Director's update - School Councils Matter!
I hope that you have enjoyed a good start to the school year. Across the district, things have run smoothly and routines and activities are starting to fall into place.
September is the time for school council elections. They happen within 30 days of the start of the year. Principals provide at least 14 days’ notice to parents about the election. I encourage all parents to find out when the elections are happening and to participate in the electoral process.
School councils play a critical role in schools. As an advisory body to the Principal, the school council provides a forum for Principals and parents to share ideas and develop strategies about issues important to the school community.
One of our priorities as a school district is to ensure that Principals are actively seeking the input of the school community in the development of the School Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (SIPSA). This not only assists the Principal in setting annual goals for the school, it also allows the school council to set its goals in alignment with the SIPSA. Working together allows us to make great strides in our shared commitment to student achievement and well-being.
School councils are also actively involved in building a sense of community within the school. Councils often run events and activities that bring the school to life for parents and their families. Over the month of September, many school councils work with Principals to plan barbecues or other welcoming events. These help to create a welcoming environment for the whole community.
Every year when we consider the nominees for our Community Recognition Awards, I am always amazed by the number of parent volunteers and the incredible contributions they make to our schools.
At the OCDSB, we are fortunate to have a strong school council structure that is supported by the work of the Ottawa-Carleton Assembly of School Councils (OCASC) which hosts a monthly meeting at Fisher Park School for school council members to meet and share ideas. Check the OCASC website for more information and the meeting schedule.
In addition, we also have a Parent Involvement Committee which meets approximately 8 times per year to discuss issues of concern to parents and strategies to increase parent involvement. PIC is an advisory committee to the district. In the coming months, we will be seeking new parent and community members to PIC. Watch our website for more details.
As part of our commitment to communicating with parents, the district issues a weekly newsletter. The school council newsletter is sent every Friday to all school council chairs and any other interested parents. It is also posted on the District website. If you would like to be added to the distribution list, send an email to email@example.com.
On September 27th, in partnership with PIC and OCASC, the district will be hosting a 'School Council Training Day' at Confederation Education Centre. This is a chance for school council members to learn more and to share ideas. You don't have to be on school council to attend - all parents are welcome. You do need to register in advance. Take a look at the agenda.
Parents are important partners in education. School councils create a mechanism for parents to formally engage in the education system and voice their ideas. That's a voice we want to hear.
I look forward to hearing from you and I hope to see you on September 27th.
Secretary of the Board