School Council

Courtland’s School Council meets the second Friday of every month in the afternoon in the school library. Thank you to all of the people that have come out to be part of building our school community.

Courtland School Council Meeting Minutes

Jan 11, 2019

5 people in attendance

Principal’s Update

  • Mr. Brown will invite a different teacher to attend the School Council meeting each month.
    • Today Mr. Schmidt attended.
    • Mr. Brown will approach Ms. Matthews about attending next meeting.
  • Chocolate Fundraiser went very well
    • Money raised will go towards helping pay for the cost of the Grade 7 & 8 Camping trips
  • Report Cards will go home on February 15th
  • An ASD / ADD Presentation was given to the staff since the last School Council meeting.
  • Last Day before Holidays
    • An assembly was held for all staff and students to recognize student participation on teams and in clubs.
    • The school tries to get all kids involved in at least one team or club and in the school community.
    • During the assembly, a video of activities and clubs was shown.
    • Staff band payed some songs.
    • The whole school went to the Apollo Cinema.
  • Volleyball teams were very successful – girl’s team went to finals; boys almost made it to the finals
  • Basketball started in January – both boy’s and girl’s teams are doing well
  • Hockey season is also starting and includes new Canadian students
    • Mr. Macdonald is very dedicated and gets ice time and equipment for all students who want to participate.
    • Many staff are volunteering to drive the students to the Auditorium and help lace up skates
  • A Ski Trip will be held on February 14th at Chicopee
    • Open to all students; many students in the school have never tried to ski or snowboard previously
    • It will be announced after the upcoming MADD assembly and permission forms will be provided to students who want to participate at that time.
  • Swim to Survive – all students will go to pool during class time at Cameron Heights
    • They will need to pass a swim test to be able to attend camp and participate in all the activities.
  • School Improvements:
    • Staff room has been painted and new tile was added.
    • Some of the lockers were to have been painted over the Holidays but it did not happen. Will need to be rescheduled at a later date.
  • School Day is still not up and running for permission forms and payment, but announcements/information are sent out

School Council Updates

  • Ms. Artinger could not attend today’s meeting but will present School Council updates next month.


Next Meeting – Friday February 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm in the School Library

Feb 8, 2019

5 people in attendance

Principal’s Update

  • Report cards go home on Feb 15th.
    • Will lead to the endeavor and achievement awards
  • Basketball – missed some games due to weather and school closures
  • Ice hockey is going well – many kids participating who would not otherwise get a chance to play hockey
    • Lots of donations of equipment, skates
    • Takes palace at the Auditorium
  • Ski trip – will be on Feb 14th –90 kids have signed up so far and the school is expecting 100 to participate
    • Given the school closures / bus cancellations – requested an extension from Chicopee to get in student participation forms
  • Swim to Survive – will continue when weather warms and it is safe to walk to Cameron Heights
    • Not a prerequisite for Grade 7 and 8 camps, but students encouraged to participate
    • No prior swimming experience is required to participate
  • Black History month – 2 students have been updating the bulletin boards and doing announcements in the morning on notable black Canadians
  • High school acceptances into magnate programs have been issued
    • Courtland does not have any say into whether or not a student gets in
    • Students and parents would need to communicate directly with the magnate schools for more information

School Council Updates

  • We have received $1000 from the Parents Reaching Out grant
    • Looking to get parents involved in a Cultural event
      • Indigenous day or night?
      • African drumming?
      • Asian event?
    • Does anybody have any ideas?
      • Mr. Brown partial to an indigenous celebration – completes a land acknowledgement every day on the announcements, but it would be good to reinforce why this is important
      • Could contact the public Library / multicultural centre for resources
      • Will need to look for a speaker
      • We could do three separate events ($330 / per event)
      • Purpose would be to engage parents / children
      • it could be a presentation, storytelling, music, involving the Courtland community
        • Could be part of an Arts nights
      • Will need to set up a plan for a specific night
    • Can parent council communicate over email if anybody knows of a speaker or has any ideas / suggestions for use of the Parents Reaching Out grant.


