The national survey on the impact of social crises on the well-being of Quebec families

Many thanks to the 13,000 participants who took part in the national survey on the impact of social crises on the well-being of Quebec families! We will unveil the results of the survey on February 13 at 12pm. Join us! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89306365629?pwd=alZyWHEveTR2dzJTQ0d4SlpZQStCdz09

Newsletter Vol. 26

Dear parents, 

I hope you and your loved ones had a restful and enjoyable holiday season. I am relieved that 2024 commences with the return of our children to school and the conclusion of the strike. The Minister and the Ministry consulted EPCA regarding a back-to-school strategy, and we specified: 

  • That the weight of the ministry exams needed to be lowered; 
  • That LEARN Quebec must be included in the partners that the Ministry is awarding extra funding to in order to meet the needs of our community; 
  • That effective and transparent communication between parents and the school team is crucial for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities the student may have and that it may not be possible to immediately identify these vulnerabilities; therefore, until the end of the school year, it will be crucial to modify the resources provided to each student in accordance with their changing requirements.

Some important notes for parents: The ministerial examinations, originally planned to take place at the end of the holiday season, have now been rescheduled to occur between late January and early February. Please visit this link for complete dates. As well, the deadline for the second report card of the year has been moved to March 28 instead of March 15, 2024. Finally, the weighting of these ministerial end-of-year examinations has reverted to the percentages established during the pandemic: 10% for final results at the conclusion of elementary and secondary 1-3, and 20% for secondary 4-5. 

I’d like to also note that the Minister of Education's directive banning cell phones in the classroom came into force on December 31, 2023, with exceptions provided for pedagogical, health, or special needs reasons. EPCA, however, does not believe that the Directive goes far enough, that the measures are punitive in nature, and the underlying behaviours and addiction are not addressed. We will continue to advocate for more to be done on this issue, especially with respect to combating cellphone addiction in youth. 

In closing, I’m happy to present this issue of the newsletter which will deal with homework and strategies parents can use with their children. Take care and enjoy the month ahead! 

Impact of social crises on family well-being

Take part in the provincial survey

From one upheaval to the next :
The impact of social crises on the well-being of Quebec families

The English Parents' Committee Association of Quebec (EPCA) and the Fédération des comités de parents du Québec (FCPQ) join forces to find out how families are doing. In collaboration with Dr. Mélissa Généreux, a public health physician and professor at the Université de Sherbrooke's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Dr. Clara Morin, a public health resident, EPCA and the FCPQ are today launching a large-scale Quebec survey aimed at providing a summary portrait of the well-being of children and their parents in the midst of social crises.

Who is this for? All parents of primary and secondary school children.

What: A short, ten-minute questionnaire on the secure Limesurvey © platform, in English or French.

Deadline to submit a response is January 30, 2024. The results of the survey will be widely circulated thereafter.

Objectives: 

1. To explore the experiences of Quebec families during the education strike in the fall of 2023. 

2.   Examine parents' concerns about the well-being of their children when they return to school in January 2024. 

3.   Assess the current level of well-being of children and their parents and its recent evolution

 4.   Compare experiences during the strike, concerns about returning to school, and levels of well-being of children and their parents according to specific vulnerability factors.

Thank you for helping us share the survey with as many parents as possible! Here are a few ways you can share the survey with your friends and family, your parent groups or local organizations that work with parents:

  • Forward this by e-mail
  • Share web page https://epcaquebec.org/impact-of-social-crises-on-family-well-being/
  • Share the pdf document containing all the information
  • EPCA Quebec Applauds Quebec Government’s $300-Million Academic Catch-Up Plan: A Boost for Student Success

    Montreal, January 9, 2024 – The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA Quebec) applauds the Quebec government for taking the bold step of announcing a $300 million academic catch-up plan designed to prepare students for success throughout the remainder of the school year and the upcoming summer period. The Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville, announced comprehensive remedial measures for students, demonstrating a proactive approach to addressing the diverse needs of learners across the province. EPCA Quebec is in complete agreement with the government's commitment to providing students with critical resources and support, particularly those students facing educational challenges.  

    "The emphasis on after-school tutoring for all students in the remedial plan is a critical step toward ensuring access to personalized learning support," said EPCA President Katheirne Korakakis. Individual or group tutoring sessions provided on a volunteer basis by teachers, retired teachers, or student teachers represents a significant increase in supplementary educational opportunities outside of regular school hours.  "While acknowledging the government's commitment to addressing the challenges faced by students, EPCA Quebec expresses concern about the omission of established educational entities, such as Learn Quebec, which has a proven track record of offering services to the English-speaking communities," according to Ms. Korakakis.  

    EPCA Quebec also commends the inclusion of specialized assistance for students with special needs. By doing so, the government demonstrates a clear commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students by providing targeted assistance outside of school hours to small groups of students experiencing similar difficulties.  

    EPCA Quebec, through countless consultations with parents over the years, understands that parental involvement in children’s educational endeavors is crucial. This involvement will continue to be indispensable during the catch-up period that we are all confronted with. Ms. Korakakis states that “effective and transparent communication between parents and the school team is crucial for identifying and addressing any vulnerabilities that the student may have. It may not be possible to immediately identify a student's vulnerabilities; therefore, until the end of the school year, it will be crucial to modify the resources provided to each student in accordance with their changing requirements.” 

    EPCA Quebec extends its full support to the Quebec government in this undertaking. The Association looks forward to working with the government, educational institutions, and parents to increase the impact of these measures to ensure that every student in Quebec has the resources and support they need to succeed academically.  

    For media inquiries or further information, please contact:  
    Katherine Korakakis  President
    514 (668-8672)  

    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