocating for transparency and for equitable division of resources for over a decade as well as proper reporting on the distribution of these funds with absolutely no willingness from the Québec Government.

“This is becoming increasingly frustrating for our community. We ask for tangible documentation on the distribution of funds and we continually ask for an equitable distribution and we get absolutely nowhere,” said Katherine Korakakis, President of EPCA.

“In my time in the English public education network, the government has held only two discussions on the Canada-Quebec entente and neither of them have led to changes in the manner in which these funds are reported upon or even distributed,” said QESBA President Dan Lamoureux.

“The federal government needs to insist that Québec report like all of the other provinces who receive money from the entente for their minority communities,” added Mr. Lamoureux.

“We need to know where the monies that are earmarked specifically for our community are being spent,” concluded Ms. Korakakis.

-30-

Source:
Kimberley Hamilton
Director of Communications and Special Projects, QESBA
514-919-3894

Information:
Katherine Korakakis
President EPCA
514-668-8672

Determine the underlying reasons behind your child’s reluctance towards attending school. 

Children often lack the ability to effectively articulate the difficulties they encounter within the context of school. In contrast, "I hate school!" is a common phrase heard by parents. You can learn more about what's going on and your child's challenges by using this worksheet.
It can be difficult for you as a parent or caregiver when your child turns to you and declares, "I hate school!" or inquires "Do I really have to go?" Their attitudes toward education are rather obvious when this happens. However, the challenging aspect lies in determining the underlying reasons behind your child's emotional state. This four-page worksheet may be utilized as a helpful resource.
Have your child check or circle everything they don’t like about school. Then have them do the same for all the things they do like. 
Afterward, discuss everything your child indicated as a positive and a negative. Examine their emotional experiences and try to understand the reasons behind each of their answers. For instance, "I notice that reading aloud in class is not something you enjoy. Can you tell me more as to why you don't like it?”

 
Make an effort to make a connection between what they like and what they dislike. For instance, "You say you don't like sitting at your desk, but you enjoy recess. Perhaps we can discuss with your teacher what might be helpful for you in class.” Also, if there are specific aspects that go beyond simple preferences into special needs, there are many resources out there – including Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) – which may be beneficial for your child.


This worksheet isn’t here to solve all your child’s feelings about school. But it’s a great way to start an honest conversation with your child about school and how they approach it and their mental well-being. Depending on what you learn, you may want to connect with your child’s teacher or school resources (including guidance counsellors or administration), too. 

Newsletter Vol. 23

Dear Parents,

The new academic year has officially begun, and Governing Boards (GBs) should have been formed at each school by now. Congratulations to all of the newly elected or re-elected parent members.

The GB is an important component of Parent Governance and the educational ecosystem because it is the entity responsible for making decisions at a school. Are you aware of the numerous opportunities and responsibilities that come with having a GB? The more we understand our roles and responsibilities, the more effective and engaged we can be as volunteers. And the more you understand how to hold your school and the GB accountable for educational decisions that affect your child, the better! You can access our parents’ governance manual by clicking here.

Another significant event that is currently taking place is the creation of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for your children. These are incredibly important documents that enable educational success for many of our children. EPCA has written a few blog posts to help you make the most of your child's IEP meeting, including how to prepare for conversations about your child's IEP. You can find them here.

EPCA understands that there are many critical issues ongoing for English language education in the province of Quebec. Our Directors - current and incoming - will continue to work with parents, schools, and Government representatives on behalf of English-speaking students across the province of Quebec to best position all children for success. If you have any suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.

Have a wonderful start to fall!
 

Newsletter Vol. 22

Dear Parents,

As we embark on a new school year, we are filled with anticipation, optimism, and a fresh enthusiasm to shape the educational experience for our children.

The beginning of this academic year presents us with a chance to enhance our connections as a community of compassionate and involved parents. Our Association serves as a vital link between home and school, working tirelessly to promote the well-being and academic achievement of our children. Together, we can work hand in hand with educators, administrators, and policymakers to ensure that our schools remain safe, nurturing spaces where children can grow, learn, and flourish.

