Re-thinking School Councils
People for Education’s Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
The Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
Notice of Copyright and Intellectual Property
The People for Education Tracking Survey was developed by People for Education in consultation with parents and parent groups across Ontario. People for Education owns the copyright on all intellectual property that is part of this project. Use of any questions contained in the survey, or any of the intellectual property developed to support administration of the survey is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of People for Education. Questions about the use of intellectual property should be addressed to the Research Director, People for Education, at 416-534-0100 or [email protected]
Data from the Survey
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This report should be cited in the following manner: “Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013.” People for Education. © People for Education, 2013 People for Education is a registered charity working to support public education in Ontario’s English, French and Catholic schools. 641 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M6G 1L1 Phone: 416-534-0100 or 1-888-534-3944 Fax: 416-536-0100 Email: [email protected]
Introduction School Council Roles, Activities, and Structure Communication Parent and Community Engagement Connections between school councils and their boards School Council Funding and Fundraising Surveys Endnotes
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People for Education is supported by thousands of individual financial donors, and the work and dedication of hundreds of volunteers. We also receive support from the Atkinson Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Education. Every year, parents and principals in schools across Ontario take the time to complete our surveys and share their stories with us. And every year, many volunteer researchers help us put the data we collect from schools into a context that helps us write our reports. Special thanks to the members of the People for Education Network, representing parent and community organizations across Ontario, for their ongoing support for this project.
Annie Kidder Jacqui Strachan
Every year we have the same small group of parents doing all the work.
PTA member, 1959
It’s difficult for the council to get parents to volunteer for anything. It’s always the same parents that are involved.
School Council Chair, Toronto District School Board, 2013
Some things never change. It seems that parent organizations have been facing similar challenges since they came into being. Every year, People for Education surveys Ontario’s school councils to gather information about their work, the communication tools they use, their relationship with school and board staff, and school council funding and fundraising. This year, more than 900 school councils participated in the research, and there were responses from every school board in the province. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the school council survey. When we look at the data collected over the past five years, what stands out is the remarkable consistency in many of the findings. School councils appear to have defined a clear role for themselves—communication with the broader parent community—even though that role is not explicitly mentioned in Regulation 612,1 the regulation governing school councils. The results also show that school councils continue to struggle with the same challenges year over year. Once again this year, the most frequent comments were about getting more parents involved, particularly at the high school level. Several mentioned that school council participation is decreasing, and for the first time, there were comments from principals saying that they were filling out the survey because there was no active school council. Also for the first time this year, we had many comments that the chair is new to the position and is struggling to learn the ropes.
School councils were mandated in Ontario in 2000. Since that time, schools, boards, and the ministry have come to rely on them to communicate and connect with the parent community, and as advisors and supporters of their local school and public education. But the councils themselves consistently raise concerns about their capacity to do all the work expected of them. They cite too few parents doing too much work, inexperienced chairs having to re-invent councils year after year because of a lack of succession planning, and a disconnect between what they perceive as their most important role and what they actually spend the most time on.
This year’s report raises some fundamental questions about school councils, their mandates and their roles:
• Why do school councils keep coming back to the
same issues and concerns?
• Is it time to look at a change in direction for
• Should the province’s regulations governing
school councils—particularly the defined role of school councils—be reviewed?
• How can we ensure that school councils are functioning effectively and are comfortable and confident in their role within the education system? These questions, and all of the questions posed in this report, are intended to engender an important discussion about school councils in Ontario.
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School Council Roles, Activities, and Structure
We used to spend most of our time in Council arranging fundraising. We’ve shifted our focus to trying to get the parents of our school connected and providing opportunities for them to work together as neighbours.
Elementary School, Toronto DSB
Communication Still Identified as Most Important Role
Provincial school council regulations state that, “the purpose of the school council is, through the active participation of parents, to improve pupil achievement and to enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.”2 School councils themselves have a different view of their role. Every year, when asked what their most important role is, school councils tell us it is ‘to enhance communication between the school and parents.’ This year, 47% of school councils ranked communication as their most important role, and 80% of councils ranked it within their top three roles. By comparison, only 13% of councils ranked “improving student achievement” as most important (the same percentage that ranked ‘fundraising’ as the most important role) and only 6% ranked ‘enhancing the accountability of the education system to parents’ as most important. Councils state that communication is their most important role, but when asked about how they divide their time, 37% say that they spend the most time on fundraising, while less than a third indicate that they spend the most time on communication with parents. Only 5% said that they spend the most time on improving student achievement, and just 2% mentioned enhancing the accountability of the school system to parents.
Help! I’m a School Council Chair!
For the first time this year, several school council chairs included comments about the difficulty of being new to the position and feeling unprepared for the role. A number of respondents said things like, “this is my first year on the school council and my first year with a child in elementary school.”3 Many said they feel overwhelmed by the expectations.
This is all so new to me as chair with my first child just beginning JK, but there wasn’t anyone else willing to take the position, so I just kind of jumped in without knowing what it entailed. I am still not sure exactly how to get a handle on it all. I have the “School Council” document from the ministry, but it is so huge and cumbersome that every time I sit down to read it, I am overwhelmed.
