Our School Council is committed to enriching our children’s educational community and maintaining their enthusiasm as life-long learners.
Our School Council
An active school council meets every second month (the last Thursday of the month at 7:15 pm) to discuss school programs, school policy, current educational issues and ways to enhance the educational endeavors of the school. ALL parents are members of the School Council and are encouraged to be part of this advisory board.
2022/2023 School Council Executive
Chairperson - Renee Spelt
Vice-Chair - Sarah Astles
Treasurer - Dawn Poisson
Secretary - Tracy Duckett
Fundraising - Krystal Prins & Maja Hagel
École James S. McCormick School Council Minutes
January 26 2022
7:15PM Ecole James S McCormick School
Present: Renee Spelt, Krystal Prins, Dawn Poisson, Tonja Sigurdson, Maja Hagel, Melissa Rogers, Chandra Cooke, Antoinelle Leibel, Sasha Williams, Gifty and Noah Boakye-Yiadom, Jessical Cal
- The meeting was called to order at 7:20pm
- Krystal moved acceptance of the agenda.
- Tonja moved acceptance of the November 17 minutes.
- Old Business
- Front Sign Quote - new quote, vote on sign options.
*The first quote - $14000 - Sign Masters - $500 with letters
* The second sign - with lights - Lancelot signs in Sylvan Lake
* The third sign without lights - $12000
Action item: Who pays the cost of the power? Have someone from Fortis come to give us a quote. Do we need lights? Solar option? What part of the sign lights up?
2. Playground - discussion with Catholic School
They will provide the playground and we will provide the land. EJSMS would help with practical stuff - prepping the land.
Playground wouldn’t start until their school has been removed after the asbestos is cleared. Father Lacombe has a grant of $250,000 towards a playground. School council wants to look into government grants.
Action item: to do a few joint council meetings together with Father Lacombe?
When will the wooden playground get removed from our playgrounds? Who is removing them? Still waiting to hear back from ELUES in regards to their thoughts on playground location and if they approve this project? Looking into a school partnership with Bowden to build the playground?
Natural playground option? - Connect Renee with Director of Gull Lake Centre; Steve Roadhouse to view their new natural playground and find out costs; etc.
Insurance - to find out what it is we can do. Some of the playground equipment may not be safe. Would also be good to invite the Wolf Creek Safety & Wellness Coordinator into this conversation, in regards to safety.
Playground thoughts - ones with rock walls built in. Accessible playground is a priority. Accessible playgrounds require the rubber mats to be installed underneath. Boards that students can communicate with. Music sound options on the playground.
Noah and Gifty mentioned that the accessible playground is definitely worth the extra cost. Entertaining the thought of building a new accessible playground on the A-den. It would be a welcoming site for new families to see - and a great location with all of the sidewalks that lead to it.
You can apply to the Local CO-OP to donate to different community projects.
Echo Energy - look into grants.
$100,000 to install a new playground on the A-den.
Staff: Collectively look at the accessibility playground to choose from and choose 5-6 that stand out. Have students weigh in on what they think would be fun?
Start the process on Monday, February 27 - March 3, 2023
Pick the Playground week at EJSMS? (Staff & Students weigh in)
Just focus on one playground project at a time - not several parks at once.
Tonja put forward the motion to apply for a government grant through ECHO Energy. * All in favor.
We will come together on March 21, to discuss which playground was chosen.
- Trustee - Sarah is absent
- Staff Report - April Unkauf has been hired to replace Megan Drolet, grade two FI in the afternoon. April is also supporting the intervention program in the mornings by releasing Nesta Morris and Carey Flewelling. Brenna Heistad was hired to replace Jennifer Westling in Kindergarten.
- Treasurer - update on account and where we are with funds. Report: As of December, our account is sitting at $24,000. We will get a check from the January hot lunches - so next meeting we will get another update.
