The Canadian International Parents’ Association (CISPA) was established in 1991, and is the only duly elected, representative parent organization at CDNIS. Every parent or guardian of a student at CDNIS is eligible to be a member of CISPA.
Every year, up to 15 volunteering parents are elected to serve as CISPA’s Board of Directors. Board elections are held in the spring. Directors take responsibility for the association’s budget, the successful organization of events, and the maintenance of the bylaws. It is also the Board’s responsibility to help foster dialogue between parents and administrators. The Board meets in the morning on the second Tuesday of every month (except July and August).
Mission Statement and Mandate
CISPA’s mission statement is “Working together to enrich the CDNIS experience”. CISPA’s Board of Directors and Committees are powered by parent volunteers who give their time and skills to champion CISPA’s three “C” mandate: community, communication, and curriculum support.
CISPA creates opportunities for parents to connect with the CDNIS community. The Welcome Committee’s social events offer parents the chance to meet and form lasting friendships. The Family Fun Fair and Chinese New Year Fair are CISPA’s biggest and most beloved annual community events, and are each headed and organized by a Committee. The Staff Appreciation Committee allows parents to connect with CDNIS staff, putting on treat days and themed lunches for teachers and admin. Other community initiatives include Speaker’s Network, which brings in a variety of speakers in for the parent community; the CISPA Book Club; and the Lost and Found Initiative, which returns hundreds of lost items every year.
Effective communication is key to staying on top of brisk student schedules and community happenings. CISPA hosts a busy website, sends out a weekly newsletter, and administers and moderates a lively Parent Pinboard on Facebook. The Communication/IT Committee liaises with Committee Chairs on CISPA messaging, manages all digital content, and provides IT support for CISPA’s media platforms. It also produces the CISPA School Calendar, and the Parent Information Handbook.
CISPA’s support of curriculum helps students succeed. In November, the Literacy Committee stages Lit Blitz, a three-week celebration of books, reading and imagination. During March, the Math Committee throws itself behind March into Math, supporting CDNIS ‘mathletes; during World Math Day and International Pi Day. The Chinese Studies Committee holds competitions and activities throughout the year to encourage spoken and written Chinese, and provides enormous input into Chinese New Year activities. CISPA’s Digital Life Committee supports CISPA’s media platforms and CDNIS LTT initiatives. The Outreach Initiatives Advisory Committee assists by funding student or faculty-led charitable initiatives or projects.
All elected Directors chair at least one Committee, and carry out the full range of activities expected for that Committee. Directors also sit on two other Committees as members.
Beyond the Three “C”S
CISPA represents all CDNIS parents. CISPA will endeavour to address parent concerns as they arise, insofar as they are substantial and in the best interest of the school. CISPA has no mandate to carry out governance reform work. CISPA’s role with regard to governance reform is one of support and communication. CISPA ensures that the voice of the parents is heard in the governance of CDNIS, and provides information on governance structures and procedures.
CISPA does not have the mandate to appoint, dismiss, or pass an official opinion on any member of staff. CDNIS staff matters fall under the purview of the Head of School or the CDNIS Board of Governors.
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