Westwood School Council

Meeting Minutes

November 13, 2019


Chair:                        Pam Bowie                                Vice-Chair:                Shelley Fisher (regrets)

Secretary:                vacant                                        Networks Rep:                Lorna Spargo

ASCA SCETF:                Lorna Spargo                                Member at Large:        Suzy Miller (regrets)

                                                                                        Shilpa Arvikar


Principal:                Cynthia Shelley

Vice Principals:        Tifanie Book (regrets)                        Craig Upper        (regrets)


Amisha Parikh                        Sweta Shah                        Natesh Mosali                Scott Richardson        

  1. Convene:        7:01 pm

Introductions and welcome

  1. Approval of the Agenda and Minutes: of October 16, 2019:        7:03 pm

Motion 11/13/19/#1

To approve the agenda and the October 16, 2019 Minutes as presented

Moved and Seconded

Shilpa Arvikar and Amisha Parikh



  1. Principal’s Report:        7:05 pm

Honour Roll is 79.5% - 89.4%

Honours with Distinction is 89.5% - 100%

Junior High marks – 4 core subject and PE, if it helps

Senior High marks – based on the criteria for Rutherford Scholarship


Please see the email sent home from Ms. Shelley on November 18

Drills happen on a regular basis

The Division uses Hour Zero protocols to keep our students safe in emergency situations


In the event of an emergency, school staff will be busy following the protocols to keep our children safe

FMPSD will issue messages to inform parents and will send them based on the information and situation that they are dealing with.  It is important for parents to understand that the school CANNOT release your child, even to you, until they have completed all the steps in their protocols.  Please do not rush to the school until notification has been given.  Know that the school’s number one priority is the safety and security of all students

Only 27 parents responded to the Alberta Ed survey sent home to grades 7 and 10 parents in January/February of each year

Your responses help the school determine what is working well and what needs to be adjusted

We improved in most areas, with a decrease in Diploma Acceptable Standard

Staff is working on identifying areas of strength and areas of growth

Volleyball – Sr Zones are in Lloydminster and Jr finals are at Westwood November 16-17

Basketball is starting up next week

Monty Python’s Edukational Show runs from Dec. 4 – 7th (it is family friendly)

Tickets, $15, are available at the front office

Login:                  fmp

Password:          dontshare

If you try to go to My Account and login, it won’t work

  1. New Business
  1. Parental Engagement Opportunities
  1. Choice In Education Survey https://www.alberta.ca/choice-in-education-engagement.aspx 

This survey, from the Department of Education, is intended to gather Albertans’ thoughts on proposed changes to the Education Act which would see changes to the choices of TYPES of schooling for their children, as opposed to programs.  It will impact the distribution of funds to public school, as well.  For a brief overview of the TYPES of education systems, please read the following link from the ASCA website:  https://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/education-in-alberta/the-education-ministry/choice-in-education 

Of interest, is their statement, “ Protect the status and funding of independent schools in legislation given that they save the public education system $168 million annually,” when there is a motion to implement a “voucher system” at their upcoming AGM.  If this motion passes, it will impact the funding that goes to private schools, drawing it away from public schools.

Please inform yourself of the issue and then complete the survey by December 6, 2019.  

If you would like to reach out to our MLA, Tany Yao, his email is FortMcMurray.WoodBuffalo@assembly.ab.ca

And, you can reach the Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, at education.minister@gov.ab.ca or by phone at 780-427-5010

  1. Call for Advocacy Resolutions  https://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/about/the-parent-voice

If there are advocacy resolutions that the school council members would like to see brought forth at the ASCA AGM in April, please contact ASCA Task Force Rep, Lorna Spargo at lspargo@shaw.ca and she will call for a Resolution Committee to be formed.  Resolutions must be in to ASCA by January 15.

  1. Opportunity for member engagement with ASCA Board Members and the Minister of Education  https://www.albertaschoolcouncils.ca/about/board-of-directors/member-engagement.  

The Minister will be a guest on the November 23rd teleconference.  While you can certainly register and participate from the comfort of your own home, if you would be interested in participating in a group setting, contact Task Force/Networks Rep, Lorna Spargo, by November 21, 2019 for further information.  Also, if you have questions that you’d like submitted to be answered, please send them to Lorna by the 21st.

  1. UCP AGM


The UCP membership will meet, at their Nov 29-Dec 1 AGM, to vote on a number of policies which, if passed, will form their platform and mission as they proceed.  We have attached their AGM documents.  There are several resolutions which, if accepted, would or could impact the education system.  

