Minutes – May 6 2019

 

LP SCHOOL COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES

May 6, 2019

 

Next Meeting:              Monday, September 16 2019

Attendees:, Domenica Larkin, Laura Schatz, Kirsten Glenister, Liane Downs, Josie Bohm, Anne Maenhaut, Gillian Wyett, Mary Romaniuk, Scott Morson, Xiaoli Tang, Rindy Bradshaw, Jennifer Wilmer, John Hiddema, Kathy Dumanski, Robin Conliffe, Sabah Hassan,  Kelly Green, Julie Sole,  Ian Aukema, Suzanne Sparrow, Joel Gorenkoff, Erika Boone,  Steve Bibla, Samira Sud, Sean Solomon, Atul Bahl, Ashley Melhuish, Anna Richter

 Some Important Dates Discussed:

  • Wednesday May 14th : Spring Fling
  • May 17– Student Council Election
  • Summatives – have started
  • June 4 -7 : Moratorium on new material
  • June 5 & 6th : EQAO Grade 9 Math –reminder that this is MANDATORY
  • June 10 –June 21: Exams: Schedule is out but will be revised- WATCH FOR CHANGES
  • June 24th at 9am is EXAM & Marks Review –* Very Important * students should attend
  • June 26th : Commencement
  • June 27th – 1pm – Report Card pick-up.

 

Students’ Council Report:           Will and Madeleine

  • Wellness week was last week – kickoff assembly, events, leadership, bbq cookie grams….
  • Spring Fling coming up (lunchtime event) includes mini events such as LPAC BBQ, soccer tournament, bucket hat sale, etc…
  • Election season (2 week campaign – next Friday, May 17 speeches and vote) 20 candidates
  • New* ballot for President this year – various questions to get students to think critically before casting their vote
  • Next year – an equity position is on the table to be added to executive positions
  • Leadership workshops took today – current LP leaders had Q&A in auditorium, and then break off sessions
  • Prom coming up this week on Friday!

Executive Council Report:          Anna, Julie, Ian, John, Kelly, Anne Marie, Erika

  • APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES (April 8, 2019)
  • Julie Sole motioned to approve, Jennifer Wilmer seconds. Motion passed.
  • Anna asked for nominations or volunteers to join School Council exec for next year. No nominations.  Please see Anna if you are interested in getting involved next year.

FOLLOW UP TO PREVIOUS MEETING:

Communications Update:        Julie Sole

  • MYSCHOOL DAY app – up and running – school has been populating the app
  • Our website has the correct link: http://www.lpschoolcouncil.com. In future you can ask your child what their class schedule
  • Good place to go for last minute info (ie cancellations)
  • We have reached out to feeder schools (Glenview & Bedford Park grade 8 parents, Glen Park next) to have those families start to sign up (120 new emails so far)
  • Over the summer Julie will keep our site up to date with all new and relevant info
  • NEW section on the LP School Council website: “Our Education System”
  • New education reform and timetable changes to semestered system info in this section

Fundraiser Final Update:         Anne Marie Armstrong

NEW tally: $19,000 (last time did not include direct donations!)

– Applause

 

Funding Allocations:               Anna Richter

Follow up to previous funding allocations:

  • Electrician for stage lightsnot yet, VERY disappointing: Students have missed the benefit of our donation for Dance Show, Kiwanis festival, Sears Drama Festival, and School Play

Recommend that school and board prioritize delivery of services to students, allow approved suppliers to provide licensed electricians to install and/or revisit collective agreements

  • Graphics printer: arrived last week, should be set up this week and in action by next week. Watch for new banners!

