LAWRENCE PARK SCHOOL COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 3, 2015
J. Bragg, G. Wyett, M. Schummer, M. Chibba, C. Murphy, N. Ketush, J. Rother, C. Oliver, P. Trenton, A. Richter, E. Lancefield, L. Turkish, I. Kovalev, D. Bounsall, J.P. Medina, L. Nield, H. Wijesundara, L. Gray, S. Peatkau, L. Addis, W. Sheremata, R. Boyer.
1. Review and approval of Agenda
J. Rother approved the Agenda
Seconded by R. Boyer
2. Approval of January 2015 Council Meeting Minutes
Approval of the Minutes was deferred until next meeting as proper time was not available for parents to review them before the meeting.
- Sheremata moved to defer approval
Seconded by L. Addis
3. Student Update
- Course selection is ongoing and guidance councilors have visited the grade 9,10 classes and hosted an assembly for grade 11. My BluePrint will end on Feb 9th.
- Grade 8 visits in January went very well.
- Switched to second term
- Feb 5th and 6th will be the 24 hour challenge, which is a day of play and sports for 24 hours to raise money for the right to play. Theme is “The Hunger Games”. Starts at the end of the day on the 5th until end of the day on the 6th. Student participation was dictated by the headcount of chaperones available. 132 students were allowed to participate this year on a first come first serve basis to allocated spots per grade level. Parent discussion ensued on how to allow more kids to participate in future years. The VP said they will look into ideas of how to include more students in the opportunity going forward. Ideas included students only getting to participate once during the four years and having more than one date for the event.
- Report cards will be going home on Thursday, February 12th.
- Semi Formal Dance is on Feb 12th for grades 10,11 and 12. Much discussion ensued over this topic as there is a non LPCI sponsored “after party” that some grade 12 students have organized. This non school event has taken away the ticket sales for the school sponsored dance. Many ideas of how to engage the students in going to the school dance were suggested as they need to sell 260 tickets to break even and only 120 tickets had been sold at the time of this meeting. Ideas from parents included: having food available, getting a message across to the students that they should support their school, possibly including grade 9 this year and asking parents to help influence their kids to go to the school sponsored dance to show support for LPCI.
- Sear’s Festival on Feb 11th, Audition based talent show which is put on by the Drama Council. Proceeds go to charity and other schools also participate.
- Parent/Teacher interviews will be available for scheduling after the report cards go out.
- In the later part of February there will be math contests, which are administered by the University of Waterloo. These tests take place at lunch and are given in different formats including essay and multiple choice. Great to participate in for including in transcripts.
- Kiwanis Festival in later February.
4: Chair Update
- Brief update of what the Principal will discuss: course selection, school enrollment policies, process of considering semestering school, school improvement plan and budget.
- Parents are really interested in parent teacher interviews.
- March 2nd meeting will be continuation of our speaker series rather than a meeting. Dr. Woodside, a specialist in eating disorders from Toronto General Hospital, will present general information on nutrition and eating disorders. This was raised as an important issue by guidance as well as the Mental Health and Wellness committee. 7pm for coffee and desserts, speaker at 7:30.
- Nursing students have been visiting the school since January and have asked to speak to the parents on their findings. The original plan was to have them speak before Dr. Woodside on March 2nd, but after discussion among parents, it was decided that they should share their information at another time or possibly in another format.
- Update on the Mental Health and Wellness committee, which includes school administration, parents, students and teachers. Newsletters on Mental Health and Wellness from the TDSB will now be posted on the school’s website. School is supporting mindfulness with a 2 minute mindful moment each day.
- There is a student Mental Health and Wellness club that is growing and meets weekly. They attended a TDSB anti-stigma conference and have arranged for speakers. The student group is motivated and has planned many events including a wellness fair coming up on March 30th.
- Our principal has been meeting with other schools about health and wellness to make sure we are doing all we can do to support our students. All students that need support at the school are being linked to an adult. Many initiatives are in place at the school to meet the health and wellness needs of the students.
- S. Paetkau asked for ideas on ways parents and others can contribute to the school: from speaking to students about careers to making suggestions about fundraising.
- The School Council has asked for an update on spending and funding of school council donations. A list was handed out to parents who were present which showed spending and also a wish list by teachers. The Principal will be prioritizing the list.
- Trustee meeting with Jennifer Arp on Parent technology. Information is available in the EYE. It was also mentioned that on Jennifer Arp’s visit she was made more aware of the capacity situation at LPCI.
- L. Gray spoke about the recent meeting with the superintendent. The optional attendance has been closed. The school is still sitting at 148% capacity with 1300 students currently. They are moving forward with pursuing ideas to help with capacity issues. There has been some confusion on capacity of the school and fire safety code, as there is a difference. The fire safety code reaches approx 1700, however the school can not handle that many students with classroom space and teacher availability.
- The process of checking home addresses of students coming from feeder schools is being discussed by admin.
- W. Sheremata shared with us an article she saw on the Globe & Mail website which documents the capacity of the district schools. The information made it clear that LPCI is outside of the norm in relation to other schools, which is why we need to continue solving the issue of capacity.
- A parent questioned the capacity of the cafeteria and discussion ensued. The cafeteria can hold approx 500 students, with the remainder of the students eating in the halls or a nook in the school they like to meet for lunch. This again brought up the topic of there being too many students for the infrastructure.
4: Principal Update
- Guidance councilors have visited classrooms twice and handed out information on class selection to students. Guidance is available to help students.
- A parent spoke about his student who was having to do a second year of grade 12, because he was not able to get into classes he needed to graduate last year. He expressed the hope that priority for getting into classes go to those students.
- L. Addis brought up the topic that some Universities are asking students to write a letter explaining why they took summer or Blythe classes. At times the class marks may be discounted. This is a topic that the guidance department may be more knowledgeable on, however parents and students need to take the initiative to ask the universities they are interested in attending if this is an issue individually with them.
- The VP made it clear that the school is not encouraging or pushing students to go to outside sources for classes. It is suggested only when it is a necessity for a student to graduate or if a course they need it not offered at LPCI.
- Highschool 101 in June and grade 8 information nights are available for parents to attend, during these meetings parents are given information about course selection.
- School Improvement Plan, Financial Statement & Teacher Wish Lists were handed out.
- Principal explained that all classes have the text books they need.
- By eliminating optional attendance, the school projection for next year is 1300 students. LPCI has been ensured by feeder schools that address have been checked, but they will be checking again and mailing report cards to catch any “return to senders”.
- Our Principal gave an overview of the process involved in the possibility of semestering the school. This possibility would not be happening in September, as an entire process to check feasibility needs to be carried out which will take 18 months. The first dialogue they will have is with the assistant curriculum leaders, who will have time to analyze the information and then report back, then they have a power point presentation with the staff to go over advantages and disadvantages. This information will also be presented to students. A focus group will be studied. The superintendent and Trustee will be informed at every step. They are investigating models and speaking to other schools who have made this transition. 90% of highschools are semestered in Ontario, in TDSB 75% are semestered.
- A few advantages and disadvantages were mentioned, more information will be provided on this topic as they move forward.
- All students in all grades are working on speeches and have a chance to present in classrooms with winners speaking to the school at assemblies.
- With the growing number or students they have received two new teachers.
- A suggestion was made for the Principal’s update to follow the Student update in future agendas.