Let's approach challenges with a sense of determination and resilience, promote communication, and cultivate a strong partnership between parents and teachers. This will create an environment where concerns can be shared, and victories can be celebrated. Together, we can collaborate to improve the quality of education by supporting initiatives that foster creativity, critical thinking, and a global perspective. I strongly encourage you to actively participate in the various events and governance activities that your schools have to offer. In this special issue, we have gathered all the guides we have created, as well as those created by our partners in government and elsewhere, to equip you with the necessary information to actively engage in the educational system.

As we begin this thrilling journey together, it is important to remember that our combined efforts have the potential to create a lasting impact on the lives of our children and the educational landscape of our province. We greatly value your involvement, passion, and dedication, as they are crucial to our collective mission of delivering the highest quality education to the next generation.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all parents and guardians, both new and returning. We are excited to embrace the opportunities and challenges that the new school year will bring. Cheers to a year brimming with growth, learning, and unforgettable moments for our children. Thank you, and let's strive to make this school year truly exceptional!

Press Release: Back-to-school campaign focuses on road safety.

Press Release

Back-to-school campaign focuses on road safety.

The parents' movement invites the public to adopt the yellow sign.

August 21, 2023

Montréal-Québec - To mark the start of the new school year, the Pas une mort de plus movement, along with the English Parents Committee Association (EPCA), is asking citizens to wear and to personalize a school zone signs as a reminder that:

  • Behind this emblem, human lives can be taken all too easily, like those of Anaïs, 11 years old (2018), Jules, 13 years old (2019) and, more recently, Mariia, 7 years old (2022);
  • that road users need to be extra cautious on their school journeys.
  • that political decision-makers must immediately prioritize the safety of children on their way to and from school and take responsibility for this.
  • that it is essential to encourage young people to adopt active modes of transport, without fearing for their lives.

An invitation to school boards and schools

In addition to parents and our allies, we're calling on school boards, schools and daycare centers to follow suit and initiate the creation of personalized yellow signs for staff and children in their care.

Additionally, we call on the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, to endorse the initiative, to ensure a “road-safe” start to the new school year, and to participate in the movement.

To make personalized yellow signs

Consult our tutorial

Information on the movement

Parents and citizens who, in the wake of little Mariia's death in December 2022, have joined forces to call for an end to the unsafe road conditions experienced by children on their way to and from school. We are asking our elected representatives to make changes adapted to the different realities of our communities.

Our actions in 2023

January 24th 

First national mobilization under the theme "La fin de la récré a sonné" ("The recess bell has rung")

March 15

Second national demonstration before the budget is tabled.

April 21st

Partisan press briefing at the National Assembly

Resolutions adopted by some 100 municipalities and MRCs are submitted to the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Geneviève Guilbault.

May 5th

Private meeting of group members with the Minister to demand:

  • An increase in road safety budgets.
  • Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Mobility Policy to adopt a "zero collision vision";
  • Changes to development standards aimed at a paradigm shift away from the "car-only" approach in favor of the most vulnerable road users, as stipulated in the Highway Safety Code.

For more information

Link to Facebook page

Video

Website:
pasunemortdeplus.org

Montréal

President of the English Parents' Committees Association (EPCA)

Katherine Korakakis

Newsletter Vol. 21

Dear Parents,

As the school year comes to a close, and I reflect back on the past months, I can certainly say that it’s been a year of both highs and lows. EPCA has worked on important topics like road safety, mental health, support for special needs students, tools for parents to help guide them through many aspects of the educational system, and the list goes on.

But our community has also felt the consequences of the new laws put into place by the Quebec government that impact education and English-language rights in this province. EPCA has provided support to parents at the same time as we ourselves have been scrambling to figure out what it all means for our children. However, you can rest assured that EPCA has worked diligently with its government partners, as well as community organizations to help advocate and represent the needs of our community and especially the most vulnerable among us.

As we pause and head towards the summer, I want to wish all students good luck and congratulations for all the hard work you have done this year. For the families, I hope that you enjoy your summer. EPCA's newsletter will be back in August with a special issue all about parent governance to help you start the year off equipped with all the necessary tools and information.

Take care!
Katherine Korakakis

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