Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate Institute
REPORT ON COUNCIL ACTIVITIES FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2007-2008
Sir Oliver Mowat has well attended school council meetings with a strong group of interested parents, staff, and administrators. We
welcome and encourage parents or interested community members to come out to the meetings, take part in the discussions, or just sit in
to find out what is happening at Mowat.
This report is submitted in accordance with the requirements of Ontario education regulations.
MEMBERSHIP AND STRUCTURE
The 2007-2008 Council is comprised of the following parent members, elected by acclamation in September 2007: Chair: Mary Soye, Vice-
Chair: Darlene Cross, Treasurer: Nancy McCutcheon, Secretary: Fiona Ramaran. Teacher Representatives: Sandy Anderson, Brian Lister,
Marios Tenentes. Community Representative: Kevin Ainey, Zephine Wailoo. Administrative Representative: Alison Brown. Principal: Tom
Lazarou, Vice Principals: Mary Helen Hartman-Hayes, Colin MacNeil. Student Representatives: various throughout the year including SAC
members Ketyurah D’Silva, Alex Shutsa, Rico Adiputra, and Madison Hurst; Music Council members Subhanki Sivakumar and David
Ward; World Dragon Boad team members Greg deCaire and Adam Loo; Courtyard Initiative Remy Marlatt, Prefects Heather Deighton,
Adam Loo, and Aryssah Stankevitsch; Anti Bullying Campaign Octavia Chambers; Leaders Group Meena Bhaskaruni; and Mowat Athletic
Council Gavin Currie. Members at Large: Mardi Adams, Donna Goulet-McCartney, Kathy McGrath, Doreen Sanders, Anne Fealy, Donna
Turnbull, Nancy Dobson, Shirley Clark, Andrea Seivwright-Adams, Anne Jackson, Barb Butler, Dana Kaminski, David Sinclair, Deena
Ruess, Esther Quashie, Fiona Ramaran , Glen Banyard, Guido Iantorno, Jackie Khalek, Jacqueline Taylor, Jackie Khalek, Jacqueline
Taylor, Janice Ward, Joanne Lewis, Karen Bordne, Karen Hutchison, Kathleen Lamb-Wrightman, Kathy Rowe, Katie Prentice, Kinga
Rayment, Lil Iantorno, Linda Rahmoun, Linda Sinclair, Lois McInnis, Lynne and Derreck Liberty, Michael Quashie, Michelle Featherstone,
Monica Marlatt, Nicola Fillier, Nicole Spencer, Nirmala Aguiar, Paul Dass, Patricia Waithe, Rob Elbertsen, Rob Milligan, Susan Ainley,
Susan Crawford, Wanda Wierzbicki.
Seven meetings were held during the school year – September 18, October 17, November 27, January 23, February 26, April 9, and May
27. Meetings have generally been held on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays (to accommodate people who cannot make it on one or
the other) at 7:00 pm in the school resource centre/library. All parents and others in the wider school community were welcome to attend.
The first meeting of the current Council was on September 18, 2007 at which time the officers were determined.
ROLE AND ACTIVITIES OF COUNCIL
The purpose of a school council is to improve student success and to provide a system of accountability to the parents. There are
guidelines provided by People for Education and a binder provided by the Ontario Government detailing the role of councils. These can be
found on the following websites http://www.peopleforeducation.com/resources/tips2.html and
The Mowat Council meetings are an excellent source of information for parents about what is happening at the school. The principal's
reports, students' reports and teachers' reports have given those who attend the meetings and those who read the minutes a good
understanding of school activities. At each meeting there was a presentation to the Council by a student group and by a curriculum leader.
The Council meetings also give us, as parents, an opportunity to provide input to Mowat administrators. As well, the Council meetings
provide a forum for parents where their questions can be tabled and their issues raised which may also affect a wider community of
Communications and Parent Outreach
Improving communications with parents and increasing parent involvement is an important role of school councils in general and has
become a specific focus of the Ontario government. The Mowat Information via Email system was tested in 2005-2006 and was formally
established in 2006-2007 as part of an initiative to improve communications between the school, the School Council, and parents. There
were 318 people on the email list this year up from 200 last year and 50 the year before. Next year a form will be sent home in the
information package to all new grade 9 students and other new students at the start of the year. The Council meeting dates were included
on most items that were sent home. The agendas to each meeting were sent out to the email participants a week before each meeting as
a reminder of the upcoming meeting. The minutes were sent out in the week following the meetings to provide the email participants with
timely information. The system was updated and maintained by Mary Soye.
