5/30/19 FASSV School Council Meeting Minutes
Tue, Jun 4 8:19am
French American School
Dear Parents,
 
The School Council had its last meeting of the year on Thursday, May 30. Please find the meeting minutes below. Let us know if you have questions, comments or would like to bring a topic to our attention. Don't forget: We are here to represent YOU, the parents.
 
Christine and Pierre will continue to be your Parent Representatives throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Sylvie, unfortunately, is leaving the school and will not be able to represent you next year. We will hold elections for a new Parent Rep in the fall and wish Sylvie and her family a good continuation!
 
Sincerely,
-Sylvie, Pierre & Christine
 
5/30/19 FASSV School Council Meeting Minutes
 
Present: Pierre-Ludovic, Martine, Josie, Teresa, Janelle, Christine, Sylvie, Pierre
Absent: Tiffany
Guest: Jazmin
 
  1. Review of 2018-2019 Afterschool Program & Overview of 2019-2020 Afterschool Program (presentation by Jazmin, Afterschool Program Coordinator)
    • 2018-2019 Afterschool Program's main achievements: introduced projects during afterschool hours, brought in Spanish & Music, increased camp enrollment.
    • For next year: hourly rate will increase from $9 to $10 to "better cover operating costs". Pierre-Ludovic explained the school was losing money with afterschool care (without giving any numbers). Parent Reps were surprised to hear this as the school seems to be in very good shape financially and budget can be balanced overall...
    • Billing will start at 3:45 in 15-min increments. All after school activities will start at 3:45 (new ones will be offered).
    • Study hall will be 3:45-4:30 Mon-Fri, which means 15 min less study hall for 4th and 5th graders (homework will be adjusted accordingly, see below).
    • No more snacks offered to K-5th graders. Parent Reps argued that the 3:45 snack was important for everyone though, and wish it was kept.
    • Students will be divided in four age groups: Preschool & Pre-K, K & 1st, 2nd & 3rd and 4th & 5th. Each group will have their own activities in their own classes and different times outside. Parent Reps said that mixing age groups on the playground was actually a good thing. Jazmin will take it into account.
    • Thanksgiving Camp has been added for November 17 and 18 (Mon-Tue).
    • All camps will be posted on the website at the beginning of the school year.
    • Enrollment for next year's activities will start earlier, in June. Brochures will be sent out to parents this week or next.
  2. Parent Handbook Update - Homework Policy
    • 1st grade: 20 --> 15 min
    • 2nd grade: 30 --> 20 min
    • 3rd grade: 40 --> 30 min
    • 4th grade: 50 --> 30 min
    • 5th grade: 60 --> 40 min
    • Homework time for 2019-2020 has been reduced according to the following chart (for both English & French): 
    • Martine explained students already work a lot in class and more homework in elementary doesn't correlate with better grades.The changes will be updated in the Parent Handbook.
  3. Shiva’s participation in 1-2 art projects in 4th & 5th in collaboration with the French Teachers
    • Parent Reps explained that, according to the parent survey's results, parents would like to see Shiva participate in the 4th and 5th grades' Art program.
    • Teresa (Teacher Rep) said that 4th & 5th teachers would accept Shiva's participation in 1 project only if she agrees to collaborate with them.
    • Pierre-Ludovic added that having class teachers teach Art (as opposed to having Shiva do it) contributes to the "richness" of the school program. He also mentioned that 4th & 5th graders already have many enrichment activities such as the Coloma and Quebec trips. 
    • Christine responded that the Art program was not the same as going on school-organized trips or registering to Art class as an afterschool activity.
    • It was decided that Martine would ask Shiva if she's interested in participating in this new "project". If so, it will be tried for 1 year to see whether it works well (or not).  
  4. Annual art and/or STEAM exhibition for all grades
    • Parent Reps proposed the idea of an Art & STEAM Exhibition for all grades where students' art projects done throughout the year could be showcased and parents could socialize.
    • Teacher and Admin Reps are not too fond of the idea.They say it represents more work for the teachers, will stress them out, and it may be hard to choose a date by which all teachers will be ready.
    • Pierre-Ludovic mentioned that art work is displayed in the newsletter and parents have access to their children's tech portfolio in Renweb (for 1st-5th grades).
    •  No decision has been taken. Council likes the idea of bringing the school community together, but wonders whether it's actually feasible. Martine will talk to the teachers about it.
  5. Increased Parent and Staff Representation at the School Council
    • This is a discussion that started at the previous meeting in March. Currently the School Council has equal representation, i.e., 3 Admin Reps, 3 Staff & Teacher Reps, and 3 Parent Reps.
    • Parent Reps feel that electing 2 more Parent Reps AND 2 more Staff & Teacher Reps on the Council would better represent the composition of the school and give more weight to the parent voices as well as staff's (both of which outnumber the 4 admin people employed at the school).
    • Admin and Teacher & Staff Reps think the 'status quo' is fine and the admin is already listening to the parents.
    • Parent Reps argued that they may be a case in the future where parents and admin will disagree (in fact, it happened regarding the Thanksgiving Break when Pierre-Ludovic was initially reluctant to propose a 2-day camp). In that case, parents should be able to weigh in more. The way Council is composed now, it is very difficult to challenge any decision made by the admin.
    • Pierre mentioned that the French Government actually recommends that parents be more involved in their children's education.
    • Pierre-Ludovic responded that he always envisioned the role of the Council as mainly 'advisory' and that the school was independent of the French Government, so didn't have to follow their recommendations.
    • Teacher Reps commented that perhaps Parent Reps could be from different cycles, but more people on the Council would mean longer meetings (which already run over 2 hours).
    • The majority of the Council eventually decided to continue as is, with the election of a new Parent Rep in the fall to replace Sylvie. Parents would be notified though, and asked for their opinion.
  6. Other items
    • Parent Reps asked Pierre-Ludovic to make communication with parents school-wide and not only grade-focused. The school is small and parents would like to be informed of all decisions made by the admin (e.g., the creation of a new K class in the fall, a teacher's departure, etc.)
    • Pierre-Ludovic believes this is 'not necessary' and says we have a difference in 'philosophy'.
    • Parent Reps suggested a Town Hall where the principal could address the entire school once a year and share in news.
    • Parent Reps asked for school transition meetings and other important events to be added to the school calendar. Email reminders 2-3 days before - or the night before - the event would also be nice.