September 18, 2018

SWC School Council Minutes

September 18, 2018

Attendees: Wanda Mills-Boone, Louise Cesario, Breanna Durnin, Lisa Rea, Philip Mansfield, Cara Baas, Jillian Ade-Sibbitt, Margaret Sambol, Pam Woolridge, Jenn O’Reilly, Naomi Elias, Katherine Percival, Amanda Lancaster, Carolyn Berezowsky, Fiona Warren, Harinder Batth, Melissa Forrest, Rebecca Johnston, T-C D’Agostino, Wendy Mansfield, Guixiang Chen, Holly O’Byrne, Jiali Guo, Jeyanthi Sivasambu, Olga Blais, Jude Girard, Abdelhamid Mammeri, Marie-Hélène Felt

Meeting called to order at 5:35 p.m.

Welcome - Philip
The package includes the agenda for tonight, minutes from our last meeting, the treasurer’s report, information on the QSP fundraiser and information on council positions, which will be voted on at our October meeting.
All of the five candidates for school board trustee for zone three have been invited to either this meeting or our next meeting. The candidates will be given five minutes to overview their position and priorities and five minutes to answer questions. Specific issues may be addressed with the candidates after the meeting. One candidate didn’t respond. Amy Wellings is here tonight. Three candidates are coming to our October meeting. Election day is Oct. 22.  
Welcome to new parents. Hopefully you will come back next time.
Dates are set for upcoming events including movie nights, trivia night and the pizza program.
Philip is the vice-chair from last year and stepping in to chair this meeting and the next meeting because our current chair, Scott Dawson, is unable to attend.
We must keep copies from our minutes from the past four years to meet OCDSB requirements. Motion to approve the June 2018 minutes moved by Katherine. Seconded by Jenn O’Reilly. Motion approved.

Principal’s report – Wanda Mills-Boone
Both Wanda and Louise are new to the school, but they are settling in and loving every minute of it.
Thank you to members of parent council who supported the kiss-and-ride, and encouraging safe routines for drop-off and pick-up times.
We had five kindergarten classes at the beginning of the year and by Wednesday we had six kindergarten classes. We are still in the process of hiring, as are now down three ECEs, 1 EA and a 0.6 teacher. This is an issue across the board. Hopefully by the end of September, we will have a full staff team and EDP will be a bit more stable
Gr. 4 classes worked with a Terry Fox Foundation speaker to organize our first assembly for Gr. 1 to 6 students. Sept. 26 is our run day. Rain date is Oct. 1.
Sept. 27 is photo day and we are using the same photographer as last year.
Running club has started on Mondays and Thursdays until mid-December or weather prohibits.
Drama club is starting Wednesday at second recess for Gr. 4, 5 and 6. There will be two productions: a holiday/winter theme show in December and a larger production in late spring.
Ukulele club has started on Fridays at first recess. Mme. Perry will try to run another recess as well to accommodate boys soccer. There is a lot of interest so it is is for Gr. 4, 5, and 6 for now, but will open it up to Gr. 3s if enough ukuleles are available (we have 30.)
Thursday, Sept. 20 is meet the teacher night from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
IEP drafts are coming home soon. Parents can provide comments on the consultation page. Actual IEPs are coming home on Oct. 16.  The format is new, but the content and process should be the same, so parents will need to look for a new page to sign.
Prioritizing learning time for students is important to Wanda, so asking parents to give notice in email or agenda when kids need to be picked up to minimize classroom interruptions with phone calls from the office. Please book appointments around nutrition breaks/recess and limit morning lates.
O Canada is played outside and announcements are being held until first break and are done during eating time, which is improving listening and reducing the number of interruptions in their learning time.
We are working on respectful entry. The kids are lining up well but they are pushing to get through the door. We have moved around where children exit so Gr. 1 to 3s come down the stairwell by the gym and Gr. 4 to 6s go out the back door. The goal is to get the kids to hold on the rail and go single file on a regular basis so they are prepared to do the same during fire drills or a real emergency.  
Schools Cash Online will be used for most payments this year, but it is a continuing learning curve for staff. Please direct people who need help to the office. We are working on adding a line to support another student when school trip or other financial requests come home.
Synervoice, the board’s group email and voicemail system, is new to Wanda, but she is learning to send them at times that parents prefer to get the message. If not on the list, please contact the office. Wanda prefers to use the email to the voicemail as people change their phone numbers more often.

Q – Would it be possible to print field trip forms so the signed portion that goes back to the school is not double-sided with the sheet with all the information that parents would like to keep?
A – Yes.

Q – Would it be possible to list all of the clubs and activities available to students on the website including information such as day, time of meeting, grades invited to attend, teacher in charge and an activity description so parents can encourage their children to join?
A – Wanda is working on making the website more helpful to parents. It may be possible to share club calendar to the google calendar. Parents may need to click the “read more” button on the website to see what’s coming up.