The Mowat website – www.mowat.ca – has improved significantly this year and is full of useful information for students and for parents.
The Mowat School Council section of this website was being kept up-to-date very well this year. Thank you to teachers Hilary Mattok
Karen Cogswell for all the hard work they have put into it.
We set up a Mowat School Council booth at the grade 9 parent information session (which was new this year and suggested by Council
last year) and at both parent teacher interview evenings in November and February. The booth was to inform parents about the Council
and to get them to sign up for information via email. We provided free coffee, water, and cookies to parents and teachers.
Our final meeting of the year ended with a social event.
The Government of Ontario continued with their Parent Involvement Policy and distributed $500 to each school in Ontario to encourage
parent participation based on the school communication plan. Our council allocated the funds as follows: $24.22 for Council Booth at
Grade 9 Parent Curriculum night, $76.89 for Council booth at November Parent Teacher meeting night, $33.55 for Council booth at
November Parent Teacher meeting night; $145 for coffee urn for the school for parent teacher nights; $70 for refreshments at Council
meetings, $100.34 for a year-end Mowat Council thank you at a local restaurant, and $50 Council donation to People for Education, an
organization devoted to education and keeping parents informed. A detailed financial report is attached.
Donna Goulet-McCartney and Mary Soye put together a proposal for a $1000 Parent-Reaching-Out Grant from the Ministry of Education. It
was submitted in October and approved in January. The proposal was for a guest speaker, Andy Walker, to address the parents of Mowat
(the feeder schools and other community people were also invited) about Facebook, MSN and other social networking to help us get a
better understanding of the applications, the safety issues, and how we can avoid the pitfalls. Thanks to the sub-committee made up of
Donna Goulet-McCartney, Anne Fealy, Darlene Cross, Donna Turnbull, Nancy Dobson, Susan Ainley, and Mary Soye for organizing the
event. Thanks also to Tom Lazarou and Alison Brown for all their help with this and to the student volunteers. The seminar took place on
May 8, 2008 with over 100 people attending. It started at 7:00 p.m. with refreshments and the presentation by Andy Walker was at 7:30.
There was a lot of interest and questions during the session. Our survey indicated that the people attending found the seminar interesting
Principal and Vice Principal Profiles were completed in detail in 2005-2006 year and revised slightly in 2006-2007. It is a requirement of
council as set out by the Ontario government that they be reviewed each year and updated as necessary. A review was done at the May
27th Council meeting for the 2007-2008 version.
Financial Information and Funding Requests
All school councils in Ontario are allocated funding by the government in the amount of $1.25 per student up to a maximum of $1000.
Mowat Council was given $1000 – these funds are designated to cover the expenses of operating a Council. Council does not have its own
bank account. Requests for funding are approved by Council, signed by the treasurer and passed on to the Principal and School Secretary
to disburse the funds from the school account. The Mowat Council, with the permission of Tom Lazarou, uses the allocated money for
various requests for funds from the teachers, rather than to fund Council expenses such as photocopying. At the January 23 meeting, the
department heads submitted some funding requests to the Council – one for the Technology department (for material to build a set of
dragon boat paddles and a locking cabinet on wheels to transport the paddles) and one for Business (for a business student recognition
program). These requests were approved. The left over in the account was allocated to the school to contribute to the costs of
photocopying. See attached financial report.
Council in conjunction with Mowat continued with the Win-Win Mowat thing program to encourage parents to donate money to the TDSB
earmarked for Sir Oliver Mowat. By donating through the TDSB the donor will receive a tax receipt for any amount over $25.00. The funds
are to be used for two main areas: healthy living and music (for the replacement of instruments). The forms were passes out at all of the
parent evenings and sent out via email. The amount raised through this initiative was $1345.00. The funds were allocated as follows: $425
to Physical Education (as specified by the donors) and $920 to Music ($325 specified by the donors to music and $595 to best use).