Elementary School, Upper Grand DSB
Several council members noted how much they appreciated training and support offered either by the board or by other school councils, and they spoke of the importance of connecting with other school councils to share their knowledge and experience. A council chair in the Durham board said “This year was my first year as co-chair and attending the regional School Council Chair meetings was extremely helpful!” In the York board, a council chair at a high school commented “School councils must receive more opportunity in the future to network with one another and share their successes and challenges.”
Since communication is consistently acknowledged as one of school councils’ most important roles, is it time to revise the provincial school council regulations to reflect the reality for school councils on the ground?
How can we ensure that the parents who volunteer for the school council have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to fulfill their role?
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Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
“It’s always the same 10 parents”
Every year, the most frequently raised concern among school councils is the lack of parent participation at council meetings. While school councils report attendance ranging from 1–35 parents, the average number of parents has remained consistent at 10 parents per meeting. School councils hold an average of eight meetings a year. Given the evidence that the average number of people attending school council meetings rarely changes, it is possible that there is little councils can do to increase attendance. Research also makes clear that while school councils have a positive impact on the “community” of the school, it is what parents do at home that has the greatest impact on student success.4 More clarity about the important role councils can play in supporting parent involvement at home may lead to less time and energy spent on changing council participation rates, and more focus on ensuring that all parents have access to the information they need.
We have made our council meetings much more informal and this seems less intimidating to those who come. Many parents are unable to attend meetings and we update them on happenings through emails and monthly newsletters. While our email list is growing, it does seem that it is usually the same few parents who contribute with ideas and/or time.
Elementary School, Near North DSB
I think this can be said for most councils, including ours: there needs to be some more clear ideas on how parent councils can enhance the accountability of the education system to parents, how councils can improve student achievement, and how they can affect the School Improvement Plan. Elementary School, Greater Essex County School Board
This is the first year we have focused on the School Improvement Plan, in conjunction with a new principal. Elementary School, Waterloo Catholic Board
We discuss every year how we cut back on the time spent fundraising. We are in midst of discussions as to how next year’s council could spend less time on the money end of things. Elementary School, Halton DSB
We are striving this year to engage parents more with their children at home and at school, ie. reading a book every night with their child. Elementary School, Thames Valley DSB
What Council spends the most time on is shifting in our school, from an emphasis on fundraising for co-curricular support, to engaging parents and finding ways to keep our community informed about school issues. Elementary School, Toronto DSB
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We are slowly changing the culture of our school to one of frequent, open communication between school, parents, and teachers.
Elementary School, Thames Valley DSB
Let’s Talk! How School Councils Connect with Parents
School councils continue to explore a range of ways to enhance communication between the school and parents, and comment about the importance of “supporting multiple communication methods (ie. print, electronic, phone) as parents have expressed a wide range of communications preferences.”5 The survey results show:
However, school councils continue to face challenges in accessing parents electronically. Only 16% of school councils who communicate by email said that the school provides parents’ email addresses to them, and only 8% have all parents on their email list.
• 58% of respondents report having a school council
• 59% report a school council newsletter; and • 63% communicate with parents by email, slightly up from
60% last year.
As the popularity of electronic communication and social media continues to grow, how should school and board communications policies and practices be updated to ensure that parents have access to the information in a format that meets their needs?
How school councils help teachers communicate with parents
This year, 30% of school councils reported that they help teachers communicate with parents. Research shows that overall student achievement in a school improves when communication builds trust between teachers, students and parents.6 And when teachers, parents and others at the school work collaboratively, schools have improved attendance, better student engagement, and more positive relationships between parents and teachers, and between teachers and students.7
Our school council has a Gmail account, shared Google calendar, website, Facebook page, Twitter handle, YouTube channel, and a monthly newsletter (sent electronically and hard copy goes home with 900+ students). Communication has been one of our strong points. Now that we have a solid foundation, it is easier to build capacity and improve parent engagement.
Elementary School, Toronto DSB
This year, there has been a substantial increase in the use of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, with 18% of school councils using social media to communicate, up from 12% last year.
Our principal and vice principal have put a tremendous effort into opening the lines of communication with parents this year. This has in turn, increased trust, and in– creased the number of volunteers returning to the school.
Elementary School, Rainbow DSB
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Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
When schools communicate directly and seek information from parents about what they want and need for their child’s success, school–family connections are strengthened. And when teachers suggest a specific activity for parents to do with their children at home, levels of parent involvement increase.8 Among participating school councils, the most commonly cited methods of supporting teacher communication were newsletters, bulletin boards and signage, and the use of electronic methods, including email, websites, blogs, and social media. Many school councils also commented that they help teachers connect with parents by hosting events that bring them together, such as barbecues, welcome events, and arts nights.
What’s Your Opinion? How School Councils Solicit Parent Input
Effective communication is a two-way street—information not only needs to go out from the school to the community, the community needs an opportunity to provide feedback and input on matters under discussion.
