Parents form coalition to promote involvement

POSTED: 06/30/11 12:44 PM

St. MaartenAll Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) and Parent Teacher Foundations (PTFs) have decided to meet once a month. This was among several agreements reached at a recent meeting held with representatives of the Division for Educational Innovation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs, DERPI at the Carl & Sons Conference Room.

A total of 33 enthusiastic parents representing 15 schools filled the room and discussed their experiences as PTA members, while exchanging the best practices of the schools in areas such as their school as a family oriented and safe school, feeling welcome as a parent in the school and even a successful breakfast program.

Participants at the Carl & Son meeting also got the opportunity to discuss in groups how they would like to continue from this point on. At the end of the night they expressed their gratitude for DERPI‘s efforts to make sure their voices are heard.

“All schools have a School Development Plan in which there is a description of the role of parents in the school. The innovations in education can be successful with the participation of parents,” Program Manager for Innovations in education Angela Dekker stated.

In order for parents to be involved in the education of their children they need to be adequately informed. All schools are familiar with the Active Parenting program, in existence since 2006 in all PSVE schools and since 2008 in all FBE schools. Through this program, schools are able to get more parents to understand the importance of communicating actively with their children and being able to help their children to be successful in school and beyond.

At present, there are 133 leaders and 42 trainers for Active Parenting in and out of schools available to conduct workshops in Active Parenting. Also 2, 300 parents have so far followed the program. The next step is the strengthening of the Parents and Teachers Associations and/or Parents and Teachers Foundations.

The topics of interest for future meetings include: establishing a calendar of activities; helping PTA’s to understand their roles and responsibilities; setting up of a parent platform; assisting PTA’s upon request in project planning and budgeting; improving quality education; assisting to publicize the urgency of parental involvement; motivational activities for parents; and helping parents to upgrade their involvement in their children’s education.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday September 6, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The venue will be announced later. The topic chosen for this meeting is: “What does the law say about parental involvement on St Maarten?” Following the meeting in September the next meetings will be on Tuesday, October 11, November 1, and December 6, 2011.

DERPI would like to congratulate all PTA’s /PTF’s with this step and encourages all PTA’s/PTF’s that did not participate in this first meeting to be part of the up-coming ones.

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