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On Education & Parental Involvement

As out-going School Council Chair for Thousand Islands Secondary School, I am encouraging all parents to take up the challenge of being actively engaged in student education, both at the local and provincial level.  Areas for review and concern by incoming TISS parents might be the significant (12%) decrease in success rate for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test over the past 2 years from a high of 89% in 2008 to 77% in 2010-2011. This along with the impending introduction of Grade 7/8 students into the TISS community in 2012, should provide plenty of opportunity for parental involvement.

While it may be tempting for any individual to claim personal success in elevating a school’s standing, I would suggest that over the years every decision that has been made to assure student success at TISS, or any other school, was made with all of the best intentions, and resources that were available at the time. The saying, “It takes a village to educate a child”, reminds us that no one person ever develops or carries out a student or school success plan independently. Nor is any previous individual or group personally responsible for perceived school achievement shortcomings.  It takes a team of committed, long term visionary teachers, parents, and community partners to support students, not only in their academic, athletic, and artistic achievements; but also through many of their school life challenges.

It is further vitally important that all students are provided with equal access to learning centres that will foster not just resource assistance, but also equal access to computers, space to do homework, and assistance learning proper Academic Research techniques. In this era of “depleted and reshuffled priorities and funding” educators, parents and community partners must focus on the goal of “individual student success”, regardless of their personal ability to fit into a pre-determined graduation rate. It is all too easy to establish a graduation rate that may ultimately have little meaning for a student who is not fully literate at the end of grade 12. Success for each child is measured independently, and it is vital that no student be “hurried” through the system at the risk of failure later on down the road in the real world.

Parents will want to understand fully their responsibility for being an equal partner in the delivery of quality education. Become engaged by meeting your local elected School Board Trustees letting them know about your interests and concerns.  As your elected representatives they work on your behalf.  Keep up to date on local Board of Education initiatives through their web site, remembering that public education is funded by your tax dollars and you have a right to know how and why decisions are made.  Attend School Parent Nights, Open Houses, and Special Events. Check out your School Council, and know that their primary role is not fundraising – but rather a collaborative group of parents and community partners working with school administration to advise on many school related issues. Ask to both see and provide input into your school’s Success and Strategic Plan, including how and why objectives are determined.  Inquire about your local Board’s plan to implement the mandated Ministry of Education Parent Involvement Committee. Any parent may be considered for nomination. Your voice and opinion is needed, do not be afraid to let them be known, regardless of the controversy your concerns may have.

For decades Thousand Islands Secondary School has had strong supportive teams including a solid track record of excellence on many levels. Next September will be no different, as it once again begins working together to assure the school's personal best.

April marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong

Dear Editor,

April marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong – one of the most significant battles fought by the Canadians in the Korean War.
As a member of The War Amps Operation Legacy, a group of committed young people who are dedicated to preserving Canada’s military heritage, I would like to highlight this anniversary.

On April 24-25, 1951, the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry engaged in the Battle of Kapyong. From their stand on Hill 677, the Patricia’s managed to hold their positions and re-open the supply route despite tremendous odds and bitter fighting. The Canadian action at Kapyong stopped the Chinese advance in this sector of the front for the rest of the war and earned the battalion the US Presidential Citation for valour.
Canada sent 26,791 soldiers to battle in Korea. More than 1,200 were seriously wounded and another 516 never came home. After the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953, the Canadians returned home amid little fanfare. There were no bands playing, and no parades. In fact, the Korean War had very little impact on Canadians, except, of course, those who fought in it or who lost loved ones.

To mark this anniversary, The War Amps has re-released its documentary Korea: Canada’s Forgotten War to regular and specialty TV channels. Part of The War Amps Military Heritage Series, it is also available at a cost-recovery price of $12 by calling 1 800 250-3030 or visiting


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