School Councils: Your Voice in the Hamilton-Wentworth Public Education System One of the most effective and rewarding ways that parents/guardians can get involved in their children’s learning is by being active in their school council. You will have the opportunity to voice your opinions on school issues and decisions on behalf of parents and community members in your school community. Research shows that parental involvement is the most significant factor contributing to a child’s success in school. Their active participation in school activities improves student achievement, increases school attendance and decreases student dropout. Students succeed when parents have a positive attitude about the importance of a good education.
Role of a School Council
School councils have a legislated role at their schools and are there to ensure the best possible education for students. Our school councils are comprised of democratically elected representatives of our parent community. Together, they:
- focus on student learning and the best interest of all students,
- provide a forum through which parents and other members of school communities can contribute to improving student achievement and school performance,
- make recommendations to the school principal and the Board on any matter they see impacting accountability and academic excellence and;
- serve as a communication and information channel between the school and community
School Council Elections
Parents or guardians of a student enrolled in a Hamilton-Wentworth school can vote in an election and run for a position. Call your child’s school for more information on nominations and elections.
Parents/guardians of a student attending one of our schools can vote in a school council election and run as a parent member. Parents can nominate themselves by completing a nomination ballot and returning it to the school. Contact your school’s principal for a nomination ballot.
Every year, the school council will elect a chair from the parent members. The chair is responsible for facilitating meetings and accurately representing the school council’s position on issues. The council may also elect a co-chair, vice-chair, secretary or treasurer.
Term of Office
Council terms for elected and appointed positions are for a one-year term. Members can seek re-election each subsequent year and the executive positions may be limited by individual school council constitutions.
School Council Regulations
Ontario Regulation 612/00, School Council Regulation
Ontario Regulation 613/00, a regulation to amend #298
View the Ministry’s backgrounder on these regulations.
Parents Reaching Out Grant
At Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, we know that parents play a vital role in the support that they offer publicly funded education. This is why we welcome the annual announcement of Ontario’s Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grants. These grants are designed to encourage parents to become involved in their children’s education and to support student learning at the school, regional and provincial levels.
There are two types of PRO grants:
- School councils (only) can apply for Parents Reaching Out Grants for schools, up to a maximum of $1,000.
- Parent organizations, school boards, non-profit organizations and postsecondary institutions can apply for Parents Reaching Out Grants for regional/provincial projects, up to a maximum of $30,000.
Since 2006, Ontario has funded more than 5,500 school council PRO grants and more than 200 regional projects, for a total investment of more than $10 million to increase parent involvement.
Find more information on these grants, examples of past projects and application procedures on the related Ministry of Education website. For questions, contact the Ministry’s Parent Engagement Office at 416-325-7774.