WESTWOOD COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL
These Operating Procedures shall constitute the manner in which we govern ourselves as we strive to fulfill the role and objectives of the Westwood Community High School’s School Council.
The School Council derives its authority to participate in the education of our students through Alberta Provincial Legislation, hereinafter referred to as legislation.
Should there be any variance between what is written in these operating procedures and what is dictated by Section 22 of the School Act of the Province of Alberta or the accompanying Regulations, the latter shall superseded the operating procedures.
The name of the School Council shall be WESTWOOD SCHOOL COUNCIL.
The School Council will work as collaborative partners with the Westwood Administration and Staff to create a safe, supportive environment that challenges students to be confident and successful intellectually, emotionally, and socially.
The Westwood School Council will work in partnership with the Westwood Community High School Advisory Council. While both groups support the School, the School Council is a separate body with its own elected officers and separate set of operating procedures.
“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 School Council, in keeping with the legislation, are to:
- Represent the parent perspective by providing advice to and consulting with the Principal and the School Board on matters relating to the School such as: the school philosophy, mission and vision, policies, improvement plans, programs and directions, and budget allocations to meet student needs;
- Foster a positive, collaborative environment with a variety of opportunities for meaningful engagement by members of the School community;
- Support special events that will enhance student learning, encourage participation, and promote the well-being of the School community;
- Facilitate a performance evaluation of our School Council and communicate the results of this evaluation to the School Board and School community;
- Develop a communication plan to share information with parents and the community and facilitate communications with all education stakeholders;
- Adhere to the School Council Code of Ethics (section 4E);
- Consult with other School Councils and provincial organizations;
- Support an approach to education in which decisions are made collaboratively;
- Advise School Boards, Alberta Education, or other provincial organizations on broader educational issues.
The following terms shall be used in these Operating Procedures:
- Board shall refer to FMPSD or Fort McMurray Public School District
- School or Westwood shall refer to Westwood Community High School
- Council or School Council shall refer to the Westwood School Council
- Advisory Council shall refer to the registered society, the Westwood Community High School Advisory Council
- Parents shall refer to parents, guardians, or others authorized to speak on behalf of students enrolled at Westwood
- Members shall refer to those previously identified as Parents, Westwood student representatives, and adult or independent high school students
- Associate Members shall refer to the Principal and Staff, greater Westwood community members, and other stakeholders who have, in the opinion of the majority of the Members of the School Council, a vested interest in the well-being of the students and the School
- Officers or Executive shall refer to the members elected to specific positions as outlined in the Executive Officer section
- Year, as it pertains to the work of the School Council, shall refer to the time period between the close of one AGM and the close of the next one
- Operating Procedures means the governing document serving the same purposed as Bylaws referenced in Regulations
The Westwood School Council uses a Town Hall Operating Style and Model of Governance
- The Membership of the School Council shall consist of:
- All parents, as previously defined in 2e;
- The Principal of Westwood, as an Associate Member;
- One or more Westwood teachers and staff of the School, elected or appointed by the teachers;
- Adult and independent students enrolled at Westwood; and
- One or more students enrolled at Westwood, elected or appointed by the students.
- The voting Members of the School Council shall consist of all parents, as defined in 2e, the Past Chair (if invited by the new Chair to act in such capacity and still have children enrolled as students at Westwood), Westwood student representatives, and adult or independent high school students enrolled at Westwood.
- The Associate, or non-voting, Members of the School Council shall consist of the Administration, Staff (regardless of whether they have children enrolled at the School), the Past Chair (if invited by the new Chair to act in such capacity and no longer has a student enrolled at the school), School community members, greater community members, and stakeholders.
- The number of parent Members must always exceed the number of Administration, Staff, students, and/or community representatives.
- All Members, including the Executive Officers and Associate Members, shall abide by the
Westwood School Council Code of Ethics
All Westwood School Council Members shall:
- Abide by the legislation that governs them;
- Practice the highest standards of honesty, accuracy, and integrity and be guided by the School’s and the School Council’s mission, vision, and operating procedures;
- Foster a positive atmosphere in which Members are respected and their individual contributions are welcomed and valued;
- Consider the best interest of all students in decisions and deliberations;
- Respect the confidential nature of some School business and respect the limitations that this may place on issues discussed at School Council meetings;
- Understand that confidential information should not be discussed at School Council meetings;
- Limit discussion to topics of concern to the School community as a whole;
- Accept responsibility for School Council decisions;
- Declare any conflicts of interest and accept no payments for School Council activities.
- Membership ceases when the parent no longer has a student enrolled at Westwood.
- DECISION MAKING:
Decisions made at School Council will be made by consensus when possible. Such decisions must be stated clearly and recorded as such in the minutes of the meeting.
If a decision is made by vote, the motion must be moved, seconded, and passed by a majority of voting Members present at the meeting at which the vote was taken.