Parent Discussions

  • Highschool – will walk through high school course selection soon
    • Course selection is very prescriptive, especially in grade 9
    • 30 courses required over 4 years
    • All high school students required to complete volunteer hours
  • Family day coming up on Feb 18th.
  • March Break – next big break (March 11- 15)
  • During very cold days over the last few weeks – students were not allowed outside during nutrition breaks (3 or 4 days)
    • Board guideline is -20 degrees Celsius
    • Students don’t always have proper outdoor clothing
    • Kids really need outside time – Space and time is important – burn off energy
    • Staff does their best to keep students busy, but it hard on students when they can’t go outside.

March meeting (would have been Friday March 8th) is cancelled to due proximity to March Break.

Next Meeting – Friday April 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm in the School Library

November 9, 2018

7 people in attendance

Principal’s Update

  • Clarification of process for how teachers will accommodate parents who can’t come to Friday interviews
    • Friday 16th set aside for parents to come in for interviews from 12 noon to 3 pm.
    • For parents who can’t make this time slot, they can contact teachers to arrange an alternate time.
    • If parents want to meet with more than one teacher at an alternate time, they can contact the core teacher to set up a meeting with multiple teachers.
    • If a student is struggling the core teacher will request an interview with the parents.
    • Parents can contact the school at any time to meet with teachers. Teacher emails are posted on the school web site.
  • Staff Changes
    • Armstrong (science) is now on maternity leave; Mr. Brouse is taking her place – He is fitting in well.
      • He has been told not to worry about curriculum immediately. He needs to get to know the students first.
    • Hiring is complicated, and Mr. Brown spends much time at this task, not rushing it. New staff needs to be compatible with existing staff and focused on the needs of Courtland’s student population
    • Farquarhson (music) was a supply teacher for Courtland. She has young kids and Mr. Brown convinced her to take the job and gave her a schedule favourable to her demands and conducive to greater student performance.  Students are familiar with her from her supply work.
    • Kun (grade 8 math) is also not new. She was previously an ESL and supply teacher at the school.
    • Doncyzk is teaching French and has supply taught at Courtland previously.
    • Rodriguez (grade 8 core) has taken over Mrs. Harrison’s maternity leave. He was doing home schooling for a student from Courtland.
    • Gibson (librarian) is filling in for Mrs. Weber she takes on the head secretary role.
    • Henderson (head custodian) – taken over for Mr. Apperson who retired.
  • Clubs / What is Happening in School
    • Superintendent visited the school today to focus on the school improvement plan, focused on math and wellness for at risk students; staff had a chance to advise the superintendent of what they do and where the school is heading.
    • 17 staff members and 17 teachers at Courtland and more than half are involved in running clubs and sports teams.
    • Volleyball teams – boys played well but the girls struggled; they are learning psychology of sport and some students never played on an organized sports team previously.
    • Mix Six Volleyball – all students play during nutrition break on 8 members on teams; student and staff enjoy it.
    • Hockey game is next Wednesday – Laurier vs Waterloo.
    • Remembrance Day assembly was today. It was a multimedia presentation, the band played, students read poems.
      • Some students come from war-torn countries so include discussion about why we celebrate Remembrance Day; it is not about celebrating war but remembering people who have died for our freedom.
    • Bus evacuations are going on to take place on Monday for all students. They will learn how to respond in an emergency.
    • Citizenship, Endeavor and Ivy League awards will shortly be posted for September / October
    • Still doing Grade 7 and Grade 8 camps this year
    • Boy’s Club – safe space for boys to meet to discuss self esteem and sexual health – meet during class time – parents required to sign consent form for them to be able to participate
    • GSA Club – safe place for LBQBT students and all students
  • Guidance
    • Matthews is the guidance teacher
    • Support to students regarding high school
    • My Blueprint – a new program app that follows students from Gr 8 to 12 helps them to decide what courses to take
      • WRDSB – pilot for the Province this year with use of this My Blueprint
      • An app to meet students at their interface
      • Encourage students to take programs/courses they enjoy
      • Parent involvement is key in assisting / directing how students should use the tool
      • Opens communication between students and parents is important when discussing skills, aptitudes, career directions
      • Parents provide role model to direct student to communicate with teachers / school
      • Hopefully prevent students from getting to grade 12 and not knowing to know what they want to do
    • Fundraising
      • Indigo – $7,000 for books
      • Cookie Dough has started – usually makes $2,000
      • Chocolate Bars will be in December – usually makes $2,000


