Webinar | Homestay Panel: Emergency Preparedness and Lessons Learned in the New Normal

Date: Oct 29, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT
Format: Online via GoToWebinar
Hosted By: BCCIE
Cost: Free


Target audience: Public and independent K-12, international student services, and student mobility

At the onset of the pandemic in March, schools, school districts and homestay providers were faced with challenging decisions to guarantee the wellbeing of their homestay families and their students. The approach to tackling these challenges varied greatly based on multiple factors, with some schools sending students home and others keeping their students in BC. Fall is upon us and with it is the possibility of another wave. Join a panel of diverse leaders as they reflect on their experiences and share what worked, what didn’t, and best practices they will be using to ensure that they are prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Learning Objectives

  • Hear from experts about some effective strategies and communication protocols for supporting students and host families in a range of scenarios during the school year.
  • Review the challenges faced by leaders in the homestay sector since March.
  • Discuss best practices about what worked well and what didn’t to inform emergency preparedness and guidelines for the future.


Jennifer Wilson, Managing Director, Canada Homestay Network

Jennifer is the Managing Director for Canada Homestay Network, a national non-profit organization started by her mother, Robin, in 1995. Since then, CHN has placed over 80,000 students in homestay, and now serves over 40 communities from coast to coast. Prior to joining CHN in 2005, Jennifer was a Registered Midwife and served as the president of the Midwives Association of Manitoba. Jennifer has an MBA from Royal Roads University with a specialization in Leadership and is always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow. As a second-generation leader of CHN, Jennifer is passionate about creating opportunities for building relationships, and believes that homestay offers a unique opportunity for all of us to break down cultural barriers and make the world a smaller place.

Ronda Bell, District Principal, School District N. 69 (Qualicum)

Ronda began working with international students in 2001, starting as a school counselor and then moving within the ranks of District Coordinator to District Principal.  She is currently one of the District Principals for the Qualicum International Student Program and on the Executive Board for IPSEA.

Ernestine Mager-Fagel, Homestay Manager, School District N. 63 (Saanich)

Ernestine is the Homestay Manager for the Saanich International Student Program on Vancouver Island. She is responsible for managing the team of Homestay Coordinators, implementing strategies for recruitment and retention of host families, creating and revising policies and overseeing all that goes on within the Homestay Department. Recently she has also taken on recruitment of German and Dutch students. Ernestine has emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in early 2019 and has spent much of her life traveling and living abroad as an international student. She has an educational background in international and European law as well as education and taught at an international school in the Netherlands for many years.

Stuart Morris, Principal, Highroad Academy and member of Federation of Independent School Associations in BC

Stuart Morris currently serves on the board of directors of the Federation of Independent Schools Association (FISA BC). In his six years on the FISA board so far, he has worked several committees including the International Education Committee which serves as the voice of independent schools to the Ministry of Education. He and his wife, Diane, have served as international program teachers and have been homestay parents to over 25 students in the past 15 years.  He has also travelled on many student recruitment teams to Asia and has presented at expositions in China about life and education for students in British Columbia.

Registration deadline: 9:00 a.m. PDT, October 29, 2020.

For more information, please contact events@bccie.bc.ca.