If a decision must be made between meetings, it shall be made by vote, using email. The email must be addressed to all Executive Officers and may include other voting School Council members who attend regularly. All email discussions must use “reply all” to include all addressees in the discussion. The motion must remain open for discussion for 48 hours and/or until at least 60% of those included in the addressee list respond. An email vote must receive 60% agreement to be approved. The motion must be noted in the next Regular Meeting minutes.
Although the Principal is an Associate Member, he/she is an essential member of the School Council. School Councils may not enact initiatives that are not supported by the Principal. If the School Council and the Principal cannot work together collaboratively, they may look for assistance from the School Board through the District’s conflict resolution procedures.
Quorum of in-person meetings will be attained when the majority of voting Members present at any School Council meeting are parents, as defined in 2e, and the Principal or delegate is present. In the absence of quorum, the parents and School Council Members present may agree to proceed for the purposes of discussion but no motions may be considered, or approved, and no decisions by consensus may be reached.
- EXECUTIVE and TERMS OF OFFICE:
The positions of the Executive shall consist of:
Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Networks Rep, ASCA SCE Task Force Rep (if applicable), two Members at Large, and a Past Executive (if applicable and invited by the Chair).
- All Executive positions must be filled by parents as defined in 2e.
- Every parent is eligible to be elected to an Executive position of the School Council.
- All positions are elected for one-year terms except the Chair who is elected for a two-year term.
- Any elected member may serve up to four consecutive years in the same position (four consecutive terms for all positions except the Chair who may serve two consecutive terms).
- The Officers of the Council, or the Executive, shall be parents of students enrolled at Westwood and elected from the voting School Council members in attendance at the advertised Annual General Meeting or at any other meeting throughout the school year, should a vacancy need to be filled.
- The Membership will be given two weeks’ notice prior to the AGM through the most effective means at the time or set at the beginning of the year and reported in regularly posted meeting minutes and/or agendas.
- In the event of multiple nominations for a position, elections will be conducted by secret ballot and tallied before the Members present.
- Any Executive member may resign his/her position by providing written notice to the Chair and Principal.
- Any Executive member may be removed from the Executive at any time with cause by a majority vote of the Executive whenever, in its judgement, the best of interest of the School Council will be served.
- The Executive will carry out the day-to-day operation of the School Council.
- DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE OFFICERS:
- The CHAIR shall:
- Chair all School Council meetings;
- Coordinate with the Principal to establish meeting agendas;
- Communicate with the Principal on a regular basis;
- Decide all matters relating to rules of order at the meetings;
- Ensure that School Council Operating Procedures are current and followed (or delegate to the Vice Chair);
- Ensure there is regular communication with the whole School community;
- Review any communication to the School community prior to distribution and include the Principal in same;
- Stay informed about School Board policy that impacts School Council;
- Act as the spokesperson for the Council;
- Ensure representation at the District Networks meetings; and
- Prepare and submit the Annual Report to the School Board as required by the School Act, School Regulations Section 14.
- The VICE CHAIR shall:
- In the event of resignation, incapacity, or leave of absence of the Chair, fulfill the Chair’s responsibilities;
- In the absence of the Chair, supervise the affairs, and preside at any meetings of the School Council;
- Work with and support the Chair in agenda preparation;
- In conjunction with the Secretary, ensure the appropriate management, in compliance with PIPA, of any personal information collected on behalf of the School Council;
- Ensure that School Council Operating Procedures are current and followed;
- Promote teamwork and assist the Chair in the smooth running of meetings;
- Prepare to assume the position of Chair in the future; and
- Assist the Chair and undertake tasks assigned by the Chair.
- The SECRETARY shall:
- Act as a recorder at each of the meetings and ensure that the minutes are prepared accurately to reflect the directions agreed to at the meeting;
- Keep minutes, correspondence, records, and other School Council documents, and ensure that all relevant documents, are available to the public in an accessible location in the School as per School Council Regulations 14(3);
- If required, maintain a dated record of all the Members of the School Council who have knowingly provided their contact information, in compliance with PIPA; and
- Distribute, as determined by the Chair and School Council, agendas, minutes, notices, of meetings, and notices of other events.
In the absence of the Secretary, the School Council shall choose a recording Secretary for the meeting.
- The NETWORKS REP shall:
- Represent the Council on the School Board’s Networks Committee which meets five or six times per year to advise on District-wide issues; and
- Provide a verbal report at Council meetings regarding the important, or relevant, information shared at the meetings and collect answers and information on the topics the Committee requests.
- The ASCA SCHOOL COUNCIL ENGAGEMENT TASK FORCE REP (SCETF) (when applicable) shall:
- Create a profile on the ASCA website;
- Submit an application to ASCA’s SCETF;
- Notify the Chair when new survey questions have been distributed;
- Lead a discussion about these questions; and
- Collect the Council’s answers and submit to ASCA.