School Council Updates

  • High School Programs
  • Brown handed out information sheet about High School Information night
  • Home school – school students would attend based on geography
  • Magnet/Specialty programs – high schools with different options for students
  • WRDSB has a website – details about each of the magnet programs – can look up details about each of these programs
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) program (Cameron Heights) – intensive academic program – not cheap – prices go up every year – internationally directed – if child wants to go to International School – can go without having to take a qualifying year
    • Take Higher Level Courses
    • Grades 9 to 10 – Pre IB
    • Grades 11 to 12 – More prescriptive – pre-programed $1,100-$1,300 per year
    • With grades of 90% or above – students can get university credit for that class, but marks need to be high enough
    • Class work done at a faster pace
    • If child is very academic and they may enjoy it but it is a LOT of work and can be very stressful
    • Can do a partial IB – pay per exam IB credit, but need to complete Grade 9 and 10 Pre-IB
    • $50 application fee to apply for the IB program
    • Very homework heavy
  • Advanced Placement (AP)– secondary program to IB – can be taken in different classes – only offered at certain schools
    • Universities don’t consider IB and AP programs – just final grades
  • French Immersion and Extended French (WCI, KCI) – for students from French immersion program or a francophone background
    • If not in an immersion program – can take an exam to get in
  • Geotech Program (WCI) – for students interested in geography
  • Integrated Arts Program (Eastwood) – art focussed program – drama, arts, dance – need to have a portfolio or audition to get in
  • Specialist High Skills Sports Major (Eastwood and Huron Heights)
  • WRAPSE Update
  • Naloxone kits around school – board agreed provide info about Naloxone kits
  • John Bryant – director of the Board – will be at the January meeting
    • Listens to parents and answers to questions
    • Anybody can attend
    • Will provide info about where the board is going
  • Current provincial government and Doug Ford had a consultation on current curriculum – had to sign up to participate
    • 700 people on phone conference with one person mediating the conversation
    • Most parents on were on the same page – discussed issues about sex ed and indigenous curriculum, math, etc.
    • Indigenous curriculum has not been removed – but there will be no further consultation to improve or add onto the currently defined curriculum
    • Sex education – most parents want program reinstated – but teachers need to teach the 1995 curriculum
    • Parents split on the math curriculum – between teaching “new math” and “fundamentals”
    • Amber to provide information on how to respond.

3) Goal For the School Council

  • Parent Inclusivity and Relationship with the School


Parent Questions

  • Could the school independently decide to add curriculum back into the school?
    • Discussion on the possibility to bring in guest speakers (e.g., sex ed or indigenous focus) for assemblies.
    • Brown to discuss with his staff – he would need to vet any guest speakers with the superintendent
    • Would have to fundraise separately to pay speakers
  • Brown to discuss greening program with his staff to see if has staff member who would be willing to coordinate with School Council
    • Hynd to set up a meeting to discuss with Mr. Brown – will look into getting a grant to support the program
    • There is unused land on school property to establish a garden
  • Can we do fundraising that is more focused on health?
    • Cookie dough and chocolate bars feed unhealthy habits
    • Knight suggested Factory Shoe fundraising cards – for shoes purchased over $35 – Factory Shoe gives $5 to the school.
      • Knight will provide Mr. Brown and Ms. Weber as school contact.
      • Get a box of cards to distribute to parents – need this card when purchasing the shoes to get the money applied to school.

Next School Council Meeting

  • The next meeting will be on Friday January 11, 2018 at 6:30 pm in the school library.

