The LHS School Council is a group of primarily parents and guardians, as well as students, administrators and other representatives from the school community.  Your School Council represents, and is a resource for, all parents. We welcome all input and invite all parents[1][1] to come to meetings and join Council with their ideas, opinions, questions and/or concerns. 

Our purpose.

School councils play a vital role in the education system in Ontario. They provide a forum through which parents and other members of school communities can contribute to improving student achievement and school performance.  The purpose of a school council is to improve student achievement and enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.  School Council is a recognized and supported forum for parents to engage the school Administration, Board, teachers, non-teaching staff and of course, students.  It is a forum within which open dialogue allows all views to be heard and considered.

Parents benefit from participation in School Council.

Parents who participate in School Councils benefit in many ways.  They frequently report feeling much better about their School because they understand what is going on academically, socially, and environmentally.  This awareness leads to more fruitful interactions with their children.  In addition, parents gain a greater understanding of how the public education system works, its strengths and challenges.  Parents can discover how they can help address the challenges by voicing their opinions and working towards solutions in a collaborative way to make their child’s educational experience the best it can be.

Clarification of our ‘brand’.

Over the years, this Council has used different names when reaching out to parents. You may have seen “Parent Council”, “Parent Advisory Council”, “School Advisory Council” and “School Parent Council”.  To ensure clarity, as well as more accurately reflect the Ministry of Education legislation supporting the function and purpose of School Councils, the name “LHS School Council” will now be used exclusively.

Have an idea or concern?

Your School Council wants to ensure that everyone feels welcome at Council and understands how to put their thoughts forward.  There are two main pathways for parents to have their ideas supported at Council.

  1. Attend a Meeting.  All parents are welcome at any meeting.  Bring your thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns to the meeting and you will get the time to discuss it.  At every meeting there will be an opportunity for new issues to be raised and put before the group. You can also contact the Chair/Co-Chair a week prior to the meeting to have your item placed into the Agenda. 
  2. Contact a Council Member.  Council Meeting attendance is not a necessity to express your ideas or thoughts.  You are more than welcome to contact any Council Member and they will attempt to answer your question or bring your ideas or concerns to the Meeting on your behalf.  A very good place to start is with the Co-Chair and/or Secretary.  Their e-mail addresses are included with the weekly Friday Parent Bulletin.  You can also find a full list of Council Members posted just outside of the Main Office door.  These members are happy to speak with any parent on any matter.

Levels of Involvement.

There are many levels at which to get involved in your child’s education through the School Council.  Most don’t take up a lot of time, as Council initiatives are usually group efforts with a few people doing portions of the work.  Council operates best on a ‘the more the merrier’ system. 

Suggestions for ways to get involved:

Council meetings.

The first 30 minutes of the meeting are dedicated to ‘information transfer’.  Parents are welcome to attend just this portion of the meeting if they wish – to hear from and engage with Principal Plonka and Student Captains – it is a great way to get an understanding of what is going on within the school. 

Current specific Council initiatives will then be reported on, discussed and appropriate decisions made.  At every meeting there will be ample opportunity for new issues to be raised and put before the group. 

At LHS, we strive to ensure that our School Council maintains the openness of the dialogue that currently exists.  At this time, our Council is fairly casual with just enough ‘structure’ to allow an effective and efficient use of everyone’s time, while not burdening the Council meetings in procedure. This balance between structure / procedure and informality / flexibility evolves over time to meet the needs of the parents attending.

Minutes are taken at each meeting and are subsequently posted on the LHS website.  Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month in the library (excluding December and June).  Exact dates are shown on the Calendar and on the Meeting Schedule on the school website.  A sample agenda is also available on the school website and each meeting’s agenda is distributed by the School in the Friday email before each meeting.  Meetings begin at 6:30 PM and generally adjourn around 8:30 PM.  

 

Your input makes a difference.

It is through the School Council that Principals and school boards, in turn, must consult with school council members on a variety of matters that affect student learning. They must also consider recommendations made by school councils and report back to the councils on how they plan to act on their advice.  Principal Plonka’s reports are very informative and provide Council with excellent background on which the Council makes decisions.

‘Members’ of School Council.

Every parent with a child/children at LHS can become a member[2][2]. Ideally, the membership of the school council should reflect the diversity of its school community. Officially, parents must form the majority of members on the council. There are opportunities for teaching and non-teaching staff as well as other school community members to also be Members of School Council.

The Decision Making Process.

It is a very simple and efficient process.  Decisions are made after open discussion with everyone present at a meeting.  The Chair keeps us on topic and at the appropriate time asks the floor for a ‘motion’ on a decision.  A vote by all those present who are eligible to vote decides the outcome of the issue.

Voter Eligibility.

At the present time, and subject to change by Council, all council “members” are eligible to vote, including the Student Captains. The Principal is a non-voting Council member.   As a parent, in general, attendance at a meeting currently establishes your membership; therefore, if you are in attendance, you can vote on any matter before the Council.  A minimum attendance requirement (number of meetings) or a formal election requirement, in order to vote, may be adopted in the future.

Current Council Initiatives:

As of November 2013 the primary focus of the Council is on the following initiatives

1.                  Reaching out to Parents – Goals are to ensure that all parents

a.       know that the Council represents them and is a resource for all

b.      understand  their input contributes to the success of their children’s education

c.       feel comfortable in approaching the Council, and

d.      know how to participate in Council

2.                  Understanding the needs of the Students and Teachers – Listening to the students and teachers to understand how the School Council can help them and acting upon those findings.

3.                  Bus Service – Goal is to alleviate ongoing unacceptable levels of service from TTC on route from East York.  At the October 22nd meeting, a representative from the TTC came to the meeting and informed us that due to Council’s actions, an additional bus will be added to the 56/56B route starting January.  Councillor John Parker was also in attendance and was instrumental in assisting the Council in achieving this goal.

4.                  WiFi Infrastructure – Goal is to enhance the capacity of the current WiFi system to allow for consistent and reliable coverage in the majority of the school.  Currently there is consistent coverage in the Library and certain labs/classrooms only.  This initiative will require fundraising and the Council will be notifying Parents of the details when they become available.

5.                  Caring and Safe Schools – Goal is to ensure all students feel safe at LHS

6.                  Speaker Series – Council has hosted two very successful events over the past two years by presenting speakers who have touched on issues which are relevant and important to education as they relate to our students.  Council will continue this program this year and we are currently discussing the subjects that are most appropriate to address.  Parents are encouraged to make suggestions on issues that concern their children or themselves.

 

For more information on LHS School Council please feel free to contact anyone of our members or Principal Plonka

 

 

 

 



 



[1][1] “Parents” shall mean both parents and guardians

 

[2][2] We have an unlimited number of parent member spots on the Council. As such, all parents that attend the September meeting (the first meeting within the first 30 days of the school year) are automatically elected by acclamation and become members. Parents that attend the second and future meetings have generally been added as members.