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Clarkson Secondary School

School Council Minutes

January 22, 2019


Present:  Brian Hudson, Nicky Rossi, Christine Chung, Mary Zammit, Debbie Foss, Bruce Foss, Anne-Marie May, Angela Siemens, Sandra Forsythe, Faye Allen, Vyju Janakiraman (present for SAC portion)


Regrets:  Kathy Geczi



Student Advisory Council Report – Vyju Janakiraman, SAC President

  • Kidfest – Dec 11, Hillside students visited various stations, received a gift, met Santa
  • Winter Wonder Week – Spirit Week including Talent Show and Carpool Karaoke
  • Mascot – a new Charlie the Charger costume is needed as the current one is wearing out

For the 50th anniversary year, Student Council would like School Council to consider a contribution toward a new mascot.


Students have researched mascots with 2 or 3 companies and have a quote from Madewell Mascots in Etobicoke for $5000-6000.  The mascot can be ready for delivery 6-8 weeks after ordering.    


Discussion followed:


Suggestion to ask the company for ideas to fundraise


Other options for funding the purchase include funds from the Alumni raised for the 50th, office operating budget, capital expense from Student Council which requires approval from the Superintendent, parent and community engagement funds since Charlie appears at events involving the community



Principal's Report – Mary Zammit


Ms. Zammit spoke about events of the month of December including the death of a student on December 10.  It has been a difficult term for staff and students as a teacher, Mr. Kirollos, also passed away in the fall.  Staff have been supportive of students and each other.  They are keeping an eye on students as challenges in dealing with grief can arise at any time.  Staff have reached out to some parents where there was concern.


Media presence did not seem to deter families from coming to counselling that was offered on a Saturday.  Students were very good at not speaking too much to media and were respectful of the situation.


The Board provided very intensive support, including counsellors and therapy dogs.  Students were received in the library for whatever reason.  There is amazing guidance staff at Clarkson who focus on overall student wellness.


School Council members commented on the exceptional handling of the incident by staff, very thoughtful communication


School activities continued – Hillside visits (Santa, Hackathon), art show, concert, Principal's Reception – helped normalize and bring back positivity


Two staff will be retiring:


Annette Kurjanczyk – Head of Drama

George Fotopoulos – Co-op


This will result in reassignment of some staff and hiring of temporary staff for the rest of the school year.  General discussion of hiring procedures followed.


PA Day – February 8th:

Increased training around Peel Board initiative 'We Rise Together' which focusses primarily on barriers to success for Black male students.  Many studies have been done and the Board is committed to responding to the insights.  Professional Development on the February PA Day is about the findings of the research and how to address the known challenges, learning about goals and teachers being mindful of their practices.


Climate Team:

This is a group of students, teachers, health nurse who focus on School Climate.  They have planned Wellness events focussed on Mind, Body, Heart, Spirit.

If students attend an event or participate in an activity in each of the four categories, they will complete their 'Passport to Wellness' and will receive a treat.


Black History Month:

This is organized by students and staff.  There will be smaller events with speakers for specific classes or smaller groups, as well as, a visit by 'Drums Atal' who will lead a whole school participatory presentation.


Cancer Drive:

A call is going out for applications for the Executive of Cancer Drive.  This is a good leadership opportunity.  Cancer Drive is the week of April 29.


50th Anniversary – May 25th:

The 50th anniversary event is being planned by alumni and staff.

Saturday, May 25th, doors will be open from 12-7pm; free for students, $5.00 online registration charge for alumni to help with attendance count, nametags and a lanyard

Alumni are planning a licenced social event at the school on the Saturday evening

Friday, May 24th is an 'early release' day including a special assembly and cake

Lots of opportunities for students to earn volunteer hours on Saturday, May 25th


Silent Auction planned for 50th anniversary – spread the word for prizes of goods or services worth $50 or more, donors will be acknowledged at the event (Jim Kinnie is the contact)

Proceeds will be split 50-50 between the Alumni event and Cancer Drive

Cancer Drive Reveal will occur after the 50th Anniversary in order to include Silent Auction funds

Action: Mary will send to School Council a fundraising letter that can be provided to donors


Teacher Appreciation

Anne-Marie asked whether there was support for the annual Teacher Appreciation day.

It will be held on the 1st Tuesday of May – May 7th ; support from all parents is welcomed.

Treasurer's Report – Sandra Forsythe

$153.70 was raised from food sales at Meet the Teacher Night and Open House

$230.00 remains from the original $500 Parent Engagement Fund.  $270 was spent on food for the Scholarship Workshop.

$1,000 Parent Reaching Out Grant now available from the Ministry of Education

All monies must be spent by the end of the school year


Discussion followed and there was consensus on the following:

The $270.00 spent at the Scholarship Workshop satisfies the criteria and could be taken from the PRO Grant instead of the Parent Engagement Fund. 

The $500.00 Parent Engagement Fund will be offered to the Student Council to help pay for the Charlie the Charger mascot costume since it is used to engage parents, current and future students and the community.

Since there is still $730.00 left from the PRO Grant which must be used by the end of the school year, School Council will host another Scholarship Workshop at the end of February or early March. 

Action:  Brian will arrange a date for the evening with Kathy and Mary.


Mary mentioned that a representative of OSAP will come to the school to speak to students in February.  School Council members wondered whether this person could come for a Parent Evening as well. 

Action:  Mary will contact Jim Kinnie of Guidance to explore this possibility.


New Business:


Sandra asked for volunteers to assist in sewing together the Clarkson Trip Quilt.  Each student travelling to Europe prepares a quilt square honouring a Canadian soldier who fought in WWI.  There are 5 other quilts at the school from previous trips led by Mr. Cowan.


Mr. Cowan is now in the Vice Principal Pool.  He may be called at any time.  However, should he receive a posting prior to the Europe Trip, a request would be made to allow him to lead the trip with Clarkson.


Debbie asked whether the Honour Roll is posted for inspiration.  Currently, it is not.


Prom Committee has booked the Burlington Convention Centre for Monday, 24th June. They are trying to keep it affordable and the venue is not far from the school.



Next Clarkson School Council Meeting – Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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