What is the Parent Advisory Council?
If you've ever watched a movie like "Bad Moms" you may have some preconceived notions of what a PTA or PAC is all about. In the movies the PTA often has many members who are arguing constantly or stressed because the president is demanding participation from all of the parents. In reality, our PAC has very few similarities with those movies and the biggest difference would be our numbers. Unfortunately for our schools, PAC has become less and less popular and now we have very few volunteers to help with this amazing council. At Steeples we have around 7 or 8 parents who consistently come to meetings and this really is not enough to be as effective as we could be.
Our PAC consists of 5 executive positions: the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) representative; Each position can only be held by the same person for 3 consecutive years unless they receive a 75% vote for subsequent years. Each year in June we hold our elections where ANY parent or guardian in our school can nominate themselves or another to take on a position for the period of one school year. If you feel like you would enjoy a crack at a position, we encourage you to come down and nominate yourself! I will add a brief description of the duties for each position below. We also have a couple of positions we would love to add if we had enough people who were interested in taking them on- Hot Lunch Coordinator and Fundraising Coordinator. Having these positions in place would be so beneficial to our team and our kids but as of right now we just don't have the membership.
If you don't feel like you have time to be in an executive position on our PAC there are still easy ways to support us and our staff and children at Steeples. The main (and easiest) way is just to attend meetings. We hold our meetings in the school library (or via Zoom while Covid is around) every month from September to June and typically on the 2nd or 3rd Monday. Meetings start at 6:00pm and usually only last an hour or less. We realize everyone is busy but find that 1 hour per month is a manageable commitment. At these meetings we hear from our Principal, Chris Catherall, our School Trustee, Patricia Whalen, our Teacher Representative who is as yet unnamed for next year, and our DPAC Representative who brings us news from the last monthly DPAC meeting. Each of these lovely people will give us updates on what is happening around our school and our district. After that we discuss what monies we have spent, what we would like to spend, what fundraisers we have upcoming, and then there is an opportunity for anyone to bring up anything they would like to discuss. I cannot stress how informal these meetings are. Everyone has an opportunity to speak as much or as little as they like and have a say in what matters to them. Each parent and guardian at our school is a voting member whether a part of our PAC or not and your thoughts and opinions matter to us and your children.
Another way to support your PAC is through our fundraising efforts. Fundraising is a huge part of why there is a PAC as money is behind almost everything we do for the school and children. But what does our fundraising even go towards? While I remain Chair it is one of my goals to be more transparent to all about what our fundraising goals are and what we have spent. Before I joined PAC in 2017 I had no idea what PAC spent any of their money on- it was a complete mystery to me what PAC even did. I want to change that so that parents know what their time and money is going towards. For example, did you know that the Christmas movie at the theatre every year is half funded by PAC? The June Fun Day BBQ is also funded by PAC. Anytime a students field trip fees cannot be paid, PAC covers it and we also help pay for bussing for those field trips. Our policy is that no child gets left behind and we strive to meet that every year. Of course, we also buy equipment when we can. Over the years PAC has purchased Smart boards for the classrooms, a BBQ, document cameras, gardening supplies for the courtyard, crash mats for the gym, a sensory path in the hallway and more. Just this year we approved spending for some new contrabass bars in the music room that cost us over $2,000.00 alone plus the $1,000.00 we received from Cranbrook Rotary. Now we have decided that we would really like to update and replace the playground at the front of our school. This is a HUGE $50,000.00 to $75,000.00 or more undertaking and will take years of fundraising and grant applications to accomplish. All of this takes volunteers like you to make it happen. Every little bit helps.
In the PAC we strive to do everything we can to make all our children's elementary experiences the best they can be. But that requires money and volunteers. We couldn't do any of it without the amazing parents that come to our meetings, bake for our bake sales, volunteer their time for our book fairs and all the other activities they help out with. It all makes such a difference to the children's elementary career. Being on the PAC is an amazing opportunity to meet other parents, be involved with your children's school, and make a difference. We all really hope to see you at our next meeting.
For more details please visit and follow our Facebook page @steeplespac
I also invite you to join us at our last meeting of the year to see what it is all about. We will be meeting on June 14 at 6pm via Zoom. For the Zoom link, please email Jacqueline at the email listed below.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Jacqueline Nielsen, @ firstname.lastname@example.org , through the Facebook page, or flag me down at school!
Your 2020/2021 PAC,
Chair- Jacqueline N.
Vice Chair- Samantha T.
Secretary- Kristin E.
Treasurer- Lisa B.
DPAC Rep- Danielle V.
So what exactly is involved in each of the executive positions?
Here's a brief description of each:
- Writes up a meeting agenda each month and executes it at the monthly meeting
- Meets with the principal and teachers as necessary to discuss plans and spending
- Keeps everyone communicating and in sync with each other
- Is present for events and money counting
- Takes over running the monthly meeting if the Chair is unavailable
- Will take over the responsibilities of the Chair if the Chair is absent
- Takes on any tasks as needed
- Is on the bank accounts as one of three cheque signing authorities
- Holds and deposits all monies received
- Provides monthly bank statements to the Chair before the agenda is written
- Is present any time money is counted from fundraising events
- Takes notes at each meeting and prepares a minutes report to be approved at the next meeting
- Attends monthly DPAC meetings
- Takes notes at said meetings and relays important information at the monthly PAC meetings
- Shares information between the PAC executive and DPAC as needed
Hot Lunch Coordinator
- Researches appropriate food choices for hot lunch days
- Creates order forms as needed
- Organizes volunteers for food handout
- Collects monies and forms
- Orders food from and arrange payments to suppliers
- Looks into new fundraisers to try out
- Converses with the parents and PAC to decide which fundraisers may be most lucrative
- Organizes 2-4 fundraisers per year
- Orders the necessary fundraiser kits from suppliers
- Conveys order due dates to the Chair for the school newsletter
- Organizes volunteers for order handouts