School Council Update #2
October 8, 2021

School Council Information
Submit Your Questions for the School Council Newsletter

Do you have questions about school council activities or ways to be involved in your child’s school in the 2021-2022 school year? We are here to help answer those questions. Please send us your questions using this form, and we will answer common questions in our future newsletters.
Nine Tips on How to Help Build a Positive Partnership with Your School Administrator 
 
“The success of a school council often rests with the partnership they form with the Principal. There are some Principals who are naturally enthusiastic and supportive of the council. On the other hand, there are some who are slower to form a comfortable working partnership with parent leaders.

Here are nine tips on how to help build a positive partnership with your school administrator.

  1. Establish a good communication plan at the beginning of the school year. The Chair should ask to meet with the Principal at least one week before a council meeting.
  2. The Chair and Principal should use this meeting to prepare the agenda for distribution to members. Remember to use this opportunity to share ideas and establish a rapport with the Principal.
  3. While parent leaders play an important role in the school, it is important to remember that the Principal has the final responsibility for all operations in the school.
  4. Running meetings effectively and respecting the time commitment for both parents and the principal will allow the council to accomplish a great deal. Getting bogged down in details can be frustrating. This can cause everyone to lose interest in the meeting. It is a good idea to identify what needs to be done. Once that is established, delegate to a sub-committee that can handle the issues at a later date or time.
  5. Do not bring personal matters to council meetings. School council Chairs should make sure that no other members raise personal issues. Council meetings should be limited to school activities that affect all students in the school.
  6. Developing an annual budget as a council, in conjunction with the Principal, will help the council move towards a common goal that aligns with everyone’s priorities.
  7. Ask the Principal what their priorities are and how the council might assist in achieving these goals.
  8. Appreciate your Principal and thank them for their efforts.
  9. Treat your Principal with respect. Remember that they have many responsibilities in running a school besides school council work. Understand they may not be able to respond immediately to your emails or needs put forth by the council.
  10. Remember your Principal is a person, just like you. They will have good days and bad. Try to be compassionate and understand that there may be a better day to present new ideas or concerns.”

OCDSB Speaker Series: Share Your Suggestions

The OCDSB Speaker Series offers free information sessions to the parent community and seeks to provide parents and educators with access to leading ideas in education that will allow us to work collaboratively to better support student learning and well-being.

As we plan for the 2021-2022 Speaker Series, we are seeking your feedback and ideas. Do you have a suggestion for a topic that you would like to see covered in one of our future events? Share it with us using this form.

The series is sponsored by the District's Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) and supported through Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grant funding from the Ministry of Education. To see past events, visit the Speaker Series webpage.
Appropriate Use of Technology Policy Review

As technology evolves, it brings new opportunities in the ever changing landscape of technology use. We want to ensure students are safe online, use technology in a productive way, and are ready to contribute to today's expanding digital society. This is why the OCDSB is updating the Appropriate Use of Technology policy.

To do this, we will be looking for school council input on what you feel is necessary in a revised Appropriate Use of Technology policy.

The policy outlines the standards and expectations for how students and staff use District technology, including networks, software, email, apps, devices, and infrastructure (including the use of personal devices on the District wifi).

At a School Council meeting in October or November, we will be asking councils to review the current policy, and to share the thoughts of your council members in response to the following questions through a Google form (to be provided in the coming days by your school's principal). We will gather the information provided to help guide the revised policy document.

  1. Are there elements of the current policy which are out-of-date, missing, or no longer relevant?
  2. Every year, parents are asked to complete the Media Permission form and Appropriate Use of Technology form. Does the current policy sufficiently address the issues of appropriate use for students? If not, what do you feel is important for us to consider moving forward?
  3. What other feedback or questions do you have about the current policy?

Once the consultation is complete, the policy revisions will be finalized and brought to the Board for discussion and approval in January.

We appreciate your partnership in this consultation process. Questions can be forwarded to Principal Erin Paynter at erin.paynter@ocdsb.ca or Manager Sandy Owens at sandy.owens@ocdsb.ca
Virtual Meeting and Cyber Security Tips

The OCDSB has shared a A Guide to Google Meet for School Council Attendees and Tips for Hosting School Council Meetings using Google Meet. As we start the year, here are some helpful reminders about participating in virtual school council meetings:

  • Be present and pay attention.
  • Set up in a private and quiet space.
  • If possible, turn on your camera. It’s helpful to see each other when interacting.
  • Mute your microphone and only unmute when it’s your turn to speak
  • Don’t take pictures or screenshots of attendees

October is also Cyber Security Awareness Month. There are many simple steps you can take to protect cyber security online. Learn more and browse resources on the Government of Canada’s website.  
School Cash Online

School Cash Online offers a safe and convenient way to pay for school activity fees. Please note, School Cash Online is closing the myWallet payment method. New funds cannot be added to myWallet. Remaining balances can be used until October 31, 2021. After November 1, 2021, all parents with remaining balances will be refunded. Other School Cash Online payment options continue to be available through eCheque or credit card. Registration is easy - learn more on the School Cash Online webpage.
 
