3rd Annual Ignite Parents event “What if….” coming to Goderich April 9

What if…..

you had the opportunity to enjoy a host of dynamic and enthusiastic speakers talking about educational topics that totally resonate with you as a parent of a child (or two, or three or more) in the education system? What if…..each of those speakers could enlighten and motivate you in 5 minutes or less, all of them in one delightful evening? To find out mark your calendars and join us on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at the Livery Theatre in Goderich for the 3rd installment of our popular Ignite Parents event.

Ignite is a community building speaking event hosted in cities all across the world where people gather to share their passions and ideas using 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds for a total of just 5 minutes. The motto of an Ignite event is: “Enlighten us, but make it quick!” We loved that idea and the unique format so the Ignite concept was adapted to focus on education and the topics of prime interest to parents. The first Ignite Parents event held in Stratford in 2012 was so successful that a second event was held in Listowel in 2013 and the decision was made to make this an annual event that would move around Avon Maitland from year to year.

Ignite Parents again promises to be a fun and exciting evening with inspiring presentations by passionate people. The event is free and open to all, there will be displays, refreshments, door prizes, a swag bag of take-homes and of course, fabulous presentations! Still not sure what Ignite Parents is all about? Check out Ignite Parents for video clips of past presentations and to get up-to-date information about the April 2014 event as it becomes available. Plan to join us in Goderich on April 9 to explore the “What if…s” and find the answers!

Select this link to see the lineup for Ignite Parents 3

Tap into Free Government $$$ for Your Child’s Post-Secondary Education? Yes, You Can!!!

Educational Grants and Contributions from the Government of Canada

As costs keep going up and educational requirements for jobs become more demanding many parents are wondering how best to help their children pay for college and university. This worry starts as early as welcoming that first new baby into the home. And it’s also the best time to begin saving and planning for the financial costs involved. The second best time to start is NOW, whether your child is in JK, Grade 8 or already in secondary school. Your bank or financial advisor can help you set up a variety of savings plans. MAJOR HINTS: Make sure the plan you choose accommodates the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant (read on for more information) and look for a plan that charges no fees. It can be hard in today’s economic climate to find those extra dollars to save. But, there is a source of $$$ available that does NOT come out of your family paycheque(s), meaning every family can put away at least some funds for future education and training costs.

The Government of Canada has programs in place to assist families in saving for post-secondary education and training. All you need to do to take advantage is obtain a social insurance number for your child and open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) account. You’re thinking there has to be a catch right? Only one, the money MUST be used for college, university, apprenticeship or trade school; if not you will need to pay back the amounts the government contributed to your child’s RESP. However, an RESP can remain open for 36 years so your child has lots of time to make educational decisions. You will NOT lose the portion you have contributed to the RESP, so you have absolutely nothing to lose by taking advantage of these opportunities. These programs will not cover the entire cost of post-secondary education and training but every bit certainly helps.

The Canada Learning Bond:

$500.00 is available to all families who receive the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS). And the government will continue to deposit $100.00 per year into your child’s RESP every year your family qualifies for the NCBS until your child reaches the age of 15, or until the maximum government contribution of $2,000.00 is reached. The first Canada Learning Bond (CLB) payment can also include $25.00 toward set-up fees if you do not choose a no-fee RESP.

The Canada Education Savings Grant:

The basic Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is a program where the Government of Canada adds 20 cents for every $1.00 you contribute to a maximum of $500.00 (on your contributions of up to $2,500.00) to your child’s RESP annually. Not in a position to make contributions right now? You can “catch up” in future years, right up until the end of the year in which your child turns 17 provided you have met the minimum contribution amounts before your child turned 15. This program is available to all families regardless of income level, i.e. no maximum or minimum income levels to qualify for eligibility – you simply need to make a request for the grant provided your child is a Canadian resident and an RESP has been opened.

The Additional Canada Education Savings Grant:

The Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (A-CESG) tops up the CESG for low and middle income families by adding another 10-20% onto the first $500 contributed to the child’s RESP annually. Currently, assuming a $500.00 contribution on the part of the family, those whose net family income falls at or below $43,561.00 would receive an additional grant of $100.00 (20% of $500.00). A family net income of $87,123.00 would be eligible for an additional grant of $50.00 (10% of $500.00) according to the Government of Canada’s CanLearn website, link provided below.

