November 12, 2020

SWC Parent Council (Virtual) Meeting Minutes

November 12, 2020


Staff: Wanda Mills-Boone, Louise Cesario

Voting members: Allison Peacocke, Amanda Lancaster, Crystal Try, Danielle Rodier, Jayson Shurgold, Jill Ade-Sibbit, Karen Roberts, Margaret Sambol and Naomi Elias. (Quorum of 9/12) Regrets: David Sibayeh Ngantchu

Non-voting attendees: Cara Baas, Christina Butler-Jones, Christina Harrison-Baird, Pearl Atwere, Donna Blackburn, Duygu Morewood, George Chernev, Jamie Lau, Phillip Mansfield, Emmanuella Stimphat, Stephen Morris, Tracy Cole, Leila Chinaei, Jason Hinek, Aurelie Mbongo

Meeting called to order 6:32 pm

OCDSB Trustee Donna Blackburn

Visited SWC last week. Was shown by Wanda how SWC is using Parkwood Hills and how things are organized. Concern that space at PHS needs to be maintained and plowed if it will be used through the winter. Donna has contacted facilities people and received a response from superintendent. Maintenance is on their radar and Donna will keep an eye on things.

Board worked all summer, which is abnormal. Budget not passed until the end of August.  Focus is on COVID and keeping students and staff safe and healthy. OCDSB numbers are low.

Not as many reviews or policies as normal because staff stretched on account of other operational requirements. Enrollment substantially down from what was projected, primarily on account of JK and SK. There will be a financial shortfall because funding is on a per student basis. This challenge is not unique to OCDSB. Government is being lobbied.

Equity Roadmap and school resource officer positions being reviewed.

Another question around whether or not kids in virtual school could continue to participate in home school councils, and it was allowed and has worked out.

Donna acknowledged that shortage of French speaking substitute teachers is a concern.

Request that Donna review request for a crossing guard.  Crossing guards are allocated by the city, based on an analysis.


Minutes from October 2020 

Motion to approve minute from October meeting. Moved by Allison, seconded by Naomi. PASSED.

Principal’s Report (Wanda):

      All teachers seem pumped to be back at school. They are impressed with how well the kids are doing with following the rules, etc.  Very creative active games are being played in the yard given no equipment is allowed. We have had to do many things differently, some of which are proving to be improvements.  One thing that has been going well, are virtual morning announcements. This allows students to get the announcements when it is convenient for the teachers. There are still some struggles, like overcoming not being able to do circle times and small group learning.

      Thank you to SWC parent and CAF member who presented at the virtual Remembrance Day ceremony. 

      We will hopefully be able to open the gym, after some initial hurdles: a broken dividing door, determining how equipment can be used safely and ensuring cleaning protocols for the space are implemented. 

      Classes have started to use cubbies and lockers, under a lot of guidelines. Lots of space between kids. They are being used for clothing only. Backpacks still go into classrooms given they contain necessary items.

      Report cards – progress reports –will be released on parent portal on November 20.  Hopefully no issues.

      We looked into school ventilation questions received from parents. SWC has two types of ventilation system – one newer, and one older. The board will be providing classes with the older system with HEPA filters. Isolation room in office already has a HEPA filter in it.

      Learning and staying safe remain the goals of the year. Wanda and Louise want to thank the parents for being so supportive! Parents are doing a great job of completing the screening questionnaire in the morning. Parents have been super prompt in picking up kids who are feeling ill as well. Greatly appreciated!

Teachers report (Louise Cesario)

      Grade 2s are exploring music with xylophones, learning about pitch, speed and rhythm.

      Grade 4, 5 and 6 students are doing a lot of dance.  Grade 6s are doing performances with hand claps. All classes choreographing dances  in class and out.

      JK/SK: Mrs D'Angelo and Mme Durnin have done Remembrance Day and Diwali. Both have done fall inquiry activities. Teachers are learning a lot from the student's questions.

Treasurer’s Report

Only activity since last year is $37 in revenue from uncashed pizza refunds.

Spending 2020/2021

      Margaret reviewed the spending plan.  We have $14225 to allocate.

      To begin discussions, it was proposed that, as in previous years we allocate funds for council support, the 1% challenge and student support (through the discretionary fund administered by Wanda).  Despite virtual meetings, $600 for council support, in case we can meet again in the new year might be worthwhile. In previous years the student support discretionary fund was $2000.

      It was noted that more money in the discretionary fund might be helpful this year to help support families particularly affected by COVID.

      It was noted that a request went out to staff for proposals. Only a couple were received. Teachers have indicated that they may have requests a little later on.

      It was noted that we don’t need to spend/allocate all money tonight. We can hold off until later in the year, once teachers have a better idea of what they might want/need. An additional allocation to the student support fund could also be made.

Motion to allocate $2000 to student discretionary fund. Moved by Amanda. Seconded by Naomi. PASSED.

Motion to allocate up to $750 for council support/administration, including council support, 1% challenge and staff luncheon. Moved by Allison. Seconded by Crystal. PASSED.

      Classroom support: It was noted that last year each staff received a Dollarama gift card to help support the work they do. There was discussion about whether or not Dollarama gift cards were most appropriate. Wanda noted that the school does provide supplies to students who are unable to provide their own, but that teachers do still buy consumables like stickers, treasure box, etc. She also noted that most teachers really do appreciate gift cards like Dollarama to spend on things.

      The idea of creating a pool that teachers could request funds from for specific items was suggested, but it was felt that most preferred the idea of buying something for everyone.

      Should another store be considered? In the past, Dollarama has kicked in extra cards when we do a big buy. It was suggested that teachers could be given an option – Dollarama or Indigo. Wanda will follow-up with staff and get preferences.

      How many staff? Almost 60 staff: 12 EAS, 8 ECEs, the rest are teachers and 5 cleaning staff.

      It was noted that cleaning staff would likely appreciate Tim Hortons instead of Dollarama.

Motion to spend up to $2500 to provide a $40 gift card to each staff. Moved by Margaret. Seconded by Allison. PASSED.

      Forest School proposal: (Detailed proposal received). Concern that funds might not benefit all kinders. Wanda mentioned that two of the kinder teachers have passed training for Forest School and are now training the other two kinder class teachers.  Up until now, we have utilized the Forest School’s equipment.  Some basic equipment is required to keep up the program.  Funding might need to be doubled, as equipment cannot be shared between cohorts.

      Proposal for Forest of Reading: (Detailed proposal received) Books purchased for the program will go to the library after the program. Jenn already on list of approved volunteers, so would be able to do the reading to classes.

Motion to spend up to $400 for Forest of Reading and up to $600 for Forest School.  Moved by Margaret. Seconded by Crystal. PASSED.

Virtual meetings to continue on second Thursday of the month.

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