Empowering Parents

Westview conference, Saturday March 22nd,


to have a positive impact on student's success.

An engaged and articulate motherListening: Marci Ien,  Co-Host for CTV's Canada AM

by David RosAdvocate Contributor


The famous African words of wisdom that “it takes a village to raise a child,” were once again put into action at Westview Centennial Secondary School at their fourth annual parent teacher engagement conference.

The goal of the conference entitled Parents and Teachers, Making Connections is to get parents and community groups more involved in children's education to help them achieve success not only in their schooling but also in their future career paths.

“Education is the great equalizer,” said Marci Ien, the host of CTV's Canada AM. “A pivotal part of that is parents' involvement in the school and in their child's education.”

Parents and community members who attended the Mar. 22 event held by the Toronto District School Board Northwest group of schools were able to participate in a number of workshops designed to provide them with the knowledge in how they can work together with the schools to become active participants in the education process.

Ien, who was the keynote speaker, said without her parents' support and involvement in her own education, she would not have been able to achieve what she has achieved.

“I had parents that weren't involved in the field that I had set my sights on, who didn't know much about it, but were willing to try and encourage me and believe in me to help me realize my dreams even though they were out of their comfort zone,” Ien said. “It was everything and it continues to be everything.”

To this day, Ien said her parents still have a positive involvement in her career as she calls them after every show to get “a rundown or critique,” of how it went.

Because of this, Ien, a mother of two, said that despite their busy schedules, she and her husband make sure they are involved in their children's education. They are constantly in contact with their children's teachers and often volunteer to participate in school events.

“It's very much a collaborative process,” she said. “The teachers want to hear from you, administrators want to hear from you, so get involved early and get involved often.

“It sends a message to not only the school, but to your kids as well that you're there for them and that your teachers are there for them and that everyone wants to work together to achieve success.”

 This great conference was organized by : From the Left – Jennifer Hall, Principal Gosford PS; Yvonee Goulbourne, VP Driftwood PS;  Stacey-Ann Dunkley, Teacher;  Jennifer Newby, VP Oakdale MS;  Larry Maloney, VP Westview;  Charmine Gayle-Bonner, VP Westview;  Marci Ien, Co-Host for CTV’s Canada AM;  Joan Ffrench, Teacher Oakdale;  Donna Drumond, P Haydon Park and Chair of AHEN Not in Picture – Joy Kim, Teacher at CW Jefferys; Darlene Jones, VP Beverley Heights MS;  Leonard Wandili, Program Officer – Continuing Education;  Elizabeth Addo, Central Coordinating Principal; Kerry Lee Crawford, On-Air Host G 98.7

Guest Panel on education issues in our schools moderated by Coco LaRain, Consultant

Afternoon Workshop Sessions:

  • Pathways – Understanding the Education System By Elizabeth Addo and Lorraine Linton

  • Children’s Aid Society Toronto By Clayton Greaves and Molly Barnes

  • Parent, School and Community Engagement By Szimbah Hanley

  • Next Step and Choices for your Child By Neelu Chadha and Nalinee Dindial

  • Special Education – What you should know By Julia J Carter

  • Entrepreneurship By Warren Salmon

  • Empowering Teen Moms to make Positive Life Choices By Colleen Cho and Josie D'Agostino

  • Connecting with your Teen By Judith Montreuil

  • Financial Literacy By Malanie Hawco

  • Support Services – demystifying the facts about Special Education: Knowing your Rights By Yvonne Wyndham

  • What do Newcomers need to know? (Multilingual) By Almaz Reda And Moo Moo Say

  • Parents and Partners Talking Curriculum By Khadra Hussein and Hugh Hurd

  • Community and Police Interactions By Marc Rainford and Stephen Linton

Westview Stage and Media Team From the Left: Rayman Aziz, Sabrina Gajadhar, Ms A Medeiros, Salee Korn, Richard Smart Curtis. Missing in the photograph Sudi Shee.