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PACs make our schools better

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Tracy Bell LeClair, École Guyot PAC president, and Joanne DeCruyenaere, École Guyot principal, along with school staff and students, meet with Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy Erin Selby, Radisson MLA Bidhu Jha, Riel MLA Christine Melnick and Minister of Local Government Ron Lemieux.

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Tracy Bell LeClair, École Guyot PAC president, and Joanne DeCruyenaere, École Guyot principal, along with school staff and students, meet with Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy Erin Selby, Radisson MLA Bidhu Jha, Riel MLA Christine Melnick and Minister of Local Government Ron Lemieux. Photo Store

September is an incredibly busy time for parents of school-aged kids.

I find it takes a good month to get back into the routine. Looking ahead at my family calendar, I can’t quite see how we’re going to fit in homework, soccer and all the other commitments that keep popping up! My triplet daughters started Grade 8 this year, so I’ve got a few Septembers under my belt, but I’ve learned that by October we all seem to know where we’re supposed to be on what day.

Parent Councils are back up and running (thank you to all of you who volunteer at your children’s school) and I look forward to meeting with Parent Advisory Councils (PAC) and working together.

I find some of the best community ideas come from our parent councils — that’s where I first met Wendy Lourenco, who was concerned about kids walking on the railroad track. Together we were able to provide $720,000 in provincial funding to build the path at Bishop Grandin and Shorehill. I’ve seen lots of kids taking advantage of the newly completed path as they walk, bike and skateboard to school!

Last spring, members of École Guyot’s PAC raised their concerns about drainage on the school’s playground. The field is often too muddy for the kids to use, which leads to an overcrowded playground and extra loads of laundry (just what we all need!). PAC put together a presentation on how their playground could be better used and together we set out to make it happen.

Through the Winnipeg Community Infrastructure Program, the province is providing over $130,000 towards a new playground for École Guyot. The money will be used to improve the drainage (less laundry!) and to build a natural playground. Plans are underway and construction is expected to begin this spring. Soon, kids at Guyot will have a whole new space to run around in thanks to the staff and parents of École Guyot.

The ideas I get from parents and PACs come in big and small sizes. Over the years we’ve discussed things like bullying in schools, the importance of keeping our kids engaged and staying in school, class size, common in-service days, and parent-friendly report cards. I’ve enjoyed working on all of these issues and I look forward to hearing more ideas from parent councils.

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