PAC – School Liaising

“I think the school should run {this amazing} program! Can we make it happen?”

The PAC gets approached a lot with: “why don’t you run this?” or “why doesn’t the school run X after school?”

There are a lot of parents in our community with great ideas and the drive to make things happen.

But the fact is, the PAC doesn’t have 100% control over what happens during school time or even after school.  This gets decided by the administration and the teachers.

Teacher Support

For any program to run, you need teacher buy-in. Want to do a school wide art project? That could require class time and the teachers will need to be on board, since they may be running it or at least giving you a slice of class time to come in and run it. It may need to fit in with curriculum guidelines if it’s going to be a lengthier project.

If you propose that your class/club/project run during recess, lunch hour, or after school, there still needs to be a teacher sponsor to supervise – so you will need to convince a teacher to donate their time and classroom space.  If you want to run something in the gym, you have to liaise with the principal to make sure there is no fee-paying group booked to use it.

Can the PAC direct how its money is spent?

Yes! Absolutely. We have worked very hard to raise this money. Each year, the PAC works with the administration to devise a budget that will fulfill the needs of the school.  We run periodic surveys to check in with our parent members and make sure that our budget is aligning with parents’ wishes.

Can the PAC force something to happen in the school?

In a word: no.  But the PAC can allocate funds and let the administration know that we would support a certain activity or purchase. For example, there are parents who would like to see a musical go on. The PAC can set aside money to fund a musical, but the musical simply won’t happen if there is no teacher support for it. Teachers are stretched in many directions and our teachers run a lot of after school clubs in their spare time: track and field, volleyball, basketball – to name a few. Unless someone has a great passion for musicals and is willing to devote a lot of unpaid time to run it, it simply won’t happen.

Field Trips

The PAC can offer funding for teachers to use should they want to do a field trip.  But it’s up to the teachers to plan and execute them. Some teachers do one field trip per month! Other teachers are not as comfortable being responsible for the safety and actions of ~30 kids in an unfamiliar area.  The bottom line: teachers need to decide what is right for their class.  The PAC can enable – but it’s up to the teachers to make the final decision.

Technology

Ditto with technology. The PAC can allocate funds for technology and outline what they would like it to be used for.  But ultimately it is up to the administration and the teachers to decide what they want in their classrooms.  If it differs from what the PAC wants, then the PAC can decide to support it or not.  In reality we always manage to find common ground and a way to move forward.

 

So how do I get my idea/project/activity off the ground?

If you have a great idea, please contact us to discuss it. We will liaise with the administration, who will in turn liaise with the teachers. It’s a lot of liaising! But it is necessary to obtain the proper approval and support to make your idea a reality.

But perhaps most importantly,   by having a positive relationship with our administration and staff, many good things can and will happen.