There are a number of good sources for more detailed information on these programs, including links to help you find an RESP provider who accommodates the CLB, the CESG and the A-CESG. Spending a little bit of time perusing these sites and doing your research can really help when making plans to save for that education:





Calling All Three Year Olds (CATYO) Kindergarten Registration FAQ

>Kindergarten Registration for the 2014/2015 school year will be taking place in Avon Maitland DSB elementary schools throughout the month of November.

Wondering just what CATYO is and what the program is all about? Read on!

What is Calling All Three Year Olds (CATYO) Kindergarten Registration?

CATYO is an early identification and school readiness initiative so that all children can enter school at their optimal level of development. This initiative is collaboratively planned, implemented and resourced by the partner agencies represented on the KIDS FIRST Huron Perth Calling All Three Year Olds Working Group. Attending CATYO Kindergarten Registration and participating in age-appropriate activities at CATYO can lay an initial foundation that fosters readiness for school and engages children in the process of learning. CATYO includes:

  • registration for Junior or Senior Kindergarten
  • identification of potential developmental delays through Nipissing screening by a trained screener (further information about the Nipissing is available at http://www.ndds.ca/ontario. Though not compulsory for school entry, a Nipissing screen can inform parents about their child’s development and should there be any concerns, these areas can be addressed before their child starts school in September.
  • information about early child development programs and services in Huron and Perth Counties

Who is eligible to attend CATYO Kindergarten Registration?

All children three years old by December 31, 2013 are eligible for Junior Kindergarten and all children four years old by December 31, 2013 are eligible for Senior Kindergarten.

How do I register my child?

Parents should call their local school for:

  • the exact date of kindergarten registration
  • to book an appointment to attend

Why does CATYO Kindergarten Registration take place so early?

Registration in November allows parents to:

  • introduce their child to the school they will be attending
  • meet the school principal, secretary, and a kindergarten teacher
  • register their child for Junior or Senior Kindergarten
  • discuss any concerns or apprehensions they may have about their child starting school
  • learn more about their child’s development by having their child complete a Nipissing screen with a trained screener
  • have adequate time to help their child learn age-appropriate activities and to practice skills and routines to get ready for school
  • have adequate time to access early child development programs and services if there are any areas of developmental concern
  • obtain information and resources about early child development, getting ready for school and local programs and services
  • meet other parents whose children will also be attending kindergarten

Your local elementary school is a good source for more information on Calling All Three Year Olds (CATYO) Kindergarten Registration including the scheduled dates and times as well as registration and screening information for parents who are unable to attend the event at their school.

Alternatively, contact the AMDSB board office at 519-527-0111.

Re-Thinking School Councils: Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013

Released  September 23rd, 2013 – “Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013.” People for Education (P4E). This report indicates a large disconnect between the purpose of school councils as stated in Ontario Regulation 612/00, (to improve pupil achievement and to enhance the accountability of the eduction system to parents) and what school councils themselves consider their primary purpose (to enhance communication between the school and parents).  P4E found a further disconnect between what School Councils view as their purpose and how they actually spend their time. And they found that school councils deal with the same issues and challenges year after year.

What challenges does your school council face? There is much ‘food for thought’ in this report – is the conversation relevant to your school and your school council?

P4E posits the following questions, among others, as a result of their research:

  • Why do school councils keep coming back to the same issues and concerns?
  • Is it time to look at a change in direction for school councils?
  • Should the province’s regulations governing school councils – particularly the defined role of school councils – be reviewed?
  • How can we ensure that school councils are functioning effectively and are comfortable and confident in their role within the education system?

Click on this link to read the full report: Re-Thinking School Councils: People for Education’s Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013

Visit People for Education’s website, www.peopleforeducation.ca, for a wealth of information and the following newly released headlines:

  • The Ministry of Education Wants to Hear from You
  • Reading Enjoyment Contributes to Students’ Overall Achievement
  • Help! My Child Has Special Needs
  • EQAO Results Show Improvement in Reading and Writing, Decline in Math (special note – check the Avon Maitland District School Board website, AMDSB EQAO Results,  for up-to-date info on how AMDSB compared)EQAO Image