VICTORIA - Parents have some great ideas on improving parental engagement in education, and a new website that makes it easier for families to learn about B.C. schools is now just a mouse-click away.
Today, Parliamentary Secretary for Student Support and Parent Engagement Jane Thornthwaite released her report, Toward Better Communication, that summarizes the results of outreach and engagement sessions with parents on education. At the same time, Thornthwaite also helped to launch the Ministry of Education's new Discover Your School website that brings a wide range of educational data into one convenient online location.
Toward Better Communication makes it clear that most parents want to know more than they currently do about their child's learning experience and how their child is doing in school. They want to do more to contribute to their child's success - but often don't know how. A key finding of the report is the need for better communication between parents and the school community.
Many ideas identified by parents aim to encourage frequent and flexible face-to-face communication with teachers. The goal for parents is more meaningful information on how their child is doing in school and what they can do to support their child's learning. They want more frequent communication and offer suggestions on how to pursue this through a variety of tools and channels.
The new - www.discoveryourschool.gov.bc.ca - website is a convenient way to search out information on B.C. schools by geographic map. It makes it simpler for parents to locate information on schools in their neighbourhood, school district or throughout the province, including information from parent and student satisfaction surveys, the number of French immersion and StrongStart programs and results from provincial exams and the Foundation Skills Assessment results. Information on how to join a Parent Advisory Committee is also available.
Parents and stakeholders provided input on the layout, design and content, and they will continue to shape the future content and features of the website through user feedback. The website will serve as an ongoing platform where new, comparable information and data sets can be linked to individual school profiles. For example, in the future, the site could list the sports, arts or trade programs offered at every school, making it easier for parents to explore which school might best meet their child's needs and interests.
Thornthwaite was appointed by Premier Christy Clark last September to consult with parents about education issues and to strengthen the voices of parents as part of ongoing engagement efforts and the BC Education Plan.
Don McRae, Minister of Education -
"Parents play an important role in planning their child's education and helping them to achieve success. The Discover Your School website is a great place for parents to start their research, and I also encourage them to visit local schools in person to find out more about what programs they offer."
"As a teacher, I know first-hand how children are more successful in school when parents get involved in their learning. I want to thank Jane Thornthwaite for her excellent job in engaging with parents, so we can continue to build an educational system that fully supports teachers, parents and children."
Jane Thornthwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Student Support and Parent Engagement -
"Some of the best information and ideas about education come from parents. I'm so fortunate to have had the opportunity to connect with them, listen to their ideas and share their input. Together, we're working on ways to create more opportunities for parents to engage with their child's learning and school."
Discover Your School: www.discoveryourschool.gov.bc.ca
Toward Better Communication report: http://engage.bcedplan.ca/toward-better-communications/
B.C. Education Plan: http://www.bcedplan.ca/
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education