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Parents' Committee - FAQ from monthly meetings

This page will be updated after each PC meeting to ensure that all parents receive the same information. The most recent questions will always be placed on the top of the page.

2015-2016

Q. When charging for field trips, can the school charge parents for substitution costs for teachers?

The educational services that are provided to students must be free as per the Education Act (EA). Therefore, no substitution fees can be charged to parents of students participating in field trips.

However, when field trips exceed the normal school hours, supervision fees may be charged to students participating on the trip for the periods of time that are outside of the regular teaching hours, e.g.: before the hour when the school normally begins, after the hour when the school would normally end, and overnight if applicable.

Should you have any questions regarding this, please do not hesitate to communicate with our Secretary General department.

Q. Does GB need approval for when funds are being exchanged? For example if we have a donation for a specific school or a poppy sale, does GB need to approve?

All fundraisers should be approved by Governing Board. This being said, a summary list of proposed fundraisers for the year is generally presented by the Principal at the beginning of a school year. This list typically covers the vast majority of fundraisers.

Q. Is it mandatory for the Principal to present the completed field trip form (the one teachers fill out with all of the information on it) to GB members before they vote on them?

Teachers and Principals can use another format however all the information has to be included.

Q. Can an elected commissioner sit on SEAC as a parent representative?

Yes, however, the commissioner would have to recuse himself from any discussion and vote on an issue involving SEAC at both council and executive or at any other commissioner committee.

Q. What was the criteria for the 241 students chosen to receive the assisted technology?

Will these devices follow the child through high school? How often will they be updated or changed?

Should a parent of a child with special needs feel their child would benefit from this assisted technology, who can they contact to enquire if they can receive one?

Purpose

This measure from the MEESR is designated for the purchase of technological devices to support students with their pedagogical needs. Devices are used as assistive tools for learning and/or communication.

Who is admissible?

The primary aim of the Measure is to address the learning needs of students with a validated MEESR handicap code. A minimum of 70% is designated to students with a validated MEESR handicap code and a maximum 30% can be used for students with a learning disability or difficulty.

Process

The school administrator receives a letter from Complementary Services inviting their school team to submit, according to priority, the names of students admissible to receive assistive technology.

Teachers and in-school professionals working directly with the student fill out the form indicating the student's needs and outline how the assistive technology will support his/her learning.

The form and the student's I.E.P is returned to CSD.

Once all the requests have been received, CSD team reviews all the forms, prioritize the needs and make the final decision.

With the Information Technology Department, assistive technology devices are purchased.

Our guidelines

  • students with MEESR handicap
  • code are prioritized
  • needs of the student
  • IEP goals/objectives
  • readiness of the child
  • elementary and those transitioning into secondary school are prioritized
  • elementary and those transitioning into secondary school are prioritized
  • willingness of the student to use the equipment (secondary level)

These devices follow the student through their schooling including adult education and vocational training. If they move to a different school board the equipment is also transferred. The equipment will be changed or updated on a case by case basis.

Q. During negotiations, can students participate in Human Chains?

Students should not be participating in any partisan activities.

Q. Can schools with a larger population have an extra member on Parents Committee? An extra alternate member?

No, as per Article 47 of the Education Act.

Q. Can the Parents committee alternate have a position on the PC executive?

Determined by internal rules of PC.

2014-2015

Q.Is there any update on the Bus Safety Program?

In November 2014, the Transportation Department conducted a survey amongst all elementary school teachers to collect feedback about the current Bus Safety Program and gather suggestions about improvements that could be done.

Feedback from the February 2015 Parents' Committee has also been taken into consideration.

In March 2015 a presentation was done to the school administrators to collect their feedback as well in order to develop a program that meets all the needs of the stakeholders.

We should be launching the revised Bus Safety Program early in the 2015-2016 school year.

Q. When will information be available for the SEAC workshop taking place on April 15?

The complete program details are on the website under the news section and have been posted on Facebook.

Q. Is there harm of over exposure to Wi-Fi in the schools? Before installing Wi-Fi did the SWLSB get permission from parents and if so were parents informed? What safety measures were taken to ensure safety and reduce exposure to students in the school?

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board has been operating wireless networks in its schools for more than 10 years. Initial Wi-Fi projects began due to a lack of classroom space in many schools. Mobile computer labs allowed additional classrooms, compared to fixed computer labs which were closed. Parents were informed of the purchase of these mobile labs and Wi-Fi equipment as this was discussed and approved at the public meeting of the Council of Commissioners in December 2004.

Today, the School Board's wireless infrastructure consists of approximately 475 centrally managed access points from Cisco Systems and over 3000 wireless devices (Laptops, iPads and Chromebooks). The Wi-Fi network covers 38 of the School Board's 41 buildings and several thousand people use the system daily to learn and collaborate in the most ideal learning environment - the classroom. The use of personal devices on the network continues to grow as approximately 1000 staff and students use their own devices on the guest network each day.

