Circle September 16th 2017

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BY: KATHY MCDONALD 

Happy Academic New Year 2017/18. It is truly mind-boggling how quickly the days are flying. Summer is on its way out and we will soon be welcoming fall. Halloween products are competing with back to school supplies for shelf space in most stores; in fact, I think they have won the battle. Actually, in a few stores, I am spotting a smattering of Christmas paraphernalia.

First and foremost each parent that has a child that is of Black or Caribbean heritage needs to circle September 16th on their calendar. This day is full of academic excellence and activities that have the ability to transform lives. From 10 am until 2 pm the Peel District School Board’s (PDSB) Black employee resource group PAACE(Peel Association of African Canadian Educators) will be hosting a Parent Engagement event at Harold, F. Loughin Public School located on 39 Herkley Drive, Brampton. This school will be transformed into a welcoming beehive of activities for Black and Caribbean families. Emcee Farley Flex, The Heard, Brampton’s Miss Lou, The Young Legends of Pan, are a few of the great entertainment that will immerse you in the Caribbean culture. There will be basketball and cricket matches as well as “old time “ games from lime and spoon to sac race. Come out and meet PDSB trustees, councillors, local authors community groups, local culturally relevant educational supplies store and local media. Come labrish, lime and linger with your partners in your child’s education at the PDSB. Call me at 905-796-8163 for more information.

The United Achievers’’ Club is hosting their 33rd Scholarship and Awards Dinner on September 16th at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel located at 90 Biscayne Crescent in Brampton. There will be sixteen scholarships awarded to bright and confident students ready to make their mark in this world. Liberty Silver will be performing as well as some of the talented students. The keynote will be Dr. Everton Gooden, Chief of Staff at North York General Hospital and the 2017 Harry Jerome Award Trailblazer Award Recipient. I have heard this brother speak and let me tell you: guests will be getting the real deal from this humble, authentic and hardworking doctor who never let any obstacle derail his plans. Believe me when I tell you he had his challenges. So, come out and hear his story. Be inspired. The emcee Jesse Jones and DJ Jonathan O. Shaw will not disappoint. Cocktails start at 6 pm and dinner will be served at 7 pm Canadian Standard Time. The tickets cost $80. If you’re unable to attend then sponsor a student for $60.  For tickets and more information contact the UAC president Lucinda Sloley at 905-459-1942.

It is time to reset the kids’ cruise control buttons. I would like to suggest a few tips to help parents and students alike as you shift gears from holiday mode to academic drive. Bedtime and study routines need to be re-established. For some children, the daily cycle of home to school to home can be quite daunting. The key to a child having a great day is a good sleep and a good breakfast.

On Wednesday, August 30th, the new director of education of the PDSB, Peter Joshua, delivered his first Starting Point address. The Starting Point is an opportunity for the director of education to outline his vision for the upcoming year. Director Joshua gave an energetic, inspiring synopsis of the direction of the PDSB and his vision for learning in the twenty-first century. Director Joshua highlighted eight key priorities. They are as follows: to be purposeful in our actions to support Black male students and all marginalized groups; to be bold and courageous  in our efforts for inclusion regardless of gender, race or religion; to have Modern Learning embedded in all learning; to continue to support engage math with a focus on the early years; to maximize the resources of special education; to integrate students with learning disabilities into secondary schools; to address the finding of the workforce census and to be resolute in our belief that love will conquer hate…at the PDSB we will not stand silent in the face of hate or discrimination. Director Joshua quoted one the greatest educators that in Canada we are privileged to call our own, Dr. Avis Glaze. Dr. Glaze said in her keynote address to participants of the PDSB Modern Learners Conference “We must see colour, we must see gender… we must see it, we must name it”. At the PDSB we are unapologetic in our efforts to tackle any forms of discrimination and remain steadfast in our efforts to eliminate systemic biases. It is your job as parents, students and as a community to hold us to this.

I hope that you feel invigorated, renewed and enthusiastic about the upcoming school year. It is of utmost importance to equip your children with the most effective tools that will allow them to be the best that they can be. Of equal importance is the need to be visible and present, an active participant in your child’s academic journey. I encourage all Black and Caribbean families to come out to Harold F. Loughin Public School and the UAC Scholarship Awards dinner and experience parent engagement like you have never seen before.  As we embark on another eventful school year let us journey together to make this academic year the best year ever! Walk Good. Belle Marché.

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