A. Strategies for Conducting Effective Council Meetings
- School Council members should communicate through school newsletters, web sites and council letters when school council meetings are scheduled. Agendas should be posted.
- School Council Chair should set the agenda in advance with the principal.
- School Councils should set goals and determine activities at the beginning of the year.
- Respect meeting times. Start and finish on time.
- Meetings should have structure and consistency.
- School Councils are required to maintain minutes and should post minutes for school community (website, e-mail list, in school).
B. Strategies for Attracting and Retaining School Council Members
- School Council members should keep all parents informed of meetings, events and activities via newsletters, websites, bulletin boards, Education Week, Program Night.
- School Councils may hold parent workshops that would be of interest to their community i.e., Workshop Topics: Reading with your Child, Helping with Home work, Helping with Organizing, Bullying, Safe Schools, Summer Fun, Social Activities, Drug Awareness.
- School Council co-hosts events with principal, i.e. BBQ, Muffin Breakfast, Meet-the-Teacher Evenings.
- Parent Involvement Funds are managed by the Board’s Parent Involvement Committee and can help school councils hold events (BBQ, muffin breakfast) to bring parents into the school.
- The best way to attract new members is to personally invite parents to meetings.
- Invite parents to help with school council events that require volunteers.
C. Accountability for School Council Funds
All School Councils receive Parent Involvement Funds of $500 per School Council or $1,000 for 7-12 schools. Funds are for events or activities to “engage parents in their child’s education.” Funds must be spent between September 1 and June 30 every year and must be reported to the Director of Education.
- If a School Council has a bank account, a minimum of two School Council Members’ signatures are required. Ideally one should be that of the Treasurer.
- School Council members are required to keep accurate records (e.g. a good accounting program) and report regularly at school council meetings and to the parent community.
Best Practices for Fundraising:
- School Councils should set goals if fundraising takes place. Not all school councils undertake fundraising.
- Fundraising should be fun and involve students and their families. School councils should be careful not to overtax families.
- Whenever possible, partner with principal/staff, other school councils, High School Student Council and community (or parish).
D. Strategies for Developing Better Partnerships:
Family of Schools
- All School Councils should share dates of meetings with their Family of Schools. This prevents families in more than one school from experiencing timetabling conflicts.
- School may meet with councils from other schools to share ideas or discuss and tackle common issues or topics.
- School Councils may organize joint parent workshops. Note: School Councils may have a parish and community representative on their council.
- Church bulletins are a good place to advertise school events. Contact your local parish church office.
- Invite your parish priest to school meetings or events (Mass).
- Invite a parish council member or local church member to join the School Council as a parish representative.
- Try to attract a community representative on Council. Consider approaching a local business person or a co-op partner in your high school.
- Help facilitate volunteer partnerships, i.e.. seniors’ residences, group homes, other charity groups, i.e. Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League, Lions’ Club, Optimist Club.
E. Strategies for Developing a Successful Succession Plan
- Acknowledge the contributions of council members and volunteers (appreciation event, thank you’s in newsletters, etc.).
- Keep good records for every event that the council organizes to make things easier for the following year
- Share the workload so you don’t “burn out” your volunteers.
- Invite new parents (junior kindergarten, senior kindergarten, grade 7 and/or grade 9 to School Council meetings. Hold information nights for new families.