For at least 10 of those years, Pam Montgomery has been part of that voice, first by sitting on the Athena Home and School Association and now as co-chair of the Three Oaks Parents Council and as current federation president.
“Our role is to advocate for the best possible education for our students. We advocate for students across the province for things we can affect. We give parents a voice, provincially,” said Montgomery. “Locally, parents advocate for their students within that school. If there’s something that they feel affects their child’s learning in that school, they can advocate through Home and School as a collective for a positive impact.”
Of the province’s 57 English-language schools, 53 have Home and School Associations that are members of the federation.
All association members are volunteers. They butter toast and serve juice at breakfast programs, attend meetings, advocate and raise money for programs.
“Not all parents sign up and help. I was fortunate that I was able to stay home to be with my boys and I continued to stay at home,” said Montgomery. “When they started to attend school I felt that I needed to be involved at this level. I chose to be here to support my kids’ education. We’re fortunate that we have that avenue through Home and School.”
She was elected as the provincial organization’s president in April 2012 and will serve two years in the role and a year as past president.
Montgomery took on the position at an interesting time in education in this province. A week after becoming president the province announced the amalgamation of the two English-language school boards and the educational governance review was released.
The federation moved a resolution at its annual general meeting that an elected board be put in place, something that the government said would happen in 2014.
At the forefront now are issues of substance abuse, bullying and mental fitness.
“We’re looking at ways to advocate for better information for parents on how to support their children in those situations. Access to that information exists but it is often hard to get,” said Montgomery. “We’re trying to advocate for better information channels and better supports, not only within the school but at home, too, and how to access those.”
Saturday, the federation’s work will be celebrated at a gala at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Past presidents of both the federation and its member associations will be in attendance and past and current Island students will entertain. Those students, along with several Island artists will have works up for auction with the proceeds going to help the federation in its work.
Montgomery said the federation has served a vital role to Island parents and their children in its 60 years and will continue to do so into the future.
“Parents are equal partners in education. Parents need to be engaged in their student’s education to improve students’ education,” she added. “The more information a group has the less conflict and issues you have. The stronger your information channels the better the communication.”
A ‘gala’ performance
- Reception begins at 6 with performances at 7 p.m.
- Lineup of talent includes musical performances by fiddler Cynthia MacLeod, comedian Patrick Ledwell, Joey and Julien Kitson, John MacPhee of Paper Lions, Julia MacVicar, Tessa Hood, Le Ragazze, Teachers in Harmony Choir, Branden Kelly, Ripped Paper, Angele and Kristen Rix, AKKORD Choir, Michael Pendergast and Family, Three Oaks Senior High Choral Ensemble, Olivia King, Athena Consolidated School Grades 7-9 Vocal Ensemble.
- Artwork created by students from across P.E.I. will be displayed and works of art created by Island artists will be auctioned off.
- Tickets are $10 and available at Confederation Centre box office.
- For more information, call 620-3186 or email email@example.com.