This year we asked for parent feedback regarding communication from the school. We attached a brief survey to the newsletter and asked if parents read the newsletter every month; whether they would prefer communication via email; whether they would like translation of the newsletter into a different language; and for any other comments or suggestions.
Communication between the school council and teaching staff
School councils were asked about how they communicate council initiatives to school staff. Among the 74% of councils reporting that their initiatives are communicated to staff, the most common method cited was via the principal at staff meetings. While many councils said that the staff representative on council is responsible for communicating back to the rest of the staff, several commented that because of the labour situation this year, staff were not attending meetings, so it fell to the principal to act as the staff representative.
Secondary School, Ottawa Catholic DSB
This year, 82% of school councils reported that they asked for parent input on school council initiatives. In the comments, the most frequently cited topic to seek input on is fundraising and how to spend funds. Councils also ask for input on events and programs they offer, school and board policies (eg. Split grades, staffing models, principal profiles, boundary changes and ARCs), uniforms and dress codes, lunch programs and school safety/climate.
There is a parent engagement committee that is working to enhance communication between teachers and parents. We are trying to have a parent rep for each class.
Elementary School, Waterloo Region DSB
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Who Notifies Councils of education policy changes?
In today’s education system, there is a policy for just about everything—from Safe Arrival to homework to fundraising. Since many of these policies have an impact on parents, school councils play an important role in informing the broader parent community about changes in policy. We asked school councils about who notifies them of changes in education policy:
• 24% report that they are notified of policy changes by the
• 38% report that they are notified of policy change by their
school board’s Parent Involvement Committee (PIC).
• 81% of school councils report that their principal always
or often notifies them of policy changes.
The chain of communication from the Ministry through to parents is long and complex. How can we ensure that important information gets to the people who need it?
• 52% report that the school board always or often notifies
them of policy changes.
Last year, our school council was instrumental in helping parents communicate with teachers by having all teacher email addresses and extensions on the school website. Secondary School, Grand Erie DSB
It’s been a difficult year for communication between parents and teachers. Unfortunately, with the labour issue as it’s been, communication lines we have taken years to build have started to break down. Elementary School, Hamilton Wentworth DSB
We have a Community/Parent Engagement officer whose mandate is to bridge the gap between teachers and parents with respect to communication. Teachers will use her as a resource to help communicate important messages. Elementary School, Peel DSB
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Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
Parent and Community Engagement
We host a student/teacher/parent BBQ and volleyball game each spring to help parents mingle and get to know our teachers. This year we are inviting grade 8 graduating students and their parents from the public, Catholic and French schools, to increase awareness early.
Secondary School, Superior-Greenstone DSB
School councils continue to recognize the important role they play in reaching beyond the school walls to engage not only parents, but the broader community, in the life and activities of their local school.
In the Near North board, one school council commented that they are proud of their close work with their district health unit on a Healthy Tools for Schools program. A school council in the Niagara board arranged to have the manager of a local YMCA come into the school to teach a Zumba class.9 Other community partnerships listed by school councils include non-profit and service organizations, local businesses, First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations, and religious organizations.
Connecting with community organizations
This month we invited Toronto Public Health to conduct a two-day workshop on food safety and nutrition. The first day will focus on kitchen and food safety. On the second day we will be preparing a meal in the school and will be selling it to the teachers at lunchtime for a new fundraising initiative called “Tiffins 4 Teachers”. We are pretty excited and hope it works out!
Elementary School, Toronto DSB
What is the role of school councils in building community partnerships? What supports do councils need to improve their ability to outreach and encourage more partnerships in the community?
Schools cannot do everything on their own. They need the support of others in the community to ensure that all students have access to the support they need to be successful. On the survey, school councils were asked if they conduct outreach to organizations outside the school or participate in shared events. While 35% of school councils report that they do not work with any community partners, among those school councils that do: This year, there was a noticeable increase in the number of school councils commenting that they partner with other neighbourhood schools. Several schools reported twinning with low-income schools in their community to share fundraised money; some mentioned sharing other resources (eg. tables for events), and many schools said that they work together to bring in guest speakers and programs for parents.
• 37% report partnerships with public health; • 22% report working with municipal recreation programs; • 7% work with settlement programs; • 13% work with the library; and • 21% report working with mental health organizations.
It’s only when we meet chairs from other schools that we find there’s so much we share and that we can use other council’s solutions to address the same issues. We’d love there to be more opportunity for meetings of all school executives!
Elementary School, Toronto District School Board
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Activities to involve parents in school life
For the past two years, we have asked school councils if they planned activities to engage parents in the life of the school. This year, 81% of participating councils indicated that they organize these types of activities. Among the activities mentioned, the most frequent is hosting community and family events such as dances, movie nights, and barbecues. School councils also mentioned organizing workshops and guest speakers, arranging orientation programs and parent ambassadors to support new parents, and having school council members and information available at school-organized events such as concerts and parent-teacher interviews.
to increase the diversity of council members. Councils reported using information tables and presentations at school functions, programs for newcomer parents, direct outreach to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, multilingual information and interpreters, and incentives (food, prizes) to increase council diversity. One council mentioned working directly with the ESL teacher to connect better with newcomer families. Other strategies included personal, faceto-face invitations and ‘bring a friend to council’ events.
