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January 9, 2020

Sir Winston Churchill School Council

January 9, 2020

Attendees: Wanda Mills-Boone, Louise Cesario, Margaret Sambol, Fiona Warren, Cara Baas, Amanda Lancaster, Pam Woolridge, Harinder Batth, Rebecca Johnston, Philip Mansfield, Wendy Mansfield, Olga Blais, Jason Hinek, Leila Chinaei, Cindy Chan, Karen Roberts, Angela Boudreau, Duygu Morewood, Scott Dawson, Joel Lendare

Regrets: Jillian Ade-Sibbitt, Naomi Elias, Jenn O’Reilly, Carolyn Berezowsky, Katherine Percival, Kelly Manweiler, Mark Bylsma, Emily Murphy

Meeting called to order at 5:34 p.m.

 

Principal’s Report

Wifi: Board is doing a re-modernization of its WiFi and will be coming in to revamp our WiFi mid-January. It will affect attendance email address for one morning because data coverage will be down.  A note will be sent out to parents.

Health and Safety: Radon gas being tested in SWC for the next four or so months. SWC will get a report.

Job Action: It continues. Expecting that things will ramp up quickly in the next few weeks. Not sure what it will look like, but an email arrived saying news is coming soon. Laughologist date-setting being pushed a bit in light of this event. Few activities at SWC are practiced outside school hours, so work-to-rule not likely to have a significant impact. No insights on if/when there may be another strike day, which might impact schools being opened. Movie night is cancelled for January.

Kinder info night: January 14 is info night. Jan 20 registration starts. No sign and the board forgot to put us on the website, so pass the info along!

Thank you for Trandansa.

Snack Bin: Not just for kids who can’t afford food. There are some kids who can’t afford enough food. Some kids eat their lunch by first snack on a given day and are hungry. The bin is available to everyone, however not intended for parents to use as a normal occurrence unless it is needed.  There was discussion around whether or not an opt-in vs opt-out form needed to be sent.  What is in this bin? They must meet a very stringent code for what goes out and how much.  Fat and sugar content strictly dictated. Goal to start with 40 snacks/day. The snack offerings will change day to day.  Guidelines around environmental impact? It is being considered, but economics (time and $) often strongest considerations.

Treasurer’s report

Donations quickly growing.

Spreadsheet moved around into better categories, e.g. student discretionary fund

Library support $1,000 for Mr. Brandy’s desk. Library fund down to $0. Naomi’s receipts total $366 more than was left in the library fund. We should consider a motion to reimburse the difference.

Last year, we allocated $1,000 to junior yard improvements. This amount is still on hold/flagged, if nobody interested, it should be put back in to general funds.

Discussion around funds raised last year but spent this year… Important that parents know that we normally fundraise one year and spend it the next.

 

Spending

Wanda’s thoughts on money allocated last year for yard improvements: the yard can always use improvements. If it is left, it should be brought back to the junior council to discuss how it should be spent. The council has great ideas.  We need to confirm what rules exist for the funds… i.e. can it be spent on balls? Does it have to be permanent? There’s a tricky part of the yard, near the basketball area because it’s a nice sitting area… and jumping off the wall in the winter. Lots of kids like to sit on the rocks in that area to read. Some permanent equipment should maybe be directed toward at least some permanent features. Additional funding may need to be obtained through a grant or something.  Is there a separate pot of funds to replenish the classroom activity bags? Don’t know. Did we get feedback form the teachers on how well they worked? Yes. Bags are nice and sturdy with good equipment. Junior council will be asked for ideas to use the funds for.

Suggestion from Margaret… given November and December meetings were very ‘spending heavy’ and some discussions resulted in the need for some research and/or desire for future discussion, let’s hold off on all spending discussions for another month until we have all the info on all the different things and/or new options, e.g. fund remaining library, replenish outdoor bag, etc.

Gift cards for staff:  Amount of funds to be spent approved last month, but we did not determine what store. Last year’s survey indicated Dollarama was a winner.  Pam has volunteered to write to Dollarama and see if they will provide some extra cards if we buy a lot.  Thank you notes were sent last year, there was interest to do the same this year.  Margaret will get Dollarama note cards for us to write at the February meeting.  Notes will be hand written!

Bank statements: We pay $2.25 to have our bank statements printed. Any objections to cancelling this service in lieu of downloading electronically?

-concerns that by not having the document from the bank we might risk losing track of the document for accountability

-treasurer could print the online version every month for council meeting and store a pdf every month on our drive.