Council is looking for a bookkeeper - someone who is unbiased and is good at balancing books. Last year, our accounts were not paid on time - so this year, Council is trying to fix things and get accounts paid off. Going forward everything will be more organized and bills will be paid on time.
Hot lunch - having more parent helpers recruited - networking with other parents to get more help. Setting up tables to sort it for the grade three helpers to pick up.
Parent helpers should aim to be at EJSM at 11am on hot lunch days to help set up and sort the food.
Council is thinking of simplifying hot lunches so that it is perhaps once a week, alternating from a Wednesday one week and a Thursday the next week.
Tonja made a motion that if they are not able to recruit more helpers that they will go to hot lunch only once a week on March 1st. Krystal seconds the motion.
Cooke shared the new policy of parents needing to contact the school by 10am on a hot lunch date if they would like their hot lunch to be held for them. If not it will be donated to our school lunch program.
4. Fundraising - current end dates, plan for the rest of the year
Crystal - Feb. 1st is the end date for the cookies; (nut free and dairy free)
February - Little Caesars Fundraiser - Feb 15th - March 1st
March - no fundraiser
April - Aspen Greenhouse fundraiser - in time for mothers day
May - Fine Meats and Perogies?
A constant running gift card at one of Sobey’s or No Frills.
Talked about doing a country themed dance - our school is in charge of the dance part - Council would be in charge of the BBQ. We are looking at doing it in MAY as June will be busy with the implementation of the New Wolf Creek Report Card.
5. New Business
- Read- A -Thon (March) Talking to Weidner motors about donating a book for students to have for the read-a-thon. We would promote Weidners.
- Inclement Weather Presentation - tabled as per Tim DeRuyck’s direction.
- Dr. Laura Markham Speaker (potential joint council speaker in March) - do we want to use the school council grant money for this https://www.ahaparenting.com/ Council discussing the option to use the $500 towards Dr. Laura
- Potential Guest Speaker - Crystal Haitsma - Parenting Coach - $150 either in person or online. We can book her for one of our meetings. Make it a hybrid event - in person and online. Council is looking at April 27th to book Crystal to come to our April meeting. Tonja motioned to split the grant funds between Dr. Laura Markham and Crystal. Maya seconded.
- Parent Guardian Engagement Session - The school division is hosting a parent/guardian engagement session on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. It will be virtual. The Board and Superintendents' Team is seeking 2 representatives from our parent/guardian community for Wolf Creek's annual feedback engagement. Council members or anyone from the parent community is eligible. Melissa shared what the parent/guardian engagement survey is; how the survey will be sent out next week and that EJSMS will receive the results to guide professional practice. Tonja said she will attend.
6. Upcoming events
Chandra brought forward having the council provide meals for 3 nights of March Portfolios.
Maja motioned that they purchase the meals for all 3 nights. Tonja seconded the motion.
Chilli/Chinese and Lasagna
7. Adjournment - Renee closed the meeting.
Next Meeting Date: All in favor of moving the Next Council meeting to March 21st at LCHS - Joint Council Meeting. Everyone is in favor of moving it to that date.
École James S. McCormick School Council Minutes
November 17 2022
7:15PM Ecole James S McCormick
Present: Renée Spelt, Dawn Poisson, Gary Rice, Melissa Rogers, Tracy Duckett, Chandra Cooke, Brianne Rhodes, Maja Hagel, Antoinelle Leibel, Gifty Amakye, Krystal Prins
- The meeting was called to order at 7:21.
- People in person and online introduced themselves.
- Dawn moved to accept the agenda.
- Brianne moved to accept the October minutes.
- Old Business
- Front Sign Quote - $14,563.50 from Signmasters. Antoinelle will find out whether the magnetic letters are included, as there is some confusion as to whether they are. Renée is going to look into a signage place in Sylvan Lake to see if they build the kind we want.
