School Parents’ Associations (Associations de parents d'élèves du secteur scolaire)

 

The associations de parents d'élèves (APÉs) play an essential role in school life and the development of the school.

 

 

Parents are their children's primary educators and many want to continue to play an active role once their children are enrolled in school. We know that when parents are directly involved in their children's education, the children tend to do better. Through their contributions, parents can foster good relations and communication, as well as create a sense of belonging within the school.


 

Role and Mandate of the Association de parents d'élèves

 

The Association des parents d’élèves (APÉ) has the role of representing and promoting the interests of parents. It must operate within established parameters, such as the School Act, the policies of the Conseil scolaire francophone (CSF), and the various collective agreements. It can make recommendations to the Conseil scolaire francophone, school principals, and teaching staff on any school-related topic (except those relevant to the school partners’ committee).

The APÉ participates in the implementation of the school’s educational plan. It promotes school policies and supports the school’s efforts to carry out activities aimed at enriching school life. Its mandate is to consult with parents of students in the school on issues deemed relevant, to disseminate information, and to raise awareness among the relevant authorities about the concerns of parents and the needs of the school.

The APÉ maintains a relationship with the Conseil scolaire francophone and the Fédération des parents. It ensures consistency between the vision of parents and the work of the school’s partners’ committee. To do this, the APÉ appoints the people who will represent it on various committees or working groups.

In other words, the APÉ appoints:

  • the parents’ representatives on the school’s partners’ committee (Comité de partenaires)
  • the parents’ representative on the school’s committee to select a principal
  • a representative who assumes certain duties as part of the decision-making structure of the CSF and the Fédération des parents.

It’s the responsibility of the school’s parents’ association to ensure the training of its members and to promote and sponsor programs aimed at helping parents develop skills to support the school’s efforts.

 

If it so desires, the APÉ can:

  • organize cultural activities
  • carry out fundraising activities
  • run a preschool program
  • offer family francization programs
  • organize recruitment activities


 

Decision-making Structure and Operation

 

En général, la structure décisionnelle de l’association de parents d’élèves comporte trois paliers : l’assemblée des membres, le conseil d’administration et les comités de travail. Chaque palier a ses propres fonctions et mandats particuliers.

 

Members’ Meetings

  • Composition
    • Voting members: parents or guardians of children enrolled in the school
    • Non-voting members: community members (for example: preschool sector, Francophone community associations, etc.)
  • Mission
    • Determine the guidelines and parameters related to the operation of the association
  • Mandate
    • Receive the president’s annual report
    • Ratify the previous year’s financial statements
    • Elect members of the executive
    • Elect parents’ representatives to the school’s partners’ committee
    • Adopt the association’s constitution and bylaws
    • Adopt the action plan and the annual budget
    • Adopt policies governing the operation of the association
    • Adopt recommendations arising from the advisory mandate of the APÉ

 

Board

  • Composition
    • Board members are elected by voting members
  • Mission
    • Carry out the daily management of the association
    • Submit recommendations to the members’ meetings
  • Mandate
    • Ensure that decisions respect the association’s vision, mission, mandate, values, and strategic goals
    • Ensure the implementation of the decisions made at the members’ meetings
    • Verify income and expenses according to established procedures
    • Ensure that the association remains in compliance with the laws that govern it

 

Working Committees

  • Composition
    • People are appointed by the board as needed, as leaders or members of a working committee
  • Mission
    • Carry out projects or activities, implement programs, or offer a service
  • Mandate
    • Determined by the members’ meetings or the board


 

Board of an APÉ: Role and Responsibilities

 

The board of an APÉ generally includes the following positions: president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and one or more additional members.

 

President

The person in this position has two main roles:

  • Facilitator role: manages parents’ association meetings; helps the association to be more effective and helps members work as a team; ensures that tasks or projects receive proper follow-up
  • Spokesperson role: represents the interests of parents and acts as spokesperson to relevant authorities or agencies

The main responsibilities are:

  • Prepare the agenda for the association’s meetings
  • Chair meetings: ensure that meetings take place in an atmosphere of order and respect, according to rules of conduct and discussion that are recognized and accepted by all
  • Sign the minutes of meetings
  • Ensure the flow of information
  • Delegate tasks and ensure that any necessary follow-ups are carried out
  • Encourage everyone’s participation in decision-making
  •  Coordinate the association’s activities
  • Support the work of subcommittees
  • Provide guidance and training for new board members
  • Verify financial reports
  • Represent the association with various partners in education

 

Vice-president

This is the person designated to lead the association in the absence of the president. It’s preferable that the vice-president not be limited to the role of substitute. Effective work requires a good sharing of tasks between the president and the vice-president.

The main responsibilities are:

  • Work with the president and lighten their workload
  • Assume the duties of the president in their absence
  • As required, be responsible for working subcommittees

 

Treasurer

This person administers the funds of the parents’ association. They are responsible for all financial activities.

The main responsibilities are:

  • Keep the accounts up to date
  • Inform members about the status of income and expenses at the association’s meetings
  • Ensure compliance with the association’s accounting procedures
  • Prepare budget forecasts

 

Secretary

This person is the president’s “right hand” and closest aide.

The main responsibilities are:

  • Write and distribute the meetings notices and agendas to members
  • Write the minutes of the association’s meetings
  • Sign the minutes of meetings
  • Keep official association documents and other relevant documentation (constitution and bylaws, minutes, correspondence, etc.)
  • Write correspondence and official documents

 

Members

The members add value to the board by participating in decision-making. They may also be responsible for a particular file or project.

