1. Background

The Waterloo Region Assembly of Public School Councils (referred to as WRAPSC or the Assembly) was founded in October of 2000. The Assembly developed from an informal group of approximately forty School Councils of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) who came together with a common concern over the funding of public education. Since December 2011, WRAPSC has operated in tandem with the Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) which is mandated by the Province of Ontario. Revisions to the PIC and WRAPSC structure were put into place in fall 2014, and again in Spring 2018.

Throughout this document reference to parents includes guardians.

2. Purpose of the Assembly

The purpose of the Assembly is to assist all School Councils of the WRDSB to further their support of student achievement through parent engagement. This engagement includes parent involvement at the board level, school level and classroom level, as well as involvement with their children’s learning at home. One of the key components of WRAPSC’s efforts to develop parent engagement is its collaboration with PIC. WRAPSC will support PIC to achieve PIC’s purpose by providing PIC with a forum to share strategies for parent engagement with School Councils and by providing input from School Councils to PIC about effective parent engagement strategies and barriers to parent engagement.

WRAPSC can assist parents of the WRDSB students 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 it provides the Director of Education, staff and trustees, as well as PIC, with an effective means to share information and consult with School Councils on current issues and future plans.

WRAPSC provides input on parent concerns to Board staff through the general assembly or its Steering Committee.

3. Assembly Structure

The Assembly is an independent, parent run, non-political, umbrella organization of School Councils of the WRDSB.

4. Assembly Members

All WRDSB School Councils may be represented by their Chair, Co-Chair, or any appointed parent member of their School Council, with an alternate if needed. Assembly Representatives are to represent the concerns of their school community and not their personal views.

5. Assembly Operating Guidelines

5.1 Assembly: General

The Assembly is not intended to replace the direct communication that exists between various organizations, including the Board and School Council Chairs, on issues of concern to their local school community. The Assembly does not replace the operation of local School Councils or interfere with local school issues.

It is recommended that Assembly Representatives attend as many meetings as possible and send an alternate when they are not available. An individual school’s WRAPSC position may be shared between two people but where a vote is necessary each School Council will have only one vote. Should a school have multiple representatives of whom one is a Steering Committee member, that person is the voting member for that school.

In the event that an Assembly vote is required on a specific issue, notice will be given in advance to all schools. The majority is considered 50% of members present plus one (1).

Every reasonable effort will be expended by the Steering Committee and Assembly to reach decisions by consensus.

5.2 Assembly: Meetings & Minutes

Assembly meetings provide a forum for networking, support, and sharing of concerns, information, achievements and best practices. These are held the first Tuesday of October, November, February, April and May, and the second Tuesday in January.

School Council members who are not designated Assembly Representatives or alternates may attend as observers and ask questions or make comments but cannot vote.

Everyone, including members of the public, must register at the sign-in desk.

Meetings will be chaired by the WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons.

Agenda items will be communicated during the WRAPSC meetings to share information and/or seek input from the Assembly Representatives. They may include:

  • Presentations or information from Assembly, WRDSB Director of Education, staff or trustees or other scheduled organizations
  • Report by WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons
  • PIC report
  • Sub-Committee report(s)
  • Notification of a scheduled vote

Topics may be referred to the Steering Committee for further research (to be reported back at a later date).

The draft minutes will be sent to the WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons for review/approval, and then sent out as “draft” to the Assembly. Minutes are to be sent out in a timely fashion, within three weeks of a meeting. They are to be approved at the next Assembly meeting.

5.3 Assembly: Revisions to the Charter

Revisions are proposed by a majority vote of the Steering Committee and tabled for ratification by a majority vote at any general meeting of the Assembly Representatives, providing notice of the intended changes has been sent to members in advance of the meeting. A majority is 50% of voting members present plus one (1).

6. Assembly Sub-Committees

Sub-Committees may be formed by the Steering Committee to address specific needs. The number of Sub-Committee members to be included is to be determined based on the scope of the project. Sub-Committees may be comprised of Steering Committee members, Assembly Representatives, other School Council members and representation from outside of the Assembly, as required to accomplish the work of the Sub-Committee. The scope of responsibility is to be agreed upon when the Sub-Committee is formed. Meetings will be scheduled as required in order to achieve objectives.

Sub-Committee Chairs will report on and discuss the activities at regular Steering Committee meetings, and ultimately present completed work assignments at the Assembly meetings.

WRAPSC sub-committees must have a Steering Committee member.

