brains, school closings and parents – the people for education conference

People for Education’s 14th Annual Conference is coming up on November 13th and 14th.

The conference brings together about 250 people from across Ontario – they are mostly parents, but there are also lots of educators, school trustees, academics, settlement workers, early childhood specialists and others who spend the day making connections, getting hands-on training, solving problems and wrestling with some of the big issues in education.

Personally, I’m  looking forward to hearing Stuart Shanker, the keynote speaker. He’s a fabulous combination of philosopher, psychologist and educator – but he’s also really down to earth. He’s going to tell us about how scientists were able to use marshmallows to predict which kids were going to be successful – in school and life. Stuart is wonderfully human (for a world-renowned expert); he’s a parent as well as a scientist. Every time I’ve heard him speak, I’ve learned amazing (and easy-to-understand) things every parent should know – things that help with bringing up children and things that make a difference in school.

There will be lots of other workshops during the day, and lots of expert presenters – from those experienced parents who can help you make your school council work better, to academics from B.C. and Ontario who will talk about principals, parents and special education.

We’re particualry excited about the new format for this year, because we’ll have all the workshops and speeches on the first day, and then on the second day, we’ll take what we’ve learned and have an “un-conference,” where participants will take the lead.

TVO is going to help facilitate the session and we’re all going to work together to come up with some concrete ideas about where we need to go from here: What are the two or three things we should be working on over the next year? What’s working well and what needs to change in our schools? For example, in one of the sessions on the first day, participants are going to come up with a better process for closing schools. On the second day maybe we’ll decide to take their new design to the policy-makers.

Both days will be covered by TVOParents, our media sponsor, and we’re going to use every form of technology we can to ensure that lots of voices are heard.

It’s easy to register, and you can come for one or both days.   There are travel, accommodation and fee subsidies available for parents, to make sure that everyone can come, from wherever they live in the province.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there, and I know from experience, not only will we learn a lot, but we’ll have fun too.

Here are the details:

DAY ONE: Saturday, NOVEMBER 13

The Keynote:

  • Dr. Stuart Shanker what parents and educators should know about new brain research. What attributes do kids really need to succeed – in school and in life?

The workshops:

  • The Principle of Good Principals: What makes a great principal? How can we find them, train them and support them?
  • Special Education: Practical ideas to properly support your special needs child
  • Parents as Partners—a debate: Are parents really partners in the education system? Should they be?
  • Food, Sex and Health: Whose values should we teach?
  • Spreading the News: Using technology to reach out to your school community—a hands-on workshop
  • Online Etiquette: How can schools manage the new world of Facebook and YouTube? Should teachers “friend” their students?
  • Building a better ARC: Join with others to design a new process for making decisions about school closings
  • Parent Involvement Committees and Parent Engagement: New rules, new policy and some old realities
  • School Council Challenges: Share problems and solutions
  • Community Schools: How can we get community schools in Ontario? Find out what they’re doing in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

SPECIAL ADDRESS BY EDUCATION MINISTER LEONA DOMBROWSKY

DAY TWO: Sunday, NOVEMBER 14

THE “UN-CONFERENCE”: HAVE YOUR SAY! Facilitated by experts from TVO, the participants will set the agenda! Based on the hot issues emerging from Day 1, the group will decide on the most important next steps for the coming year. 

Conference Fees Day 1 – includes lunch – $60;  Day 1 – with lunch and dinner – $85; Day 1 and 2 with meals – $ 115; Day 2 only – $30

Subsidies are available for parents upon request, for travel, accommodations and conference fees.

Online registration at: http://making-connections.eventbrite.com/

Contact: People for Education at 416-534-0100 or conference@peopleforeducation.com

This conference is sponsored by: The Ontario Ministry of Education; TVO Parents; York University and People for Education

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