Funding Allocation April 30, 2019 now posted on our website (under ‘Fundraising’, ‘ Student Enrichment Fund’)  $7,300 allocated

  • Additional jersey costs & coaches sweaters to build team spirit ($2,650 + $1500),
  • New girls’ flag football team jerseys ($2,400)

Note that our funding of jerseys allows the school to apply its budget elsewhere, where we can’t eg replacement teachers

  • Workshop dealing with stress to be presented in gr 10 Careers  $750 – started during Wellness week
  • ice cream machine request for $10,000 declined
  • No requests yet from students councils and clubs
  • May have another request coming from teachers soon

Treasurer’s Report:     Ian Aukema

Current balance as of May 6th (after receiving revenue from fundraiser and allocating funds mentioned above is: $13,009.20

 IN THE INTERIM

Track & Field Improvements:              Anna  

  • Little advancement since Viability Review Committee meeting Feb 22 2019
  • Started Google doc for proposal, principal uploaded outline, Anna uploaded data re anticipated usage from 250 Lawrence Study
  • Waiting for Chris Reid to identify TDSSAA requirements for facilities inc. fields, gyms
  • Development of proposal to continue with input from parents, school admin and staff
  • As previously noted, TDSB not interested in partnerships with private entities to operate or maintain facilities; Interested in ‘sustainable ‘solutions, including financially sustainable: TDSB may be interested in partnership with City and LP property is part of a stormwater management improvement area which may mean that a portion of our field may be remediated at city’s expense;
  • Feedback from city in the interim: probably too late for S 37 funds
  • Anna still in contact with Councillor Colle’s office but no definitive, positive response yet about funding coming to LP

Special Treasury Committee (Charitable Status):       John Hiddema & Anna

Meeting- Anna:

Committee members as per website: Ian, Sharon Gregory, Robin Conliffe, John Hiddema, Michelle Porlier, Chris Hill, Anna

  • Report on Apr 12 Meeting with board assistant comptroller and school principal to review TDSB options for collecting donations and monitoring the funds, accessing funds, etc.
  • Follow up letter on website:” Meeting with Board and School re Charitable Status”- letter on website with notes regarding collection and monitoring requirements

Tests/ Trials Activity: John

  • hard to create a URL on the TDSB’s site…easy for parents who already have an account to donate, but not others (grandparents, community, etc…) who are unfamiliar with schoolcashonline
  • challenging for employers matching employees donations
  • Going with this platform will allow for anyone who does not have a schoolcashonline account. It currently takes about 20 steps to make a donation if you do not have an account (not feasible). By September we will have a clear process and this allows us to be able to collect for specific initiatives.
  • Ultimate goal : tax deductible receipts for donors in a system SC can monitor and access

 

PARENT QUESTION:  Air conditioning – what can we do?? What is the policy? Who can we write? Health & Safety concern?  Can we as school council buy or donate air conditioners?

Answers (Erika): We provided some history on our past attempts at advocating for cooler classrooms. Board-wide, province wide issue – not just LP.  No plans for LPCI to have air conditioning any time soon.  Parents cannot buy air conditioners – this is capital improvement.  We can buy portable fans.

Can write to Fix our Schools; called John Malloy last year since it was 36°C in classrooms

(Joel): North Gym will be a cooling centre (currently computer lab and library are only areas with air conditioning) but can’t get 1200 students in north gym, not even 300. 

PARENT QUESTION: advocating for A/C?

Answer (Joel):policy cannot change status, that is if there was no air conditioning before then cannot introduce it (unless it’s a computer lab)

PARENT QUESTION: Library is currently closed for half the lunch hour.  Can it stay open? 

Answer (Joel): This is a voluntary role…they will try to have it open on hot days.

PARENT QUESTION: What is Board policy? How warm can classrooms get?

Answer (Joel): Policy is on the TDSB website. Will look further into it and let Anna know.

PARENT COMMENT: asked school council to not give up the fight; keep up the pressure.

Suggestion to form a sub-committee to advocate – see Kelly after the meeting

School Council Calendar on Website & Volunteering-            Anna

  • Next year’s meeting dates noted – all note 1st SC meeting is NOW scheduled for SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 (UPDATED RIGHT AFTER THIS MEETING) (previously noted as Sept 23, 2019 rescheduled to Sept 16 2019)
  • Welcome Committee Sign up – date of Welcome Event early in Sept. Also send tips for families new to LP to lpschoolcouncil@gmail.com
  • Please see Calendar of opportunities at lpschoolcouncil.com for ways in which you can volunteer
  • Policy 23 Fundraising Consultation – opportunity to influence TDSB policy, working group requested – no volunteers yet, no lead – some talk of amassing all donations raised and redistributing; Breadth of fundraising could to reviewed, including recommendations to permit delivery of services too eg – electrician or stage light installation

