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Clarkson Secondary School

Parent Advisory Council Minutes


October 12, 2016 - 7:00 p.m.






Mary Zammit, Principal          Debbie Foss                Bruce Foss  

Brian Hudson                          May Wong                  Christine Chung

Sunny Fang                            Mila Gawrysiak           Kathy Geczi

Anne-Marie May                     Angela Norris             Helen Song

Sandra Forsyth




Nicky Rossi                             Cathy Murray



Welcome and Introductions


  • Principal Mary Zammit and Chair Brian Hudson welcomed attendees to the meeting
  • Those present introduced themselves


Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes


There were no minutes to approve.


Council Minutes are posted on the school's website under the Council tab for all to review.



Elections and Council Positions


  • School Council nominations were received last month by Principal. Zammit.  Elections were not held.   Brian Hudson was acclaimed as Chair and other nominees filled other positions by volunteering. 
    • Chair - Brian Hudson
    • Treasurer - Sandra Forsyth and Christine Chung
    • Event Coordinator for in-school initiatives - Helen Song
    • Anne-Marie May will coordinate events such as the Teacher Appreciation.  Mila Gawrysiak offered to assist.    
    • In the absence of an official secretary, Angela Norris agreed to take notes for the current meeting.  Kathy Geczi volunteered to take minutes at future meetings. 


School Council Report


  • There was no representative from SAC 


Parent Engagement Fund


  • This money is received each year 


Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Grant


  • Due to a late start for the School Council last year, an application for the Parents Reaching Out grant (PRO) was not made.  An effort should be made to apply for the funds this year.
  • PRO grants are made by the Ontario Ministry of Education to encourage greater parent engagement in schools




  • There was a wide-ranging discussion of fundraising; including purpose, activities and goals


  • A number of parents are new to Clarkson and the needs of high school, so there was general discussion of past fundraising activities and ideas for the current year.  There was consensus that the group needs to research what other secondary schools do for fundraising, as the environment and parent involvement tends to differ from that found at the elementary level.


  • Currently, School Council has no funds.  Councils are expected to spend any money raised in a given year during the school year to benefit all current students.  Nevertheless, some money may be earmarked for startup activities in the fall, though that was not the case last year.



  • Bursary:  For the past number of years, School Council has granted a bursary of $100.00 or $150.00 each to two graduating students.  There was consensus that this is worthwhile and should continue.  More information is needed on the criteria that are used to select the recipients.


  • Teacher Appreciation:  Anne-Marie May has organized a Teacher Appreciation day for a few years.  It is usually held on the first Tuesday in May after the annual Cancer Drive and involves providing food for the teachers in their lounge throughout the day so that staff can drop in.  Donations of food and cash are requested from families and local businesses. This is an opportunity to thank staff for their dedication and those present expressed thanks and congratulations to Anne-Marie for leading this initiative.   Anne-Marie volunteered to continue organizing this event and asked for other parents to join her. 


  • QSP:  Magazine sales through QSP is a popular way for schools to raise money.  School Council receives an amount based on subscriptions sold.  Clarkson has raised funds through QSP in the past, though it was less than $200.00.  Brochures could be distributed with mid-term report cards.  Some present remembered the labour-intensive paper order form process, but all orders can now be placed online by families using the school's online id which keeps administration by School Council to a minimum.  
  • (Note:  After the meeting, Angela searched Clarkson Secondary School at www.qsp.ca and found that the online ID is 3719150. This is also posted on the school's website:  http://schools.peelschools.org/sec/clarkson/schoolcouncil/QSP/Pages/default.aspx)


  • Grade 9 Orientation:  A new initiative of a 'Grade 9 only' first day of school orientation was launched this year and received very positive feedback from students, staff and parents.  The cost was approximately $3000.00 for 160 students and senior student leaders.


  • Other Ideas:  
    • Angel Fund - families donate in appreciation of staff who receive an angel decoration
    • Indian River Citrus sales
    • Samosa sales - this could be a challenge due to the limited number of 'Food Friendly' days in the school year.  Healthy eating guidelines must be followed.
    • Bake sales at Parent Night, Open House and other events - 'after hours' food sales do not need to adhere to School Food and Beverage guidelines


  • School Wish List:  Principal Zammit said that there were no particular needs to be handled by School Council


  • After much discussion, Angela proposed setting a fundraising goal for the year of $1500.00 to be used for such activities as Bursaries, Teacher Appreciation, Grade 9 Orientation and other needs.   A motion was made to:  Set $1500.00 as the School Council fundraising goal for 2016-2017 and use any money raised for the following priorities in order:  Bursaries, Grade 9 Orientation, Teacher Appreciation.  Moved by Christine Chung, Seconded by Sandra Forsyth, Carried 


  • There are two opportunities to launch fundraising this month:  Parent Teacher Night on October 20 and Open House for Middle School Families on October 26.

School Council will set up a table at both nights in order to welcome parents, encourage involvement in School Council and raise funds.

Christine Chung, Anne-Marie May and others expressed interest in organizing. 

Contributions of baked goods and time at the table are welcome.



Principal's Report


  • As the meeting was running late, Principal Zammit spoke briefly on a few topics on her report and will share more information at the next meeting
  • Grade 9 Orientation:  Grade 9 Day began with breakfast and was a great success.  It made the new students feel included at Clarkson.
  • Grade Assemblies:  Assemblies for different grades have been held
  • School Start Time:  A request made to start the school day at 8:15 rather than 8:00 was denied due to bus transportation logistics issues.  
  • Inclusive Washroom:  Peel Schools now have 'gender neutral' washrooms.  At Clarkson, this will be a single stall washroom.
  • Acknowledgement of First Nations:  Beginning in October, part of the opening exercises is the statement "We are on the land of the Mississauga of the New Credit Nation".  Clarkson observed 'Orange Shirt Day' on September 30 to recognize the harms done by the Residential Schools.  A Native Studies course will be offered next year. 



Other Business


  • Discussions of other business did not begin until 8:30 which was after the scheduled timing on the agenda.  Kathy Geczi requested that School Start Time and ARC be tabled until the next meeting 
  • School Start Time:  Deferred  
  • ARC (Accommodation Review Committee):  Deferred
  • School Cash Payment System:  Angela Norris commented that she was pleased with the ease of use of the system to pay for activity fees and field trips.  She had a concern about the generic subject line "New attachment notification" when a fee is added to the account.  She asked whether there was a way to add "from Clarkson" or some other personalization to indicate to families that this is a legitimate email.   Principal Zammit will follow up since Clarkson is part of the Board's pilot for the School Cash system and feedback is welcomed.  
  • Great Start Workshop: Chair Brian Hudson had sent information on the Peel Board's Great Start evening along with the agenda.  This is a workshop for School Council members that will be held in Brampton on November 9, 2016.  Each Council can send 3 people for workshops to learn about School Council operations.  It is a good opportunity to learn and network with School Council members from other schools.  Anne-Marie May, Sandra Forsyth and Angela Norris volunteered to attend on behalf of Clarkson.  Some other members may attend on behalf of their elementary schools.



Council Meeting Dates (2016 – 2017) 


  • Meeting dates for Council during the school year:


  • Wednesday, September 21, 2016
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - added in September 
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2017
  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017
  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017



    Next meeting: Wednesday – November 16, 2016 at 7:00pm


    Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 9:10 pm

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