Council Activities to Increase Council Diversity
We organized events to help parents get info about Aboriginal culture. Students are getting this in class; however, in an effort to address some of the racism that exists in our community we wanted to target parents.
School councils continue to struggle to improve the diversity of their membership. Are there more effective ways to engage traditionally marginalized parents? Is it important that the council reflect the diversity of the school population? Does it have an impact on the decisions made by the council?
Elementary School, Lakehead DSB
One of the ongoing challenges for school councils is to ensure that the membership of the school council is reflective of the diversity of parents in the school.10 This year, only 29% of school councils reported that they organize activities
Every year we organize a day where parents volunteer to “teach” a skill. Junior and intermediate students can choose two workshops, run by parents (with staff supervision). Workshops are a wide range, such as cake decorating, ultimate frisbee, dog training, belly dancing, etc. Elementary School, Grand Erie DSB
We invited our ESL parents for a walk-about through our school so they could familiarize themselves with the school and its procedures. Interpreters attended so that these parents could have their questions answered in their native language. We also put educational information booklets together for the parents in their native language. Secondary School, Greater Essex County DSB
All parent reps were given a budget of $100 to organize a social event for their class to encourage parents and students to get to know each other or reconnect at the beginning of the year. Many families participated and have continued communication within their child’s class. Elementary School, Toronto DSB
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Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
Connections between school councils and their boards
We find it challenging to communicate with the school board. We’re unsure who you are supposed to talk to and who is in the role.
Elementary School, Board Name withheld
Taking it Up a Level: What issues do councils bring to the school board?
According to the school council regulations, school councils may make recommendations to their school board on any matter.11 And, just like the principal, the board must consider any recommendations. This year, 44% of councils reported raising issues at the school board. The most commonly cited issues brought to the board relate to school closings, boundary changes, and the reconfiguration of grades included in schools (eg. moving to K–12 schools). Other topics mentioned include school building and grounds (most often parking, busing, and traffic safety). Based on the number of concerns raised about traffic safety and parking around the school, this may be an area where councils, schools, and boards can be more proactive in encouraging active school transportation. When asked about communication with their local trustee, 55% of councils indicated that there is two-way communication between the trustee and their group.
We asked school councils if they are aware of their board’s Parent Involvement Committee. Just over 80% of respondents know about their PIC. Among those councils:
• 85% report receiving information from their PIC; and • 68% report that there is a mechanism for providing input
to the PIC. While the awareness level of PICs is relatively high, only 50% of councils reported knowing how parents get to be on the PIC. Several methods were identified:
• 52% report that PIC representatives are selected by board
staff or the director.
• 12% report that PIC members are elected/selected by each
school council. Among the 35% of councils who report other methods of choosing PIC members, the most commonly cited was “just show up” or “volunteer”. Other methods include:
Parent Involvement Committees
In 2005, the Ministry released a new Parent Involvement Policy12 that included a requirement that all boards have a board-level Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) in place by January 2011. Under Section 27(1) of Regulation 612,13 PICs have four main responsibilities:
• Elected at regional/ward meetings. • Elected by current PIC members. • All school council chairs are automatically members. • Lottery.
• to develop effective communication strategies that the
board and director can use in communicating with parents and advise on the use of these strategies;
• to communicate information from the Ministry to school
councils and parents;
What activities can PICs engage in to support their school councils? How can we ensure that PIC members are representative of the broader school community?
• to work with the board’s director to determine how
funding for parent engagement initiatives will be allocated; and
• to work with school councils to share effective parent
engagement practices and support initiatives that help build knowledge and skills that will help PICs and school councils in their work.
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School Council Funding and Fundraising
We are located in an area where there are a lot of farms. So our PRO Grant is for an evening with healthy foods and local chefs cooking easy meals to show parents this technique.
Elementary School, Wellington Catholic DSB
School councils have access to several funding sources to support their work. The Ministry provides $500 in annual funding per school council, and councils can apply for Parents Reaching Out grants. School councils can also apply for grants from community organizations, foundations, and businesses; and the vast majority engage in some kind of fundraising within the school.
Parents Reaching Out Grants
School councils can apply to the Ministry of Education for Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grants of up to $1000 to support their parent engagement efforts.
$500 Ministry Grant
Each year, the Ministry of Education allocates $500 per school council to school boards. The majority of councils use this funding to support parent engagement events such as welcome nights and guest speakers. The money is also used to cover councils’ administration expenses, information brochures, parent library resources, and welcome packages for parents. Many school councils report that they use the funding to support student activities (awards, graduation, teacher appreciation gifts), rather than parent engagement.
We are applying for funding to support a parent-only field trip.
Elementary School, Greater Essex County DSB
Since 2009, the percentage of school councils reporting that they have applied for a PRO grant has ranged from 49%–54%. This year has seen the highest application rate so far, at 54% of school councils. School councils are seeking funding for a range of programs and resources, including:
Most of the $500 is spent on our monthly “Coffee House,” which is held at the school regularly for families that are new to the neighbourhood, as well as families that are new to Canada.