Wellness Update:        Kelly Green

  • Last week was the successful grand finale for Wellness Council (5th year). Kicked off by student assembly; focused on Student Voice. Topics included mindfulness, reducing stress, managing anxiety, etc.
  • Tuesday – Kindness Day (350 cookie grams)
  • SC funding pilot program via Civics/Careers in grade 10 about managing stress – well received
  • Wellness Wednesday – booths, David’s Tea
  • Thursday = PJ day
  • Friday : BBQ lunch 850 students were served hotdogs and drinks (free)
  • Fun Friday hallway popcorn stand; grade 9s treated to a play – “In Your Head” a good mix of info and entertainment

Interim Meeting with Superintendent: Erika Boone

  • Met with Diana for the first time since she took on the superintendent role in December. This is new role for Diana, she was previously principal at Don Mills and Victoria Park.
  • We asked her about our role in the School Improvement Plan and how this process should unfold going forward.
  • We raised concern over the lack of consistency in our LP Guidance Department over the past 5 years. We also discussed what we feel are ongoing issues at LP that arise from unexpected leaves of absences in subject areas such as Math.  Very hard to fill these openings quickly and with quality candidates.  Principal’s hands are tied.  Stressful for students and contributes to the issue at LP of students taking math outside (Blythe).
  • We discussed the notion of “Parents as Partners” and tried to get a sense of how she felt we could play more of an advisory role.
  • We raised the topic of entitlement versus engagement. There is a repeated concern of our school community’s entitlement and we need to address this and not confuse engagement with entitlement (or vice versa). We need to ensure we advocate on behalf of the student body and have all voices heard.

Timetable Change to Semestering:                 Anna

  • Refer to LPschoolcouncil.com Tab: “Our Education System”, drop down to “Timetable Changes at LPCI”
  • Reminder that parents, teachers, administrators and students we all have to move forward to work together in the future (as groups at least, if not the specific individuals in this room) after this issue is discussed, perhaps implement,
  • Each group to have its say, may not mean each will get its way
  • Many parents in attendance tonight had attended the April 25th meeting/presentation by principal, students and teachers to parents.
  • Quick recap:
  • Teachers have voted to proceed with change to semestering (May 2018)
  • Students were surveyed after assembly – about 140 responses to 3 questions:

1) What Grade are you in? 2) What are your concerns about semestering? 3) How would you be affected by semestering?

  •  Follow up to April 25th meeting
    • Highlights of parents comments
    • Lead to SC collective statement, not the cherry picked opinions of a select few
    • Beyond the statement, we will make a ‘recommendation’ for an open process at all times, which we are empowered to do by Reg 612.  A legislated obligation is invoked for the board and school to respond to us. This is a tool school councils have available for use.  This elevates our concern beyond the ‘whine and gripe’ category that is too readily dismissed by the school and board.

Post meeting note for clarification: The following statement was read by the School Council Chair at the meeting. It represents a summary of the comments received by email and less formal parent conversations that took place after the parent consultation meeting on April 25th.  While it has been referred to as a ’statement’ it was not intended to be received as an official position taken by the Council at this time, rather a summary of feedback with some specific quotes from parent emails. We continue to welcome all feedback on the process and the timetable change, and encourage all parents to bring their comments forward.

Anna, as SC Chair, read the following statement:

This School Council statement regarding the process of proposed timetable changes to a semestered system at LPCI is assembled with the input of parent comments regarding the process:

 We understand there are members on our School Council and in our parent population who are both for and against semestering, but LP School Council believes that we all agree that our school community deserves an open, respectful process with clear dialogue between all parties and substantiating data to make evidence based decisions. Ministry policies strive to encourage parent engagement.  The TDSB should support it, too. The TDSB and the School should welcome parent engagement in support of students’ academic achievements.

