Charlottetown Family of Schools District Advisory Council

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June 2nd, 2022 - Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Guests: Natalie Jameson, Minister of the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning; John Cummings, Executive Director of Educational Services – Department of Education and Lifelong Learning


The Charlottetown DAC had met a total of four times leading up to their final meeting on June 2nd, 2022, in which they brought forward recommendations to representatives from the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. The council focused their discussions on the work that took place in the working groups, which were determined early on in the school year. The DAC proposed recommendations concerning a homework policy, school athletics, and diversity and inclusion. 

Homework Policy 

  • The Homework Policy working group put together a package for the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning representatives that consisted of a homework policy brief, a homework policy statement, a proposed homework policy draft, and a proposed homework procedure. This package can also be accessed through the Charlottetown DACs Google Drive.

  • The DAC shared that there is currently no official policy regarding homework on PEI.

  • The DAC understands that this work has started at the department and that Covid redeployments and leaves halted progress on this file.

  • Implementing a policy as such would require a collaborative effort from teachers, administrators, the educational authorities, parents, students, and the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning.

  • The group feels that homework could be evaluated as formative feedback to students, which would not count towards a student's final grade. It is also important to note that homework will vary in purpose and function based on a student's grade level.

  • The goal of this work is for the school administration, in working with the faculty at each school, will design consistent whole-school homework procedures and guidelines, which will then be communicated to all stakeholders. The administration would monitor amounts of homework to ensure assignments given by faculty are not overwhelming students in terms of time or appropriateness. 


  • The Junior Policy Analyst connected with contacts within the English Education Programs and Services Division at the DELL to share the materials that the DAC had prepared. The materials were well received, and when work resumes on the Homework Policy, the chair of the DAC working group and other parties will be contacted with any questions in regards to the path forward in the creation of a Homework Policy on PEI.  

School Athletics

  • The School Athletics working group created and put forward a written piece to the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning representatives in advance of the June 2nd discussions.

  • The group shared that organized, well-structured sports programs and ongoing physical activities can provide many benefits for children and adolescents and that team sports can help teach adolescents accountability, dedication, and leadership, among other skills.

  • The working group shared that the benefits of healthy sports programs are;

    • Many athletes do better academically,

    • Sports teach teamwork and problem-solving skills,

    • Physical health benefits of sports,

    • Sports boost self-esteem,

    • Reduce pressure and stress with sports

The working group shared the following guidelines that they recommend for coaches within the school system;

  1. Coaches need to understand how to check in with their student-athlete and recognize the signs of stress and anxiety – realize that all athletes are struggling to some degree.
  2. Provide the do's and don'ts for using social media with student-athletes. Establishing groups to post schedules and reminder emails to the entire team is okay. Being a social media "friend" or communicating one-on-one is not acceptable.
  3. Teachers understand that student records and the results in the classroom are confidential, and comparisons are not made between students. The same approach needs to be employed in athletics. Coaches can discuss with their athletes on improvements they need to make individually and not refer to other players.
  4. Provide guidelines on how to communicate with parents. When and how to deal with questions and complaints. Ie. Meet the coach
  5. Cover the school's and league's sportsmanship expectations. Education-based athletics should emphasize that coaches are role models, and they have to set a positive example for their players and fans.
  6. Coaches should alert schools in regard to any problems that may have occurred during practice or games.
  7. Establish standards for interacting with student-athletes. A coach may occasionally yell during practices or games. It cannot be abusive and constant, and no inappropriate language can be used. In an educational setting, coaches need to understand the developmental process of young people and be nurturing and positive.
  8. Discuss the role of athletics within the school. Coaches have a passion for their sport, but academics come first.
  9. There should be limited practice/playing times within the week. A discussion should revolve around 8-10 hours per week, excluding weekends and early mornings. Students have busy lives with homework and family life, and some have part-time jobs.


The Junior Policy Analyst reviewed the proposed guidelines with the School Sport Coordinator of the DELL. Further discussions regarding several topics mentioned above have been brought forward at the school's Athletic Director's table, among other meetings. The School Sport Coordinator provided the following updates:

  • As of Fall 2022, the Safe Sport Course is a requirement for coaches to go along with the Making Headway course that was required in past school years. Now, all coaches require the Making Headway and Safe Sport course to participate as a coach, which includes all games and practices. As of this fall, approximately 350 coaches obtained both courses. 