- Playground update - At the last meeting, Brent Buchanan suggested Renée contact Kevin Henderson. He suggested the JS council contact the Father Lacombe School and the Upper Elementary School to see if their councils want to work together on envisioning new equipment. Father Lacombe will get money for their new school to have a playground, but they do not have much land.
- Screen time and added gym time update.
- Screen Time - Tracy said she looked into what other schools in Wolf Creek do during lunch time and most reported the students have stories/videos online. JSM has a high level of supervision with one teacher responsible for one or two classes, as ensuring student safety is our priority. As the lunch eating time is assignable rather than instructional time, teachers are not obligated to provide any particular activities. JSM has a longer period of time for students to eat because teachers were finding students need that long to finish their food.
- Melissa discussed the idea of doubling classes for PE periods with Wolf Creek’s Safety and Wellness Coordinator and Alberta Health’s Zone 4 representative. They expressed concerns about physical safety with having 40 to 60 students in the gym at one time, because they do not tend to have good spatial awareness and physical control at their age. As well, the volume levels are high with even just one class. Further, It would take away from time for coaching and correcting for individual students. It would also reduce the active time for each student if they have to take turns at an activity. Melissa also mentioned we are one of the few elementary schools in Wolf Creek with a PE specialist. Tracy reported that she added a third gym period for each class. In the past, teachers have signed up for extra time in the gym, but there is now an official schedule with a third period for each class. However, classroom teachers provide the instruction for this third gym time rather than the PE specialist. Melissa added that the 30 minute amount of time dedicated to active living each day is meant for focusing on wellness and healthy lifestyles, which can include going for a walk, stretching, and mindfulness.
- Tracy reported that Melissa Rogers is now the acting assistant principal until the end of the school year at which time there will be interviews for an assistant principal. To replace Melissa in the PE role, Jason Doyon was hired. Because he is French, PE will now be in French for the French Immersion students.
- The glow dance was a huge success, with 634 attendees.
- The Alberta government has now announced there will be funding for literacy and numeracy interventions again this year.
- Trustee - No report.
- Staff Report -
- Treasurer - No report.
- Fundraising - Fundraisers are doing well, but not as well as in the past. Information goes out in newsletters, email, and on Facebook. Antoinelle will add a message to the Swifty Snapshot to let guardians know they should give us a heads up if the ornaments are gifts and should not go home with students.
- New Business
- White Elephant Sale - We are in need of donations. Renée will post a request on the community Facebook page. They can be new or gently used. We are always short on men’s items. We still need volunteers. Antoinelle will add this information to this week’s Swifty Snapshot.
- Photo Fundraiser - We can look at this option after Christmas. For example, if we have a spring hoedown, we can consider a photo option with a country theme.
- Sidewalk Clearing - It is the City of Lacombe’s responsibility to clear school sidewalks of snow. The person has a hard time getting all the schools’ sidewalks cleared by the school start time when there is a big dump of snow. It was suggested anyone with concerns should contact their city councillors. As well, we have salt at each entrance.
- Bake Sale Fundraiser - Guardians will be asked to donate baked goods for each day of the Christmas concerts.
- Christmas Lights - The school requested the council provide funding for lights to be used as decorations at various events, including the bus for the Light Up the Night parade. The cost is $320.00. Dawn moved to pay for the lights. Maja seconded. Carried.
8. Upcoming events
- Crafts will be set up for each night of the portfolio walks. Renée will see if Painted Earth is interested in donating a raffle prize.
- White Elephant Sale
- Adjournment was at 8:35.
Next Meeting Date - January 26 2023 7:15PM
École James S. McCormick School Minutes
October 20, 2022
Present (some were online and some in person): Antoinelle Leibel, Chandra Cooke, Tracy Duckett, Renée Spelt, Ariel Miller, Dawn Poisson, Krystal Prins, Maja Hagel, Tonja Sigurdson, Jessie Wiart, Breanne Rhodes, Erin Kosola, Gifty Amakye, Brent Buchanan, Noah Boakye-Yiadom
- The meeting was called to order at 7:20.