• communications/printing/translation/signage; • speakers/workshops/family programs (eg. Literacy Night); • parent orientation/involvement programs (eg. Take Your
Parents to School);
Elementary School, Thames Valley DSB
• social events; • parent library/resources/handbook; and • kits for home use (eg. math kits).
Every year, a surprising number of school councils report that they are unaware of this funding. Others mention that the principal or board uses the funding to pay for other things.
We find the process of applying for these funds very time consuming, and in recent years have decided that the effort required does not warrant a parent volunteer’s time.
Elementary School, Toronto Catholic DSB
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Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
Only 14% of school councils reported applying for grants from outside organizations such as foundations (eg. Evergreen), businesses/banks, community groups, and municipalities. Almost 40% of the grants were for school yard greening, play structures, and other improvements to the school property. Grants for arts enrichment and breakfast/ food programs were the next most common. Councils also applied for grants to support after-school programs, literacy initiatives, and skill-building programs (eg. First Aid).
Our board is underfunded and we are forced to do lots of fundraising to compensate for the underfunding.
Elementary School, Peel DSB
The vast majority of school councils participate in some kind of fundraising. Based on our survey results, it is also the most time-consuming activity for many school councils. This year, 81% of school councils reported engaging in fundraising activities. Councils reported that they spent the most money on:
Many school councils commented about the impact of Bill 115 and the labour dispute on this year’s fundraising activity. One council chair said, “It was decided that asking parents for money to support the school would not be well received when the teachers are not fully participating in school events themselves.” Other councils indicated that they were unable to spend their money this year because it would normally go toward programs and activities that have been cancelled due to the job action. Almost 35% of school councils reported that they have a fundraising policy. These policies include:
• Computers—24%; • Playground—13%; • School renovations, additions or general upgrades—13%; • Field Trips—12%; and • Arts—10%.
• clauses to ensure that funds are distributed evenly across
• limits on the number of fundraising events/activities; • restrictions on the type of fundraisers (eg. no candy/
chocolate sales, no door-to-door canvassing);
• restrictions on what funds can be spent on (eg. no
Since our school is not so affluent, when teachers or clubs request funds we ask that they propose a “partnership.” The applicant would then generate and initiate an activity and School Council would help facilitate the activity/event (bake treats, sell goods, etc.)
• timelines for spending raised funds (eg. must be spent in
the year raised);
• requirements that parents be informed what the money
will be used for before participating in fundraising activity;
• rules about incentives and prizes (eg. no individual
Elementary School, Durham DSB
• rules to ensure fundraising events are inclusive of all
families, including low-income families. Many councils commented that they follow their board’s and/or the Ministry guidelines for fundraising.
Several councils commented that they are not permitted to fundraise for things like building upgrades and capital projects, even though this type of fundraising (with some limitations) is allowed under the new provincial fundraising guideline. 14
School councils spend a great deal of their time on fundraising activities, even though it is not explicitly recognized as one of their roles in the school council regulations. Should school councils be engaged in this activity, and if so, how can they ensure a balance between fundraising and their other roles and responsibilities?
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2012-2013 School Council Survey
People for Education is an independent organization working to support public education in Ontario’s English, French, and Catholic schools. With the help of school councils across the province, we use annual surveys to keep track of things like parent involvement and the work of school councils and parent organizations. We publish the results of findings from our School Council survey in our Report on Ontario’s School Councils. The report is available on the People for Education website. This survey is to be filled out by members of the School Council. Please submit only one survey per school. Please complete the survey online at www.peopleforeducation.ca . Click on Research>>>School Survey. Please submit the survey by March 28, 2013. If you cannot complete the survey online, mail or fax the survey to: People for Education, 641 Bloor St W, Toronto, Ontario M6G 1L1 fax: 416-536-0100 web site: www.peopleforeducation.ca Individual school responses will remain confidential. Only overall results will be published.
District School Board: School: Includes grades: City: School Phone: School Email: Contact Person: Contact phone/email:
© People for Education
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School Councils have many important roles. Of the following list, which ones would you rank as the top three? CHOOSE ONLY THE TOP THREE. (1 = most important, 2 = second most important, 3 = third most important)
A holding school community events B enhancing communication between the school and parents C fundraising for the school D enhancing accountability of the education system to parents E supporting Healthy School initiatives F promoting school safety G improving student achievement H working on the School Improvement Plan A B C D E
_________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________
Of the above roles (A-H), which does the School Council spend the most time on? (Circle just ONE) Any comments?