The TDSB OP 542 policy “Changing A Timetable” is the framework that offers parents an opportunity to engage in the process of the proposed timetable changes in the very first stage “Dialogue At the School”.  LP Parents and School Council were not afforded that opportunity here at LPCI before the spring 2018 staff vote on the issue (This staff vote is stage 2 “Recommendation by the School”.)  Our superintendent believes that we are at Stage 3 “When Approval is Granted” and that the final decision rests with the Principal. There has been no dialogue between staff and parents on this topic between May 2018 and March 2019. For 10 months teachers and staff were aware of the proposed change but did not discuss it with parents or students.

On the basis that there was no dialogue per OP 542 Stage 1, in advance of the staff vote, nor for 10 months following the vote per OP 542 stage 2, we have applied to have the approval revoked.  We have not yet received a decision.

Meanwhile, our Superintendent Diana Panagiatoupoulos has told members of this executive that proposed timetable change process is ‘on hold’ at LP right now, pending the outcome of the TDSB studies on Secondary School Reform and French Language studies.

 In any case, School Council clearly affirms its intention to engage with the remainder of the school community (teachers, school administration and students) in continuing dialogue should this timetable change be pursued in future.

Decisions made when these processes are not followed, struggle to be seen as objective and unbiased and will ultimately not be seen as legitimate. In order to make semestering work well, the support of the full school community will be required to successfully implement a change of this magnitude. If it means delaying things to ensure they are done properly, then things should be delayed.“

We expect respectful, balanced, substantiated, evidence based presentations in future and reject the one sided presentation of shallow, unsubstantiated comments. We object to the abrupt termination of any parent discussion and engagement at any time.   We assert our support for fact based, open discussion among all members of the Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute community so that we may discuss the concerns of LP students in French programming, music, sports and arts programmes that are successful and well established in the fabric of LPCI and this community.  We encourage parents to do their own research as well and encourage them to share it with us.

LP School Council in its capacity as an advisory body will be making this recommendation for an open process to the board and the school, as school councils are empowered to by regulation 612.”

 School Council also remains mindful that all communities within our school (students, parents, teachers and administrators) will have to continue to work together in the very near future on many challenges, regardless of timetable structure.

 

Comment: (ERIKA):  Clarified that the School Council Executive had not reviewed this statement prior to the reading during the meeting.

Comment: (ANNA): Clarified that input was invited from all parents and School Council Executives contributed to the statement as did other parents. This statement was initiated by another member of the SC Executive.

  • Parents’ comments (regarding the April 25th presentation) received by SC are being amassed into a document and will be provided to our principal and superintendent. They will also be posted on our website.
  • In addition, a list of links provided by parents to studies about the semestered system, sometimes compared to full year, and student success in semestered system is being posted on our website

 

PARENT COMMENT: Raised concern of not having faith in the process (regardless of outcome).  Had hoped that the school would have presented the three things they had listed at the outset of the meeting on the 25th. 1) Why are we going through this now? 2) An example of how similar high school(s) has recently handled the switch 3) given time at the end for Q & A

PARENT QUESTION: What is deadline for final decision?

ANSWER: Principal Gorenkoff: Answered by reviewing the school’s timeline:

  • Staff had considered change to semester system for years, but no previous decision made
  • Form was submitted May 2018
  • Given permission to investigate the change
  • December 2018, Kathleen Gardiner (superintendent at the time) provided permission to start consultation
  • Waited until March 2019 to begin (planning beforehand, waited until 18 months before implementation date of Sept 2020) and started with student assembly March 28, 2019
  • Process now halted until after Secondary School Reform and French Language Review is announced at June 19th Board meeting.
  • repeated that this is not a fait accompli…we have time, however, school must advertise by November what our model is for September 2020.
  • Should share the model – trend is towards semestering
  • Staff experience suggests improved equity; point was made that we are talking about kids that don’t feel they belong; there are kids in our community who need something else.

PARENT COMMENT: Research shows that kids at risk or who are challenged do better in full term education.

ANSWER (PRINCIPAL): about taking questions at the presentation on the 25th, parents questions were peppered in therefore not at the end.

