Signal Hill PAC brings Science World to Pemberton, Jan 12

Somewhere between my elementary school days (Apple IIC and gestetener machines, anyone?) and now, PACs have gotten themselves all digitally savvy with facebook pages and blogs and twitter feeds, all the better to communicate with parents and the broader community. As Signal Hill’s brand new marquee sign announces, they’re on facebook. They have a blog. And this January 12, Thursday, 6pm-9pm, they’ve put Pemberton on the Science World world tour. Pemberton will be one of only 8 communities in BC on the tour.

We thought this was cutting edge enough that we fired off some questions to the busy and talented PAC Co-Chairs, Betsy Linnell and Sheena Fraser. (Like they say, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person. Case in point, Check out the PAC Executive: Betsy Linnell, Sheena Fraser, Joanne Molinaro, Danielle Arsenault, Victoria Downes, and Patricia Westerholm.)

Geek out on science night this Thursday… when Science World brings its Night of Family Science to Signal Hill, a free family evening, open to the public. Jan 12. It will be even better than the circus coming to town. (Because you don’t usually end up wanting to become an engineer or an inventor after the circus has been…)From 6pm. At the Gymnasium. Free. For all ages.

Give us the lowdown about Signal Hill Elementary? How many students are there?
Signal Hill Elementary is the largest school in the district with 450 students in grades K – 7.

What does a PAC do?
Parent Advisory Councils (PAC’s) serve as the parent voice at the school level. Under the School Act, PAC’s have an advisory role in schools and the district and serve to promote parent involvement in the school, to support communication between home and school, to provide parent education, a forum for discussion on educational issues and advocating as required on behalf of students and families. In addition to this, PAC’s play an increasingly important role with respect to fundraising and supporting activities and events.

What made you sign on for that volunteer commitment? 
Besty: I joined the PAC when my oldest son Jack entered Kindergarten – he’s now in Grade 3. I knew that I wanted to play an active role in his education and felt that joining the PAC was a great way to do this.  Being involved in the school and bringing events like A Night of Family Science is just part of it. We’ve been able to assist with programs that help to enrich learning for all the students through funding for field trips and extra curricular activities. We were also instrumental in the introduction of Late French Immersion at Signal Hill Elementary this year. This is a program that many parents wanted, so acting on their behalf, we represented this desire at the board level.

Sheena: I joined PAC when my oldest entered Kindergarten as well and she too is now in Grade 3. I wanted to be involved and know what was going on not only in the school but in education overall. I think one of the greatest accomplishments to date of the PAC over the past several years is the implementation of the Pizza and Sushi hot lunch days (thanks to Heather Prohaska), the milk program, the fruit and veggie program, the Father Daughter Dance and of course the PAC’s involvement in bringing the Late French Immersion Program to our school.

How does the Night of Family Science fit into the PAC’s activities?
Living in Pemberton, access to all the great extra curricular opportunities that are available to support our children’s learning can be a challenge. For many families, trips to Vancouver to visit places like the Vancouver Art Gallery, Science World, Aquarium are few and far between. Typically, PAC provides funding through the administration of BC Gaming Grant funds to cover bussing and other costs associated with field trips. This year, with teacher job action in play, field trips that normally provide students the opportunity for such experiences, are not happening. So, to have Science World come to us is a HUGE WIN!

Also as part of their visit, Science World is going to host a show during the day for all students called “Extra Sensory Science”.

What can people expect from the Night of Family Science?
The folks from Science World will be will be presenting some of their spectacular demonstration shows and providing fun make-and-take activities that people can build and experiment with. There are also one-on-one activities for people to try and a paper airplane contest to let visitors explore their engineering skills. The event is FREE so we encourage all families to attend.

What are the benefits to raising a family here?
The benefits of raising a family in Pemberton greatly outweigh the challenges! What an awesome place to grow up in! Pemberton is a tight-knit community with all the benefits of a small town, and residents that come from all over the world with a very global view. Beyond the industries that you see here and in the rest of Sea to Sky, we have a huge entrepreneurial population base who work in / on business in all sectors of the economy. It is my hope that with the increasing use of technology that our kids will realize that they can do / be anything that they want and that they have access to the resources they need to get there. That our kids have all of this, and the ability to ride their bikes and play outside in relative safety is a great thing. I hope they develop an appreciation for the environment as a result too.

Why get the PAC on facebook and blogging? 
One of our greatest challenges is communication. We can write and distribute newsletters – BUT kids don’t always bring them home as they should! So, in an effort to increase levels of parent participation, we set a goal to increase communication with parents. We wanted to avoid throwing more paper at the problem so we turned to technology in the form of e-mail and social media – tools that many parents are already using. We also were able to complete a long standing project to install a marquee sign in front of the school, so that the broader community would be informed about what was going on at the school.

How can people get a peek at what goes on at Signal Hill?
To stay on top of our goings-on, check out our website / blog at where we post information about what is going on both at the school level and about education in general. By signing up for updates, new posts will automatically be sent to your in-box. We are also on Facebook at We hold regular meetings through the school year that are open to anyone to attend. Our next meeting is February 14th at 3:30pm in the Library.


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