2. C OMMUNIC AT ION
A) Do you have a school council website? (either stand alone or part of the school website) Do you communicate with parents by email? If yes, how many families are on the list? yes all no most some yes yes no no yes no yes no no Do you have a school council newsletter? (either stand alone or part of the school newsletter) yes
Does your school provide parents’ email addresses to the school council? Does your school council use social media? (e.g. Facebook, Twitter)
Does your school council do anything to help teachers communicate with parents? B) Do you ask parents for input or feedback? yes no
If yes, what do you do? __________________________________________________________________________ What are you most likely to ask parents for input or feedback about? (e.g. uniforms, staffing, fundraising) _____________________________________________________________________________________________ What do you find is the most effective way to get feedback or input from parents? _____________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ C) Are you notified of education policy changes by: Always The principal? The school board? The Ministry of Education? The Parent Involvement Committee (PIC)? Often Occasionally Never
3. PARENT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Does your school council do outreach to, or participate in shared events with, any of the following: public health municipal recreation programs none settlement programs public library mental health yes no other (please list) ___________________________________
Does your school council organize activities to increase the participation of parents in school life?
If yes, please tell us about them. ___________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Does your school council organize activities to increase the diversity of the council membership? yes no If yes, please tell us about them. ___________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 2
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4. SCHOOL COUNCIL MEETINGS
How many school council meetings do you have in a school year? _________________________________________ On average, how many people attend a school council meeting? __________________________________________ Who sets the agenda? Chair/Executive Principal both yes yes other ________________________ no no don’t know Are school council members invited to any staff meetings? Are school council initiatives conveyed to the teaching staff?
If yes, how? ___________________________________________________________________________________
5. SCHOOL BOARD - SCHOOL COUNCIL CONNECTIONS
Does your school council ever raise issues at the Board level? (e.g. with the Director, Trustee, Superintendent) yes no no If yes, what were they? __________________________________________________________________________ Is there two-way communication between the school council and the trustee? yes
6. PARENT INVOLVEMENT COMMITTEES
Are you aware of your school board’s Parent Involvement Committee (PIC)? yes If yes: Does your school council receive information from the PIC? yes Is there a mechanism for giving input to the PIC? Do you know how the parents get to be on the PIC? If yes, how? elected/selected by school council yes yes no no no no
selected by board staff or director
other (please explain) __________________________________________________________
A) The Ministry of Education allocates to school boards $500 per year for each school council. This year, what will the school council spend most of that money on? ______________________________________ B) Did your school council apply for a Parents Reaching Out Grant (PRO) this year? yes no yes no If yes, what did you apply for? _____________________________________________________________________ C) Did your school council apply for any other grants? (e.g. Evergreen, Ontario Arts Council) Did the grant require your school council contribute matching funds? yes no If yes, what did you apply for? _____________________________________________________________________
A) Does your school council fundraise? CHOOSE ONLY THE TOP THREE. (1= most money, 2 = second most money, 3 = third most money) Textbooks Arts Computers and/or software Sports Library Classroom supplies (e.g. subject materials, teaching aids) _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ Music/musical instruments Field trips Major trips Charity Graduation, awards Playground Other _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ yes no If yes, where will you spend the most money this year?
Any comments? ________________________________________________________________________________ Does your school council fundraise for school renovations, additions or general upgrades to school? (roof, furnace, paint, furniture, etc.) yes no yes no C) Does your school council have a fundraising policy?
If yes, what does it include? ______________________________________________________________________ 3
14 People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
9. ABOUT PEOPLE FOR EDUCATION
People for Education provides information and services for parents around the province. A) Does your school council or principal distribute People for Education information or materials to parents in your school? yes no Very Useful P4E’s Newsletter P4E’s Website/Online community P4E’s Parent Support phone line P4E’s Parent Tip Sheets P4E’s Annual Report on Schools P4E’s Annual conference Useful Somewhat Useful Not Useful Don’t Know B) Please rate the following as to how useful they are:
Do you have anything you would like to add about your school council? Do you have any tips, success stories, or challenges to share with other school councils? Add a separate sheet if you need more space. Thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey.
_______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________
People for Education 641 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1L1 Email: [email protected]
Phone: 416 534 0100 Fax: 416 536 0100
People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013 15
Sondage auprès des conseils d’école 2012-2013
People for Education est un organisme indépendant qui appuie l’éducation publique des écoles de langue française, anglaise et catholiques de l’Ontario. Grâce à l’aide des conseils d’école de toute la province, nos sondages annuels nous permettent de suivre des domaines tels que la participation des parents et le travail des conseils d’école et des organisations de parents. Nous publions les constatations de notre sondage auprès des conseils d’écoles dans notre rapport sur les conseils d’école ontariens (en anglais seulement), consultable dans le site Web de People for Education. Ce sondage doit être rempli par les membres du conseil d’école. Veuillez ne remplir qu’un seul sondage par école. Veuillez remplir le sondage en ligne à www.peopleforeducation.ca. Cliquez sur Research>>>School Survey. Veuillez remplir ce sondage d’ici le 28 mars 2013. Si vous ne pouvez pas remplir ce sondage en ligne, prière de l’adresser par la poste ou par télécopieur à : People for Education, 641, rue Bloor O., Toronto (Ontario) M6G 1L1 Télécopieur : 416-536-0100 Site Web : www.peopleforeducation.ca Les réponses de chaque école seront confidentielles. Les constatations générales seront les seules à être publiées.
