Why do Catholic School Councils exist?
Catholic School Councils are in place to improve student achievement and to enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.
What kind of input do Catholic School Councils have?
Catholic School Councils may make recommendations to their principal or school board on any matter affecting the school community. Provincial regulations define a list of areas where principals and boards must solicit input from Catholic School Councils. These areas include all initiatives that relate to improved student achievement and accountability to parents, codes of conduct and dress, and school and board improvement plans. The Ministry outlines other possible areas for consultation as well, complementing more traditional parent group roles like fundraising and school event planning.
Do Catholic School Councils have a strong voice at the Sudbury Catholic District School Board?
Yes! The Sudbury Catholic District School Board recognizes Catholic School Councils as valuable partners who play a key role in enhancing Catholic education in our schools. Principals and school boards are obligated to consider all recommendations from school councils and report back to the Catholic School Councils on how those recommendations have been taken into account when they make decisions or set policy on related matters.
To create further opportunities for exchange with each Catholic School Council, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board has taken the additional step of forming the Regional Catholic School Council. This group is made up of representatives from the executive of individual Catholic School Council, school principals, a trustee of the board and the Director of Education. This provides an opportunity for Catholic School Councils to have a more direct involvement in board issues. All members of the Catholic school community are welcome to attend Regional Catholic School Council meetings. Please contact your school principal for a meeting schedule.
Who are Catholic School Councils accountable to?
Catholic School Councils are accountable to the school community they represent. One of their primary purposes is to establish a dialogue with parents and the community and to seek their views about matters under consideration by the Catholic School Council. It is essential that any advice Catholic School Councils give to principals or boards reflects the general views of the school community and the be in the best interests of all students in the school.
How are Catholic School Councils formed, and who may become a member?
Near the beginning of each school year, principals distribute material to parents and other members of the school community inviting them to become active in their Catholic School Council. Positions may be filled through election or appointment, or a combination of the two. Terms last for one year and begin at the first meeting of the new Catholic School Council and end at the first council meeting the following year. Members may be re-elected or re-appointed annually.
Ministry regulations set out the core membership of an optimal Catholic School Council as follows:
- a majority of parents
- the principal or vice-principal of the school (non-voting)
- one teacher employed in the school, other than the principal or vice-principal
- one non-teaching employee of the school
- one student, in the case of secondary schools (optional for elementary schools)
- one or more community representatives appointed by the sitting council (in our school councils, frequently a representative from an associated parish)
- one person appointed by an association that is a member of the Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations, the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education, or Parents Partenaires en Education, if the association is represented at the school
The sitting Catholic School Council will elect a chair, a vice-chair and a secretary from their membership. Because Catholic School Councils are frequently involved in fundraising for the school, they often name a treasurer as well.
I missed the recruitment drive at the beginning of the school year. Can I still become involved?
Parents and other members of the school community are encouraged to contact the school principal or any other member of the Catholic School Council to express their interest in joining at any time. If there are no posts available for the current school year, active members can let you know how else you can become involved with your school until the next Catholic School Council is formed.
As a member of the school community, how do I find out what my Catholic School Council is working on?
If you are a parent, you likely receive information regularly about your school council’s activities through school newsletters and other material sent home with your child. At the end of each school year, provincial regulations require councils to submit a final report and financial statement that reflect the year’s initiatives to their principal. The school principal is in turn required to get that information home to parents.
Catholic School Councils hold regular meetings throughout the year, and members of the community are welcome to attend. Please contact the school principal or any other Catholic School Council member for a meeting schedule.