Kids aren’t the only ones returning to school; parents with children in the school system are also returning to the responsibility of ensuring school’s are running well.
Chris Schultz-Lorentzen is taking on a new role as the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) chairperson for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows SD 42.
“My personal focus is to make sure every parent knows they are a PAC member. Whether they go to meetings or not, every parent under the School Act is a PAC member at their school,” said Schultz-Lorentzen.
Schultz-Lorentzen replaces Kim Dumore, who announced she is running for school board trustee.
Last year and this year, Schultz-Lorentzen holds the role of PAC secretary at Alexander Robertson in addition to DPAC chairperson.
Schultz-Lorentzen said he’s excited about the chairperson position because it allows him to get more involved.
“This year I wanted to do more throughout the district so I thought this would be a challenging role to see what we can do. I’d like to do more work to promote parent involvement and to have a voice in setting a tone throughout the district.” said Schultz-Lorentzen.
While the DPAC is still working out what the big concerns are for the year, Schultz-Lorentzen said administration issues such as classes, teachers, and schedules are usually sorted out by mid-September, allowing the DPAC to take a closer look at rising issues.
“We’re still figuring out what the concerns are for this year. Playgrounds are always an issue, that’s a common one. Each individual PAC has certain issues depending on their community, so whatever those PAC’s want to do, it’s our role to help support them to move their school forward.”
Schultz-Lorentzen said the DPAC will figure out where they can best partner with the district, the City, First Nations organizations, and community partners who have an interest in education and children.
In the meantime, Schultz-Lorentzen said he wants all parents to realize they are all PAC members.
“It’s important to know that every parent, whether you’re on the executive, whether you help out at hot lunch, or you do nothing, every parent at the school is a PAC member. A lot of parents think it’s only the executives who are the PAC, but every parent has the opportunity to have a voice and a vote.”
Schultz-Lorentzen said students also benefit from seeing their own parent in their classroom and around their schools.
“There’s lots of studies that show even being involved in small ways, really makes a difference to kids to see their parents participating in their educating, participating in their school community and just being involved. It helps give the kids a sense of ownership and pride. Parents, staff and students are all partners in what we want to do for the school.”
The first DPAC meeting is on September 20.