- Two MEMBERS AT LARGE shall:
- Work with the other Executive members to uphold the Mission, Roles, and Objectives of the School Council;
- Attend School Council meetings’
- Provide professional knowledge, expertise, life experience, and insight;
- Encourage feedback and participation from the School Community groups; and
- Identify possible topics for agendas.
- The PAST EXECUTIVE (when applicable, and invited by the Chair) shall:
- Provide continuity and support to the Council and Chair; and
- Act in the absence of both the Chair and the Vice Chair.
- Annual General Meetings
The Annual General Meeting shall take place once per school year.
- The Annual General Meeting of the School Council shall be held before June 15 of each year, or at an appropriate time during the year, as determined by the School Council. The meeting will be advertised throughout the School and the community no less than 2 weeks beforehand and will state the business to take place at the Annual General Meeting.
- All parents as defined in 2e above are eligible to run for election.
- All parents as defined in 2e above are eligible to vote at the AGM.
- The business of the AGM shall include:
- The election of School Council Executive Members;
- Any proposed amendments to the Operating Procedures;
- Presentation of the Annual Report;
- Review of the Annual Plan;
- And may include the results of a School Council evaluation, if any.
- Special General Meetings
The School Council Executive may, at any time, give notice of a Special General Meeting of the School Council. Notice will be given at least five days before the meeting. The notice will state the time, date, and place of the meeting and describe the matter(s) on the agenda. At the Special General Meeting, all parents in attendance shall have the right to vote.
- Regular Meetings
A minimum of seven Regular School Council Meetings will be held per school year or as called by the Executive. It will be decided when these meetings will take place at the Annual General Meeting. The meetings will take place at the School, unless otherwise advertised.
Any School Council member may be suspended or expelled for the duration of the School year from attendance at any Regular School Council Meeting, if upon a majority vote of voting Members present at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose, it is determined to be in the best interests of the School Council to do so.
- WORK OF THE SCHOOL COUNCIL:
- Meeting Agendas
The Chair will collaborate with the Principal to establish the agendas for all meetings. Agenda item requests must be made through the Chair, who will, if necessary, consult with the Executive and Principal as to the appropriateness of the item required.
The School Council may appoint committees that consist of School Council Members and/or School community members. Committees meet outside of School Council meetings to complete their tasks and present a report of their activities at School Council Meetings.
Subject to any provincially or School Board mandated policies and/or regulations, the School Council may make and implement policies that it considers necessary to carry out its functions. Each policy must be reviewed at the beginning of every new School Council term to determine if it will be implemented for the new School Council.
- Collaboration with other parent groups including the Advisory Council
The School Council recognizes and appreciates the efforts of other groups of parents striving to support and enhance the educational opportunities in the School.
- The School Council will communicate regularly with the Advisory Council and/or other groups of parents to support their activities and to solicit support for School Council activities.
- The School Council may develop policies to promote a productive, open, and transparent relationship with the Advisory Council and/or other parent groups.
- Conflict Resolution
The School Council shall abide by the Conflict Resolution Procedures outlined in the School Board’s policies and regulations. If none exist, the School Council shall apply every effort to resolve internal conflicts using the steps outlined in these Operating Procedures.
If at any time, 10 parents, or 5 parents and 50% of the Executive Members of the School Council, are of the opinion that the School Council is in a state of conflict such that its operation is significantly impaired, they may deliver a signed written letter to all Executive Members and the Principal requesting a Special General Meeting, and the following will apply:
- The Chair will call a Special General Meeting of the School Council.
- The Secretary will provide a minimum of 5 days’ written notice to all parents and School Council Members of the date, time, place, and purpose of the Special General Meeting.
- At the Special General Meeting, all parents and School Council Members will have an opportunity to hear and discuss the issues causing conflict.
- On a motion, a vote shall be taken respecting a proposed resolution to the conflict.
- If the majority of voting Members present vote in favour of the resolution proposed, the School Council will immediately act upon it.
- Operating Procedures
Subject to any provincially or School Board-mandated policies and/or regulations, the School Council may make any changes to these Operating Procedures deemed necessary to carry out its functions.
The Operating Procedures will be reviewed for their relevance and effectiveness annually by the School Council Vice-Chair or by a committee established expressly for that purpose.
The Operating Procedures of the School Council may be amended, with at least five days’ notification of proposed amendments to the School community, by a majority vote of the voting Members present, at any scheduled meeting of the School Council.
The School Council shall adhere to the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), and shall not use or share personal information for purposes other than those of School Council business.
As per Alberta Provincial Legislation, only the Minister of Education has the authority to dissolve a School Council. If the School Council is dissolved, the Principal may choose to establish an advisory committee to perform some or all duties of the School Council until the next school year. The Principal will perform the duties as outlined in Alberta Provincial Legislation with respect to the re-establishment of the School Council within 40 days after the start of the next School year.
These Operating Procedures have been accepted by a majority vote of the Members entitled to vote at a General Meeting of the School Council on __________________.
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Westwood School Council Operating Procedures – APPROVED JUNE 6, 2019 Page