1. To provide a forum through which school councils, parent associations and other school based groups can communicate with each other in the pursuit of excellence in our schools.
2. To provide assistance on request to any Member Association to
- (a) represent the educational interests of the school;
- (b) advise on the quality of teaching and learning in the school;
- (c) facilitate parent and community involvement in teaching and learning in the school;
- (d) advise its school board on matters of concern to the school and the community;
- (e) develop and promote a plan for improving teaching and learning in the school;
- (f) carry out any other duties of the Member Association that may be required or permitted by provincial legislation and regulations.
3. To continue as a provincial voice for parents and to advocate the importance of effective parental participation in school councils.
4. To foster cooperation between parents, teachers and community volunteers in teaching and learning in our schools both during and outside school hours.
5. To advise governments, school boards and other bodies on matters relating to the pursuit of excellence in our schools.
6. To liaise and cooperate with other like-minded organizations, both within the province and elsewhere, in the pursuit of common educational objectives.
7. To foster the development of policies, practices and activities that will enhance the quality of school programs, the learning environment and the level of student achievement in our schools, including
- (a) to monitor the care, protection and training of our children that the educational system provides;
- (b) to promote the concept that all responsible educators protect a child’s self-esteem and his/her eagerness and willingness to learn;
- (c) to develop strategies for parental and community volunteers to help children who need one on one tutoring and to assist teachers generally;
- (d) to advocate for the provision of a safe, friendly and clean environment to further facilitate learning in our children;
- (e) to foster an educational environment in our schools that will facilitate learning by students of all ages;
- (f) to foster high ideals of citizenship and to promote, through educational means, international goodwill and peace;
- (g) to encourage the development and implementation of programs that will facilitate the transition from school to work;
- (h) to encourage community use of school facilities and the identification of schools with the communities they serve.
A Model of Parental Involvement
In light of recent reforms by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador initiating School Councils, the Federation has developed a model of parental involvement which we feel is broad enough to benefit primarily the child, but which will also bring benefits to the school, the teachers, the community and the entire school system of which the school is a part. This model includes a role for parents in fundraising, volunteering, parenting skills, parent/teacher communication and advising.
Parent involvement in a child’s learning exists at several levels. Outside the school, parents meet basic physical needs such as nutrition, clothing and shelter as well as developmental needs including physical, emotional, and intellectual stimulation. Language and listening skills, for example, are essential for learning.
In the school, the roles of parents are many and varied, as are the types of parents in any one school, with their various needs for being involved, and comfort levels for involvement. We recognize the need for different types of involvement if we are to maximize the number of parents involved, and thus have the greatest possible effect on our students and our school system.
A school council is a legally-constituted body of elected and appointed representatives, namely the principal, representation from teachers, parents, the community and high school students. Experience teaches that partnerships of this kind being implemented in Canadian schools are successful when the partners share a scenario of what they will achieve and a commitment to the process. A shared vision results when parents and the staff of the school together talk about the specific possibilities that their partnership offers for improving the quality of the school and learning.
If School Councils are implemented as just another form of parental involvement, we feel School Councils can effectively take their place as a useful way of involving yet another kind of parent in the quest to improve student performance. Parents must be presented a full range of types of involvement. By recognizing the efforts of parents at all levels of involvement, and by gradually introducing other forms of involvement when parents are ready for increased roles, we can build to the point where all participants are comfortable with their increased roles.
Home and School Associations should be involved in the election of school councils and become one of the bodies to which school councils report. School Councils can use Home and School Associations as a forum for gathering input from one of their constituent groups. Hunt (1990) points out that in practice in Australia, successful councils build on knowledge and skill — elected members tend to be drawn from parents who have been extensively involved with the school through voluntarism and a parents’ association.