7. Assembly Operating Costs

The WRDSB will cover reasonable operating costs of the Assembly within the allotted WRAPSC budget. For out-of- pocket expenses, the member will complete and submit an expense report with attached receipts for reimbursement. The member will provide the WRAPSC treasurer with copies of all claims and receipts for reviewing and reporting purposes. After WRDSB approvals, the member will receive compensation via WRDSB cheque.

8. Assembly Communication

The WRAPSC email address will be used to communicate with each School Council via the designated Assembly Representative(s) and with other interested parents in the WRDSB. The Assembly Representative(s) are responsible for passing information on to their school communities.

WRAPSC may also use social media platforms, such as Facebook, as a means of communicating wth the Assembly and the community in general.

9. Steering Committee Members

The Assembly is administered by a Steering Committee comprised of up to 8 volunteer Assembly Representatives.

It is recommended that the Steering Committee membership reflect the geographic diversity of the Region, and if possible, include elementary, senior elementary and secondary school members.

Of the eight Steering Committee members, two will be provided by PIC.

Steering Committee positions are as follows:

  • WRAPSC Co-Chairperson (two positions)
  • WRAPSC Secretary
  • WRAPSC Treasurer
  • WRAPSC Communications Coordinator
  • WRAPSC Member-at-large (up to 3 positions)
  • PIC Member-at-large (up to 2 positions)

Members provided by PIC can hold any of the above except co-chair.

9.1 Steering Committee: Method of Appointment

Members of the Steering Committee must be official WRAPSC representatives for a WRDSB school and shall be elected or acclaimed to the WRAPSC Steering Committee at the first WRAPSC meeting of the year in October.

Existing Steering Committee members staying for their second of the two year term are considered acclaimed.

For the remaining WRAPSC positions (which would all be vacant), there will be an election if there are more candidates than the number of vacant positions. If the number of candidates is the same or fewer than the number of vacant positions then the candidates will be acclaimed.

In the case of an election, Assembly Representatives will cast written ballots to fill the remaining vacancies. Two volunteers (not on the Steering Committee or candidates for election) will count the ballots. In the event of a tie, the Assembly will vote again between the tied candidates. An official count of the ballots will be put into the meeting minutes and the ballots destroyed.

Once the 8 members of the Steering Committee are selected, if either of the positions of WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons are vacant, the outgoing WRAPSC Co-Chairperson(s) will ask if any Steering Committee members wish to be a candidate for the WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons position(s). If there are only enough candidates for the vacant position(s), they will be considered acclaimed. If there is more than one candidate per vacant position, an election will take place using the method outlined above.

9.2 Steering Committee: Terms of Office

A member may serve as a WRAPSC Co-Chairperson for a combined total of 3 terms or six (6) years. WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons can serve up to two (2) consecutive terms (for a total of 4 years). They may serve a 3rd term as long as a two-year term has elapsed since they last served.

The remaining six (6) positions are typically two-year terms unless a request to serve a one-year term is submitted. A one-year term may be granted so long as there are fewer than 50% of parent members currently serving one-year terms. These members will decide upon the length of their term at the first WRAPSC Steering Committee meeting of the year.

Terms run from October to October.

9.3 Steering Committee: Resignations and Committee Vacancies

Members who choose to resign before the end of their term need to submit their written resignation to the Steering Committee. They will also forfeit their right to acclaim a second year at the next election. Any documents, supplies or unpublished minutes need to be given to the WRAPSC Steering Committee Secretary.
Whenever possible, Steering Committee vacancies are to be filled in a timely manner from the WRAPSC membership.

10. Steering Committee Positions

10.1 WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons (2)

  • This role is as co-chairperson of WRAPSC; their sole focus is on ensuring WRAPSC is operating as intended and to the best of its ability.
  • Co-chairs all areas of WRAPSC.
  • Co-chairs Steering Committee meetings and Assembly meetings.
  • Represents the Assembly on WRDSB committees when participation is appropriate (or delegates this role where appropriate).
  • Solicits input on agenda items from the Steering Committee, Assembly Representatives, and Board Staff.
  • Finalizes and distributes the agenda.
  • Approves the WRAPSC minutes prior to Assembly distribution.
  • Manages the WRAPSC email account, consulting with the PIC/WRAPSC Co-Chairperson as necessary. Refers questions to the appropriate Steering Committee member or WRDSB staff person.
  • Assists with maintaining social media platforms for WRAPSC (i.e.: Facebook account).
  • Attends Board meetings where possible.
  • Promotes assembly participation to School Councils.
  • Coordinates Assembly participation in Board committees.
  • Reports at least twice a year to WRAPSC about the activities of PIC.
  • Perform any duties/responsibilities of steering committee positions, whose member(s) are unable to fulfill them.