  • PEISAA has committed funding towards coaching development as they have offered each Intermediate and High School to select two coaches to take the "Redefining Winning“ course. This course is developed by School Sport Canada and focuses on the role of a coach in school sport and their impact on their students. Feedback has been positive thus far. 

  • The PEISAA has joined the CIAAA (Canadian Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association), meaning that all of the Intermediate and High School Athletic Directors have received a membership which includes many resources for our Athletic Director's to use and develop skills that will allow them to grow in their respective roles.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • The Diversity and Inclusion working group presented a recommendation to the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning representatives.

  • They shared that the cornerstone of first-world education systems is to have an Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity policy that promotes the representation and participation of different groups of individuals, including people of different ages, races, ethnicities, abilities, disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations.

  • The council shared that individuals rely on the Human Rights Commission for particular issues in this space.

  • The DAC shared that they had reached out to and discussed their work with Dr. Carolyn Thorne, the Inclusive Education Lead at UPEI.

  • The DAC recommended that a clear definition of inclusion be struck as they vary greatly. A universal definition would help students, teachers, parents, and administrators.

  • Further policy on inclusion specifically would play a crucial role in students' and teachers' lives. It was shared that Alberta is a leader with policy in this area. 


  • The department hired a Diversity Consultant, Debbie Langston, and some of her focuses, goals and objectives in the position have been listed below.  

    • identifying gaps in departmental literature, 

    • deals with community engagement and understanding their needs, listening to stories, and working with this information when creating new frameworks, 

    • works closely with the PSB on policy and research to ensure alignment, 

    • works closely with the PEITF with a focus on PD for teachers and to help them feel more confident in dealing with gender, race and other issues 

  • There is currently a Minister's Directive – regarding the "Guidelines for Respecting, Accommodating Gender Identity. Gender Expressions and Sexual Orientation in Schools" that was finalized in December 2021. 

  • An Indigenous Education Advisory Committee has been formed to improve how learning materials and programs incorporate the indigenous perspective. 

  • The Junior Policy Analyst reached out to the Diversity Consultant in regards to the recommendations the DAC had brought forward, and she indicated the following points in response:

    • The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate presented at a series of professional development sessions in May for principal's. They shared a PowerPoint presentation and resources for use and dissemination within the school community. They also offered expertise regarding Child Rights as defined in the UN CRC; the legal imperative is beyond the moral and ethical imperative. 

    • Mandatory professional development from December 20 was shared for training teachers in B'Ed program. Discussion of potential for collaboration.

    • Future Initiative being planned with the creation of DEIC.



April 26th, 2022 - Microsoft Teams Meeting 


The Charlottetown DAC continues to work towards preparing recommendations that they would like to bring forward to the Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning. In this meeting, the council discussed the presentation structure and any next steps the DAC would like to make leading up to the date of the presentation. The DAC would like to continue to focus on the subjects outlined in their working groups in the presentation and provide a written submission to supplement their discussion points. 

Working Group Updates

Homework Policy 

  • The chair of the Homework Policy group provided an update on the various documents the subcommittee has put together. They have adopted much of the formatting and structure from government documents to aid with using the DAC's materials in future work in the area.

  • All of the documents relating to the Homework Policy working group are housed in the Google Drive under "Homework Policy."

  • A point that a group member made was that it is important to consider how these types of policies could be implemented at the French Language School Board.

  • Much like the other working groups, the intention is to provide background on the topic, purpose, and the proposal/ recommendation.

School Athletics

  • The School Athletics working group chair shared the working group's progress and called for any feedback from the group.

  • This work focuses on the benefits of sports and how there is a significant positive impact on students' experiences and futures when balanced correctly.

  • All documents relating to the School Athletics working group are housed in the Google Drive under "School Athletics."

  • Alex has worked to collect student testimonials which the group plans to incorporate into their presentation.

Diversity and Inclusion 

  • It was echoed that members of the DAC can collaborate on this presentation section through the Google Slides housed in the Google Drive. This is an opportunity for members to provide supporting details and points to aid with delivery. Past meeting minutes for the DAC are also available on the website and can be helpful when reflecting on discussions.

  • The group also discussed the possibility of having a statement of intent under this section to show the importance of work in this area.



March 30th, 2022 - Microsoft Teams Meeting 


Working Group Updates

Homework Policy Working Group

  • The chair of the Homework Policy working group shared a video of the progress that's been made since the last DAC meeting.

  • The working group has met several times and has set up various feedback mechanisms to ensure members have an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.