Courtland Parent Council Meeting Minutes Oct. 16, 2018

11 people in attendance

Principal’s Update

1. School Day
– Has been slow in getting set up
– The head secretary was sick last year and the school librarian has been filling in
– She had a lot to learn and the Principal wasn’t going to throw that at her, too
– 144 families are registered on School Day
– Courtland is able to post announcements but the system is not up and running for permission forms and payments
– Parents will need to be patient
– The Head Secretary may be back in December
– When she comes back she will have to learn School Day
– The goal is to have permission forms and payments working
– There is no set timeline to accomplish this goal
2. Creating Community 
– In class, we try to provide opportunities for all ways of learning, visual, auditory, kinesthetic and for students to help each other with assistance from the teacher
– Spirit Council helps to decide what to do for Spirit Days
– When kids are having fun they are able to learn atheir best
– Custodian Mr. Apperson retired after many years of service and being part of Courtland’s community; Ms. Henderson was hired to replace him and started recently
– Terry Fox Day Courtland had apples, Terry Fox movies, and the teacher band
– Also the students were treated to a football game between WLU and University of Waterloo
3. Courtland is an academic institution and recognizes the academic achievements of students
– Courtland supports students and builds community by giving awards to students, not just those with the highest averages but those who work hard
– Three rankings awarded with key chains
– “Ivy League” honours those who have 80%+
– “Endeavour Award” honours those who work hard regardless of their grades
– “Praetorian Award” honours those who have 80%+ and who work hard
– Courtland also tried to get another award started last year, the “Venture Award” for students who may not have the highest mark but do what they can to improve and raise their grades 
– Courtland has awards for Athletics as well
– Strongest team is Girls Soccer, they give it their all
– Courtland has just started Volleyball for girls and boys and had about 50 or 60 girls and boys each try out for the intramural teams
– Courtland has a lot of teacher involvement, teachers do 4 or 5 clubs each
– If there isn’t a club and students have an interest Courtland will see to it that a new club will be formed
– Music club has annual trip to Wonderland; probably won’t have Christmas concert
– Want to start guitar club, maybe have a School of Rock
– Community component: kids who do notable things get recognized on the announcement
– Some students go down to read and spend time with the elderly people in the home down the street
– Coming into fundraising season, so will start QSP, then Treasures coupon book, then chocolate bars
4. Construction
– Courtland has had construction the last two years and it will last t the end of this year
– Had the floor replaced in the gym, hoping to get glass boards behind the basketball hoops
– Gender neutral washrooms put in
– Lots of painting done, lockers especially
– Parking lot needs to be redone and reorganized, but that will be done at the board level
– Mr. Brown would like the stairwell painted

School Council Update

1. Indigo! Fundraiser 
– Courtland was the first 7/8 school “adopted” by Indigo!
– Funds raised went to replenish and update the library and learning resources
– Many teachers came out and parents over a few weeks to talk to people in Indigo! and ask them to donate to Courtland School
– It was a great leadership opportunity for students who came out 
– Courtland raised over $6000
– It was a three year process to be selected by Indigo! for adoption
2. WRAPSC meeting notes from Oct. 2
– looking for parents who would like to attend.  Suggested a rotation if anyone was interested.
– Changes to how school council email systems are set up were discussed
– Mr. Brown needs to set up electronic communication for parent council using the google account.
– information about Chrome books were discussed and apps. That are available.
– Chrome books help make sure students don’t miss information
– Different Apps were discussed, like “My Way” that allows parents to shut down texting on their child’s device or “Mathify” which helps students with math
– As a side note the online math tutor available for the Ministry of Education and TVOntario was mentioned
– The Sex Ed curriculum was discussed and the board is trying to navigate their way through what teachers can teach and what parents want
– the indigenous curriculum was discussed and ways to find out how teachers are adjusting to using the current curriculum and ways for parents to advocate to the current government to stop the cuts to the indigenous curriculum.
Anyone wishing to do more about the cuts to the indigenous curriculum or the sexual education curriculum are encouraged to contact the Minister of Education Hon. Lisa M Thompson |  Minister | 416-325-5838 |
Or the local MPP Laura Mae Lindo 1-416-326-7221
– School council is a good forum to support the WRDSB and ensure the education system is accountable to parents.
– PRO grants were discussed for this school year.  Application was done for multiple workshops to further engage parents participation in their child’s education.
– PRO Grants help school councils engage parents and improve parent involvement in the school.
– Last year Courtland hired Kate Davis to give a comedic talk on “Parenting with Humour” 
– Funding for the PRO Grant may be cut by the new provincial government; we will have to wait and see
3. Courtland School Council Executive positions
– Floor was opened for anyone to take over as chair or co chairs
– Current co chairs will remain Amber and Joe Artinger
– Council provides ongoing to the school, meets with Mr. Brown to review information from meetings and finds the best ways to communicate information to parents, provides educational supports to parents at meetings etc.
– Council support parents and fosters a community of inclusivity to include parents and families in the Courtland community
– School council has to set a year end goal for what needs to be accomplished over the 2018-2019 school year
– Secretary Position was filled by Ms. Jennifer Hancock 
– Treasurer not needed as Courtland Staff does most of the fundraising but will be reviewed if the council takes on separate fundraising initiatives.
– Greening sub-committee Head Position was filled by Ms. Ashley Hynd
– Greening sub-committee has goal of getting grants for outdoor garden and beautification of Courtland grounds.  This may be done in separate meetings with the principal, teachers and interested parents.