Conseil scolaire de district : École : Années d’études : Ville : Téléphone de l’école : Courriel de l’école : Personne-ressource : Personne-ressource téléphone/courriel :
© People for Education
16 People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
1. CONSEIL D’ÉCOLE
Les conseils d’école remplissent de nombreux rôles importants. Parmi ceux qui suivent, lesquels sont les trois premiers par ordre d’importance, selon vous? NE CHOISISSEZ QUE LES TROIS PREMIERS PAR ORDRE D’IMPORTANCE. (1 = le plus important, 2 = le deuxième par ordre d’importance, 3 = le troisième par ordre d’importance) A) Animer des activités pour la communauté scolaire B) Améliorer la communication entre l’école et les parents C) Financer l’école D) Améliorer la responsabilité du système éducatif pour les parents E) Appuyer les initiatives des écoles saines F) Promouvoir la sécurité à l’école G) Améliorer la réussite des élèves H) Travailler au plan d’amélioration de l’école A B C D E _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ F G H
Parmi les rôles ci-dessus (A-H), auquel le conseil d’école consacre-t-il le plus de temps? (N’en encerclez qu’UN SEUL.)
A) Votre conseil d’école a-t-il un site Web? (soit un site personnel, soit une section du site Web de l’école) oui non Votre conseil d’école a-t-il un bulletin d’information? (soit un bulletin personnel, soit une section du bulletin de l’école) oui non Communiquez-vous avec les parents par courriel? oui non Si oui, combien de familles sont-elles dans cette liste? toutes la plupart quelques-unes Votre école communique-t-elle les adresses de courriel des parents au conseil d’école? oui non Votre conseil d’école utilise-t-il les médias sociaux? (p. ex., Facebook, Twitter) oui non Votre conseil d’école aide-t-il les enseignants à communiquer avec les parents? oui non Si oui, comment? ______________________________________________________________________________ B) Consultez-vous les parents ou sollicitez-vous leur rétroaction? oui non À quel sujet êtes-vous le plus susceptible de consulter les parents ou de solliciter leur rétroaction? (p. ex., uniformes, dotation en personnel, financement) ________________________________________________________________ Quelle est pour vous la méthode la plus efficace pour obtenir la rétroaction des parents ou pour les consulter? ____________________________________________________________________________________________ C) Qui vous informe des modifications des politiques éducatives? La direction de l’école? Le conseil scolaire? Le ministère de l’Éducation? Le comité de participation des parents (CPP)? Toujours Souvent Parfois Jamais
3. MOBILISATION DES PARENTS ET DE LA COMMUNAUTÉ
Votre conseil d’école communique-t-il ou participe-t-il à des activités communes avec: la santé publique les programmes récréatifs municipaux les programmes d’établissement la bibliothèque publique la santé mentale aucun de ces programmes autre (prière d’en dresser la liste) ______________________________________________________________ Votre conseil d’école organise-t-il des activités pour augmenter la participation des parents à la vie de l’école? oui non Si oui, veuillez nous les décrire. ___________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Votre conseil d’école organise-t-il des activités pour augmenter la diversité des membres du conseil? oui non Si oui, veuillez nous les décrire. ___________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________ 2
People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013 17
4. RÉUNIONS DU CONSEIL D’ÉCOLE
Combien de fois le conseil d’école se réunit-il par année scolaire? ___________________________________________ En moyenne, combien de personnes assistent à une réunion du conseil d’école? _______________________________ Qui fixe l’ordre du jour? Président/bureau Direction de l’école tous les deux autre :_________ Invite-t-on les membres du conseil d’école à certaines réunions du personnel? oui non Présente-t-on les initiatives du conseil d’école au personnel enseignant? oui non ne sais pas Si oui, comment? ______________________________________________________________________________
5. RELATIONS CONSEIL SCOLAIRE-CONSEIL D’ÉCOLE
Votre conseil d’école soulève-t-il parfois des questions au niveau du conseil scolaire? (p. ex., avec le directeur/la directrice, le conseiller/la conseillère scolaire, le surintendant/la surintendante) oui non Si oui, lesquelles? _____________________________________________________________________________ Existe-t-il un dialogue entre le conseil d’école et le conseiller/la conseillère scolaire? oui non
6. COMITÉS DE PARTICIPATION DES PARENTS
Connaissez-vous le comité de participation des parents (CPP) de votre conseil scolaire? oui Si oui : Votre conseil d’école reçoit-il de l’information du CPP? oui non Existe-t-il un mécanisme de communication des idées du conseil d’école au CPP? oui Savez-vous comment les parents deviennent membres du CPP? Si oui, comment? élus/sélectionnés par le conseil d’école du conseil scolaire non
oui non sélectionnés par le personnel ou le directeur
autre (veuillez expliquer) ____________________________________________________