Teacher updates:
Mrs. Rea
We’re still learning how to line up, but for the most part the tears have stopped. Kindergarteners will walk about the track for Terry Fox.

Mme. Perry
Field trips are coming up to Baxter Conservation Area for Gr. 4 and 5. Gr. 5 and 6s are going to MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre.
Juniors are excited to be a year older. Sixes excited to be sixes. Fives excited to be lunch monitors: they wrote applications and all got hired. They are already looking for subs for lunch monitoring so they can attend their clubs. They are very keen about wearing their SWC gear. .
Cross country running is starting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.
Running club is during the day.
Drama and ukulele club is for junior students. Some space may be available for super keen primary students.
SWC received a lot of art supplies at the end of last year for junior students including water colour paint and paper. Junior students are moving beyond primary tempura paint, so with this donation, there are opportunities for more sophisticated art work.

Treasurer’s report: Cara (see attached documents)
Traditionally our school council earns money one year and spends it in the following year, which allows us to spend money for teacher requests early in the year.  
The income statement shows that our major fundraisers were pizza sales, movie nights, Fun Night and QSP. We raised about $16,000 last year.
On the balance sheet, our assets are $19,500 and we have a little under $200 of liabilities. The page with spending motions gives an idea of the things we spent money on last year including $8 per student, $75 per classroom, council-support, and school-led initiatives funds. We usually pass motions in November for spending.
Now that we know the total we raised in 2017-2018, Cara will write the cheque for $160 to the Education Foundation as per our One Per Cent Challenge. The goal of this project is to encourage us to think beyond our own school and help support students across our city who are in need. The Education Foundation helps level the playing field for students by supporting field trips for students with economic barriers to going, providing breakfast programs so kids are ready to learn, among other programs.  
Council is encouraging teachers to bring ideas of what would help them in their classroom in a Dragon’s Den style, (but last year we ended up funding everything.) We ask teachers to present in October and vote in November. Last year, we supported yard improvements and created “Grab-and-go” bags for outdoor learning. We have about $9,000 for discretionary teacher-led projects or other ideas.

Fundraising initiatives for the year
Carolyn – QSP program
QSP is a magazine and cookie dough company. Last year, we sent the initial package and one reminder email and we had 44 participants, or about 10 per cent of the school. This year, targeting to get the word out more.
QSP offers a 30-minute student assembly to kick off the campaign and get kids excited about fundraising. Is it worth taking away from learning time to do this? We would need to let QSP know within the next week. There are posters to put up around the school, but would need help to do it. This year, we could try more frequent email reminders to increase revenue.
Kids have two weeks in October to sell magazine subscriptions and cookie dough, and qualify for prices. The magazine sales go on all year long, but the prizes are only for the two-week campaign period. Cookies are sold during those two weeks only because there is a single delivery date and the pick-up date for cookie dough would be Nov. 21. In the past, we have done an envelope stuffing party after council with four to five volunteers.

Carolyn is looking to pass the baton because she’ll only be on council for this year and next year. She would like to mentor someone with a younger student who plans on being on council for a few years. It’s a commitment just for the fall.
Carolyn needs a motion to buy a lockbox so teachers can feel more comfortable putting cash orders in for the office. Wanda needs to look into it because we can’t use school safe because of the board rules on handling cash. If needed, we can do a motion via email, but we need to have this resolved before the next meeting.
Mme. Perry says an assembly isn’t necessary: all we need is to show the kids a slide of the prizes. Give them a visual and show them the level and they will be as into it as if there was an assembly.
We can encourage more online purchasing to avoid the cash issue at school.
About 30 per cent of the purchase price of all items goes to council.

Wendy  - NAC concert
Last year a SWC parent donated a concert by a NAC string quartet, who played about 50 minutes and answered some student questions.  
This year, we would like to do an NAC concert on a Friday evening in April and open it up to families, called “An Evening at the Symphony.”
The NAC offers a percussion performance for $250 or a brass quintet for $330, but booking depends on the orchestra schedule. There’s a 20 per cent discount if we book before Oct. 1.
Wendy moves to approve up to $350 to book musicians to perform in April at the discounted early bird rate, with the intention that we will sell tickets to the event to make back this expense. Margaret seconds. Motion approved.
One parent asked about having a school-time performance for the kids who might not come to an evening performance.  Could we ask the parent who donated last year if he or she is willing to fund again? Can the school fund a concert as music is part of the curriculum?