Did you know?
 
  • The School Cash Online website and the Register for School Cash Online Instructions have a Google Translate dropdown menu so users can see content, items and instructions in their preferred language.
  • School Cash Online users only need to register once and attach each child once. The students will be attached to the user account all the way up to grade 12. 
  • School Cash Online has guest checkout to purchase items that do not have student attachments.
  • School Cash Online can be accessed from smartphones, tablets and computers.
  • Payment can be made by credit card and eCheque (electronic cheque).
  • Refunds for items paid through School Cash Online can be made to the original method of payment up to 360 days later.
Trustee Electoral Zone Boundary Review

The OCDSB has 12 elected trustees and each trustee represents one electoral zone. These zones must be based on the City’s ward boundaries. The City of Ottawa has adopted a new ward structure that will be used for the next three municipal elections. The OCDSB must adjust its trustee zone boundaries to align with these new wards. Visit our consultation page to learn more, review our preliminary electoral zone models, and share your feedback.

We will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting to share more details on Tuesday, November 2nd at 7:00 p.m. You can register at this link.

It is important to note a review of electoral zone boundaries does not impact on the school attendance boundary - where students go to school is not affected by electoral zone boundary changes.

Reminders
School Council Year-end Report - Due October 31

School council year end reports must be submitted to the school principal and the Policy Analyst by October 31 of each school year. If you have not already,
it's time to start drafting your year-end report. Board Policy P.014.SCO School Councils requires school councils to prepare an annual report on the school council activities, including fundraising. Below are some points that could help you draft your report.

  • Your school council’s mission and vision 
  • Members of the school council 
  • Note from the Chair
  • Fundraising activities by the school council
  • Other activities by the school council
  • Spending plans of raised funds
  • Comments for the successor school council
School Council Year-End Financial Reporting

Your council may want to start drafting their financial report using this Google Form: https://forms.gle/xMWphjTA5Ri5fpSt6. School council year end financial reports were due on September 17th. If you have not already submitted your report, please do so as soon as possible. Typically, school council’s financial reporting year ends on July 31. However, the Google Form will allow you to select your fiscal year for the report. Please ensure the opening balance for this year matches the closing balance from the previous year’s report. The opening balance plus funds collected less funds spent equals the closing balance.

The Google Form will ask for the following information:

  • School Name
  • School Council Chair
  • School Council Banking Arrangements
  • Fiscal Year Date Range
  • Reconciled opening balance of all bank accounts, investments and cash on hand separate from the school on fiscal start date, i.e. August 1, 2020. (Please use reconciled opening balance instead of actual bank balance)
  • The gross amount collected in school council accounts separate from the school during the fiscal year, i.e. August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. (Please enter all funds collected within the fiscal year, including outstanding deposits; i.e. deposits dated within the fiscal year)
  • The amount spent in school council accounts separate from the school during the fiscal year, i.e. August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. (Please enter the amount spent within the fiscal year, including all uncleared cheques; i.e. cheques dated within the fiscal year)
  • Reconciled closing balance of all bank accounts, investments and cash on hand separate from the school on fiscal year-end, i.e. July 31, 2021. (Closing balance = opening balance + funds collected - funds spent and should match the reconciled closing balance as shown on your trial balance instead of the actual bank balance)
  • Portion of the above gross amount collected which was processed through the school’s School Cash Online program where the funds were transferred from the school to the school council bank account

In cases where the school council’s banking arrangements are administered by the school, it is not necessary to provide the financial details because the school council’s financial information will be reflected within the school’s financial report. Instead please use the form to identify your banking arrangements.
School Council Records
 
Does your school council have questions about how to manage their records? Records that contain financial information, such as those that pertain to School Generated Funds, are kept for the current year, plus 6 years. As such, financial records from the 2014/2015 school year can be destroyed. School Council meeting minutes are required to be maintained for the current school year, plus 5 years. Thus, the 2014/2015 minutes can also be destroyed. When destroying records, please be sure to shred anything which contains personal or sensitive information. If you have records for destruction, you can bring them to the school, boxed and clearly marked “school council records for shredding”.
 
Corporate Records welcomes questions with regard to document maintenance and can be reached through email at Corporate.Records@ocdsb.ca.
Further School Council information and resources can be found on our website.
Board and Committee Meetings
The next public Committee of the Whole meeting will be held on October 12th, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Watch the meeting live here.

Upcoming Board and Committee Meetings: 


For a summary of our board meetings, read our Boardroom Newsbriefs here.
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