WESTWOOD COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL COUNCIL
These operating guidelines are intended to govern the operation of the Westwood Community High School Council. Should there be any variance between what is written in these operating guidelines and what is dictated by Section 22 of the School Act of the Province of Alberta; or the accompanying Regulations the latter shall supersede the operating guidelines.
1. The name of the school council shall be Westwood Community High School Council.
- The Westwood Community High School Council will work as collaborative partners in school based decision making to enhance the quality and success of our children’s education.
- The Westwood Community High School Council will work with the administration and staff to create a safe, supportive environment, which challenges students to be confident and successful intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
- The Westwood Community High School Council will work in partnership with the Westwood Community High School Advisory Council. The School Council is a separate
body that has its own elected officers and a distinct, separate set of operating guidelines.
Both groups provide support for all programs at Westwood Community High School.
“The school council may, at its discretion,
- Advise the principal and the board respecting any matter relating to the school;
- Perform any duty or function delegated to it by the board in accordance with the delegation;
- Consult with the principal so that the principal may ensure that students in the school have the opportunity to meet the standards of education set by the Minister;
- Consult with the principal so that the principal may ensure that the fiscal management of the school is in accordance with the requirements of the board and the superintendent; and
- “Do anything it is authorized under the regulations to do.” (from Section 22(4), School Act 2000).
- The objectives of the council, in keeping with the School Act and the School Councils Regulations, are as follows:
- to provide advice and work in collaboration with the staff and school administration on issues of importance such as school philosophy, mission and vision; school discipline policies; programs and directions; school education plan and the accompanying budget allocation;
- to support the school in its efforts to achieve the goals detailed in the school education plan;
- to facilitate collaboration and communication among all the concerned participants of the school community;
- to provide a forum where emerging issues that affect the school community as a whole may be discussed;
- to serve as an advocate or voice for our school community-in cooperation with the principal-before the school board, the community at large, and the province;
- to support the school in its efforts to ensure that Alberta Education’s standards of education are met;
6(1) the membership of the council shall consist of the following:
- The principal of the school
- Parents or guardians of students enrolled in Westwood Community High
- Teachers and staff of the school
- A student representative from the student body
- Community members with an interest in the success of the students at the
6(2) the officers of the council will consist of the following:
- The principal of the school
- Parents of students enrolled in the school as elected by a majority of parents attending the Annual General Meeting. An effort shall be made to solicit parents from across the full spectrum of programs at the school: English and French Immersion, grade 10-12, RAP, PEAK.
- One teacher who has been elected by the teachers of the school (or a Vice-principal with a teaching assignment?).
- The past chair, where applicable
- When required, one or two community members invited by the officers of the council by virtue of their expertise or interest in an issue being pursued by the council.
- If the officers of the council decide that the full spectrum of the school’s programs is not represented, the officers may invite a member of council to join the officers of council as a community member.
- The officers will be elected to the positions of chair, vice-chair, secretary, Networks representative, and Members at Large at the Annual General Meeting. The position of past-chair is to be filled by the out-going chairperson. In the event that the past-chair is no longer a member of school council, this position shall remain vacant. In this case, another officer position may be filled by a member in the position of community member.
Duties of the Officers:
- All persons serving as officers of the council must be willing to contribute time and effort to fulfilling the role and objectives of the council. Officers will be required to regularly attend all meetings of council and serve on some ad hoc committees. Officers must work constructively towards achieving consensus on issues before the council.
Officers must declare any potential conflicts of interest for review by those members present before voting on any issue. Officers shall receive no remuneration but may be reimbursed for expenses incurred while conducting council business.
- The Chair shall be responsible for planning the agenda for meetings, facilitating the meetings, acting as spokesperson for the council, and providing leadership to the council. The Chair will present the annual report to the school board as required by the School Act, School Councils Regulation, Section 12.
- The Vice-Chair shall assist the Chair with duties as assigned, complete an annual review of the Operating Guidelines (or act as lead for an adhoc committee assigned with the task), and, in the absence of the Chair, assume the duties of the Chair.
- The Secretary shall record the minutes of the monthly meetings, account for on-line discussions (as decided between the Secretary and the Chair), submit these to the Chair and then distribute them to those who attended, and maintain a copy of the minutes in a designated location at the school for a period of seven years.