  • The chair had demonstrated where the drafts, research, and other materials can be found in the Charlottetown DAC Google Drive.

  • The working group welcomes feedback on any current drafts of the policy work. 

School Athletics Working Group

  • The chair of the School Athletics working group shared the working group's progress.

  • The working draft of these recommendations can be found in the Charlottetown DAC Google Drive, and the group is open to feedback on their document of recommendations.

  • The group intends to work student testimonials into their section of the presentation as it is important to consider a student's lens when advocating for change that affects students.

Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

  • Members of the Diversity and Inclusion working group shared details from their last meeting that took place shortly after the DACs previous meeting.

  • It was shared that the group has taken an approach that offers room for multiple lenses in its recommendations and solutions, which will be key in delivering impactful recommendations.

  • The group is hopeful to meet again before the DAC meets again near the end of April. 

Other Updates

Elected School Board

  • The group discussed how the DACs would be affected if the proposed legislation regarding an elected school board for the Public Schools Branch is passed. 

  • On March 2nd, 2022, an information session was held and open to all DAC members across PEI to answer and discuss the proposed legislation.

  • The DAC shared that this year it will be imperative that the group puts forward actionable recommendations and provides steps around the implementation.

  • Finally, the group would like to ensure that the work done over the past number of years is brought forward to the newly elected board. 

Mental Health 

  • Students, teachers, parents, and coaches' mental health play a significant role in all the working group's recommendations.

  • The working groups have ensured that each recommendation is evaluated with this lens in mind and understands that there is often no one-size-fits-all solution.

Work in Other DACs

  • The DAC coordinator echoed the great work happening in the Charlottetown DAC among many of the other DACs across PEI.

  • The group was made aware of several presentations and topics that have been happening and discussed across the DACs during the past few months. Members are encouraged to review the meeting minutes of the other DACs on a number of different topics, including but not limited to Student Well-Being Teams, Equity in Education, Bullying and many more. 



January 26th, 2022 - Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Guest: Loretta Hawley-McAleer (School Psychologist) – Public School Branch (Student Services) 


Psychoeducational Assessment Presentation 

  • Loretta Hawley-McAleer, a School Psychologist from the Public Schools Branch in the Student Services Division, spoke to the Charlottetown DAC about School Psychology Services, including the Psychoeducational Assessment, and answered questions from the DAC. 

  • To begin, Loretta shared that psychoeducational consultation is a collaborative process of planning and generating solutions with the goal of providing comprehensive and effective supports and interventions. 

  • There are currently 9.5 School Psychologists to serve the students of the Public Schools Branch in PEI. They apply their expertise in mental health, learning, and behaviour to help support students' academic, social, and emotional growth. 

  • Loretta shared the tiered framework that the PSB uses to ensure that all students focus on improving outcomes and creating safe, supporting learning environments. 

  • The DAC discussed the referral process for the three primary school psychology services accessed through a formal referral process: consultation, assessment, and reevaluation. It was also stressed how important the pre-referral step is as that allows the PSB to understand the child and what type of accommodations could be implemented before the child continues through the process. 

  • School teams can request a pre-referral consultation or brief service consultation at any time, a psychoeducational consultation from grades K-2 or for older students presenting with exceptional circumstances, a psychoeducational assessment referral from grades 3-10, and a psychoeducational reevaluation from grades 3-10. The group further discussed eligibility for the assessments, and it was noted that students require a formal hearing and vision assessment as a prerequisite. It is important that any concerns in either of these areas be identified and addressed before further recommendations can be made. 

  • Loretta shared that parental consent and collaboration are such a large part of the process, and it was included by a group member that the schools and PSB do an excellent job in ensuring parents are clear on the process and shared that they are willing to help at every stage. 

  • The DAC discussed why French students must wait for a psychoeducational assessment until grade five. A major factor was that it is important that misdiagnosis does not occur when students are already learning a second language and have not had formal instruction in English until grade four. For Early French Immersion learners, psychoeducational consultation is available at any time. Loretta included that this, among many other practices, are backed by expert research in the field. 

  • Waitlists were a topic of discussion, which has been something that the PSB and their staff have been working hard to reduce. In recent years they have both added personnel and lost a couple of professionals to leave or other positions.

  • The DAC thanked Loretta for her time and insights and appreciated the shared information.

Follow-Ups and Updates

Mental Health & Student Well-Being Team

  • The DAC discussed how important the topic of mental health is and especially when many students are isolated from their friends and classmates. Also, dealing with uncertainty has been something that has been difficult to navigate for students at the high school level especially.

