School councils consist of:
- a majority of parents
- secondary students
- community representatives
School council members work together to support and enhance student learning. They provide a way for members of the community to consult with and offer advice to principals and school boards.
- are a bridge between the school and community
- focus on what is best for all students in the school
- consider the interests of all school stakeholders
- develop, maintain and reflect the culture of the school
- represent the parent voice in the school community
School councils are legislated under the Education Act and are mandatory for all schools in the public education system, including charter schools.
Role of parents
Parents play an important role in student success. School councils allow parents to participate in decisions that impact student learning.
Parents actively contribute to the success of the school community by contributing knowledge, perspective and ideas at school council meetings and through other methods established by the school council, including, but not limited to, participating in:
- focus groups
- projects teams
- volunteer activities
Parents of students enrolled in the school must make up the majority of the school council. School councils may also decide to include one or more parents of children enrolled in an Early Childhood Services (ECS) program at the school or other individuals who have an interest in the school.
How to engage with your school council
Contact your school’s principal school council chairperson, trustee or your school authority to learn how to engage with your school council. All parents with a student in the school are eligible to be members of school council.
Enhancing parent engagement in Alberta schools
Alberta’s government is providing more than $1 million directly to school councils through the Alberta School Council Engagement (ASCE) Grant to enhance collaboration between parents and schools on education priorities. This grant gives each school council in the province $500 this year under a new direct funding approach.
Active school councils in public, separate, Francophone and charter schools are eligible for this grant.
By the end of October, school authorities will provide the ministry with the number of school councils in their jurisdiction and any other relevant information requested. We will allocate grant funds to school authorities following receipt of the information.
School authorities are responsible for ensuring that the funds are disbursed to their schools and made available to the school councils. The decisions for the use of the funds will be made by the school councils.
Using the grant
The ASCE Grant is intended for parent involvement and engagement activities that:
- broaden the number of school events that include parents
- diversify the communication tools used to reach parents
- seek out the advice and ideas of other parents
The grant also supports school councils in fulfilling their legislated responsibilities outlined in Education Act and School Council Regulation such as:
- advising the principal and the board respecting any matter relating to the school
- consulting with the principal so that the principal may ensure that students in the school have the opportunity to meet the standards of education set by the minister
- consulting with the principal so that the principal may ensure that the fiscal management of the school is in accordance with the requirements of the board and the superintendent
- establishing and implementing policies in the school that the school council considers necessary to carry out its functions
- making bylaws governing its meetings and the conduct of its affairs
- advising on the development of school education plans, annual education results reports and budget
- completing and providing an annual report to the school board summarizing its activities and detailing the receipt, handling and use of any money in the previous school year
Annually, school councils should establish local priorities aligned with the grant purpose that the funds will support.
Examples of parent engagement activities and projects that funds can be used for include:
- workshops for parents to increase capacity for school council members
- conference fees
- information sessions on how parents can support student learning at home and at school
- parent resources and workshops on important topics such as, mental health and well-being, cyber bullying, healthy living, etc.
- programs to support families including those of English language and of indigenous learners
- parent resources and tools in multiple languages
- events to engage parents on important local issues
- parent engagement in promoting the value of arts
- trainer or facilitator costs for the professional development, workshops or sessions associated with the above
Examples of non-allowable expenses include:
- entertainment costs, meals, snacks or, other food
- capital asset purchases
- activities that have already taken place
- organization memberships
- fundraising events
- prizes or incentives to parents and/or students
- payment to school board staff including honoraria or, gifts
- entertainment activities such as barbeques, volunteer teas, movie nights, dances, concerts or performances
School councils must report on the receipt, handling and use of ASCE Grant in their annual report to their school board as per section 13(2) and 14 (1) of the School Councils Regulation.
School or school authority administration will support school councils to access and use the ASCE Grant.
Alberta’s Assurance Framework describes the approach to build public trust and confidence that the education system meets the needs of students and enables their success.
Through action and evidence, education partners throughout the system demonstrate that they are meeting their responsibilities across key areas or domains.
The framework reflects the importance of stakeholder engagement in its guiding principles, key enabling processes and requirements for school authority planning and results reporting.
One of the key ways that school authorities demonstrate accountability and provide assurance is through the development and publication of their education plans and annual education results reports (AERRs)
School authorities engage key stakeholders, including parents and school councils, in the planning process to establish key priorities for their education plan and to share results and report on progress toward achieving those priorities in their AERR. To that end, school authority education plans and AERRs are expected to provide evidence and document that school authorities have engaged with stakeholders.
In their education plan and AERR, school authorities also describe the actions they have taken to meet their obligations under Section 12 of the School Councils Regulation, to provide the opportunity for school councils to be involved in developing school education plans/AERRs and to share results from provincial assessments and information from its reporting and accountability system with school councils.
Supporting the Assurance Framework
School councils can play a role in supporting the Assurance Framework by:
- Becoming familiar with the Assurance Framework and the related school authority planning and reporting requirements
- Learning about the role your school council has in developing the school education plan and annual education results report
- Discussing at a school council meeting their school authority’s education plan and annual education report that are posted annually on school authority website by November 30 and May 31, respectively
- Discussing at a school council meeting their school’s education plan and annual education report that are posted annually on school or school authority website
- Participating in opportunities to engage around the development of school/school authority education plan priorities
- Participating in opportunities to learn about the results showing progress towards meeting the school authority’s priorities
- Encouraging parents to complete the Alberta Education Assurance parent survey, if they are a parent of a student who is enrolled in Grade 4, 7 or 10
School councils have an important role in supporting public assurance and accountability at the local level including:
- Representing and informing parents
- Advising the principal and the board on matters relating to the school
- Participating in the development of school education plans, annual education results reports and budget
- Facilitating communication and supporting parent engagement within the school and school authority
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