 

Fundraising

Movie night: cancelled due to tired volunteers, overcrowding issues, job action. Margaret will be posting something on Facebook looking for volunteers to take over the pizza coordination and movie night coordination roles so they can continue next year. Wanda will also email something out.

 

Multicultural Night

No update. It could still run even with NO teacher involvement due to job action. Planned for May, during education week (May 4-8).  Likely May 7.

 

Communications

Newsletter: draft version circulated for comment. We need to be more diligent in letting parents know what our council is doing. Likely to be sent to parents by email (in text and as a pdf attachment) because due to work action nothing can be put into backpacks. Newsletters will not be monthly, but will be generated if/when there is new information to be communicated.

      Not clear that ‘school council’ is a parent council

      Make picture at top adults instead of kids and/or something more representative of council

      Wording changes proposed to text; suggest rounding the numbers

      Include Facebook and Twitter account details (NOTE: a new Twitter account has been created for the school. Old one still live. New one has not been used a lot.)

      Only include spending highlights, not full list

Translation: Discussed in the past and not pursued due to the number of languages we’d need to translate things into. Perhaps we can/should translate some key things into additional languages. Wanda could get info on languages spoken at SWC.  Might the board website have capability to auto-translate??  Yes!!  Kelly will be encouraged to put something brief about what we do together for translation.

 

Looking forward

Gift policy: Cannot bind future council. Point of a gift policy is to be a bit more consistent about who we give gifts to and why.  Challenge is that even if we pass the policy, there’s no guarantee that it will be looked back on (as it’s not part of the constitution).

Draft policy (Read by Margaret):

Proposed Gift Guidelines – SWC Council – January 2020

Sir Winston Churchill School Council depends on a lot of volunteer hours including, but not limited to, parents, teachers, administrators, educational assistants, custodians, high school students, our own students, and community representatives.

We often wish to thank these volunteers with a gift acknowledging their contribution however we have limited funds and an obligation to spend our money according to our stated goals of improving the learning environment at our school.

As such, SWC School Council should consider the following principles when discussing spending on gifts:

  1. Can we afford to thank everyone who has contributed fairly?
  2. Is there an alternative way to show our gratitude? (such as a handwritten note?)
  3. Can we include the thank you gifts as an expense for the event? (for example including $150 in the Fun Night budget to thank the custodians on the night of the event)
  4. Can council consider taking up a collection from council members instead of using council-generated funds? (for example, asking for a $5 contribution for a retirement gift for a long serving staff member)

Discussion highlights:

      On nights where individuals have to do extra work (e.g. custodians on movie night), some sort of acknowledgement should be provided. We should consider including it as a budgeted item in such events.

      Given obligation of council is to spend money on students, we need to be careful with gifts.

      Events like staff appreciation breakfast are VERY much appreciated. Custodians and other staff are also invited to such events. Council’s efforts to clean up after events is also noticed by custodians. Small, token thank-yous without money behind them are appreciated. Most staff would prefer that money be spent on students than on them.

 

Questions to Wanda

Any updates on Miss Johnson’s absence? She will be away until mid-February at the earliest. Ms. K is currently the substitute. She may not be the teacher until Miss Johnson’s return as the position had to be posted.

In light of job action, if parents email teachers, will they be responding? They should still be responding, but it may take longer as they should only be responding during work hours.

Will EQAO be happening? No changes (yet) to elementary dates.

Miss Sonya’s husband died today. Staff going through rough go.

Why no milk? Issues with delivery due to delivery issues. Kids who missed a day of milk, got double milk today.

How do we find out about what clubs are available/offered and for whom?  Wanda will bring this back to staff (once staff meetings resume) so that they can better communicate such info and to suggest that the info be added to the website.

Jason interested in feedback on Microbit program if anybody has kids in it… Eventually he’d like to send some info out to parents. Program is continuing this term. It will hopefully continue for grades 3 and 4 next year, assuming kids are learning and not just having fun. Wanda willing to send a note out to Grade 3 parents about the program.  Jason noted challenges with internet for the programs required. 

Education Foundation: Is it possible to do Twoonie Tuesday on School Cash Online?  Yes!  Education Foundation funds things like the snack bin program.  SWC donated approximately $1,000 last year but received a lot more in support for our students.

Can we get a reminder about Kiss and Ride? Yes.  It may get tricky if job action escalates and teachers cut arrival and departure times tight. 

 

Meeting adjourned at 7:34 p.m.

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