Parent Questions

1. Parent Teacher interviews will occur on Nov. 26, after report cards come out
– The date for Parent/Teacher Interviews will be posted on School’s website, Instagram, Twitter, School Day, and sign on the lawn on the front of the school
– Interviews will be informal and parents can “drop in” to their children’s classroom to speak with a teacher
– Parents can walk around the school and look at work done by their child
– Courtland has always held Parent/Teacher interviews when it was convenient for parents to attend so typically it’s done during the day since hardly anyone comes at night
– Mr. Brown said he would speak with the Special Ed teacher to arrange meetings for parents who wanted to book individual private discussions with their children’s teachers
– Mr. Brown indicated he would support evening times for parents to also meet with teachers as not everyone can accommodate a day time slot.
– discussion about regular time slots for teacher meetings and difficulty with parents attending.  
– school teachers and staff are open to arranging time slots for private discussions with parents in their classrooms for 15 minutes each on a specific day / time to ensure that all parents have the opportunity to meet with teachers to discuss their child’s achievements.
2. IEPs
– Deadline of Oct. 20 is a “soft” deadline
– IEPs are not for learning disabilities but for every learning ability
– They are to help children with their learning needs, for example if they need to sit in front or need a quiet room to learn or write tests
– IEPs are set up to do things for a child to help them perform and learn at their best
– Mr. Brown has touched base with the Special Ed teacher and is going over them to make sure each is correct
– ½ of all students at Courtland have an IEP
– IEPs should be out by the end of this week (Oct. 19)
3. Teacher participation on School Council
– Representation on school council usually calls for a teacher to be present
– We are hoping a teacher will come 
– Historically the only representation has only been Mr. Brown because of low turnout to meetings
– Teachers will come as parent attendance increases
– Teachers could rotate attendance at school council meetings (a different teacher every meeting)
4. Cannabis Legalization
– Board has policy regarding students and use of cannabis
– Board currently has no policy regarding use of cannabis by board employees, education professionals, and other staff who are responsible for children.  Will probably be added or similar to that of alcohol use or abuse.
– discussion of common sense and use of cannabis.
– Parents will have to “wait and see” what the board comes up with as incidents occur.
– was important that all parents felt comfortable discussing issues openly.  Dialogue is the only way to find common ground.  It is ok to disagree and to share different opinions and it was encouraged as this is how effective decision making is made.

Discussed meetings for the remainder of the school year 2018-2019 will be every second Friday at 6:30pm in the library.

Next meeting date: November 9th 2018 at 6:30pm all parents are encouraged to attend.

– a note will go out on school day and updates will be on the school website.

Next meeting agenda items

– What are the options for grades 7/8 students

– Provide information regarding the school system in Ontario (elementary and secondary)

– open houses for parents with students attending secondary in September 2019 (application processes, course selection and magnet programs)

– a goal will be made at the next meeting for the school council to focus its efforts on for this school year

– topics for following meetings to be discussed so school council can invite community representatives, teachers etc. To come and speak at school council.

– Everyone is encouraged to email agenda items to Amber or Joe prior to next meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:00pm