A) Le ministère de l’Éducation alloue aux conseils scolaires 500 dollars par an pour chaque conseil d’école. Cette année, à quoi votre conseil d’école a-t-il consacré la majorité de cette somme? _________________________ B) Votre conseil d’école a-t-il sollicité cette année une Subvention pour la participation et l’engagement des parents (PEP)? oui non Si oui, pour quel projet avez-vous sollicité cette subvention? ____________________________________________ C) Votre conseil d’école a-t-il sollicité d’autres subventions? (p. ex. Evergreen, Conseil des arts de l’Ontario) oui non Si oui, laquelle avez-vous sollicitée? _______________________________________________________________ Cette subvention exigeait-elle de votre conseil d’école une contribution financière équivalente? oui non
8. ACTIVITÉS DE FINANCEMENT
A) Votre conseil d’école collecte-t-il des fonds? oui non Si oui, pour quelles activités dépenserez-vous le plus d’argent cette année? NE CHOISISSEZ QUE LES TROIS PREMIÈRES. (1= activité la plus coûteuse, 2 = deuxième activité la plus coûteuse, 3 = troisième activité la plus coûteuse) manuels _____ musique/instruments musicaux _____ arts _____ excursions _____ ordinateurs et/ou logiciels _____ excursions importantes _____ sports _____ bienfaisance _____ bibliothèque _____ cérémonie des finissants, prix _____ fournitures scolaires _____ (p. ex., documents aire de jeu _____ pédagogiques, aides auditives) autre ______ Des commentaires? _______________________________________________________________________________ Votre conseil d’école collecte-t-il des fonds pour les rénovations, ou l’agrandissement de l’école ou pour sa modernisation générale (toit, chaudière, peinture, meubles, etc.) oui non B) Votre conseiil d’école a-t-il une politique en matière d’activités de financement? oui non Si oui, laquelle? _______________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________
18 People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013
9. À PROPOS DE PEOPLE FOR EDUCATION
People for Education fournit de l’information et des services aux parents de toute la province. A) Votre conseil d’école ou votre direction distribue-t-il l’information ou les documents de People for Education aux parents de votre école? oui non Très utile Bulletin d’information de P4E Site Web/communauté en ligne de P4E Soutien téléphonique des parents de P4E Fiches de conseils des parents de P4E Rapport annuel de P4E sur les écoles Conférence annuelle de P4E DERNIERS COMMENTAIRES Souhaitez-vous ajouter d’autres renseignements sur votre conseil d’école? Souhaitez-vous donner des conseils, présenter des témoignages de réussites ou expliquer vos défis à d’autres conseil d’école? Ajoutez un feuillet séparé si vous manquez de place. Merci d’avoir pris le temps de remplir ce sondage. ____________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Utile Assez utile Inutile Ne sais pas B) Veuillez coter l’utilité des activités suivantes de P4E.
People for Education 641, rue Bloor O., Toronto (Ontario) M6G 1L1 Tél. : 416-534-0100
Téléc. : 416-536-0100 Courriel : [email protected]
Site Web : www.peopleforeducation.ca
People for Education
Annual Report on Ontario’s School Councils 2013 19
Regulation 612, s. 2, School Councils and Parent Involvement Committees, Retrieved from http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/ html/regs/english/elaws_regs_000612_e.htm Ibid. Elementary School, Toronto DSB People for Education. Doing What Matters Most: How parents can help their children succeed at school. Toronto. http:// www.peopleforeducation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ People-for-Education-Doing-What-Matters-Most-how-parentscan-help-their-children-succeed-at-school-20111.pdf JK–12 School, Bluewater DSB Bryk, A., & Schneider, B. (2002). Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for Improvement. New York: Russell Sage. Harris, A., & Goodall, J. (2007). Engaging parents in raising achievement: Do parents know they matter? London: Department of Children, Schools and Families. Epstein, J. L. (1991). Effects on student achievement of teachers’ practices of parental involvement. Advances in reading/language research, 10, 261-276; Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. M. (1997). Why do parents become involved in their children’s education? Review of Educational Research, 67(1), 3-42; Anderson, K. J., & Minke, K. M. (2007). Parent involvement in education: Toward an understanding of parents’ decision-making. Journal of Educational Research, 100(5), 313-323; Reed, R. P., Joens, K. P., Walker, J. M., & Hoover-Dempsey, K. V. (2000). Parents’ motivations for involvement in children’s education: Testing a theoretical model. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans.
Elementary School, DSB Niagara
2 3 4
10 See eg. Mapp, K. L. & Hong, S. (2010). Debunking the myth of the hard to reach parent. In S. L. Christenson & A. L. Reschly, (Eds.) Handbook of school–family partnerships (pp. 345–361) NY: Routledge; Corter, C., Harris, P., & Pelletier, J. (1998). Parent participation in elementary schools: The role of school councils in development and diversity. Toronto: OISE. 11 Regulation 612, s. 20. See note 1. 12 Government of Ontario, Parents in Partnership: A Parent Engagement Policy for Ontario Schools, http://www.edu.gov. on.ca/eng/parents/involvement/PE_Policy2010.pdf 13 Regulation 612, s. 27(1). See note 1. 14 Ministry of Education, Fundraising Guideline, http://www. edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/Fund2012Guideline.pdf
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