Withrow Avenue Junior Public School is located in the heart of Riverdale, and is celebrating its 118th anniversary in 2021. The current building was constructed in 1972, and was designed to be an open-concept, dual-track school, offering both English and Early French Immersion programs to all students. The building also houses the Withrow Childcare Centre and Quest Alternative Senior School.
What is the Parent Council?
The Withrow Junior Public School Parent Council is an advisory group of parents, guardians, and community members who work with the school’s principal, vice-principal, and teachers to enrich the daily experiences available to Withrow’s children; we work hard to build an inclusive school community.
When do we meet?
We meet once a month for 1.5 hours, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. All parents and guardians are welcome to attend!
What does the Parent Council do?
We work with the staff members of Withrow as well as the TDSB on a wide range of issues (for example, the Safe and Caring School initiative) and organize fundraising events that enrich the learning opportunities for students. In the past, we have helped purchase classroom technology, books for the library; our goal for 2021 is to rebuild Withrow’s playground.
Roles & Current Executive Council Members
There are a number of roles on the Executive of the Parent Council. The 2021-2022 elected Council members are:
Co-Chairs: Kim Munro Roberts & Lisa Cohen (Outgoing 2020-2021 Co-Chair): Chantal Chiarelli
- Organize and run Parent Council meetings and oversee all facets of the Parent Council. They also liaise with the principal on ad-hoc issues throughout the year.
Treasurer: Megan Burns
- Oversees all finances, budgets, bank accounts, etc. Prepares annual budget and statements for distribution at meetings and addresses any financial questions that come up.
Secretary: Ashley Gilman (Digital) + Jenny Carson (Meeting Recording)
- Takes minutes of each home and school meeting for publication.
Communications: Sarah Kelsey
- Oversees website and social media updates (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Supports all committees with communication campaigns as required.
Events: Maya Barrera Matthews
- Oversees yearly events, including those focused on fundraising.
School Council Liaison: Jeannette Rees
- Attends meetings to inform the Parent Council on what is going on with the School Council, and takes Parent Council information back to the school as needed.
School Council vs. Home & School
The purpose of a School Council is to advise the Principal regarding educational priorities and student achievement, including areas of need. A priority is to communicate and consult with parents about matters under consideration by the School Council and encourage participation of parents in the education system. It must foster mutual respect and collaboration among members, including parents and staff.
A School Council must consist of two co-chairs and at least 13 other parent representatives as well as the Principal or Vice Principal of the school, one teacher, one non-teaching member of staff, and one or more community members appointed by the elected council.
As mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education, the advisory role of the School Council is to make recommendations on any matter to the administration and school board. Together, with school administration, staff, and community members, the School Council is a welcoming forum that strives to improve student achievement and school performance.
The Home & School Association (H&S) is an independent parent group that grows co-operation and partnership with the entire school community. H&Ss are part of the Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations (OFSHA) and are insured, receiving charitable status for the school under this umbrella organization.
At Withrow, the School Council and H&S coexist as the Withrow Parent Council – with the same executive serving dual roles.
One main difference is the fundraising capabilities.
A School Council can fundraise, but it must spend all of the funds in the year in which they were raised. In other words, it would project a budget in the fall, plan the year’s fundraising events then spend the money as it comes in, wrapping it all up in June.
An H&S can carry funds from year-to-year for use on family events like the Welcome Back BBQ in September and for high cost items that take several years’ worth of fundraising (like the schoolyard revitalization project).
We acknowledge the land we live and meet on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit.