The education of our youth is a priority for most parents, and a well-functioning school system is essential to providing a comprehensive education. Within the Alberta education landscape, one often underappreciated yet vital component of our youth’s educational experience is the school council. A school council plays a pivotal role in promoting effective communication, collaboration, and community engagement within our schools.
A functioning school council includes parents, principals, teachers, community representatives, and secondary students. According to the Government of Alberta website, a school council must consist of a majority of parents of students enrolled in the school.
Parents are a child’s first and most influential educators. When parents are actively engaged in their child’s education, it has a direct and positive impact on the child’s academic performance and overall well-being. A functioning school council provides parents with a structured platform to participate in their child’s educational journey. It gives parents a voice in shaping school policies, programs, and initiatives, making them feel valued and heard. This engagement not only strengthens the parent-school partnership but also helps parents become more informed advocates for their children’s education.
According to Michael Borgfjord, Superintendent of the Pembina Hills School Division, participating in the school council provides an excellent opportunity for parent engagement with the school and helps to build a culture of community. Parents can have input into the school’s education plan, share information or feedback with the principal, and help to review and revise school policies and procedures.
Borgfjord explains, “The school council does represent the voice of the parents, so they should have some input and opportunity to share what they’re hoping for the education of the students of Swan Hills.”
One common misconception about school councils is that they are involved in fundraising for the school, but this is not the case.
“It’s an opportunity for parents to have a voice,” said Borgfjord, “it doesn’t have to be a heavy time commitment. People are busy. People get nervous going to council meetings because they think they’re going to be fundraising, they’re going to be doing all kinds of other things. It doesn’t have to be that way. I think that it’s just an opportunity to engage and connect with the education system.”
As there will be a new principal at Swan Hills School for the 2023/2024 school year, participating in the school council would be an excellent opportunity to connect and work with them to create a rich learning experience for the students.
Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette