School Council Meeting - Thursday September 22

Date and Time: 
Thursday September 22 -
6:30pm to 8:15pm
Event Location: 
School Gym

The first School Council Meeting of the year.

Meeting Minutes: 

1. Welcome and Agenda:

  • Meeting chair Madeleine Cruickshank, Minutes Erica Spencer

  • Brief introduction by Madeleine


2. Class Parents Update (Rita Mattmueller)

  • Rita explained the role and responsibility of class parents.

  • One class still without a class parent - Mr. McClure’s - Shirin S. volunteered for the role.  


3. Ward 7 and Treasurer’s Report (Katharine)

  • Overview of the role of Ward 7 representative and how the meetings are scheduled. Katharine asked for volunteers to share the position with her, Katey W. and Kelly M. volunteered.


Treasurer’s Report:

  • Katharine presented the report. Starting the year with $25,000 in the bank.

  • Proposals for 2016/17 spending:    

    • TSO

    • Forest of Reading

    • Dance Program

    • Sound System ($5,000)

  • Some discussion of the above items, particularly sound system, to be used at Garden events.

  • Katharine proposed spending $5,000 on the sound system, Erica seconded. Motion passed.

  • Sam W. mentioned that more bike racks would be useful. To be investigated further.

  • Lisa S. wondered if the numbers from the treasurer’s report could be available to parents, so that they understand more where the money is spent and the huge impact it has on students.

    • Madeleine responded that the the numbers for the past 5 years are available and will be made public on the council website.

  • Jen asked if parents could be surveyed about spending priorities. (Technology, for example)

    • Madeleine explained why the survey hadn’t been sent home this year and that council gives extra money to teachers for books etc., $400 per teacher

    • Alana explained that $14,000 that was carved out of her school budget and spent on technology last year (e.g. iPads in all the classrooms, smart boards, etc.)

      • Tech purchased through the board gets the board warranty, which replaces faulty equipment.

  • A parent in attendance wanted to clarify that money from the school budget could be spent on technology, as she had understood that a few years ago technology wasn’t part of school spending,  but Alana confirmed she can spend the money as she sees fit.

  • Fundraisers: Katharine went through planned fundraisers and explained them. e.g. Pumpkin Patch, Garden Variety.

    • Silent Auction may be organized separately from the Fun Fair this year.

  • Question from a parent: Can we register as a charity and just accept cash donations?

    • Madeleine responded: yes, we can either register as a charity through the TDSB, which is easier than exploring it on our own. If through TDSB, the money is prescribed to spend only on certain items.

  • David L. pointed out that if we purchase supplies from Costco we could get a charity tax receipt.

  • Emily mentioned that she knows someone who is an experienced fundraiser, whom she can enroll to help with our fundraising efforts.

  • Jen asked if $400 per teacher is enough, and if the spending is discretionary.

    • Madeleine responded: $400 is greater than average amount at other schools. Teachers can spend as they like.

      • Last year, council’s scheme of splitting money between permanent items and consumables wasn’t looked on favourably. Pot of Gold fund is still there.

  • Q: Is the history of fundraising publicly available?

    • Madeleine responded: it is in a spreadsheet and she will make it public. We’re raising more year over year.

  • Ms. Lawson asked if funds for field trips will be made available.

    • M: $13/student set aside for field trips to be spent at teacher’s discretion. (The TSO trips are in addition to field trip budget.) Can use science money to go to Science Centre.

  • Q: What is the TSO?

    • M: explained the kids concerts performed by TSO attended by Garden students in 2016.  A great experience for all and lots of good feedback.

  • Q: How much is allocated to kindergarten classes/primary/junior?

    • Alana answered that staff has decided that each section will have 3 enrichment opportunities:

      • 1. Outdoor (visit farm)

      • 2. Music

      • 3. Science (Scientists in the School or Science Centre trip)


4. Council Elections (Madeleine)

  • Roles on Council are: Chair, Treasurer, Ward 7 rep., Secretary, Communications Coordinator, and Volunteer Coordinator

  • Madeleine explained we would acclaim the people who have already filled positions and look for someone to act as Volunteer Coordinator



    • Treasurer: Zoe Baines

    • Secretary: Erica Spencer

    • Ward 7: Katharine, Katey Witt, Kelly McConvey

    • Communications Coordinators: Sara Clark and Lisa Straus

    • Volunteer Coordinator: Sarb Nagra and another parent

  • Madeleine motioned to approve the acclaimed,

  • Q: What are time commitments for various roles or volunteer roles?

