Parent Council Meeting Minutes 2017.09.13

Trillium Waldorf School Parent Council Meeting Minutes

September 13, 2017 7:00 – 9:00

Location: 2nd Floor, The Albion Hotel (49 Norfolk St, Downtown Guelph)


Attendance: Parent Council committee members: Mary Kate Craig, Cheryl Hume, Shauna Blois, Anna Bowen; Board rep: Maksym; Faculty rep: Arlene Kamo; Parent reps: Natasha Pravaz (Meadow Mouse), Stefanie Branchflower (Forest Frog), Jason Porter & Rachel Lambert (Gr 1), Kimm Khagram (Gr 2), Michelle Muller (Gr 3), Kelley Johnstone (Gr 4), Cheryl Hume (Gr 5), Athena Hagen (Gr 6); Community members: Danny MacKay, Kay Valley, James Giddings, Katarina Vuckovic, Richard Cucuser, Lia Maldaner, Marnie McCourty, Lisa GillOrme, Stefanie Ly, Serena Tene.


  1. Welcome: Mary Kate welcomed the group to the first meeting of 2017-18.


  1. Acceptance of Minutes from last meeting – changes/amendments


  1. It was requested that the previous meeting’s minutes be amended regarding the comment that items are not brought between Parent Council & Tri Pillar. Stefanie Ly confirmed that there is communication between parent council and Tri Pillar as the parent council chair attends Tri Pillar meetings, and is able to voice questions, concerns during that meeting.


  1. Call for additional Agenda items
  2. Introductions of each meeting attendee will be included in the meeting
  3. The Guelph Outdoor School requested to be added to the agenda regarding collaborative projects between the GOS and TWS.


  1. Volunteer Coordinator Introduction (Serena Tene)
    1. Serene gave some background regarding her position: She was hired by the school for a 10-month contract (Apr 2017-Feb 2018). The purpose is to make involvement & volunteerism more organized & efficient, building community resulting in a more rich experience for everyone.
    2. Her work included:
      1. A needs assessment for 1 month by interviewing Board, PC, staff, faculty. This helped generate a vision for what the school needs.
      2. Reaching out to 15 other Waldorf schools to see how they manage volunteers (results – most schools do not have a system in place, and felt it was a weak component of the schools, did not have the resources to do this).
  • Survey to all parents in June to get a sense for what people are interested in doing, what the capacity was, what the barriers were. The report went out to everyone, received great feedback.
  1. Another form then went out to families (which was different from June survey); this was for parents to choose what areas they were interested in becoming involved with. Serena now has a database with this information to better target potential volunteers.
  2. Serena emphasized volunteering is not mandatory, but administration feels that the form should be like any other form in the enrolment package to make it easier to manage volunteers.
  3. Serena noted that 2 work bees were coming up: Sept 24th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm for Kindergarten, and Oct 15th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm for the entire school.


Mary Kate inquired where the survey results could be found.


ACTION ITEM: Co-communicators will put the survey results on the website and/or distribute to the parent community in another way.



  1. Review of previous agenda action items & updates (Mary Kate)
    1. The main agenda item to review was for parents to understand the process of how parent concerns are addressed by the school. Mary Kate described that if there is a question or concern brought to the Parent Council meeting, the item either:
      1. Gets discussed and answered during the meeting.
      2. OR – a more appropriate channel is identified (i.e. if there is a concern better addressed by the Board, Faculty, or Tri Pillar), Mary Kate or the appropriate rep will take the concern to that particular group, then report back to Mary Kate for discussion at a subsequent Parent Council meeting.
    2. Mary Kate described for the group that there are 3 pillars that the school is based on, and that the parent pillar is one of the important ways the parent community is recognized by the school. She emphasized that it is vital to have representation within each class and encouraged parents to bring forth agenda items so that we can address them or work out how to answer outstanding items.
    3. A parent asked how to bring items to Parent Council.
      1. Mary Kate answered that there will be a call for additional agenda items during each meeting, and parents are welcome to bring forth agenda items before/during a meeting.
      2. Alternatively, there is also the opportunity to give it to the parent rep in your class.
    4. Mary Kate also emphasized that every parent is a member at PC, everyone welcome at meetings (not just for reps).



