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Establish meeting schedule for entire year at first meeting. • Same time on the same day each month? • Sett and stick to a timed agenda = definite start and finish time. • Advertise, advertise, advertise the meeting schedule. • Meeting Space: CSC are entitled to hold their meetings at the school, and it is expected that there will be no charge for the use of school space for this purpose. • CSC meetings must be open to the public, the meeting location must be accessible and convenient to all members of the school community, including those with disabilities.
Creating an Agenda • A carefully planned and organized agenda is key to a successful meeting. A good agenda briefly outlines what you intend to discuss and in what order. A reasonable time frame, which allows sufficient time for discussion of all the agenda items, should be allotted. The items on the agenda should reflect the priorities of the school council, which should reflect the concerns and interests of the school community.
The task of developing the school council meeting agenda is usually the responsibility of the chair/co chairs. Additional agenda items may be submitted by other council members and the principal. It is usually necessary to establish a deadline for the submission of agenda items to allow enough time to develop the agenda, post it in the school, and send it out to council members with minutes from the previous meeting at least a week before the meeting.
Keeping Minutes of Catholic School Council Meetings 8.3 School councils must keep minutes of all council meetings, and these must be available at the school for examination by anyone without charge. Minutes are usually recorded by the secretary of the school council and are to be kept at the school for a minimum of four years. Minutes should also include a list of those attending the meeting and those who are absent.
Making Decisions Running a school council meeting can be as formal or as informal as your council decides, but even informal meetings require some ground rules to help people work together and reach good decisions. There are two basic ways of making decisions: the less formal way is by reaching consensus; the more formal way is by voting. In trying to reach consensus, members have to put much effort into trying to find alternatives to which everyone can agree. Because everyone helps reach, and must agree to, the final decision, all members have the chance to influence and understand the decision. As a result, the final decision may be reached with less conflict than with a formal vote and should receive everyone’s support.
Consensus: gives all council members an effective voice in decisions; builds on differing perspectives and values; allows for flexibility in arriving at solutions; can result in better-informed, more creative, balanced, and enduring decisions; ensures that final decisions have the support of everyone, thus promoting a sense of commitment to and ownership of the decisions; creates a sense of common purpose; allows all council members to maintain the integrity of their personal values while agreeing to a new solution.
Voting Decisions reached by voting often expedite the business of a meeting as they usually take less time to reach. If your council chooses to reach decisions by majority vote, everyone on the council should be well informed, and the council as a group should discuss all of the implications before a vote is called by the chair.
Effective Meeting Strategies You will know that a council meeting has been effective when all participants feel that: the meeting had a purpose; they have a sense of accomplishment; they contributed to the discussion; they were valued by others; creative ideas, alternatives, or solutions were generated; they were able to share different points of view; they are committed to the decisions made and the actions taken; they are willing to work together again.