School Councils

Research has proven that the involvement of parents and guardians in their children’s education has a positive impact on improved student learning and helps to create a sense of community at the school. The support of the community has also proven to be an enhancement to that positive learning environment. By working together as partners, we can encourage greater academic success and all-round growth for our students and develop caring and contributing citizens.

Role of the School Council

A school council is an advisory body that functions within the parameters of Ministry of Education and Board policy. School councils provide an opportunity and the means to advise the principal and the Board on any matter pertaining to improvement of pupil achievement and enhancing the accountability of the education system to parents/guardians. The ultimate responsibility for the administration and management of the day-to-day operation of the school rests with the principal.

A School Council Handbook has been prepared by the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Region Assembly of Public School Councils working in partnership to support school councils in their valuable role in elementary and secondary schools across the Region. A reference copy of the handbook is available in all of our schools.

A school council is an important venue for the various stakeholders in education to work in partnership. Its role, in collaboration with the principal, staff and the community, is to help set the priorities of the school, and to enhance learning opportunities, through various activities, for the benefit of our children/students.

Waterloo Region Assembly of Public School Councils

The purpose of the Assembly is to assist all school councils in the Waterloo Region District School Board to further their support of student achievement. This is accomplished by providing a single voice for school councils on matters of significant importance impacting all schools. In addition, the Assembly establishes a forum for the exchange of ideas, concerns and best practices for school councils, and provides the Director of Education, staff and trustees with an effective means to share information and consult with school councils on current issues and future plans.

The Assembly is an independent, parent/guardian run, non-political, umbrella organization of school councils of the Waterloo Region District School Board.

For further information, or to become involved in your school council:

  • Talk to the principal at your local school to find out who is school council chair.
  • Plan to attend the next meeting of your local school council – a schedule is available at your school.

In turn, the school council will search out, from the parents/guardians and community of the school, the hands-on involvement and resources required to achieve these learning opportunities. School councils should ensure activities are beneficial for all the students in their school, and that they are appropriate for all stakeholders.

What a School Council is not

A school council is not a place to pursue your own agenda or advocate for your own child. Individual issues should be pursued through the classroom teacher and/or principal or through your superintendent. Guidelines for parents/guardians to communicate with the school system related to individual issues are included in the School Council Handbook.

Representation

According to Waterloo Region District School Board Policy, school councils should range in size from nine to fifteen members in elementary schools, and from eleven to fifteen members in secondary schools. Schools may change the size of their school council through their own bylaw, as long as it complies with Ontario Regulation 612/00. Under the same regulation, school councils shall include:

  • Parents/guardians of students enrolled in the school, elected by parents/guardians at the school. Parents/guardians must form a majority on the school council. In the case of an adult day school, students will form the majority on the school council.
  • The school principal (a non-voting member)
  • One teacher from the school, elected by the teaching staff
  • One support staff member from the school, elected by the support staff
  • One student, if a secondary school, chosen by the students.  A school council at the elementary level may decide to invite student representation in consultation with and appointed by the principal
  • One person appointed by an association that is a member of the Ontario Federation of Home & School Associations, if the association is established in the school
  • A community representative, appointed by the school council.  The school council may make a bylaw to increase the number of community representatives to two or more, but must still make sure that parents/guardians form the majority.

Resources