  1. Update from Faculty (Arlene Kamo)
    1. Arlene discussed that each meeting last year included one faculty with an update on what they are doing in their class.
    2. Arlene gave insight on her previous experiences and roles at the school, including as a grade & kindergarten teacher, and Parent and Child leader, now as educational support (a position that is partially funded by the school, partially a private service).
    3. Arlene discussed the Kim John Payne seminar coming Oct 18 at 7-9pm for a Parent Evening. Arlene stressed that parents need to get on board with the program for this to work.
    4. Arlene was also involved in Strategic Plan and excited to have it implemented as we work towards AWSNA accreditation, looking at site & capital fund raising.
    5. Arlene encouraged everyone to have conversations with everyone, communicate and ask questions at Parent Council and of the faculty so that we can maintain transparency.


  1. Partnerships of Hope exercise (Stefanie)
    1. Stefanie described that Partnerships of Hope exercises and book club take place in each pillar in various forms, and in Parent Council she will read one paragraph for all to consider, then will do a social exercise.
    2. Tonight’s chapter was related to Self-administration & governance, and there was a short exercise in partners regarding the spoken and unspoken rules when you were growing up.



  1. Guelph Outdoor School (GOS)
    1. Kimm gave a description of the upcoming collaboration between TWS and the GOS. The GOS works on a model of nature connection in many modalities. No formal collaboration has existed with TWS to date. Christina Kingsbury (Parent & Child Facilitator) has been speaking with the Trillium Waldorf regarding the high interest/demand for the Parent & Child program where they are currently at capacity and unable to enroll interested parents. To help meet the demand, on Wednesday mornings, the GOS will offer a Parent & Child program run by Ms. Kingsbury.
    2. The GOS is also running afterschool programs with TWS, and it was recommended to contact the TWS office for further details.


  1. Strategic Plan Update and Introduction of SPG exercises for Parent Council (Aaron)
    1. Aaron gave the parent group general information on his role, specifically that as the Board Rep he would provide updates/answer questions from the Board perspective at each meeting (and this will be an agenda item each meeting).
    2. The Strategic Plan was discussed as a plan that is updated on a 5-year cycle.
    3. Most recently, the Strategic Plan Group was led by Arlene Thorne to come up with key points to address in this 5-year cycle. First, members of Parent Council, the Board, Faculty, and Administration wend through a weekend workshop in April to identify items for the Strategic Plan. Subsequently, the Strategic Plan group underwent a 7-week, 7-step process to further develop the Strategic Plan.
    4. At the end of last year, the Strategic Plan Group sent out a summary for parents to read about the Strategic Plan invite parent feedback. The Strategic Plan Group will synthesize the feedback and ideas that came forward in the process into a realistic and achievable plan for the next 5 years (during this process they will come up with a framework of what items stay in the Strategic Plan, what cannot stay in).
    5. Aaron also described that every fall there is a community meeting hosted by the Board at Tacoma Engineers, and this meeting will be Wednesday, Oct 25. This meeting will provide a more descriptive update on the Strategic Plan as well as address the Kim John Payne program, budget, and other important school items. To encourage attendance in that meeting, there will not be an October Parent Council meeting.
    6. MK stressed the importance of the Oct community meeting (as well as the January meeting).


  1. Mary Kate asked the group to offer ideas on how they would like to see the meetings run this year, as the Parent Council Committee would like to encourage attendance. Compelling features of an enticing meeting, brought forward by the group, included:
  • Live music
  • Dancing
  • Beer
  • Chocolate
  • Social time, ability to connect with other people.
  • Time of night (7pm) works well
  • Night of the week can be changed depending on group’s needs.
  • The need for a collaborative and social atmosphere (rather than just an information session as such information can be read individually without the need for coming to a meeting).
    • Mary Kate advised that the Friday Forget-Me-Not newsletter is is very informative and encouraged all to read it. This is how information will primarily be distributed, and the aim of Parent Council will be to collaborate, socialize, brainstorm, etc.
    • Mary Kate told group that we would be going through a similar process to the 7 step program within Parent Council coming up, therefore this will be a time for Parent Council to brainstorm, work together in a social atmosphere at each meeting.
  • There was a brief discussion on other information/communication methods regarding the school.
    • It was noted that there is a TWS parent Facebook group. This is not an official school communication, but rather is for parent-to-parent information. It is a closed group, but any TWS parent can request to be added.
    • Arlene noted that those with Gmail accounts should look in the “Promotions” folder for the Friday Forget-Me-Not newsletter, and that the website has been revamped and is very informative via the Parent Portal.



ACTION ITEM: Co-communicators will ask Jennifer to include a link to the Facebook parent group in an upcoming Friday Forget-Me-Not newsletter.


ACTION ITEM: Co-communicators will ask Rob Helmer if a password is still needed for the Parent Portal, and give feedback that not having a password makes access much easier.


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