Finding and Sustaining Quality Parent Leadership

From BCCPAC's IMPACT, May 2005

Every organization needs good leadership. Good leaders help the membership set the course for the organization and achieve its goals.

At this time of year, or in September, most PACs and DPACs are choosing their executives for the coming school year. BCCPAC, as well as some DPACs, are fielding the question: What happens to our PAC if we can't find a president?

Finding and sustaining good leadership is a problem for many organizations The answer lies in providing potential leaders and members with a good-yes, irresistible-reason to become involved. With so many competing demands in our lives, parents must see special value in giving time and energy to their PAC or DPAC over and above the other ways they may already contribute to their school or district.

 The responsibility for attracting quality leadership does not rest solely with the PAC or DPAC. It belongs to the entire school and district community. Parent-involvement researcher Anne Henderson, speaking at BCCPAC's Spring Conference in 2003, said that when schools reach out to families, parents respond and children do better. The message from schools and districts must be: "Parents belong in our schools. Parents share our power and responsibility to educate our children. By working together as full partners, we will benefit all students."

This message has huge significance for parent participation and leadership. It provides the irresistible reason many potential parent leaders are looking for to move into a leadership role. As parents, how do we encourage and assist our schools and districts to deliver this crucial message?  

Anne Henderson says that families of all income and education levels, and from all ethnic and cultural groups, are supporting their children's learning at home. Parents have a natural interest in ensuring their children succeed. Schools, PACs, and DPACs that focus on building community-that say to parents, "You belong here"-draw parents into schools and boost their confidence to participate beyond the home to ensure their children's success and the success of all students. Among those parents are potential leaders willing to step into executive, committee, and project positions given the right opportunity.  

Creating opportunities and a sense of belonging can begin with something as simple as personal reflection: What would bring me into the school or to a PAC or DPAC meeting? What would persuade me to take on a job beyond what I am already doing?  

Most people like doing what they are good at or interested in, and they are often flattered to be asked. This is an important part of making people feel welcome. An invitation from the principal, a teacher, or PAC representative to do a job one would be naturally suited for is hard to resist.  

When looking for volunteers for leadership positions, or when asking current volunteers to stay on, consider these tips:

  • Strike a nominating committee to solicit volunteers before election night. A phone call ahead of time is friendlier and less intimidating than a plea at an open meeting.
  • Offer to put new parents in touch with experienced parents to explain the job.
  • Give a clear outline of the duties and time commitment of each position. Describe past activities and successes.
  • Encourage retiring executive to stay on in an advisory capacity.
  • Invite prospective volunteers to an executive or committee meeting to find out first-hand what goes on.
  • Encourage new parents to put their names forward. New parents bring new involvement and new ideas.
  • Above all, acknowledge the work of past and current volunteers.

There are many potential parent leaders in our school communities. Once they believe they belong, they will come and they will contribute.  

Further reading:

  • Leadership Manual 2004, Tab 7, Roles, Responsibilities, and Accountability of PAC and DPAC Executives
  • Choosing Good PAC Leadership. Practice Note, May 2001
  • Tips for Building Stronger School Communities. Practice Note, May 2003

Parent Advisory Council (PAC) Gaming Grants

Parent Advisory Council and District Parent Advisory Council (PAC and DPAC) grants are intended to benefit K-12 students in British Columbia through the enhancement of extracurricular opportunities and community involvement. This page includes information about these grants, including: eligibility, grant amounts, application periods, how to apply, online application resources (tutorials, tips, FAQs, etc.) and more.

Learn more:


Eligibility Parent Advisory Councils and District Parent Advisory Councils (PACs and DPACs). Details provided in Sections 3.3, 7.1-7.7 and 10 of the Community Gaming Grant - Guidelines (including PAC/DPAC grants) (PDF, 1.5MB)
Grant Amount PAC: minimum $20 per student
DPAC: $2,500 per year
Application One application per year.
Application Period Apply from Apr 1 to Jun 30 - Final notification: Sep 30

* Final notification date is the latest date that applicants will be notified about the result of their application.
Processing Fee None
Processing Time Grants will be paid as soon as possible in September, no later than September 30.

How to Apply

Click below to see information about each step of the PAC/DPAC Grant application process. Click "expand all" if you want to see all of the steps or if you want to print this page.


Additional information, documents, and forms related to PAC/DPAC Grants are available in this section. Click below to see more information about these resources. Click "expand all" if you want to see all of the information or if you want to print this page.

Roles and Responsibilities of the PAC Executive:

  • Shall provide leadership
  • Shall take initiative
  • Shall carry on the council's day-to-day business
  • Shall consult with, take direction from, and represent all parents of the school. 
  • Shall work as a team to ensure PAC purposes are achieved.
  • Shall attend all executive, general, and special meetings
  • Shall be familiar with the Constitution and Bylaws, to carry out their duties as described, and to follow the Code of Conduct

BCCPAC Leadership Manual

PAC Executive Workshop (2003) - PowerPoint

Guide to the Personal Information Protection Act

Media Wise

Setting Up Your PAC Email

Setting Up Your PAC Mailing List / Forum

Volunteers and the Law

  • Shall preside at all general, executive and special meetings or notify the Vice-Chair to assume this duty as necessary
  • Shall be the official spokesperson and representative for the PAC, always acting on behalf of the majority of members 
  • Shall consult with council members
  • Shall communicate on a regular basis with all executive members
  • Shall ensure that an agenda is prepared and distributed
  • Shall appoint Committees where authorized by the membership or executive
  • Shall ensure that the council is represented in school and district activities
  • Shall ensure that council activities are aimed at achieving the purposes set out in the constitution
  • Shall be a signing officer
  • Shall submit an annual report
  • Shall support the Chair
  • Shall assume the duties of the chair in the chair's absence or upon request
  • Shall assist the chair in the performance of his or her duties
  • Shall accept extra duties as required
  • May be a signing officer
  • Shall submit an annual report