  • The group expressed interest in inviting members of the Student Well-Being Team to the next DAC meeting to discuss any program updates, progress on waitlists, and other items that will be determined later. 

School Infrastructure & Playground Equipment 

  • The group discussed a number of items from the 2022-2023 Capital Budget. The three categories that involved new/ enhanced investment discussed were a $105.8M commitment to support school construction and renovations, a $7.5M commitment to support ventilation upgrades, and a $500K commitment to support a Childhood Recreation Fund.

  • The DAC also discussed the relationship between the Home and School Federation, Public Schools Branch, and the individual schools and how it plays a large role in hearing school's needs and putting them forward to be further evaluated.

Working Groups

The Charlottetown DAC is moving work concerning a Homework Policy, School Athletics, and Diversity and Inclusion into their respected working groups where interested parties can collaborate, engage with stakeholders and work towards recommendations that will then be shared with the larger DAC. See below for additional working group information, and reach out to Tyler or the working group chair to express your interest in joining these conversations.

Homework Policy 

  • Chaired by David Schult, this working group will be exploring work in various jurisdictions along with further research to create a framework around what a possible Homework Policy could look like on PEI. 

School Athletics 

  • Chaired by Jack Wheeler, this working group will be exploring sports culture within the PEISA sports, emphasizing education-based athletics, exploring practice regulations, and a number of other items.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Chaired by Karma MacCallum, this working group will be working on a variety of different topics that include but are not limited to; curriculum, unconscious bias, PEI culture, and more. 



November 23rd, 2021 - Microsoft Teams Meeting 

Guest: John Cummings, Executive Director of Educational Services


Group Guidelines and Expectations

  • The Junior Policy Analyst will prepare and send along the meeting agenda before each meeting.

  • The group will contribute to the agenda by adding action items, progress on past work, and any new priorities they would like to discuss. 

  • The group would like to continue using Doodle Polls to decide when the best suited times are to meet.

  • It is understood that the meetings can take place virtually or in person, and if the meeting is to occur in person, proper vaccination protocols must be conducted. The group is considering a mix of both in-person and virtual.

  • The group discussed having a meeting chair to ensure the agenda items are discussed and that everyone has a chance to share. The group has decided on a rotating chair, and Karma McCallum will chair the next meeting.

  • The group is welcome to meet on their own outside of regular meeting times without the Junior Policy Analyst and bring this information forward with the larger group in the next meeting. A working group led by Karma McCallum has been established, and they will be focused on work in Gender, Diversity and Inclusion.

  • An individual who would like to serve more than the two terms as a parent representative must confirm with the school that there is no interest for someone to take over; if not, the parent can continue.

  • The Junior Policy Analyst will continue to communicate in an email format but will also circulate a Shared Google Drive where the group can share and access various materials. 

District Advisory Council Overview

Tyler Gallant, the Junior Policy Analyst for the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, gave a presentation that offered information regarding the DACs and their role in the PEI education system.

  • The mandate of the DACs is to help shape an education system that is focused on and meets the need of learners.

  • The role of the DACs is to advise the Minister of Education on priorities for the district, to engage school communities in discussions, and foster collaboration among school councils, home and school associations, and the community.

  • Responsibilities of the membership include reporting concerns to your local home and school to the DAC, providing leadership in identifying priorities to focus on, working collaboratively with members and reporting back to your local home and school, the discussions and outcomes of the DAC meetings.

Topics of Discussion

Homework Policy 

  • The group discussed this topic last year in the DAC and would like an update on whether or not this piece of work has been picked up again by the committee at the PSB? The Junior Policy Analyst will reach out to the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. 

  • Nova Scotia Homework Policy 

Psychoeducational Assessments

  • The group is interested in continuing work on the Psychoeducational Assessment from last year.

  • An email has been circulated to the group and will be forwarded to the PEI Optometry Association in regards to expanding programs to make eye exams more accessible and affordable.

  • The group would like to meet with the President of the PEI Optometry and a contact from the Eye See, Eye Learn Program to discuss the possibility of the expansion. The group would like to see a similar program to what was done for the Children's Oral Health Program roll out and help reduce the financial burden of receiving these health services.

  • A barrier that the group identified was that the waitlists are often filled with individuals who do not have the prerequisites, such as an eye exam or audio assessment. Is it possible for administrators of the waitlist to filter earlier in the process to reduce these wait times?

