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Successful launch of Parent’s Night program at Chesterfield Inlet school

The first Parent’s Night at Victor Sammurtok School (VSS) was a success in Chesterfield Inlet on Nov. 26, says an organizer.

The idea to start a Parent’s Night program came from teacher Horace Palmer, who brought it to fellow educator Ana Leishman to help organize the original night’s activities.

Bonnie and Panniuq Putulik have a blast doing some big game hunting during Parent’s Night at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Nov. 26. Photo courtesy of Glen Brocklebank

Palmer said he took the idea from Nunavut’s guiding principle for effective schooling, which calls for the involvement of parents in their children’s educations.

He said part of the vision of school staff is to ensure VSS – which is the main employer of people in the community – has the parents of its student body playing an active, vital role in the education of their children.

“We can also use this program to educate parents on the special needs and types of services that are involved within the school, how we do assessments at VSS and things of that nature,” said Palmer.

“The first night of Parent’s Night was just to call the parents into the school to interact with the kids, so they played games and had a lot of fun enjoying each-other’s company.

“From there we will gradually move into the more serious stuff, such as how we’re going to realize our vision of the program.

It’s dice-popping time for Lorna and Gavin Kreelak during Parent’s Night at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet on Nov. 26. Photo courtesy of Glen Brocklebank

“We really want the parents to be involved with the school in how we shape our little initiative.”

Palmer said every student should be reading on their own each day, so VSS will eventually start sending books home with the students so that parents can help them realize that goal.

He said Parent’s Night will also help parents see the school in a positive light.

“We are marketing the school with this initiative, to a certain extent, to show parents some of the things we do at VSS with the kids, and that we want to involve them as much as possible with their children’s education.

“We have an open-door policy at VSS, so parents can interact with the teachers on a different level to discuss any areas of concern that they may have and to get their feedback on any of the programs we do at VSS.

“So, we started Parent’s Night on a lighter note to start parent involvement, but the overall objective is for it to help with the success of every kid attending VSS.”

A total of 23 parents attended the first Parent’s Night at VSS, which was a better turnout than expected.

Palmer said everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening during the first meeting, and he’s confident the number of parents participating will grow as the program moves forward.

He said VSS has adapted activities for special-needs students who may not be able to participate in regular school activities.

“So, the parents saw the first night, for example, that we have a bowling mat that we roll out for kids who are in a wheelchair and that was one of the activities our first night.

“It was so encouraging to see all these kids and their parents having such a good time together.

“There were a number of positive comments on our first night made on Facebook by parents who participated, including a few asking if this was going to become a regular event at VSS.

“There was a real buzz created by our first Parent’s Night gathering, so I’m looking forward to discussing ways we can move the program forward and eventually realize the vision we have for it.”