School Council Conversation Starters
Looking for topics of interest to start a conversation in your school community?
This section provides information, links and questions to consider for discussion purposes, on issues or items of interest in provincial education.
Great topics for discussion to include on your upcoming school council agenda.
What is Inclusion? Inclusion is a way of thinking and acting that demonstrates universal acceptance and promotes a sense of belonging for all learners.
The Principles of Inclusion
Ministry Initiatives and Priorities
As parents are recognized partners in the education of children, access to common and shared information is beneficial in discussions about student learning at school council or COSC meetings.
The Alberta Education Business Plan 2018 - 2021 outlines the department’s priorities over the coming years.
To deliver an inclusive, student-centred education system, the outcomes for the coming year are:
- Alberta's students are successful;
- Alberta's education system supports First Nations, Métis and Inuit student success;
- Alberta’s education system respects diversity and promotes inclusion;
- Alberta has excellent teachers, and school and school authority leaders; and
- Alberta’s education system is well governed and managed.
With these outcomes in mind, Alberta Education – comprising the Department of Education and school jurisdictions – is acting on multiple strategies over the 2018/19 fiscal year, including those highlighted below.
- Revising Alberta’s curriculum to ensure that students have a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy in all subjects, and to integrate competencies in the learning outcomes. The revision includes multiple, diverse perspectives that reflect Alberta’s unique society.
- Emphasizing the important roles and responsibilities of citizenship within provincial, national and international contexts to support the development of inclusive, caring and successful citizens.
- Expanding the school nutrition program in schools across the province to prepare students to pursue personal excellence.
- Ensuring that all students, teachers and school leaders learn about the history and legacy of residential schools; treaties; agreements; and First Nations, Métis and Inuit history, perspectives, culture and contributions in Alberta and Canada.
- Requiring teachers and school leaders to participate in professional development opportunities to ensure they meet the quality standards competency in First Nations, Métis and Inuit education.
- Collaborating with communities and partners to ensure that all First Nations, Métis and Inuit students in Alberta achieve the same educational outcomes as all Alberta students.
- Respecting diversity and promoting a sense of belonging by ensuring that school authorities support the establishment of student organizations.
- Supporting school authorities to proactively address chronic student absenteeism.
- Implementing quality standards for teachers, school leaders and superintendents.
- Setting the direction for how the education system can better provide assurance to the public that the education system’s results and expenditures benefit students.
- Developing legislation and regulations to guide Alberta’s education system and the teaching profession.
- Striving for an education system that can achieve robust student outcomes in a financially sustainable way, given the need for the education system to be mindful of the realities of the Alberta economy.
The Ministry is engaged in a number of initiatives related to the learning successes of students in K-12.
As a school council you may wish to share some of the information links about the initiatives with parents in your school community.
Click here to access information links on Education Ministry initiatives
Provincial Achievement Test (PAT) Results
Once your principal has the opportunity to review results for Grade 6 and/or 9 in your school, he/she can engage with parents on your school council and school community in a discussion on student achievement in your school and how this looks in the provincial picture.
Possible improvement strategies generated at the school council level in consultation and collaboration with the principal will assist in developing shared knowledge between parents, classroom teachers and school administrators that will benefit the students in your school.
You can find the province-wide Provincial Achievement Test results at https://education.alberta.ca/admin/testing/achievement-results/
Diploma Exam results are available at https://education.alberta.ca/diploma-exam-administration/diploma-results/
If you would like more information about the programs of study at the Division I (Grades 1-3), II (Grades 4-6) or III (Grades 7-9) levels, visit https://www.learnalberta.ca/content/mychildslearning/index.html .
Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA) advocacy policy positions support conversations both school-wide through school council and parent-teacher-student, where the focus is on a student’s learning moving forward.
More ASCA policy statements on these topic areas are available in the ASCA Advocacy Policy Manual.
School Fees and Transportation
Alberta Education held consultations throughout September about amendments to the School Act. Two of the topics that were addressed during these consultations were School Fees and Transportation.
ASCA appreciated that the Minister of Education asked each School Board to invite one parent representative from an ASCA member school council to participate in the consultations.
If Bill 1 and Student Transportation are on your school council agendas please feel free to use the following as conversation starter questions with your school community parents.
Bill 1 Agenda Topic October 2017
Knowledgeable Advising and Thoughtful Advocacy
Alberta Education Curriculum Development and the "Future Ready" initiative (announced on October 18, 2016). Click here to access detailed information on this important topic.
Learning and Technology Policy Framework
The Learning and Technology Policy Framework (2013) describes Alberta Education's vision for the role of technology in education and establishes a set of Policy Directions for school authorities. Guiding Questions for School Council Discussion