Westwood School Council

Meeting Minutes

October 16, 2019


Chair:                        Pam Bowie                                Vice-Chair:                Shelley Fisher

Secretary:                vacant                                        Networks Rep:                Lorna Spargo

ASCA SCETF:                Lorna Spargo                                Member at Large:        Suzy Miller

                                                                                        Shilpa Arvikar


Principal:                Cynthia Shelley

Vice Principals:        Tifanie Book                                Craig Upper        (regrets)


Julianne Bourque        Lisa Vaters                        Amisha Parikh                                Shilpa Arvikar

  1.  Convene:        7:37 pm

  1. Approval of the Agenda and Minutes: of September 18, 2019

Motion 10/16/19/#1

To approve the agenda and the September 18, 2019 Minutes as presented

Moved and Seconded

Pam Bowie and Julianne Bourque



  1. Principal’s Report:

Please note, if you wish to speak with your child’s teacher or teachers, you are always encouraged to contact them through email or a phone call to set up an appropriate time to meet.

  1. Parental Engagement
  1. ASCA School Council Engagement Task Force Question:

We have received our first question from ASCA.  They will be using our answers, in conjunction with those from across Alberta, to share the parental perspective when they speak with the Minister of Education and other Education stakeholders.  Please take a look at the question and follow up information.  We will be discussing the École McTavish School Council’s response to this at the October 15, 2019 School Council meeting.  (There has been some discussion about this opening the way for a “Voucher System”, similar to the US.  For more information on that, please check out https://www.teachhub.com/what-voucher-system and https://www.teachhub.com/what-voucher-system.

ASCA School Council Engagement Task Force - September 2019 REQUEST FOR INPUT

Thank you for participating in the School Council Engagement Task Force (SCETF) for the 2019 – 2020 school year.

The feedback your school council parent representative compiles and submits to the ASCA is greatly appreciated by the Board to assist in their considerations on education issues in Alberta.

The Board utilizes information gathered to inform the advocacy work of the association. This may include advising at external committee meetings, sharing with appropriate Ministries or provincial education organizations, and the potential for Board sponsored Advocacy Resolutions.

Request for input regarding “Choice in Education”.


It is known that the Minister of Education will begin work on the promised Choice in Education Act, for tabling in the spring of 2020. The Minister has indicated that consultations will be forthcoming, and it is highly anticipated that ASCA will be asked to contribute to consultations related to the contents of the Act.

At this time, ASCA has no distinct Advocacy Policies that represent Member perspectives related to Choice in Education. It is also possible that ASCA Member School Councils are not aware that greater access to alternative programs, like languages, sports, and other disciplines, is not likely what is intended with the Choice in Education Act.

The United Conservative Party (UCP) outlined in their election platform (page 57-60) a detailed commitment to education including one of 13 items, the following which indicates:

10. Affirm parental choice through a Choice in Education Act. 

Alberta has a strong legacy of diversity in education. A UCP government will uphold the established right of parents to choose the education setting best suited for their children including: public, separate, charter, independent, alternative and home education programs.

Click here for the entire excerpt

*What does “Choice in Education” mean to your school council/community?

*Does your school council have any additional thoughts or concerns you would like the ASCA Board to consider in any discussions it may have with Alberta Education on this topic?

We had a lengthy discussion about this question.  We settled on agreeing that our primary concern is that ALL Alberta students should be following the same curriculum.  There is room for extra, but students should not be limited by exposure to less.  We are also concerned with keeping funding for schooling fair and equitable.  

Next month’s question will have to do with vaping.  Please join us to share your views.

  1. Opportunity for member engagement with ASCA Board Members & the Minister of Education November 23, 2019 1-4 via teleconference:


If you are interested in learning more about the Minister’s initiatives and direction, register to participate in this.  If you are interested in participating as a group, please contact our Task Force Rep and Networks rep, Lorna at lspargo@shaw.ca who will make arrangements for us to participate as a group.

  1. Networks:
  1. Meeting Dates:          Joint Networks Meetings:                  Nov 4, 2019/Jan 13, 2020/Mar 2, 2020

                                               Networks Committee Meetings:          Oct 7, 2019/Feb 3, 2020/Apr 6, 2020

  1. Report

At the October 7, 2019 meeting, we discussed changes to Education with the new government.  We discussed:

*Education Act Summary, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3Ncau1oUoRdWWhYclhXdWo2a1ZnSzNVQnQzQ1lEandHWTZz/view,

*Education Act and School Act Comparison


*Education Act and School Act Regulations Comparison


*MacKinnon Infographic AB vs BC


* https://www.cbe.ab.ca/news-centre/Pages/cbe-response-to-the-blue-ribbon-panel-on-albertas-finances-report.aspx

The Trustees have requested feedback on two topics prior to our next Networks 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?

We agreed that the various types of technology allow students to access information quickly regardless of time and place.  It is especially helpful in accessing class work and lessons online, through Google Classroom.  It eliminates the frequency of occasions where students avoid homework because they’ve forgotten it at school.  It allows students to access, complete, and submit work from anywhere, at any time.  Permitting its usage allows students to learn self-management.

BUT, it’s hard for teachers to monitor, students and staff are at the mercy of the technology and its glitches.  It’s a form of distraction for many students and many show indications of being unable to put it away.  Its misuse takes up valuable school/staff time and can have a detrimental impact on students.  Students need to learn the boundaries and “rules of the road” when using social media.  They often interact with people more on social media than in real life.  Students are also not developing skills for writing, spelling, and editing.  

As parents, it is helpful to know what is happening at school, have access to the Google Classroom to see assignments and our students’ work.  Having access to PowerSchool, while not always perfect, allows us to keep tabs on how our students are keeping up and performing.

We see serious disadvantages with technology in school, but we would not support a ban since that would detract from the positives.

  1. 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)?

We felt that a variety of techniques and activities were important.  Variety prepares kids for real life.  

If you would like to contribute any thoughts to these discussion topics, please contact secretary, Lorna at lspargo@shaw.ca by October 30.

  1. Meeting Dates

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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:        8:52 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


For Your Information: C:\Users\Lorna\Desktop\Jody Carrington Flyer.png

Westwood School Council MINUTES OCTOBER 16, 2019 -- APPROVEDPage