- The School Council Networks Representative shall be the council’s representative on the school council network committee that meets at the invitation of the public school board to advise on issues before the board.
- The Past-Chair shall help to provide continuity with previous councils. The Past-Chair shall be responsible for leading a nominations committee.
- The Member at Large shall attend meetings, contribute to the discussions, and assist other Executive members with tasks as the need arises.
Term of Office:
- (a) Each of the officers shall be elected to a one-year term of office.
- An officer may resign from the council by giving a letter of resignation to the Chair noting the effective date of the resignation. The letter of resignation will be presented, accepted, and noted in the minutes of the next scheduled open meeting of council. In the event that the resigning member is the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall receive the request to resign and provide a written response as above.
- An officer must resign from council if they cease to qualify as a member of the
- An officer of the council, who is absent for more than three meetings per year, may be asked by the Chair to resign. If the absentee member is the Chair, the Vice-Chair may ask the Chair to resign.
- An officer of the council may be asked to resign if their conduct is jeopardising the operation or reputation of council.
To request an officer’s resignation:
- Two officers of council must submit a written request to the Chair for a closed meeting that the Chair shall then call according to the procedure outlined in these operating guidelines.
- A minimum of two-thirds of the officers of the council must be present at this closed meeting and minutes will be taken. The reasons for the resignation request will be discussed. A motion shall be made to decide if a Request for Resignation should be written and brought before the membership in an open meeting. A 70% majority shall be required to pass this motion.
- The Request for Resignation shall be written at this closed meeting and the wording must be agreed upon by 70% of the officers present.
- The Request for Resignation will be brought forward at a specially promoted open meeting and voted on by all council members present. A 70% majority of council members present is required to pass the Request for Resignation.
- At both the closed and open meetings, the officer in question will be given the opportunity to be heard.
- An officer who has resigned from their elected or appointed position on council may still participate in open meetings of council as a member of council if they still meet the criteria given for membership in council.
- The term of office for the School Council officers shall be from their election at the Annual General Meeting in June to the Annual General Meeting in June of the following year.
- The council officers may fill any vacancies in the council occurring in midterm with a by-election.
It is not necessary for a vacancy to be filled if:
-the remaining officers agree to share the duties of the office left vacant and,
-the majority of the remaining officers on the council are parents of students enrolled in the school and,
-a minimum of three officers remain on the council.
- (a) The council may form ad hoc committees consisting of certain officers of the council and others from the school council membership.
- The past chair or a designated member of council shall be responsible for forming a nominating committee to solicit volunteers to fill the officer positions on council. The procedure for filling mid-term vacancies and for forming a new council at the end of the present council’s term of office shall be the same.
Elections and By-elections:
- (a) an election or by-election must be announced to the council membership with a minimum of 2 weeks notice.
- Volunteers willing to stand for election shall be solicited as follows: -an announcement distributed to all members of the council
-the nominating committee may personally approach individual council
-volunteers may be requested from the floor at the election meeting.
An effort shall be made to solicit parents from across the full spectrum of programs at the school.
- Each candidate shall be asked to introduce himself or herself to the council membership in attendance at the election/by-election meeting. If more candidates are standing for election than there are vacancies to be filled, a secret ballot shall take place in which all council members present may vote. The nominating committee shall tally the votes and those candidates receiving the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected.
- (a) The school council shall meet monthly or as required, on the call of the Chair, these meetings will be open to all members of the council.
- The first open meeting of the school council shall be held within 21 days of the first day of school. If any officer positions need to be filled, they will be elected at this time. The officers of council shall be published in the next school newsletter.
- The council shall identify their key focus and planned activities for the year based upon discussions regarding the school’s Annual Growth Plan and provide this to the Administration to submit to District Office with the school’s AERP. These discussions will take place in open meetings and the resulting decisions will be published in the school newsletter.
- All open meetings shall be called with a minimum of two weeks notice to all
- Officers of the council may conduct closed meetings on an as needed basis with a minimum 48 hours notice. These meetings cannot be considered to replace the regularly scheduled open meetings.
