School Council Update #4

December 4, 2020

School Council Information

I hope you are well. You will notice some changes in the School Council Newsletter this year. With so much parent communication, we have been working to ensure our messaging is more focused for the intended audience. Going forward, the School Council Newsletter will deal with school council issues. We will continue to provide broader parent updates through Keeping You Connected. As we work through these changes, we welcome your feedback about the content and frequency of messages.
Sharing Common Questions and New Initiatives

We are really interested in learning from you and how you have adapted your practice at school council to deal with the many changes of this school year. Thanks to all of you for your commitment to the school community and for making those changes happen, including the first ever online elections!  

If you have questions or if you have stories you would like to share about new ways of working, we would like to hear from you at We will respond to your questions and will share questions and answers and new ways of doing business in our newsletter, so that all members will be able to benefit. 
Update on PRO Grants

The province has changed the process for Parents Reaching Out Grants. Instead of a grant application process, the province now transfers funding to the school district. This year, the OCDSB received approximately $39,000 in funding which must be spent before the end of the school year. Last month, the Parent Involvement Committee had a discussion about how these funds could best be used to support parent involvement at the school level.

An important part of the discussion was the feedback received last year in response to questions from the Board and in discussion at OCASC. We heard the desire for access to some of the learning opportunities made possible with PRO Grant funding without the administrative burden of grant applications and detailed reporting.  Based on this feedback and a great discussion at PIC, we are in the process of developing a plan for some Parent Learning Sessions which would be available to school councils. Stay tuned for more information early in the new year!
OCDSB Speaker Series with Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe -
December 9th, 2020

OCDSB is pleased to present a Speaker Series event on Resilience with Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Transformational, engaging, and thought-provoking, Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe’s session will provide practical strategies grounded in global research and case studies that help foster resiliency within others and ourselves. School councils are encouraged to share this event with their community.
School Council Fundraising - Finding new opportunities

Many councils have been discussing strategies for fundraising in COVID times. With restrictions on social gatherings this year, many traditional fundraising activities are simply not possible. Instead of looking for ways to replace fundraising dollars, this year might be an opportunity for school councils to focus on other priorities - community building, school council communications, updating the school council constitution, developing a workplan, developing strategies to increase and/or diversify school council membership. There are so many things that councils often wish they had time for...without fundraising taking up meeting time, maybe this is the year to tackle something on that list.
Online Meetings

Now that you have some experience with online meetings, it might be helpful to review the Guide to Google Meet for School Councils which includes some information about how to join a meeting, running a meeting and meeting etiquette.
2019-2020 Director's Annual Report to the Community

The OCDSB has released our 2019-2020 Director's Annual Report to the Community. This year, the full report is available in a new digital format, which looks back on some of the highlights of a very unusual school year. You can read the full report here.
Parent Involvement Committee Appoints New Members

We received many fantastic applications for membership on the Parent Involvement Committee. On November 18th, the Committee appointed 5 new parent members. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the PIC membership, we extend our sincere thanks to outgoing PIC Chair Mostafizur Khan who served the Committee for 5 years.  To learn more about the Committee, please visit the PIC page on our website. The next meeting of the Committee will be held on January 13th, 2021.
School Council Insurance

Insurance coverage for school councils is paid for by the District and is provided through the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) and Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited Brokers for the policy period 1 November 2020 to 1 November 2021.
The school council liability coverage provides protection for the school council executive members and all volunteers acting on behalf of the school council that may face lawsuits arising out of their activities for the school council. The coverage is for various types of liabilities arising out of injuries to third parties or damage to leased or borrowed premises.  Insurance Coverage Highlights include:
  •  Annual policy, effective November 1st of each year;
  • $2 million liability coverage;
  • Coverage includes: negligent acts causing bodily injury and property damage, personal injury and advertising liability, tenants legal liability, non-owned automobile liability, errors and omissions, directors and officers wrongful acts;
  • Coverage exclusions include pyrotechnics and fireworks, sports teams and all organized sport activities, skiing, fitness training, gymnastics, and stage/prop construction.

Principals have been provided with a more detailed memorandum on school council insurance and a copy of the insurance certificate. For more information, please obtain a copy of the memo from your principal.
Board Organizational Meeting - December 1st, 2020

The Board of Trustees held its annual Organizational meeting this week. At this meeting, the Board elects or appoints members or other persons to standing, statutory, ad hoc, special purpose, or other committees and Board representatives to other organizations and agencies. Trustee Lynn Scott was re-elected as Chair of the Board and Trustee Keith Penny was re-elected as Vice Chair. Visit our website to learn more.
Holiday Break

The holiday season is right around the corner. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still very present in our local community, therefore, Ottawa Public Health recommends finding memorable ways to celebrate that will keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible. Visit the OPH website to learn more.
Mental Health Supports and Resources

We know that these times are stressful, and it is normal to feel anxious while we deal with the ongoing pandemic. If you or someone you know is struggling, there are resources available on our website for students, staff, and families.

Remember, no matter where you are or what you’re going through, you don’t have to go through it alone.
Further School Council information and resources can be found on our website.
Board and Committee of the Whole Meetings
The next public Committee of the Whole Meeting will be held on December 8th, 2020, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Watch the meeting live here.

Upcoming Committee Meetings: 

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