Policy #4

p. 40

Curriculum Assessment (financial literacy)

Policy #7

p. 43

Vision (recognizing parents as the major stakeholder in education)

Policy #8

p. 44

Curriculum & Assessment (curriculum rewrite)

Policy #13

p. 49

Infringement Protection (“protecting rights and freedoms of minorities from tyranny of the majority”)

Policy #15

p. 51

Equitable per-student funding/voucher system

Policy #17

p. 53

Funding of school transportation

Policy #18

p. 54

School Infrastructure Education Policy/non-partisan school-build model

Policy #19

p. 55

Education Quality Council of Alberta

Policy #23

p. 59

Professional Regulatory Organizations

Policy #24

p. 60

All Day Kindergarten

Policy Doc

p. 72

202. Education

These proposed policies will be voted on by members who attend the AGM.  Unfortunately, whether you agree or disagree with these proposed policies, your options are limited unless you are an attending UCP member.

*Of note, some of the proposed policies appeared to imply that there were problems with the Alberta curriculum and how students were performing.  We briefly discussed that according to the most recently published PISA results (international competency tests of 15-year olds in Science, Math, and Reading completed every three years) which were released in 2015, Canada, and more specifically, Alberta, were competing very well on the international stage.  The newest results, for the 2018 test, are expected to be released on December 3, 2019.  How Alberta students perform will be a reflection of the curriculum students are currently using which has not changed substantially in many, many years.  (The new curriculum revisions that were supposed to have been implemented in grades K-4 in September were halted by the government.)

http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisa-2015-results-in-focus.pdf (the actual OECD synopsis report)

https://www.cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/365/PISA2015-CdnReport-EN.pdf (the Canadian data taken from the OECD results)

  1. Networks:
  1. Meeting Dates:          Networks Committee Meetings:          Oct 7, 2019/Jan 13, 2020/Mar 2, 2020

                        Joint Networks Meetings:                  Nov 4, 2019/Feb 3, 2020/Apr 6, 2020

  1. Report

i.  We discussed the District’s budget cuts:

*ECS screening for pre-K has resulted in fewer students qualifying for Mild-moderate status and reduced the number of students eligible for early intervention.  The impact on basic grants and ECS Class Size Initiative (CSI) is $860K less.

*KEEP program fees are not covering the cost of the program.

*Inclusive Ed grant is now funded on the last year’s frozen count, impacting FMPSD by reducing funding this year by $145K.

*Class Size Initiative (CSI) grants removal has removed $3.17 million instructional dollars.

*Classroom Improvement Fund non-continuation is a reduction in funding from prior years of $681.5K.

*Fees replacement grant is a reduction in funding of:         $274K Transportation

                                                                        $430K Instruction

*Transition grant has provided $1.14 million in one-time funding

*Total impact in 2019/2020 is $5,560,500 less the one time transition grant of $1.14M = $4,420,500 and without the grant for 2020/2021 = $5,560,500.

Senior Administration is working with the Board of Trustees on a multi-year transition plan to balance the budget.  This amounts to a 5% reduction in the FMPSD budget.

ii.  We discussed Hour Zero, emergency protocols, and the need for standard Division messaging.

iii.  We spoke about Election sites, problems and advantages

iv.  We did a group activity based on the questions that we asked at the last School Council meeting:

  1. What role does the use of technology play in your child’s/children’s education? 

        How does it help? How does it hinder?

What role does it play in keeping you informed and updated on school happenings and events?

        How does it help? How does it hinder? 

2)   What types of learning activities benefit your child most?

What type of learning environment does your child learn best in?

How does your child prefer to demonstrate their understanding of what they have been taught? (test, performance, project, etc.)

v.  We spoke briefly about the increase in bus fare for transit users.

Monthly transit passes go up to $41/month in January

So parents are aware and can let their students know, when it gets really cold, they can wait in the building and staff will wave them out when their buses arrive at the end of the day

There have been issues with some buses arriving on time in the morning and others getting to the school on time in the afternoon; the school is aware but…

We’d like to encourage parents who have concerns with Transit operations to reach out to the Transit authority using this chain of communication, moving up the ladder if problems aren’t being resolved:

  1. Transit Centre: 780-743-7931 (weekdays 7:30am – 4:30pm), OR

Pulse Line: 780-743-7000 (weekends, evenings, or holidays)

  1. Transit Director
  2. Ward One Councillors:        Mike Allen                mike.allen@rmwb.ca 

Krista Balsom                krista.balsom@rmwb.ca 

Keith McGrath                keith.mcgrath@rmwb.ca 

Phil Meagher                phil.meagher@rmwb.ca 

Verna Murphy                verna.murphy@rmwb.ca 

Jeff Peddle                jeff.peddle@rmwb.ca 

  1. Meeting Dates

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 AGM

  1. Adjourn:        8:09 pm

Action Log






Write letter to City Councillors re bus fee hike




Compile parent answers on Board questions and Task Force questions




Submit ASCA Task Force Questions Nov. 1




Arrange location for those interested in teleconference



Call for a Resolution Committee, if needed



Collect questions for the Minister (teleconference), if needed


For Your Information:

Westwood School Council MINUTES NOVEMBER 13, 2019 -- APPROVEDPage