The main responsibilities are:

  • Participate in board discussions and, if necessary, make recommendations
  • Be responsible for specific tasks, files, or projects
  • If necessary, chair a working subcommittee

 

Documents available (in French): exemple d'ordre du jour (sample agenda) / exemple de procès-verbal (sample minutes)


 

Support and Training, Constitution and Bylaws, Incorporation

 

Support and training for APÉs

The Fédération des parents francophones offers its member associations assistance, support, and training, according to their needs. For example, our team can answer questions at any time, or can present a workshop on the effective functioning of an APÉ for parents involved in your association.

A board member from your APÉ should contact the Fédération des parents to let us know about your interest in receiving training and to outline your needs. Depending on the resources available, a Fédération des parents staff member will provide the appropriate training either remotely or in person at your location.

For more information, email us at info@fpfcb.bc.ca, or call 604-736-5056, or call toll-free 1-800-905-5056.

Constitution and bylaws of the APÉ

The constitution and bylaws govern the operation of an entity such as an APÉ, and are essential documents. Thus, any APÉ, whether incorporated or not, must have a constitution and bylaws.

An APÉ should also review its constitution and bylaws periodically, in order to update them when necessary. It should be noted that an amendment to the constitution and bylaws must be made through a special resolution, which must be adopted at a members’ meeting in accordance with the process specified in the current existing bylaws.

The Fédération des parents provides APÉs with resources and support to draft and update their constitution and bylaws, and to verify that these documents meet the requirements of the BC School Act and the BC Societies Act.

Incorporation of an APÉ as a society

An APÉ may be incorporated as a society with BC Registries and Online Services, although this is not mandatory (except in some cases: see the 4th and 5th bullet points under “The benefits of incorporation” below). The majority of the APÉs that are members of the Fédération des parents are incorporated.

When a group of people with common interests is incorporated, that group becomes an incorporated society, that is to say, a legal entity. This society, governed by the BC Societies Act, has all the powers of an individual and exists independently, separate and distinct from the individuals who make up the society. The incorporated APÉ is a non-profit organization, and the money it receives must be used exclusively to achieve its objectives.

In addition, once an association is incorporated in its province, its members can decide to register it as a charitable organization. This approach, which is optional, is done separately with the Canada Revenue Agency, and the association must also meet certain conditions for this.

The benefits of incorporation

  • A society has a perpetual existence, which doesn’t depend on the existence of an individual person. A society will exist as long as it meets the requirements of the BC Societies Act.
  • A society can enter into a contract under its incorporated name (i.e. its legal name).
  • Members of a society, in most cases, are not personally liable for the debts incurred by the society if they have exercised due diligence.
  • Certain funding bodies and funding programs require applicants to be incorporated.
  • As an incorporated society, an APÉ can obtain a licence to manage a child care and pre-kindergarten.

The disadvantages of incorporation

  • The incorporation process requires a commitment from the group, and a minimum level of resources in terms of people, time, finances, and knowledge.
  • Once incorporated, a group has to fulfill a certain minimum of obligations in order to maintain its status, such as the preparation of financial statements, the preparation of the annual report, and the holding of the annual general meeting.

 


 

Conflict Resolution

 

Students have the right to a safe environment and a quality education. Parents have the right to take part in their child’s education and to talk to the teacher if there are difficulties. Students, parents, and school staff have the right to be respected, informed, and heard.

Even in a climate of respect and mutual support, problematic situations can come up. The Fédération des parents can help its member associations with conflict resolution. Contact us to discuss this with a member of our team.

Steps to take

Here is a recommendation for steps to take to facilitate conflict resolution in school settings:

  1. Act as quickly as possible: don’t let the problem get worse and think it will go away;
  2. Listen carefully to what your child is telling you. Try to understand all points of view about the issue. Do your best to examine the issue in a practical way, without letting your emotions get in the way;
  3. Identify clearly what the situation is, and what facts and information you’re missing. Start formulating questions;
  4. Decide whether your children need your support, or whether it’s possible for them to find a solution themselves;
  5. If you’re helping your child, talk to the person directly involved about your concerns, unless it’s not appropriate. Ask to meet the person at a time that’s convenient for both of you;
  6. Clearly determine the goal of this meeting, after you’ve thought carefully about your understanding of the problem. Listen carefully to the other person to see their point of view. Ask questions that will help you clarify the problem or its solution;
  7. If, during this initial meeting or other meetings, you feel that your concerns haven’t been addressed, contact the person’s immediate supervisor (school principal, Conseil scolaire staff, senior management) without delay. Ask that person to look into your situation, following the guidelines set out in step 6 above;
  8. If, following your meeting with the supervisor, you feel that you still have concerns, the supervisor can describe the next steps that you could take. Sometimes this may require an appeal of the school staff’s decision. In accordance with Section 11 of the School Act, the Conseil scolaire francophone has an appeal policy and process in place for students, parents, and guardians.

 

Appeal process

The appeal policy text and form to fill out relating to the Procédure et processus d’appel pour les élèves, les parents et les tuteurs/trices is available from the CSF for anyone who wants to appeal a decision.


 

Partners’ Committe (Comité de partenaires)

 

A partners’ committee uses a participatory management model involving school community partners.

IIt’s composed of the school principal and parents’ representatives and other partners in the school community, including early childhood services (if applicable). Community representatives who work in partnership with the school may also be invited to participate.

Click here to download the Guide d'accompagnement du comité de partenaires.

 

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