PARENT COMMENT:  During the presentation you clearly stated you wanted to hear only from the ‘silent’ parents, not those who spoke up all the time. After one or 2 parent questions, remainder of parent comments and questions during presentation were deferred until the end, but at the end there was no Q&A, no opportunity for parent discussion. You stood up and put your jacket on to leave and invited Anna to announce the next SC meeting date.

ANSWER (PRINCIPAL): We have been asked to stop the process for now. September to November (2019) will be pivotal, lots of consultation to be done.

SC CHAIR COMMENT: At meeting with Superintendent, SC requested that board or school send written notification out to parent community to make parents aware that the timetable change process has been put on hold until after the June19th Board meeting. This has not happened. Nothing received yet.

STAFF COMMENT: Takes offense to wording in the statement above of “shallow & unsubstantiated” wording in the statement with regard to the school’s presentation. Reminded all that effort and thought based on experience was put into the presentation by the staff and that these are the teachers we entrust with our kids.

     SC CHAIR COMMENT: Certain that passionate and informed discussion had occurred amongst teaching staff previously but unfortunately may not have been apparent to some parents in the presentation on the 25th, as evidenced in comments received by SC from parents.

 LOOKING AHEAD:

3 Tiers of Factors and Agents Affecting LPCI:             Anna

  1. School: Proposed Timetable Changes to Semestered System

Website reference: LPschoolcouncil.com Tab: “Our Education System”, drop down to “Timetable Changes at LPCI

  1. Board: Secondary School Reform and French Language Studies due  June 19, 2019

-Board confirmed working with $54 Million in cuts

-principal has no updates yet

           

  1. Provincial Ministry: cuts and education reform:

Website reference: LPschoolcouncil.com Tab: “Our Education System”, drop down to “Education Reforms

  1. Regulation 274/ Hiring Practice Consultation Comments: open until May 31

Kelly is preparing a summary report

  1. Request For Petition From OSSTF please see website
    As no one in attendance had reviewed the petition, it was deemed premature to vote on whether to support as a School Council. Anna would welcome parent feedback via email.
  2. Class Sizes Consultation: open until May 31              

Ministry not making it easy- not just a survey; must compose comments and suggestions for improvements, but also more opportunity to state opinions

 

Looking forward to a Staffing Update from Principal

  • Update on Teaching staff, Librarians, ESL, guidance?.
  • previously “After April 23rd, grants come to the board and will know what additional staff they’ll have.” Do we know?
  • And “LP will be status quo unless they don’t allow librarians, guidance etc.”  Please advise
  • Online Courses –do we have facts yet?
  • No definitive info yet

Current Teacher’s Collective Agreement Ends Aug 31 2019

Stay tuned to LP School Council emails and website even if school issued communications are interrupted. There may be some confusion for parents at the start of the next school year.

 List of SC Recommendations to School & TDSB  to be posted on website soon– watch for it

 Additional Parent Community Meeting

Should we reconvene after release of TDSB Secondary School Reform and French Language Study in late June?

Possibly June 24th? – This turns out to be Glenview Grad

Possibly June 25th? – This is Bedford & John Fisher Grad

No additional meeting date set at this time.

Principal’s Report:            Joel Gorenkoff

  • Thanked parents for their engagement throughout the year
  • Noted the beautiful artwork on display in the library – Art Show begins tomorrow, May 7th
  • Exam schedule has been posted. Stay tuned for slight revision over next few days –watch for changes!
    • Please start helping your child develop a study schedule
    • Moratorium June 4-7th. Still have classes, but no tests or new homework
  • EQAO Grade 9 Math – June 5 & 6th – reminder that this is MANDATORY
  • Please also note that June 24th at 9am is EXAM & Marks Review – LAST chance to look, review and be able to change marks before they go in. * Very Important * many students do not attend
  • June 26th : Commencement is held offsite to accommodate large number of students. School wants everyone there and hopes cost is never an issue – as always, please see guidance or administration for confidential financial support
  • June 27th – 1pm – Report Card pick-up. Reports are not mailed.  Office will be open the first weeks in July if you cannot go in on the 27th.