Naomi and Jenn
Keep all your McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to donate to Fun Night.
Movie nights are among most successful fundraisers and Fun Night to celebrate at the end of the school year. Last year, we spent just shy of $5,000 on Fun Night and made $1,300.
We welcome any fundraising ideas, but generally want the person suggesting the fundraising idea to get involved in making it a reality.
This year, Naomi and Jenn are looking at improving the library to make it more elementary friendly (the shelves are high because the school was built as a 7/8 school). They have a meeting coming up with Chapters.
Fun Night is June 14.
Movie night is Oct. 19.

Our biggest fundraiser is pizza, but the volunteers who run pizza are getting run down. We have a new sign up for volunteers and will post the link on the council side of the website. We need volunteers on Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There are experienced volunteers who will teach new volunteers, but it is very well organized.

Amy Wellings - Candidate for zone 3 school board trustee

  • Made decision to run for school board trustee in the spring.
  • Mom to seven year old, who goes to school in the OCDSB.
  • Background is in human resources, working in high tech and for Hydro Ottawa.
  • Lives in Barrhaven (Zone three is Barrhaven and Knoxdale-Merivale). Been in Ottawa since 1999.
  • On the Board for the Ottawa Food Cupboard. Founded Barrhaven Kids Spreading Kindness, which is a kids club.
  • Manager on hockey team for Nepean Wildcats.
  • Back in spring, worked with organization called Uniting for Children and Youth, addressing how do we create the world our kids need from the educational perspective, and heard a lot of challenges from parents.
  • Five to 10 per cent of voters are very engaged, but many people don’t know they get to vote for school board trustee. They vote for council and mayor, but don’t even know the names for trustee. Sometimes they leave it blank.
  • Transparency and communication are utmost importance.
  • Rather than one-off consultations, Amy wants ongoing discussion so she can be an effective advocate and be a voice for you.
  • Want to make sure schools are safe and inclusive environments – interested in anti-bullying and discrimination so kids can focus on learning
  • Wants to add supports for mental health and addictions – so not all on the teacher’s shoulders.
  • Supports so kids aren’t falling through the cracks.
  • Community voices need to be heard at the board table.

Q: What is your position on the gifted program?
Amy: Willing to look at it. Not educated on it yet because not on board. My voice is your voice. Want to make sure not overspending. Pro-congregated.

Amy – what are our issues?
A - Dislike being asked for opinion and then have board do what they intended anyway. It discourages future involvement.
A – would love to hear that the reason is financially based, instead of always having it spun as the latest research shows.
A – would love to have a clearer understanding of the rules and obstacles that stop us from doing things like yard improvements.

Amy wants to build relationships. So not just reaching out when a big project is going on. She wants ongoing townhalls so hearing concerns right out of the gate. Talking about kindness, inclusion and safe spaces. Then communicating back, why a decision didn’t go the way they hoped.
Communication will happen through regular townhalls, coming to council meetings, newsletter from the trustee, facebook page.
Can’t win every fight, but can promise to communicate regularly because can control that. Not just making popcorn at events, but really knowing what is going on.

Philip – Equator coffee
Equator Coffee is sold at a reduced rate as a fundraiser. This year, coffee will be offered every two months, rather than every month.
Philip is making inquiries to Bridgehead because it is more well known.

Amanda – FundScript
Is it possible to make FundScript more user friendly? Right now, you need to make an account and pay directly through the bank to buy gift cards and 2 to 3 per cent of the cost of the gift card goes to the school. The only way to make it easier is to use assumes more risk by handling all those gift cards out at school on a specific date and requires more volunteer work. A new volunteer could take this on if anyone wanted.
School cash online would eat up profit because they take a three per cent cut.
Online option allows mail directly to homes, so parent council don’t have to handle all that monetary value.

Harinder – Yoga and Mindfulness
Wants input on introducing a wellbeing initiative to reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
Little Souls Yoga runs a private program after school and an in-school program for kids.
The after school option could work like the art lessons at the school.  

Wanda – Mindfulness is part of the school learning plan under wellness. Yoga could go under that.
We are setting up a Body Break room right now. It will be a space for kids to come when they need to have a break. Some students will be working on yoga moves and breathing.

The students have 20 minutes a day minimum of physical activity incorporated during the day.

Parent – it would be better to educate teachers on yoga, rather than a class for kids. An after-school program would only appeal to a smaller group.

Other items
Rebecca moves spend up to $2,000 to cover council support for the year, including the OCASC membership fee, office supplies, bank fee, child care fee, and food for council meetings. $500 in support comes from the school board. Carolyn seconds. Motion passes.

Philip reviewed council positions and encouraged people to ask questions so they will be prepared to put their name forward in October. Bring a friend to our next meeting.

Our next meeting is Oct. 9, and follows a schedule of the second Tuesday of the month, except for March when we do not meet.  

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2020 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.