10.2 WRAPSC Treasurer

  • Ensures compliance with spending the WRAPSC Budget.
  • Follows up to ensure receipts and expense reports are retained for tracking purposes.
  • Works with board staff to ensure tracking is complete and accurate.
  • Reports on Assembly costs & provides a year-end summary.

10.3 WRAPSC members-at-large (up to 3)

  • Assists with maintaining social media platforms for WRAPSC (i.e.: Facebook account).
  • Assists with WRAPSC or PIC event(s) and takes part in WRAPSC subcommittee(s)

10.4 WRAPSC Communications Coordinator

  • Maintains list of Assembly Representatives and attendance at meeting.
  • Ensures Assembly website and School Council Handbook information is kept current.
  • Liaises with Board staff to add/update/delete material from the WRAPSC page of the WRDSB website.
  • Assists the WRAPSC Co-Chairpersons with maintaining the email account.
  • Assists with maintaining social media platforms for WRAPSC (i.e.: Facebook account).
  • Presents a report each October summarizing attendance/participation trends in the previous school year.

10.5 WRAPSC Secretary

  • Records minutes and ensures their distribution within three weeks of the meeting after review by Co-Chairs.
  • Arranges locations and refreshments for the meetings.
  • Writes and distributes Steering Committee minutes for review by Co-Chairs.
  • Arranges substitute for minute taking, when needed.

10.6 PIC members-at-large (up to 2)

  • Provide another link with the PIC committee, in order to facilitate open communication and collaboration between the committees.
  • Assists with maintaining social media platforms for WRAPSC (i.e.: Facebook account).
  • Assists with WRAPSC event(s) and takes part in WRAPSC subcommittee(s).

11. Steering Committee Operating Guidelines

11.1 Steering Committee: General

  • Administers the operation of the Assembly.
  • Sets agenda for each Assembly meeting from input by Assembly Representatives and from items that come from the WRDSB, trustees and other parties, with the Co-Chairpersons to finalize.
  • Ensures that requested agenda items and issues requiring action fall within the mandate of the Assembly, and formally responds to the person initiating the agenda item/issue.
  • Provides advice to speakers, i.e. Director of Education, staff, trustees, teachers, and others, as to the information likely to be needed by the Assembly Representatives.
  • Provides advice to the Director of Education, trustees and others, when requested.
  • Presents parent perspective to the Board. Assembly meetings may result in a decision to present a united view or Assembly Representatives may agree that they cannot reach consensus and diverse views will be presented.
  • Researches issues and assemble support material for Assembly agenda items.
  • Receives written or personal delegations from Assembly Representatives or representatives from other organizations, as appropriate, for Assembly agenda items.
  • Attend conferences related to the duties of the Steering Committee and/or role of WRAPSC, budget permitting.
  • Communicates and/or networks on behalf of Assembly Representatives, when appropriate, with other organizations with a related purpose, including (but not limited to) the following groups/organizations: WRDSB Director of Education, Staff, Board of Trustees, The Ministry/Minister of Education, EQAO, Student Councils, other Regional Assemblies of School Councils, People for Education.
  • Works collaboratively with PIC on parent engagement issues for the betterment of School Councils and parents.

11.2 Steering Committee: Meetings & Minutes

Steering Committee meetings may occur from time to time, and wherever possible will be scheduled to take into account the availability of all members. Members can expect approximately 3-5 meetings per school year. Co-Chairpersons must schedule meetings when issues arise that go beyond their roles as chairpersons and require discussion and input from the other Steering Committee members. Steering Committee are expected to attend Steering Committee and Assembly meetings. Minutes will be taken at Steering Committee meetings by the secretary and will be distributed by email to members within two weeks of the meeting. Minutes will be approved by email. Steering Committee minutes are made available upon request.

12. Parent Involvement Committee (PIC)

As per Ontario regulation 612/00 of the Education Act and the Parent Engagement Policy for Ontario Schools, the WRDSB has a Parent Involvement Committee in operation.

The purpose of PIC is to support, encourage and enhance the engagement of parents of the Board in their children’s education in order to improve student achievement and well-being.

PIC will achieve its purpose by:

  • Providing information and advice on parent engagement to the Board
  • Undertaking activities aimed at helping parents in the Board to support their children’s learning at home and school
  • Working closely with WRAPSC to communicate with and support the work of school councils of the Board

PIC will include the following members:

  • Fourteen parent members of whom two sit on WRAPSC as their sub-committee
  • Director of Education or designate
  • A Board-appointed Trustee or designate
  • A principal, vice-principal, and teacher
  • 1-3 community representatives