- Members introduced themselves.
- Noah moved to accept the agenda. Krystal seconded.
- Breanne moved to accept the minutes from September. Noah seconded.
- Old Business
- Hot Lunch is going really well with the grade three helpers. Everything is distributed within about ten minutes. Renée asked that people keep advertising for more volunteers.
- Fundraisers - The ornament one is coming out on Monday and Mom’s Pantry is going out on November 1.
- Portfolio Walk Family Activities - There will be a craft station in the art room with Painted Earth ceramics that they’ve donated. There will be an obstacle course. And the Scholastic Book Fair will be open. The portfolio walks are on November 28, 29, 30.
- White Elephant Sale - Set up will take place on the 29th, and the shopping will take place on Nov 30, 1, and 2.
- Library Update - The fact some students have library books and others have not yet checked books out was brought up. The principal explained that the library is now open, but the librarian has to be away at this time. However, the librarian left instructions for teachers to check books out for their students. She will find out if teachers need help with this process.
- Trustee - Brent Buchanan reported that ten new students from Ukraine have registered for schools in Wolf Creek. The school division has been strengthening its partnership with Red Deer Polytechnic. Wolf Creek added an additional 2.3 teacher FTE to increase teachers in schools.The board chair met with the minister to discuss the new school in Blackfalds and about replacing James S. McCormick School in the future. There is no information on when this might happen. The school division has a committee working on a new division wide report card for K to 6. The division office will be sending messaging to all the families.
- Staff Report - Chandra did a presentation on the STEM projects she has been doing with her class in the learning commons. Karen Gustafson said the Christmas concert theme will be Sounds of the Season. This will be the first performance for almost all our students because of closing down through COVID. The concerts will be at 10:00am and 2:00pm on four different days in December. The two overlapping Kindergarten FI classes were brought up and it was reported things are going very well. The decision to add a full day option was made close to the end of last year due to low enrollment. Many more students were registered as a result of the full day option. The principal said she’d be asking for input in the spring when it is time to determine whether to run two full day programs or one full day program and one half day program.
- Treasurer - Dawn signed up for the school council email but has not received any emails yet.
- Fundraising - Krystal asked how many fundraisers we should have, and we talked about doing a spring fundraiser such as little caesars, cookie dough, Golden pepperoni and beef jerkey, Vesseys, grocery cards, or maybe gift cards through one of the local greenhouses (eg., Aspen or Patio Garden).
- New Business
- Lunch supervision - It was asked whether there could be less screen time during lunch eating times. There was a misunderstanding that movies were put on for students to watch, then they were left unsupervised. The principal explained that there is a teacher in every classroom while the students are eating for the sake of safety and to monitor their conversations and behaviours. Sometimes one teacher has to monitor two classes; when a teacher has been on supervision and is eating her lunch, the partner teacher across the hall supervises the two classes. Chandra showed the council members the types of things she shows students (such as science shows to promote curriculum) and said she generally shows something a couple times a week. The principal said she would pass on the message to teachers to consider total screen time throughout the day because there are portions of time when computers are used for instruction as well.
- Morning supervision - There was a question about how students know who the supervisors are, so Chandra modeled the bright orange vests worn on the playground. It is easy for students to identify supervisors.
- Access to the school in the mornings and after school - It was explained that supervisors allow students into the school in the mornings if they have to go to the bathroom. As well, there are people at the front doors who can help anyone who comes to them. There are a few staff members out at the end of the day; if a student needs to get in the building there is someone at the back of the school (C den) until 3:30 and there is a bell at the front door in the event there is no one there.
- Portfolio walk meals for staff members - Tonja moved to spend $600.00 or match last year’s amount, whichever is greater. Breanne seconded. Carried.
- Front Sign Proposal - An idea for a sign was shared with the council but we have not yet received an amount.
