PACs prepare for a new school year

With every new school year comes new issues for elementary, middle and high schools in Saanich

Norm Tandberg

Norm Tandberg

It’s not just kids who are going back to school in a couple weeks – a lot of parents will be returning to their roles on local parent advisory councils.

With every new school year comes new issues for elementary, middle and high schools in Saanich, and PACs from across the district are readying for a new semester of challenges. The PACs are overseen by the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, which represents local councils at the district level and primarily advises the school board on matters relating to education in the school district.

“We sort of look at ourselves as the advocate and connection for parents and students at schools,” said Norm Tandberg, vice-president of the VCPAC. “We advocate and lobby for good learning conditions and organize PACs to work with the school administration.”

The Tuesday after Labour Day may mark the return to classes, but Tandberg said many PACs get to work in the summer to prepare for the new school year.

“Every school’s entitled to gaming grants, and that has to be applied for in August or earlier,” he said, noting grants are used toward things like sporting equipment and musical instruments.

“Then in September, hopefully they have whoever was involved in the PAC last year, but if not, they have to go out and recruit. There’s always a new batch of new parents and students coming to the school, and some moving on.”

The range of issues a PAC can take on is endless, ranging from healthy lunches to recess times to playground safety. While there are some common needs among local schools, Tandberg said the issues can vary greatly from one school to another.

“Some schools need seismic upgrading, some need a breakfast program – every school is pretty individual,” he said. “We’re always advocating for resources in the classroom – a little extra funding never hurts.

“We actually have one of our board people this year taking on earthquake preparedness. Across the district, some schools are really well prepared, others have the bare minimum and some have hardly anything at all.”

Tandberg said the role of PACs has evolved over the years to include more fundraising, something that was not originally the responsibility of parent advisory councils.

“With funding disappearing from various sources, there’s been a lot of pressure on schools to fundraise for different things they need,” he said. “That never was really a PAC’s role, the role was more working with the administration and creating a good atmosphere in the school.

“They’re finding creative ways to make it work, and a few schools have actually engaged a few grant writers because there is grant money out there for various things.”

Ultimately, Tandberg said PACs are an extremely important group in making changes happen at elementary, middle and high schools across the school district.

“The elementary school PACs are amazing,” he said. “They usually have 25 or 30 members, and there’s a talent pool there – everybody’s got connections, they know where to look for different things.

“It gets a little leaner as you get further on, but the role has really stayed the same. It’s just about creating a good learning environment for students and supporting parents to make that happen.”



Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read