PWSD School Council Chairs and members came together at Sexsmith Secondary School on March 28, 2017 for the second General School Council meeting of the 2016-2017 school year.
Board Chair Dana McIntosh opened the meeting with introductions of trustees and Central Office staff, and provided an update from the Division. To read the Division Update newsletter, visit http://bit.ly/PWSD-DivUpdate-March2017. Ms. McIntosh announced the upcoming trustee election on October 16, 2017, and encouraged school council members to not only share the news, but to also consider running for trusteeship. Nomination Day is scheduled for September 18, 2017. Those interested in learning more about becoming a school board trustee should contact JoAnn Vanstone, PWSD Corporate Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or (780) 831-3053. Resources will be posted on the school division website as they become available, www.pwsd76.ab.ca.
Ralph Paquin, Secretary-Treasurer at PWSD, covered the highlights of Budget 2017, including the possible end to core school fees in the upcoming school year if Bill 1: An Act to Reduce School Fees is passed. The provincial budget includes sufficient grant funds to cover enrolment growth, but there was a slight reduction in Credit Enrolment Units (CEU) revenue for Grades 10-12 students, from 60 to 45. Since the current average student completes 37 CEUs, the impact is not great.
In the second half of his presentation, Mr. Paquin shared pertinent information for School Councils regarding school-based fundraising and fundraising societies. Resources from his presentation will be added to the School Council Toolbox on the PWSD School Councils webpage. Since school boards are publicly funded bodies and are required to include fundraising in their financial statements, funds raised within the school using staff and student resources should be accounted for in the School Generated Funds (SGF). Fundraising that happens off-site and separate from the school, such as casinos and steak suppers, should be recorded with the fundraising society. He also recommended that fundraising societies hold insurance policies with Lloyd Sadd, a firm providing insurance to the majority of school boards in Alberta.
Ms. McIntosh led group discussions and an engagement activity to gather feedback on the suggested changes to PWSD Policy JC – Student Councils, covered in Mr. Paquin's presentation. Complied feedback will be provided to the PWSD Board.
Trustee Stefanie Clarke introduced two representatives from Alberta Health Services (AHS). Kaitlin Niksic has worked with PWSD on its Comprehensive School Health (CSH) initiative. She reviewed the CSH four pillars for action – Healthy School Policy, Teaching and Learning, Partnerships and Services, and Social and Physical Environment – and sought examples from the group on how they are practiced at PWSD schools. Ms. Niksic also reviewed a Wellness Administrative Procedure, recently developed at another school division, which included eliminating unhealthy fundraisers, such as chocolate sales. Danielle Wohlgemuth, Registered Dietician at AHS, introduced an engagement activity on healthy eating and opened the floor for groups to share their feedback. Tools from their presentation will be added to PWSD's online School Council Toolbox.
Melissa Byers, Executive Director of HIV North presented on the education and services available to schools and school councils.
Tyla Savard, Provincial Director for the Alberta School Councils' Association (ASCA) encouraged the group to attend the upcoming ASCA Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 28-30 in Edmonton. Ms. Savard noted that PWSD provides district-wide coverage of the ASCA membership fee, and offers financial support for two representatives from each PWSD School Council to attend the ASCA AGM, along with free busing to and from the event. For schools not sending a delegate to the event, Ms. Savard stressed the importance of completing credential forms and utilizing the allotted proxy votes per School Council. This year, 12 resolutions will be brought forward at the AGM and the group was advised to review them in advance.
For more photos from the General School Councils meeting, visit PWSD's Facebook page.