Parents Welcome to Assist Their Canes Through Volunteerism, Sharing Ideas and Keeping Informed
Each month, parents of Hayward Community School District students meet up to share information about school policies, activities and to see how they can be involved in their student’s education.
“Parents have great suggestions,” Kelly Ryder, district curriculum and programs director, said. “We use their ideas for direction on where we should go. We want the parents to have a great educational experience.”
The Parent Assisting Canes (PAC) committees exist in each school, Primary, Intermediate, Middle School and High School, as well as a District PAC. There is also an Indian Education PAC that meets at the LCO Tribal Office, a Northern Waters PAC and HACIL PAC.
Ryder hosts the District PAC meeting held at the Intermediate School’s Central Office conference room on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:15 a.m. She said anyone is invited to participate in the meetings.
Ryder explained some of the things the PAC committees do, such as the high school group recently set up dinners for the parent-teacher conferences. Ryder said the middle school PAC made wreaths to put up in the homeroom, and parents at the elementary were decorating the hallways. She said the parents volunteer their time.
The school district website says of the PAC’s, “It is the policy of the Hayward Community School District to encourage and facilitate parent/guardian involvement in their child’s educational experience. Communication between home and school is imperative at all grade levels.”
Ryder shared some of topics discussed at the December District PAC meeting. She said Administrator Craig Olson shared information about the district report card and how the school’s score went up a little bit.
“We want to work to keep growing,” Ryder said. “Despite some challenges we face, we continue to meet expectations on our report card.” Those challenges include an exceptionally high number of students who qualify for reduced or free lunch in the district compared to other districts, Ryder said. She also said the health of individuals in Sawyer County is ranked as the 3rd lowest in the state.
“We talked about the new texting system the school has, like our first snow day when the parents were texted,” Ryder said. “One suggestion was made by a parent that the students should also get those texts, because sometimes they see it faster than the parents.” Ryder thought that was a great suggestion.
Ryder said they also were updated on the fixing of the school district’s heating system through the ACT 32 funding. “We are excited about providing a warm, safe building.”
Ryder said they talked about school safety issues also at the December meeting.
“We want our parents to feel welcome, but we also want our students to be safe,” Ryder said. She said they asked parents how they felt about the school’s security, and the parents felt the school is doing a good job.
Ryder also said they share with the parents what staff and teachers are up to in the district. For example, she said 10 staff participated in a book study, reading “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians but Were Afraid to Ask.” She said these teachers volunteered their time to do this and it was the most participation from any school district in the state.
“We also took 13 of our staff to a workshop in Turtle Lake on Nov. 27 addressing American Indian student achievement gaps,” Ryder said. “We had art teachers, music teachers, principals, and counselors all attend to see what we can do to increase achievement for Native American students.” Ryder said at this conference, Hayward had the most participation out of 10 school districts that attended.
Ryder said all parents are welcome to attend the PAC meetings.
“We welcome anyone to come and provide us some feedback,” Ryder said.
According to Ryder, the biggest challenge facing the school district is attendance.
“We need to emphasize to our parents to get their kids here ready to learn,” Ryder said. “We can’t guarantee achievement when they are not here. Parents need to know that when your children are here, they are warm, safe, well-fed and they are receiving a world-class education.”
Ryder said there may be many reasons why parents are having troubles getting their students here, which may include homelessness and parents being in jail.
“If we have the kids here we can give them access to programs that may help,” Ryder said. The district website states, “Make a positive change for your child's school, call your child's building principal to find out how you can join their parent advisory committee today!”
Meetings for the:
District PAC are usually held the first Wednesday of each month at 8:15 am in the Central Office Conference room;
Primary School PAC are usually held on the second Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the Primary School Conference Room;
Intermediate PAC are usually held on the third Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the Intermediate School Conference Room;
Middle School PAC are usually held on the second Monday of each month at 8:30 a.m. in the Middle School Conference Room;
High School PAC are usually held on the second Wednesday of each month at 8:30 a.m. in the High School Conference Room;
Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee This committee usually meets the second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at the LCO Tribal Office;
HACIL Parent Advisory Committee - are usually held both on a Tuesday and Thursday quarterly; Northern Waters Parent & Community Advisory Committee usually meets the last Wednesday of every month, at 4:45 p.m. The meetings are held at the Northern Waters Environmental School.