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HOME AND SCHOOL: Food pilots starting in nine schools

Cory Thomas, president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Summerside with his wife and two children, who both attend Elm Street Elementary School
Cory Thomas, president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Summerside with his wife and two children, who both attend Elm Street Elementary School - Contributed

Set to begin in the fall of 2019, new program to engage student in producing food

School food pilots will be rolled out in the fall 2019 in nine P.E.I. schools.

Jordan Brown, minister of education, early learning and culture, announced the pilots in the legislature on Nov. 15. The government will be launching a cost-shared program to develop “a comprehensive and sustainable school food program” that will increase students' food literacy and provide them with food made from scratch using fresh, local, healthy Island products.

Supported by government and community partners, the program explores the use of a model where food is prepared at a central school and delivered to satellite schools. Programs will be co-ordinated by new non-profit organizations that will work towards hiring chefs and cooks to deliver the program.

Students will be engaged in producing the food. The public school’s branch school food policy will be revised. The federation is pleased with this announcement and will continue to advocate for a universal provincial school food program in P.E.I. schools.

School Food Think Tanks, led by Morgan Palmer, were held in the three champion communities prepared to implement the pilot. Hundreds of student representatives from the nine schools attended the events at East Wiltshire Intermediate School, Kinkora Regional High School and Montague Regional High School. The youth-generated suggestions for action will be compiled and released shortly. The events were made possible from a Wellness Grant from the Department of Health and Wellness and the following partners – the Public Schools Branch, P.E.I. Home and School Federation, P.E.I. Heart and Stroke and the Chief Public Health Office.

The federation’s World Café Exchange brought students, parents and educators together to discuss hot topics at the local school level. Participants learned that student needs are growing and becoming more complex; resources given to schools have not grown to meet the needs of students adequately, navigating the system can be challenging and that everyone in the school system should act as a concierge (if someone comes to them with a question, they know the answer or know how to point them in the right direction). Advocating for more consistency throughout and across schools is needed.

Resolutions are a way to amplify local ideas about education policy and involve local home and schools in real decision-making on a provincial level. Consider issues needing change in P.E.I.’s education system and write a resolution on that issue by referring to guide to writing and presenting resolutions and to the slides from the Leadership Training Workshop session on resolutions. The deadline to submit a resolution for consideration at the 2019 annual meeting is Jan. 31.

School staff will be celebrated across Canada, Feb.11-15, during School Staff Sppreciation Week. Start planning to show appreciation to school staff now. School communities can nominate school staff individuals for recognition for the 2019 Extra Mile Award by Jan. 11.

Presidents are asked to submit annual reports by Feb. 28 to the office for inclusion in the 2019 annual Book of Reports. For assistance, contact the office, 902-620-3186, 1-800-916-0664 or peihsf@edu.pe.ca.

Mark the 2019 calendar for the P.E.I. Home and School Federation’s 66th annual meeting and conference, April 13.
 

Cory Thomas, president of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation, lives in Summerside with his wife and two children, who both attend Elm Street Elementary School. His column appears in The Guardian during the school year on the first Thursday of the month. He welcomes comments from readers and information for the column. He can be reached at peihsf@edu.pe.ca or 902-620-3186.

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