    • M: We hope to have this info available on the website this year.


Unelected Positions (Madeleine)

  • Silent Auction Organizer: The role could suit an extrovert. Perhaps we could move silent auction to be an evening event.

    • Lisa mentioned she has a spreadsheet of contacts, but clarified it is too much work for just one or two people, silent auction needs a team.

  • Lunch Days: Lunchbox orders to be online, will take paper orders out of the equation.

    • 1 pizza lunch day, 1 lunch lady a week until Christmas, to see how it goes.

  • Sign Maintainer: Jen Dent volunteered to take care of this.

  • Lost & Found: Need a volunteer to keep organized.

  • Parent Handbook Editor:

  • Movie Night: Gen Currie to head this up.

    • Two this term, after Christmas will have 4 over winter/spring

  • Potluck Coordinator: Christina Braun

  • Q: Are movie nights money-generating?

    • Movie night/potluck are more community-building events.

  • David suggested doing a BBQ for movie nights - hot dogs, etc.


5. Principal’s Report (Alana)

  • Intro of her background/experience

  • For new parents, the next Kinder Coffee will be Oct. 20th

  • Re-organized classes a little bit.

    • 3 students moved as one class over capacity.

  • Budget 2016-17: $52,000, will share details next month

  • Summer projects: Pillars were painted, toddler area retrofit in daycare.


Toddler retrofit/Kindergarten Entry

  • FDK shifted numbers in daycare. The toddler outdoor area was made from the old garden area.

    • Alana advocated to have the whole floor replaced, rather than patched.

    • Daycare office moved downstairs, which created a work space upstairs for visiting psychologist, social workers etc.

    • Kindergarten entry procedures receiving some pushback from daycare.

      • Alana found the old front-door entry didn’t work, as too many opportunities for children to run off. Changed in 2015 to kindergarteners entering through the play yard and the daycare. Daycare staff finds this a disruption.

  • Q: Was this front-door entry really a problem?

    • A: It was a problem, it was just managed well by the teachers.

    • The parent admitted they can see the perspective of the daycare, with 90 kindergarten students coming through the daycare every morning.

    • Alana conceded it is not an ideal solution, but safer than the front-door entry.

    • Lisa pointed out that Kindergarten students used to enter through classroom doors.

    • Some discussion around this option and other options followed

    • Q: Why not have this debate with the daycare staff present as well?

      • A: The daycare director had initially planned on coming, but after consideration, she and Alana decided that it wasn't necessary for her to attend, as there was a lot of other information to be discussed that didn't directly affect the daycare.

    • Continued discussion of the issues around kindergarten entry. Some solutions suggested, such as opening up the back fence.

    • Alana suggested tabling the conversation for now and having a meeting with daycare staff to discuss, stressing the importance for the school and daycare to work together.

  • Roof to be done on west side - will be done on weekends. (5 weeks estimate)

  • Morning Drop-off: parents drop at gate and kids go into yard. Important for parents to come to office if they need to drop something off, rather than go straight to their child’s class.

  • Alana wants everyone to know her door is always open.


Hold and Secure Event of Sept. 21st

  • Alana explained the series of events.

    • Evacuation plan was in place, if necessary. Kids were at ease in classrooms.

    • Q: Some kids left for lunch at 11:45. Email blast stated that hold and secure started at 11:35?

      • A: The information of the timing was incorrect.

    • Some discussion around the suitcase, some concerns were raised. Some parents weren’t happy with how information was communicated, and felt that the safety of some children may have been compromised.


6. Plans for the Year (Madeleine)

  • Overview of plans for the year.

    • Enhanced communication, such as the FB group.

    • Online ordering

    • Tackling stress/anxiety in children workshop for parents

  • First Nations initiative this year.

    • A community elder to come in to work with juniors, to create six 6 different murals.