- Significant issues should be presented for decision at a specially promoted open meeting. Some examples of significant issues for which a broad base on input should be sought include:
-changes to the vision or mission statement of the school/school council -changes to student evaluation policy
-changes to student discipline policy
-major changes in the school program or focus -a request for resignation
-any other issue the council deems appropriate or that has been requested in writing by two officers
- Meetings shall be operated with a semi-formal structure based on Roberts rules. Any member of council may raise an issue or concern at any open meeting and will be allowed to speak to it. Any member of the council may propose a motion, which may then be seconded by any other member. All members of council may vote on the proposed motion.
- (a) Any three officers of the council shall constitute a quorum provided a majority of those officers are parents of students enrolled at the school.
- In the event that a quorum is not present at any meeting, the officers present may elect unanimously to form themselves into a Committee of the Whole to conduct business provided that any resolution made or business transacted is approved by members at the next open meeting at which quorum is present.
- (a) All council members may attend open meetings of council. At council
meetings, the officers shall work with the members in attendance to achieve consensus in any decisions before council. If a vote is required to resolve an issue, all council members in attendance have a right to a vote.
- A motion before council will be declared passed if 51% of the members in attendance agree to the motion. A tie vote is considered defeated.
- No proxy votes will be allowed.
- A motion may be made by an officer of the council via e-mail if necessary. The motion is considered passed if 51% of the respondents accept the motion. A tie vote is considered defeated.
Annual General Meeting:
- (a) The Annual General Meeting of the school council shall be held within forty (40) days of the last instructional day of the school year. If a chairperson cannot be elected at this time, the Annual General Meeting is postponed until September. In such a case, the annual general meeting of the school council shall be held not later than forty (40) days after the first instructional day of the school year. This meeting may be held in conjunction with the Westwood Community High School Advisory Council general meeting.
- The meeting will be advertised throughout the school and the FMPSD community at least 2 weeks in advance.
- Elections for the representatives of the parent community will take place at the annual general meeting. All parents or guardians of students attending the school are eligible for election.
- All parents or guardians of students attending the school are eligible to vote at the annual meeting.
- The business of the annual meeting shall include:
-a summary of the council activities or the Annual Report -any proposed operating guideline amendments -the election of officers
- (a) In accordance with School Council Regulations, 2000, the school council, through the chair, must prepare and provide the school board with an annual report, which includes:
-a summary of council’s activities for the year
-copies of the minutes of each meeting
-any other documentation requested by the Fort McMurray Public School
A financial statement will not be required unless the role of this council changes to include fund-raising or if operating funds are solicited in any other manner.
- The school council shall make the report available to all members of the school community. In addition, any member of the council may inspect any of the records of the council at the Annual General Meeting or at any other time upon giving reasonable notice and arranging a convenient time with the appropriate officer of council.
Amendments to the Operating Guidelines:
- (a) The operating guidelines remain in force from year to year unless amended at the annual general meeting or a specially promoted open meeting.
- Proposed operating guidelines amendments must be readily available for review by any member of council when the meeting called for their amendments is announced.
- A proposed amendment must be passed by 70% of members present to be
- The school council operating guidelines shall be reviewed by an ad hoc committee of the council on an annual basis in the spring of the year.
Conflict Resolution Procedures:
- In accordance with s.22 (7.1) School Act, 2000, the school council will abide by the conflict resolution procedures outlined by the local school board.
In these Operating Guidelines,
- “Board” shall refer to the Fort McMurray Public School Board.
- “School” shall refer to Westwood Community School.
- “Council” or “school council” shall refer to the Westwood School Council.
- “Parent Advisory Council” shall refer to the registered society, the Westwood Community High School Parent Advisory Council.
- “Members of the council” shall refer to the principal of the school, parents, and guardians of students enrolled in school, the teachers of the school, and an appointed or elected student representative.
- “Officer” of the council is one of the members elected as noted in Section 6(2)b or
6(2)c; appointed as specified in Section 6(2)d or 6(2)e; or the principal of the school.
- “Parent” shall refer to guardians of students enrolled in the school as well as parents.
- “FMPSD” shall refer to the Fort McMurray Public School District.
Amended: February 2016