  • The group feels that the push to have students complete the assessment before they enter Junior High has taken away from the progress in the K-5 range. With this, the lines within the larger lines at the school level make it hard to see any progress/ movement.

  • The Junior Policy Analyst will inquire about current waitlists and other relevant information with the Student Services Division at the PSB.

  • Teachers are supportive of the assessment but also understand where the wait times are.

School Athletics

  • School athletics was a topic that the group would like to continue to work on from last year.

  • The group discussed the role that sports have on mental health, player abuse and coaches prioritizing a winning culture over player development and leadership development. The message of they are both athletes and students, but students first should be voiced more by coaches. 

  • Student-athletes have other commitments than the sport they play, such as part-time jobs, school assignments and social life. It is important that being involved with school sports is still possible.

  • The group sees value in reviewing the PEISA policies and working with the department to take action on the number of hours that a team should be allowed to practice. A policy was created in the NCAA to standardize the number of practice hours to make sure student-athletes are not forced to choose between being an athlete or a student.

  • When it comes to coaching school sports, should coaches be required to have completed a course like Respect in Sport? This would present a financial barrier but also could explore funding options.

  • What role could an athletic director play in ensuring players are being respected and that there is a balance between sports and other commitments?

  • The group spoke about the benefit of keeping additional players involved with the team and attending practices as it positively impacts the team and the athlete's health. 

Mental Health and Student Well-Being Teams 

  • How are the Student Well-Being Teams working in the Charlottetown FOS? Is there enough staff/ what else can be done in order to improve not only students' mental health but teachers as well?

  • Teachers do have access to counselling through the Employee Assistance Program. The group was unsure of the uptake on this and wondered if teachers are made aware of it.

  • The group discussed the impact school sports can have on mental health. 

School Infrastructure

  • The group discussed the age of the schools in the Charlottetown area, and how many of the student populations have outgrown their current infrastructure.

  • Class sizes have been growing, and the student-to-teacher ratio has also been of concern.

  • With so many schools needing updates, what are the government's plans to expand and renovate current Charlottetown schools?

  • Large infrastructure projects call for consideration in capital budgets and must be submitted through a formal process through the PSB. Smaller, more repair-like projects can be funded through a repair budget and are generally implemented quicker.

  • The province has shown commitment to continuing with school construction and renovations in the most recent capital budget announcement. 

Playground Equipment 

  • Playgrounds are also overcrowded, and students are spending lunchtime wherever there is open space, and they are permitted.

  • The province has responded to this need through the recent capital budget announcement of a $500k commitment to creating a new childhood recreation fund to upgrade playground equipment across island schools through partnering with community groups.

  • The PSB works with schools and community groups to identify project requirements.  

Zoning for Schools 

  • The group discussed various scenarios of how students move through the Charlottetown FOS from primary to high school. Much of the reasoning behind why certain areas go to certain schools was decided by the PSB in a best effort to ensure schools were not overcrowded. Does the PSB plan on reviewing the zones again anytime soon due to the influx of students in the past number of years?

  • Discussed how kids attend school with students they play against in sports outside of school. Does this have a negative impact/ is this something that needs to be looked into further?

  • The group discussed how a child could be split up from their friends or only friend in a transition to a new school. Kids are very adaptable in this sense, but how an extroverted child deals with the type of change would be significantly different from how an introverted child would handle it.

  • The addition of the school in Stratford will help with the crowdedness of various schools.

  • A question was raised to determine if you need to live in the school zone to attend that particular school? The answer that was provided was yes, you need to have an address in that specific school zone, and you cannot simply drive the child to school every day and choose which school to attend unless it was for specific reasons such as French immersion for example. There is a policy to have a student switch schools, but this process must run through the PSB for a final decision. If the parent feels there are still grounds, they can commence an appeal process.

Inclusivity and Diversity

  • The group expressed interest in the need for work in the area of inclusivity and diversity in the education system.

  • Karama MacCallum will lead a working group that works on all things diversity and inclusion. If there is interest in joining this working group, reach out to Karma.

  • This working group will work independently and report back to the larger DAC with progress and how the rest of the group can support any work. 



Previous School Years

2015-16 School Year Charlottetown Rural 

2016-17 School Year Charlottetown Rural

2015-16 School Year Colonel Gray

2016-17 School Year Colonel Gray 

2017-18 School Year

2018-19 School Year

2020-21 School Year 


Date de publication : 
le 4 Août 2022
Éducation et Petite enfance

Renseignements généraux

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