- Field Trips - Teachers determine where they go.
- Daily Gym Classes - It was asked whether classes could have more gym with Mrs. Rogers. Tracy explained the school is only given a certain amount of money for a PE specialist and we have to fit classes into the time allotted. It was asked if classes could double up, and Tracy said there were concerns for student safety with 40 to 60 students in the gym at one time. However, she will ask Mrs. Rogers to find out if there are guidelines regarding the number of students allowed in a specific square footage at one time.
- Alberta School Council Engagement fund - The Government of Alberta is providing $500 for the council but there are guidelines as to how the money can be spent.
- The meeting was adjourned at 9:35pm.
- The next meeting date is November 24, 2022 at 7:15.
École James S. McCormick School Minutes
September 29, 2022
Present (some were online and some in person):
Antoinelle Leibel, Chandra Cooke, Tracy Duckett, Renée Spelt, Sarah Astles, Dawn Poisson, Krystal Prins, Maja Hagel, Tonja Sigurdson, Jessie Wiart, Leah Steenveld, Erin Kosola, Edgar Salazar, Ligia Soto
- The meeting was called to order at 7:23.
- Members introduced themselves.
- Krystal moved to accept the agenda.
- Renée read the minutes aloud so those online were informed. Sarah moved to accept the minutes from May 2022.
- Old Business
- Sidewalk update - This is the time of year for requesting major projects, so Tracy will include a request for
- Playgrounds - Tracy will ask Father Lacombe where their new playground will be located. She will also find out when the wooden structures are being taken down. She will also find out when the new JSM school is being built. It was suggested we look into grants.
- Summer literacy and numeracy kits - Tracy asked if the council wants to contribute to the cost of the kits. Krystal moved that council contribute $1000.00 to the cost to reimburse the school. Sarah seconded. Teachers will be asked to ask parents during their October meetings whether they played the games over the summer to give us an idea of whether the kits were useful. 5 in favour, 3 opposed. Carried.
- Trustee - No trustees were present.
- Staff Report - We were able to make another class to reduce both the grade two and three classes. Tanya Baril, Megan Drolet, Erin Kosola, and Charlotte Parton are new staff members. Government testing has been completed for this year, and we are hopeful we will get money for teachers to provide literacy and numeracy intervention. Tracy explained the library is transforming to a learning commons. A school team has been working on redesigning the space and the way the library part of it will funcion. Heidi Scharf has taken over the responsibility of the books.
- Treasurer - Dawn Poisson volunteered to perform this role. Maja moved to accept Dawn as treasurer. Tonja seconded. Carried.
- Fundraising - See the volunteer section below.
- New Business
- Volunteers are needed for hot lunch events and fundraising. Maja, Krystal, Tonja, and Ligia offered to help. The restaurants usually have the food very well organized and divided into classrooms. Dawn moved that Krystal and Maja be accepted as coordinators for the fundraising events. Tonja seconded. Carried. Renée will create one or more email accounts for the school council. For example, there might be a fundraising email vs a general email account.
- Hot lunch orders are closed until January now.
- School supplies - Tracy reported that the council’s idea for providing an option of parents paying the school to use the school’s supplies was a big hit. A lot of people accessed the option, and it is anticipated it will continue to grow.
- Fundraising ideas include frozen cookie dough and pizza dough, a bake sale, wreaths and Who trees, as well as Mom’s Pantry. An ornament purchasing idea was suggested during the meeting. Tonja moved to use this idea as a fundraiser. Sarah seconded. Carried. The school will advertise for White Elephant Sale items to start coming in right after the Thanksgiving weekend.
- Kick off family event - Renée suggested we host family nights such as Painted Earth ornaments, bird houses, plant seeds in the newspaper nests. Maja moved the school council hosts a family night event during November portfolio walks. Sarah seconded. Carried.
- The meeting was adjourned at 9:20.
- The next meeting date is October 20, 2022 at 7:15.