- Published on Tuesday, 04 October 2011 02:27
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School Councils are advisory bodies to the principal on issues related to student achievement. Regulation 613 requires “school boards and principals to solicit views from school councils and report back to school councils on any advice received. They also ensure that all school boards and school principals across the province consult with and respond to their school councils in a consistent manner.” In addition, the ministry handbook for councils states, “as a member of the school council and leader of the school community, the principal can provide the guidance and support necessary to help the council achieve its goals and be an effective voice for parents. According to the regulations, principals are to consult with their school councils, and school councils may provide advice on any matter to their principals or school boards.”
The success of any partnership depends upon the relationship between the parties. This is particularly true for a School Council and Principal. To be successful each individual must work to be positive, constructive and respectful. Remember that good relationships take time to build… and maintain. Steps to building that connection begin when you:
- Help create a process for meaningful dialogue
- Genuinely listen
- Appreciate differing positions while searching for a common solution
- Celebrate your successes
But what happens when the administration does not seem eager to build a partnership?
- Keep in mind that you are all there for the same reason – student achievement. Remind yourself – and the Principal – of that at every opportunity.
- Give respect and ask for it in return.
- Be clear about what you are asking. Come with background, options, intended results.
- Listen attentively. Perhaps Board policy or procedures make your suggestion difficult or impossible.
- Search for compromise.
- Stay the course! You may have to go slower than you wish, or explain more than you think necessary.
- Remain calm. Walk away from any discussion that becomes harmful.
- Don’t argue, interrupt, blame or judge. Expect the same in return.
- Use the Ministry of Education and TDSB websites for information on council rights and responsibilities.
- Contact the Parent and Community Involvement Office at TDSB when the going gets tough.
In the end, parents, teachers and principals are working for the success of their students. When the educator and parent value the wisdom of each other, our students triumph.
Parent participation is required on certain school committees. They are: budget, staffing, safety and school improvement plan. Finding parents that will bring a level of expertise, as well as availability for school-time meetings, is essential for success.
In 2010, the TDSB Board of Trustees approved a policy calling for parent involvement in the selection of principals, specifically around parent engagement. Since that time, parents have been involved in this exciting process. More information is available on the PIAC website.
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School Council Guide for Members: