October 1, 2014
How do we make the most of our School Councils?
Last night I was part of our second meeting of our Belvedere Parkway School Council and Parent Fundraising Association (PFA). A team from the Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA – http://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/) came out to work with us on a session around what is the role of a school council and how do we utilize it to enhance the learning of students. I thought I knew a lot about the work and contribution of school councils, but I was very impressed by the knowledge that Karen and Marilyn shared and guided us through.
There were a number of things that I learned that were very helpful:
A School Council is a means for parents and community members to work together with the school to support and enhance student learning. A SC is legislated to advise the principal respecting matters to the school.
The Responsibility of School Councils are to:
- Foster, develop, maintain, and reflect the culture of the school
- Provide the opportunity to participate in the advisory role
- Create the forum for discussion
- Seek and represent school community views
A School Council needs opportunity to provide advice on the development of the school’s:
- Mission, vision, and philosophy
- School development plan
- Annual results report
A great quote I pulled from our session was:
“The School Council is a leader of parents…”
Probably the best thing that we got out of this, though, was this meeting helped us as a School Council in the creation of a School Council culture and the development of a sense of team, setting up how we will work together in the future…
I highly recommend having them out to your school council, as it was hugely beneficial for us! Check out the workshops from the ASCA at http://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/?page=Workshops
Work hard and learn tons!
October 30, 2013
It is interesting watching the news as there has been a lot in the digital world on some comments that teaching is a job like parenting, and that anyone can do it. I would say that effective teaching (and effective parenting) is another story… Parenting is not easy! Good educating is technically sophisticated and difficult, requires high levels of education and long periods of training, is developed through continuous improvement, involves wise judgment informed by evidence and experience, and is a collective accomplishment and responsibility among all of our stakeholders, including teachers, students, parents, and our community.
Reporting on our students’ learning is a big part of that work. I love my own children and know them well as a dad, but I am not there to see their performance and thinking while they are at school. I rely on our kids’ teachers to help me with that. There has been a lot of discussion around what excellent reporting of learning looks like, and I would say the biggest part of all of this is back to “relationships.”
The greater the relationships we try to create with parents, as teachers and principals, the greater the understanding of the successes and needs of their individual child. In order to provide parents with greater information and understanding about their child’s learning, as well as to provide more opportunities more often, Keeler school has developed the following reporting plan for the 2013-14 school year:
- Aug. 22 – Welcome Back Barbecue – our first chance to meet as a school community
- Sept. 19/20 – Meet the Teacher Conferences and Individual Program Plan Development – our first formal meeting with parents to develop learning plans and goals for individual students
- Dec. 5/6 – Parent Teacher Conferences and Individual Program Plan Reviews – an opportunity to meet with the teacher to examine your child’s growth and develop next steps
- Jan. 30 – Report Cards
- Mar. 20/21 – Student Led Conferences and Individual Program Plan Reviews – an opportunity to have your child “show off,” meet with the teacher to examine your child’s growth and develop next steps
- June 25 – Final Report Cards
This allows parents to be receiving information and providing input every couple of months. This formal reporting process would also be matched with informal reporting processes such as:
- Notes in Students Agendas
- Phone discussions with teachers
- Letters to or from the teacher
- Tracking and Monitoring Tools
- Individual Program Plans (IPPs) for Students who are Coded
- Iris – an online tool for students and teachers in creating Learning Plans and documenting student learning. We have just stared using this, so more information will be forthcoming.
- Informal meetings before or after school
- Formal meetings scheduled as needed
Knowing that we are all on the same team and trying to enhance the learning that our students are undertaking is the biggest part of helping our students be successful!
Work hard, learn tons!