PARENT QUESTION: Can you still pass math if you fail the EQAO?

ANSWER (Steve Bibla) Clarified yes, unlike Grade 10 literacy, you do not have to pass math EQAO to finish high school.  EQAO results counts for 10% of math mark.  Final exam is 30% and EQAO is 1/3 of that final mark.

PARENT QUESTION: My child has an IEP. Does he have to arrange for accommodations?

ANSWER (Steve Bibla) The same accommodations provided to students with IEPs for assessments are provided for the EQAO.  Onus is not on the student to arrange for that; will be provided.

  • Principal Gorenkoff noted that there may be/have been issues getting last few ‘Eye on LPCI’ with “sympatico.ca” emails. They are aware of the problem and working to resolve it.

EQUITY WORK at LPCI  PRESENTATION (discussion)

Sean Solomon, Samira Sud, Atul Bahl, Ashley Melhuish

“RACISM IS IN OUR SCHOOL”

  • anti semitism, anti-black, etc…racism is alive and well at LP; it exists in the halls: CANNOT CONTINUE, need to strive for equity
  • racialized students feel that they do not belong
  • LPCI has established a strong Equity committee (staff); lots of teachers working together
  • Working with kids to dispel bias
  • Looking for parent participation in equity training
  • one of the first steps taken was to look at our building / the hallways. Work has been done to change the look and feel by removing old photos that do not reflect current student population and replacing them with quotes and murals that are more contemporary to LPCI (more oppressive looking historic things have been put aside and can still be accessed
  • LP Staff have had professional development during late starts on Wednesday and in conjunction with other schools. Some focus placed on how to recognize biases
  • Equity team working with kids to ensure training is in place for Buddies and others in leadership roles
  • Solomon cites “internal crisis mode.” We have students here who do not feel safe walking through the hallway. This is not isolated to LP; several schools experiencing this across the TDSB.
  • There is a noticable lack of representation in student clubs and councils
  • The Student Equity Council has given many students a voice they did not have before. Currently the students involved are those who feel marginalized- hoping to broaden membership next year
  • One idea by the council is to form a SUPER Council made up of students from neighboring high schools. LP recently hosted a conference and invited other high schools where students shared concerns and had the opportunity to voice their opinions
  • Next Steps – How can parents participate? We need to work together to stamp it out.  Suggestion that next year a Parent Representative sit on the Equity Committee (similar to our parent representative on Wellness)
  • TDSB Equity Advisor wanted to be at the meeting tonight.
  • Continued work to look at everything via an Equity lens
  • Idea is that whoever walks into LPCI feels like they belong

PARENT COMMENT: My child noticed that the Athlete of the Year photos displayed in the gym lack diversity, even over the most recent 2 – 3 decades.

ANSWER (Joel Gorenkoff):We are working to improve things.

PARENT QUESTION: Has there been any work done within the Assessment and Evaluation Committee?

ANSWER (Steve Bibla): I co-chair that committee with Ruth Kelly. We did look at the issues around teachers administering tests (this can take 4-5 days and several versions of a test due to all the different student absences: sports, illness, etc…challenges arise with regard to test integrity, etc..

PARENT QUESTION: address mark elevation and whether LP students’ marks are not on par with other schools, or hindered because marked too hard, may not get accepted (eg U of Waterloo Eng grade averages after 1st year vis-à-vis high school showed LP student declined by 10% whereas average was 16% drop in grades, therefore it seems that LP grades are discounted by 6%.)

A brief discussion ensued.

ANSWER (Joel Gorenkoff): It is more important to ensure kids are learning.

STAFF COMMENT: Staff working towards ensuring that within departments, teachers are using common assessments (mark book entries are weighted the same, etc…). Parents appreciated that reassurance.

MEETING ADJOURNED.

PARENT COMMENT:  With regard to the Timetable Change discussion “I think we can agree to disagree” – just wanted to add that she felt the teachers were present at the April 25th meeting with passion and integrity and was appreciative of the presentation.

 Next School Council Meeting: Monday Sept 16, 2019 (not the 23rd)- Save the Date!!!!

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