The School Board has always ensured that safety is a priority. This applies to our wireless infrastructure as well. All our wireless equipment exceeds all current Industry Canada and Health Canada standards as well as more demanding international norms. Wi-Fi deployment is carefully planned to minimize transmission power levels and our centralized system constantly monitors and adjusts these parameters based on needs and outside interference. Maximum transmission levels at Sir Wilfrid Laurier are capped at less than 15% of the allowed Industry Canada RSS-210 guidelines.

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board will continue to follow Health Canada and other local health authorities' guidelines and make any adjustments necessary to ensure the safety of its staff and students. Public health officials continue to state that there have been numerous studies on radiofrequency exposure and its impacts on human health, but to date there is no evidence of negative health effects of Wi-Fi. The specified limits for public exposure apply to everyone including children and pregnant women and take into consideration continuous, 24/7 exposure. As well, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that, "Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak radiofrequency signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects."

For more information on Canadian standards regarding Wi-Fi please consult the following links:


Q. Why were the fees for the Excellence Programs in Laval not discussed with the Provisional Governing Boards (PGB) before sending out information to parents?

It was decided to indicate an approximate fee for each program. The final fees will be presented to PGB and then Council.


Q. Once the fees are final, will they be brought to the PGB's to vote on?

Yes.


Q. What are the criteria for the exams to get into excellence programs?

Criteria are exam results, teacher recommendation and report card marks.


Q. If there are just enough students to fill one class in an Excellence Program, will the exam fee be reimbursed to parents?

No, the exam fee covers the invigilation and the correction of the exams. All exams will be corrected.


Q. What will be done with the school surpluses moving forward?

Since the School Board has no accumulated surpluses that can be used, the money is taken to balance the global budget of the Board.


Q. The Parents' Committee would like a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that the Director of Finance presented on budget building.

Click here to see PowerPoint. (or copy this link http://www2.swlauriersb.qc.ca/Doc/ENews/2015/Budget%20consultation%2015-16.pdf in your web browser)


Q. Last year the School Board financially supported in-school sports but this year those funds have not been made available, why not?

The Sports League, run by the teachers, had a budget from last year that carried over about 5 thousand dollars. The Educational Services Department (ESD) did help them get it off the ground by releasing them, and paying for medals, creating a website for them, etc. ESD still agreed to supply the medals, but they are completely self-funding.

The coaches did not meet as a group this year (as opposed to last year) because of the cost involved. Everyone knows that the league needs to be self-funding which is a challenge in itself.


Q. Are there any plans to incorporate the "Let's Talk" awareness program into the schools?

None at this moment.


Q. In reference to the surplus that was clawed back from SEAC, Laval Junior High noted that in the Education Act, (EA) Article 96.24, states that school and department surpluses can be clawed back by the school board but they can be used for special projects in those schools or departments the year later. The SEAC surplus was earmarked for this year's spring conference. Can this money be given back to them?

As per the EA the SB shall put aside money for its committee but there is no specification of the amount and no obligation of the carry forward.

As per section 96.24 of the Education Act, "at the end of every fiscal year, the school's surpluses shall be transferred to the school board. However, the surpluses must be added to the school's appropriations for the following fiscal year if the management and educational success agreement (MESA) entered into under section 209.2 so provides". This means that if the school identified a special project in their MESA, the school board would reserve only that specific amount for the school' following year budget, and not the entirety of the surpluses.


Q. At a PGB meeting, it was said that the modified and/or focus groups for the special needs population would be maintained going into the 2015-2016 school year. At the open house that message was not clear. There was a designated area addressing questions on open house and registration, but there was nothing specifically on the special needs population. What will become of the modified and/or focus groups?

At the PGB, it was mentioned that the classes for students with special needs as identified by Complementary Services Department (CSD) will be maintained. This is now the diversified path. These students are on modified level of instruction.

Focus is something different and was not discussed at PGB. This is the name given to the classes for the students that the elementary teachers felt were weak in a particular subject. Currently, the School Board is determining the need for support and how best to provide resource support to students. These are regular students who need remediation and additional resource support.


Q. If a special needs student is falling behind academically, at age 15, the teachers will decide whether or not the students will go into the Work Orientated Training Program (WOTP) or continue in the regular stream to get a high school diploma (HSD). Parents of special needs students always wish that their child receive a HSD and that the teacher should not be the one to make this decision. Please clarify.

If, at the age of 15 a student has not attained the cycle 1 competencies, a student qualifies for the Work Oriented Training Path, where they can continue to grow as individuals and develop skills to be active and contributing future members of the work force. In WOTP students continue to learn core academic skills and this leads to a certification of studies. Students can also move from the WOTP to Adult Ed and/or Vocational Training programs.

Parents are involved in this process through their participation in the IEP meetings with the school team. The Principal makes the final decision on student placement as per the Education Act (art. 96.15).


Q. What is being done at the School Board level to address the outdated video "Death Zone" which is being used during Bus Safety Week at our schools?

The School Board is aware that some of the material for our Annual Bus Safety Program is outdated. We did a survey in all our elementary schools from October to November and are in the process of revamping the program.