In 1997, School Councils were enshrined in provincial legislation with the intention of involving stakeholders in the school community to improve teaching and learning, among other important roles.
It’s our responsibility as School Council members to understand our role and carry out our duties to the best of our ability. For official information regarding School Councils, please consult Schools Act, 1997.
School Councils 101 – The Fundamentals
The Make Up
School Councils must have between 8 and 15 members, consisting of:
- School Principal
- Parent Representatives
- Teacher Representatives
- Community Representatives
- Student Representatives (in schools that teach senior high courses)
Some of the responsibilities of School Councils include:
- Represent the educational interests of the school
- Advise on the quality of teaching and learning in the school
- Facilitate parent and community involvement in teaching and learning in the school
- Advise the board on matters of concern to the school and the community
- Approving, for recommendation to the board, the School Development Plan and ensure that report is available to the public
- Approve and monitor fundraising activities
- Consider information respecting performance standards in the school
- Monitor the implementation of recommendations in reports on the performance of the school
- Conduct meetings with parents and members of the community on matters within its responsibility
- Enter into a protocol agreement with the board, which shall serve as a guide and reference for School Council operations
The School Council also may:
- Recommend that the Principal provide for a religious observance in the school
- Approve a voluntary school levy (payable once in a school year) in lieu of fundraising activities for the school, subject to the by-laws of the board.
*School Council must be in place by the 15th of October.
Tips for Supporting the School Development Plan
- Add “School Development Plan” to each School Council meeting.
- Ask one Department Head to present at each School Council meeting on their plan to improve teaching, learning, and student achievement within their Department. Ask each Department Head to provide School Council with a progress report periodically.
- Review midterm results, final exam results, CRT results, and the School Climate Survey.
- For the purposes of future planning, consider the results of CRTs for incoming grade levels to determine a course of action to support their achievement.
Tips for Approving and Monitoring Fundraising Activities
- Plan ahead! Ensure that your School Council determines priority items of which funds must be raised. This will help with determining which fundraisers to approve when various groups may have conflicting fundraisers. These priorities should stem from the School Development Plan.
- Ensure that the school is not asking for money from the school community too often. School Council is accountable to both parents and the school community. It is important that fundraising activities do not place a significant or perceived burden on families.
- Add fundraising to each School Council meeting agenda and ask groups that complete fundraising to submit a report on the success of the fundraiser and how the money was spent.
The Basics of School Council Engagement
- Ensure all School Council agendas are posted on the school website in advance of your meeting
- Plan in advance! All School Council meeting dates should be included in school newsletters, on the school website, and in the school calendar. Many School Councils find regular days of the month work best. For example, your School Council could choose the second Tuesday of the month at 5:30pm as a regular meeting time.
- The week after School Council meeting minutes are approved, be sure to post them on your school website.
- Be present! School Council members should offer to volunteer at school events and the School Council Chair may bring greetings at Curriculum Night or a school fundraising event.
- Try to plan one to three parent and community engagement activities per year. For example, host a session and invite an expert to speak about cyber-bullying, scholarships, or mental health!
Content borrowed from Nathan Whalen, former President of the NL Federation of School Councils.