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Catholic School Councils
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  1. Catholic School Councils

  2. School Councils: A Brief History • 1993 Ontario Parent Council (OPC) established • 1994 OPC recommends a parent council at every school • 1995 Royal Commission on Learning recommends “school community councils” • 1995 Boards to develop policies • 1997 School councils mandated by law

  3. School Councils: A Brief History • 2000 Regulation 621/00 • Purpose of the School Council • To improve student achievement • To enhance the accountability of the education system to parents

  4. School Councils: A Brief History • 2000 Regulation 613/00 • School boards and principals must: • Solicit views from school councils and report on any advice received • Consult with and respond to their school councils in a consistent manner

  5. School Councils: A Brief History • 2005 Ministry of Education Discussion Paper • “Developing Partners in Education” • Effective parental involvement is a new “performance measure” • Ministry, school boards, schools and their staffs are to contribute to successful outcomes • Resources allocated to support parental engagement

  6. Catholic School Councils:A Not-So-Brief History • Over 160 years of parental involvement… • 1841 First School Act • 1863 The Scott Act – a share of federal funding • 1867 The BNA Act • Catholic schools right to exist and tax locally • 1985 Bill 30 (Ontario) • provincial funding extended through high school

  7. Catholic School Council Membership • Parents (majority of school council members) • Numbers established through by-laws or by board policy • Elected annually at a school council general meeting (within 30 days of the beginning of a school year) • A board employee or trustee may not be a parent member of the school council where his/her child attends, otherwise, employees of the board must inform voting parents when running for school council

  8. Catholic School Council Membership • Principal • or vice-principal as designate • Teacher Representative • elected by teaching staff • may be the parent of a student attending the school • School Staff Representative (Non-Teaching) • elected by non-teaching staff • may be the parent of a student attending the school

  9. Catholic School Council Membership • Student Representative • For secondary schools, the student representative will be elected by the student body • Optional in elementary schools; the principal may appoint a student after consulting with the school council to determine if there should be a student representative • Additional students may be added, as long as parents still have a majority of positions

  10. Catholic School Council Membership • Community Representative • Appointed by the school council • Employees of the board must inform the school council prior to appointment • A parish representative may also be appointed as a community representative • Provincial Parent Association Representative • One person appointed by an association that is represented by OAPCE, if it exists in that board

  11. Catholic School Councils • Members of a Catholic school council may not receive remuneration for their work on the council except for the reimbursement of their expenses • A school council may not be incorporated • Funds raised by a school council may only be used for reasons approved by the board • Contact information for Catholic school council members may be provided to the Ministry for the purpose of receiving Ministry information directly

  12. The Principal • Attends school council meetings • Provides information • Receives and responds to school council recommendations • Ensures school council is in place • Notifies the community and posts materials • Develops a school profile

  13. The School Board • Develops school council policies • Communicates with and involve school councils • Consults with individual and regional council • Reports back to school councils • Improvement planning • Assists in establishing criteria for the selection of a new principal/vice-principal

  14. Consultation • Examples of topics/areas of consultation: • School profiles • Appropriate dress policy • Input on plans for improving student achievement • School year calendar • Scheduling special school events • Review school board policies

  15. Communicating with the Catholic School Community • Share information and seek input • Town-hall style meetings • Surveys, newsletters, response forms • Focus groups • Information requests on the school website • By phone, if parents consent to allow their phone numbers to be used for such a purpose

  16. Roles & Responsibilitiesof School Council Members

  17. School Council Chair/Co-chair • Must be a parent or parents not employed by the school board • Voting members • Arranges for meetings • Prepares agendas • Chairs council meetings • Ensures minutes of meetings are recorded and maintained

  18. School Council Chair/Co-chair • Facilitates the resolution of conflict • Ex-officio member of all school council committees • Communicates with the principal on behalf of the council • Performs the same duties as other parent representatives

  19. Parent Representatives • Voting members • Participate on any council committees • Contributes to school council discussions • Solicit the views of other parents and members of the school community to share with the council • Observe the council’s code of ethics and established by-laws

  20. School Principal • Not a voting member of the school council • Promptly distributes materials identified by the Ministry to school council members and posts them in a school location accessible to parents • Acts as a resource to the council on laws, regulations and board policies • Attends all school council meetings (or delegates the responsibility to a vice-principal)

  21. School Principal • Considers each recommendation made by the school council and responds with the action taken • Solicits views on changes to school policies and guidelines • May participate in council committees • Observes the council’s code of ethics and established by-laws

  22. Student Representative(s) • Contributes to school council discussions • Solicits the views of other students to share with the school council • May participate on any council committees • Communicates council information to other students • Observes the council’s code of ethics and established by-laws

  23. School Staff Representatives(one each from teaching and non-teaching staff) • Voting members • Contribute to school council discussions • Solicit views from their staff groups and unions to share with the school council • May participate on any council committees • Communicate information to their staff groups • Observe the council’s code of ethics and established by-laws

  24. Community Representative(s)(may also include a parish representative) • Voting member(s) • Contributes to school council’s discussions • Represents the community (parish) perspective • May participate on any council committees • Helps build partnerships and links between the school and the community (parish) • Observes the council’s code of ethics and established by-laws

  25. OAPCE Representative • Voting member • Contributes to school council’s discussions • Represents the views of OAPCE • May participate on any council committees • Communicates information back to OAPCE • Observes the council’s code of ethics and established by-laws

  26. Effective Catholic School Councils

  27. Characteristics of Effective Catholic School Councils Effective Catholic school councils are those that: • focus on learning for all students • advocate for publicly funded Catholic education • actively involved in setting priorities for improving student achievement • promote meaningful involvement of the community • clear understanding of roles and responsibilities • represents the range of views of the community

  28. Characteristics of Effective Catholic School Councils • Keep well informed about school and board policies and procedures • Have clear and consistent decision-making processes • Communicate with the community • Maintain high ethical standards • Have members who have developed mutual trust and respect for one another

  29. Preparing and Training School Council Members • Orientation for new members • Resources (by-laws, code of ethics) • Team building • Ongoing training • Formation and participation on committees

  30. Reference • School Councils: A Guide for Members • Ontario Ministry of Education 2001 (Revised 2002)