John McCrae Secondary School Council Minutes
Monday, April 20, 2009
Marty Larabie, Co-Chair Ralph Frank
Julia Cottingham, Secretary Wayne Casselman
Tom Schultz, Principal Peter Clennett
Liz Verbruggen Heather Sommerville
Jen Wilson, Treasurer Sue McDonald
Sharon Switzer-McManus Nancy Henry, Teacher Rep.
Sheryl Larabie Tara McDougall, CPO
Action Items Arising from Previous Meetings
Tom Schultz to notify School Council once JMSS web-site has been reconstructed.
Tom Schultz to arrange Mike Linden, SST teacher, to be a guest of School Council for the fall
Tom Schultz to ensure a 2 nd semester Meet the Teacher evening does occur for the 2009-2010
Discussion of exclusion of large groups of students from attending classes during EQAO
testing and for the first day of school 2009-2010.
1. The meeting was called to order at 7:02pm and everyone was welcomed. The agenda was
approved: moved by Sue McDonald and seconded by Sheryl Larabie.
2. Minutes from February 23, 2009, moved approved by Peter Clennett and seconded by
5. Community Police Officer, Tara McDougall was welcomed. Tara had been invited to advise
School Council on youth issues concerning our community and to suggest how School Council might
support Police in resolving these issues.
Tara’s first comment regarded youth hanging out in our community parks. She emphasized that this is a
city-wide issue, not just a Barrhaven problem. One of the ways we can assist is to call the police when
youth are observed vandalizing parks or are a noisy presence past the curfew time (11pm). The police
vice squad on bikes will be out now that the better weather is here. Police have a zero-tolerance for
graffiti and are asking parents to be aware of their children’s activities. Check that your kids are where
they say they are. Watch for evidence of spray paint on hands or spray paint cans in their room or your
garbage. Watch for evidence of graffiti on their notebooks, clothes, backpacks . . . . Graffiti vandals like
to practice/place their graffiti on their personal items.
Drug use is not any worse in Barrhaven than in other areas of the city. Tara recommended we arrange a
visit from Louise Logue, who has recently been advising the RCMP in regard to youth and drugs, to
speak to the parents of our students. Tara commented that many kids are staying away from certain
drugs because they are wary of bad mixes in drugs. Again the key here for parents is to watch and
report. There was some discussion regarding frustration of wait times when calls are placed to police. Of
course this is regrettable, but sometimes unavoidable depending on availability of resources, the degree
of urgency and other emergencies happening at the time your call is placed.
Car racing is not a particular concern in the Barrhaven area. There has been some reported on Barnsdale
Road. Again, it must be reported to the police if it is observed.
In regard to the “paddling” initiation JMSS experienced this year (and in year’s past), Tara
recommended that our principal and School Resource Officer be as pro-active as possible and to educate
around the legal consequences for participating in this activity.
Tara noted that parents can be held financially responsible for any mischief or damage their children do.
She also noted that a kit for graffiti clean-up is available from the City of Ottawa. It’s easy and effective
to use. Graffiti must be cleaned up. If it’s consistently removed, the graffiti will not return. The fine for
not removing graffiti on your property can be $610.
Cyber-bullying is on the increase. The Youth Intervention Unit is dealing frequently with this. Again,
Louise Logue may be the best person to come to the school to talk to parents about this issue.
Tara mentioned that there is an information link on the police website for parents and youth. She
emphasized again that it is important for School Councils to help inform parents and educate regarding
youth community issues and it is very important that parents call to report concerns.
Many thanks to Tara for sharing her experience, knowledge and time with us.
3. Actions arising from previous minutes:
a) Tom Schultz explained that the web site is an ongoing project and is coming along
b) Agreed. Action to come.
c) Agreed. Action to come.
4. Student Council Report: No report.
6. Nancy Henry, Teacher Rep, says that it’s been crazy-busy since March Break. Some of the
recent events include Environment Week (used battery collection and wearing of green t-shirts),
“Naked” Bake Sale (no packaging, no napkins), Multi-Cultural Talent Show (led by M. Hajjar and
included 10 acts and a top prize of $100 from Bayshore), and a Day of Silence (hosted by the Pride
Group)—this involved youth who want to bring attention to bullying by not speaking for the whole day.
Last year, this was a one-student initiative and this year there were 70 students taking part. Some of the
season’s sports are soccer, lacrosse, softball, basketball, track and field, badminton, and touch football.