A new fundraising initiative was put in place this year focusing strictly on Music – Shirley Clark, a parent and a professional fundraiser, took
on this challenge. It was officially launched at the Spring Music Concert on May 7, 2008. Letters were sent home to every parent of a
Mowat student (over 1,000) providing information about the needs of the Mowat music department and asking families to please consider
making a tax deductible donation. The music students contributed by stuffing and addressing the envelopes. Music students also called in
to leave messages with the parents telling them to expect the letter in the mail and asking them to support the Music Campaign with a
donation. It is very early in the campaign at this point but a report will be forthcoming on the success of the campaign.
Shirley Clark also co-ordinated the application, for a $10,000 grant from MusiCan, an organization with a mission to “elevate music in
Canadian schools”. To strengthen the application, we had a petition-like support form signed by school staff, parents and students,
and letters written by some parents to support the application. The information for the application was completed by the music
department and the school administration – the results of this application will not be known until the fall of 2008.
Mowat Ski Club
Darlene Cross, Vice Chair, again organized the Mowat Ski Club. The Ski Club took place at Lakeridge on six Mondays in 2008 – the
students had a great time. We had approximately 44 students signed up for the skiing. Thank you to Darlene Cross for organizing the Ski
Club, to Mr. Tebbins the teacher supervisor and to Nancy Kish, Heather Lemieux, and Mary Soye, the parent supervisors on the trips. The
plan is for the Ski Club to continue next year.
Math continues to be a concern among the parents. Jacque MacLean, the Curriculum Leader for the math department, addressed the
Council at the November meeting. Last year, one of the factors mentioned was that students come to Mowat from feeder schools lacking
basic fundamental math skills – Mowat is working with the feeder schools about what are the key essential math skills required before
entering grade 9. There continues to be a lot of money spent on external math tutors by parents. More emphasis is being put on the grade
9 math EQAO by the Ministry of Education, mandating that 10% of the grade 9 year end mark be based on the EQAO results. This will
help to ensure the students take it more seriously. Midterms were given in all academic math classes this year. After term two, each math
class was going to begin by going over some of the basic math essentials – a work sheet in class review. They were going to start a before
and after school program in math. It was left that there are discrepancies between classes in terms of marks and that the math curriculum
leader and the administration had the responsibility to see what could be done to improve on this. There was also a question about
whether the size of the math classes could be reduced. Math and Guidance need to work together to help the students select the right
math class for them.
Washroom cleanliness was raised as health issue and some steps were being taken to resolve it. The union had to be approached.
A violent incident that involved Mowat students resulted in a Community Safety group being formed spearheaded by Tom Lazarou. Terry
Pruner, Council secretary and member, is the parent representative on this group made up of Mowat administration, police from 43
Division, Scott from Mr. Bean representing the shops at the Plaza, Richard Ross President of the West Rouge Community Association,
Ron Moeser, and other community members. Among other things, the group is working toward getting digital cameras in place at the plaza
and around the community centre.
The elections for next school year’s Council will take place this coming fall at the first meeting of the year on September 23, 2008. The
current Council, comprised of those members who still have children at Mowat at that time, will remain in office until the first meeting of the
new school year. There are 4 elected positions for parent members – Chair, Vice-chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. All other parents who
attend Council meetings are considered members of Council.
We will have 7 meetings next year. The dates for these are:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22
Tuesday, November 25
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, February 24
Wednesday, Apr 8
Tuesday, May 26
Please mark these dates on your calendars.
Council extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to those parents who have taken part in the Council meetings; to Principal Tom
Lazarou and Vice Principals Colin MacNeil and Mary Helen Hartman Hayes for their support through the year; to Zephine Wailoo our
Community representative; to Brian Lister and Sandy Anderson our teacher representatives; to Marios Tenentes, our Guidance leader; to
Alison Brown our Administrative Representative (and tremendous resource all around); and to the students and teachers who have given
us reports on the activities in the school. As Chair, I also extend my sincere appreciation to all Council members, and especially the
elected officers, for their time, interest, and efforts throughout the year.
Chair, Mowat School Council