Trustee, School Councils and Parents

Trustees, School Councils and Parent Involvement Committees (PICs)

Trustees and School Councils

Effective trustees establish regular and consistent communication with their school councils. Through the use of email, e-newsletters, social media such as Twitter, websites, meetings and other public forums, trustees and school councils can remain in constant communication. Increasingly, trustees are creating online journals, websites or blogs to help them communicate with their constituents. Trustees who facilitate communication among school councils within their jurisdiction are better able to speak on their behalf at the board table.

School councils are provincially-mandated advisory bodies, providing advice to the school principal and, where appropriate, to the school board. Their structure and responsibilities are determined by government regulation. A trustee that has open and consistent communication with school councils is creating a climate of inclusion that benefits the board and the students in its schools.

It is important to note that a trustee’s responsibility is to advocate for decisions which will better serve the board’s entire jurisdiction, while school councils advocate almost exclusively for their own students in their own schools. This is an important point to remember when determining what advice one should consider.

Trustees and Parent Involvement Committees

Every school board in Ontario has a Parent Involvement Committee (PIC). A key part of the PIC role is to encourage and enhance meaningful parent involvement across the board to improve student success in school and in life. They do this by:

  • Providing information and advice to the Board of Trustees on parent engagement
  • Communicating with and supporting school councils, and
  • Undertaking activities to help parents support their children’s learning at home and at school

Most members are parents and the committee is chaired by a parent. The director of education and a trustee representative also sit on the committee. This helps communication flow both ways. It helps the school board communicate with parents and makes sure that parent voices are heard by the board.

Ontario Regulation 612/00 sets out the mandate, structure and functions for both Parent Involvement Committees and School Councils. More information can be found at: edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/getinvolved.html.