A cheerleaders club is being planned for 2009-2010. There will be a Grade 12 drama production in early
May called “Spectaculathon”. Students from Cedarview MS are invited to attend. There has been
professional development for English teachers supporting curriculum review and development. Finally,
Leadership Camp is scheduled for April 29, 30 and May 1. The cost is $75 (school funds are contributed
to keep the cost to students as low as possible). 60 students were accepted; 40 students had to be turned
8. Jen Wilson, Treasurer, reported that there has been no change in the bank accounts.
9. Tom Schultz, Principal, provided a typed report (attached).
Tom showed School Council a video regarding the difficulty in keeping pace with the world’s
development. Competition in the world is increasing. The USA is no longer #1. Particular focus was
given to the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association’s report that 55.21% of students
are less prepared for university education than students 3 years ago. In response to a question from
Council, Tom said only about 10 students do a “victory lap” at high school. Tom also drew attention to
the fact that universities have to take action/responsibility for students going from classes of 30 to first
year university classes of 100 plus students.
John McCrae is now listed as an AP (Advance Placement) school. The following staff members attended
the recent AP conference: Jose Abad, Kristen Barbour, Sue Burpee, Tom Schultz, Sherry Walker, Larry
Burns, Paul Leck and Rob Finn. AP courses will be phased in. Students will do the extra work in their
own time (it will be formatted like a club that takes place before or after school). AP is an external
credit. These credits are acknowledged as university level achievements. Eight students will be
challenging the French AP exam this spring. Advance Placement also means the voluntary support and
participation of staff members which is greatly admired and appreciated.
Discussion followed regarding the difference between preparing kids for college as opposed to
The cancellation of classes for all grades except grade 10 on the day of EQAO testing was asked to be
rationalized/explained. Tom explained about space concerns for conducting the testing and providing an
appropriate atmosphere for writing the assessment. It was suggested that seeking the advice of Council
on this decision might have been appropriate. Council was advised that the first day of school would
also be a day for only grade 9 students and grade 12 mentors and other grades would be excluded on
September 1, 2009. Marty suggested we should talk about this at our next Council meeting (Action
Tom also reported on the costs for the hoped for technology area renovations. The Board will not be
providing any financial support for this, although Tom is still trying to ensure all the funds owed to
JMSS are secured from the Board.
Tom distributed copies of the questionnaire to be distributed to students and the process of consultation
with students. The objective is to give the students a “voice”; to share how they think and feel about
Tom stated that JMSS will be down 117 students for 2009-2010. There will be 30 less grade 9’s due to
the new Longfields-Davidson Heights SS. This, of course, means less funding for our school from the
Board as well as impacting staffing. There will be 334 sections in 2009-2010 as opposed to our 371 this
year and staffing will be reduced from 61.83 to 55.67.
JMSS is taking a number of initiatives to foster a working relationship with Cedarview MS--A joint jazz
concert, Cedarview teachers working with JMSS teachers, Cedarview students are invited to attend our
drama production and the Link Crew initiative is in place.
10. Marty Larabie attended the most recent Zone 3 meeting, hosted by Alex Getty, at which Michael
Clarke, the Board’s Chief Financial Officer, spoke. Marty described the experience of listening to the
presentation as “like trying to nail jello to the wall” and he was probably more confused after the
presentation than he was before.
7. Liz Verbruggen gave us a briefing of the recent OCASC meeting. The focus was on summer
school--reach ahead, on-line, co-op and make-up courses--because the guest speaker was the Continuing
Education Principal for the Board. Registration forms are available in the Student Services Office.
Registration for these courses runs from May 4 to May 29 (Co-op deadline)/June 5. Last year 3000
students attended the summer school courses. It takes 20 registered kids to run a class. Summer school
runs from July 2 to July 27 and there are 4 locations: Sir Wilfred Laurier SS, Adult High School, Sir
Robert Borden HS and AY Jackson SS.
Liz also attended a presentation of “Let’s Chat: A Web Proofing Workshop”.
11. Other Business:
Growing Up Organic—a food services survey for secondary school students/parents.
The Graduation Ceremony will be held at Cedarview Alliance Church in the afternoon.
It was confirmed that the start time for students at JMSS will not change for next year.
Appreciation was expressed for the progress reports recently sent home and for the JMSS facts
12. Our next meeting is June 1, at 7pm—all are welcome! This meeting was adjourned at 9:32pm,
moved by Jen Wilson and seconded by Liz Verbruggen.