Torch - Spring 2018
The Role of Parent Engagement Through the HCPA By Mary Ashkar
T he Havergal College Parent Association (HCPA) works hard to fulfill their mission of maximizing parent engagement, fostering community spirit and supporting the school’s mission ( preparing young women to make a difference ). One important role of the HCPA is to organize events and activities for parents and their families to socialize and learn about various topics in girls’ education and teen development. By supporting parents and students, the goal is to strengthen the Havergal community. Through enrolment, all parents are members of the HCPA and are invited to attend meetings and events. Here are some examples of parent meetings and events at Havergal. Learn more about dates and times through your Grade Representatives (Grade Reps). Junior School Grade Rep Roles and Meetings In the Junior School, more than 25 parents serve as Grade Reps from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6. Grade Reps keep the overall parent community informed of the goings-on at the school and work to increase parent engagement. They meet on a monthly basis to discuss issues that impact both students and parents alike. There are sometimes guest speakers that address Junior School-related topics, such as literacy, math, the Junior School curriculum and the Grade 6 transition to the Middle School. The Grade Reps also plan coffee mornings and parent socials at offsite locations—typically their homes—as a way to chat in informal settings. With an emphasis placed on keeping new parents informed and engaged, we know that a girl’s first year at a new school can be a daunting one; the Grade Reps do everything they can to make the transition to our wonderful school as seamless as possible. Upper School Grade Rep Roles and Meetings In the Upper School, more than 25 parents serve as Grade Reps each year. Their role is to promote community in Grades 7 to 12. This is especially important as the size of each grade increases from the Junior School to the Upper School. As the girls get older, parents have fewer opportunities to meet each other through other venues (such as birthday parties or playdates). Becoming a Grade Rep provides opportunities to meet the parents of your daughter’s friends. Held five times throughout the school year, the Upper School Grade Rep meetings are focused on various topics such as academics, athletics and co-curricular activities. We also address teen issues with guest speakers. This year, we had a representative from Toronto Police Services spoke about raves, parties and parent responsibilities;
Members of the Havergal College Parent Association (HCPA).
Dr. Amy Cheung (a parent and US Grade Rep Convenor) discussed mental health issues that commonly present in adolescent girls; and members of the Student Support Team explained how they support the well-being of all girls at Havergal. Mother-Daughter Breakfasts In the last few years, the HCPA has worked with Food Services to organize Mother-Daughter Breakfasts. These are opportunities for new and existing families to socialize with their daughters. The Upper School breakfasts include a theme, such as donating clothes to a charity and engaging in mindfulness activities. The Junior School breakfasts, known as Pajama Jams, are new in 2018 and focus on Grades 1 and 4. These are entry years and have a high number of new families joining the Havergal community. At Pajama Jams, mothers (or female adult relatives/friends) and daughters come dressed in their pajamas for a delicious breakfast, followed by an interactive dance session. Father-Daughter Events In the Upper School, fathers and daughters have long enjoyed the Father Daughter Dance, held off-site. It is a special event that many of our students and fathers cherish. In the Junior School, this year marked the second annual Father Daughter Amaze-ing Race, an opportunity for our young girls to spend the day with their fathers (or adult male relatives/friends). This year’s event saw more than 300 dads and daughters (from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6) take part in physically and mentally challenging activities, with the intention of creating memories of a fun afternoon together. The challenges provide bonding opportunities as the teams race around campus.
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