School Council

Menno Simons Christian School Council

The Menno Simons School Council consists of parents, our principal, teachers and interested community representatives who work together to support and enhance student learning.  They provide a way for members of the community to consult with and offer advice to the principal and the Palliser School Board.  Our School Council aims to:

  • Focus on what is best for all students in the school
  • Consider the interests of all school stakeholders
  • Develop, maintain and reflect the culture of the school
  • Represent the parent voice in the school community

School Council Executive at Menno is set organized into three key positions.

Chairperson - their primary role is to work collaboratively with families and school administration to help organize programs and people. They actively encourage others to become engaged, chair school council meetings, coordinate the agenda with the Principal, and act as the official spokesperson of the school council. The chairperson also helps ensure there is regular communication with the community - much of this works in conjunction with the Society administrator. 

Vice-Chairperson - Their primary role is to be the contact point for the various committees in School council, to share tasks and support the Chairperson in their role, to help the council fulfill their responsibilities, and in the absence of the chair to communicate and preside at meetings in place of the Chairperson.

Secretary - The school council secretary typically acts as the recorder at each meeting, ensures the minutes are prepared accurately, and submit those meetings to administration or society for posting. They also support the chairperson in ensuring that communication is delivered in a timely manner in conjunction with administration and society.

Communications Officer - The communications officer develops promotional materials and communication to be sent out to school families. 

Committees and Parents also play a key role.

Committees - Effective committee work helps make school council meetings brief and effective. Committees also enable the school council to accomplish much more. Committees are formed after initial school council discussion. Items requiring more lengthy discussion or research are assigned to a committee. Committees make decisions or recommendations, according to the mandate provided by school council.

Parents - all parents are a part of school council. They can encourage participation of the community, share their professional knowledge and expertise, volunteer and form committees to pursue areas of passion and support for the community, communicate information of interest to the school council, attend school council meetings while creating an inviting environment, and identify possible topics for agendas.

Our School Council Meeting Schedule is:

If you have further questions about School Council or how you can become involved, please contact us @ schoolcouncil@mennosimons.ab.ca 

School Council Executive Role Descriptions

Chairperson

  • 2 year term (ideally alternating with Vice Chair)
  • Must be a parent of a student enrolled in the school unless no parent is willing to be nominated
  • Schedule and organize (together with other executive officers of MSCS School Council) the first school council meeting within 30 days of school start date
  • Schedule regular MSCS School Council meetings (minimum 4 per year)
  • Create and prepare agenda for meetings in consultation with Principal
  • Prepare and provide a report for Palliser Board summarizing the activities of MSCS School Council in the previous school year including a financial statement relating to money handled by the MSCS School Council, if any, by Sept 30th of the following year (in consultation with the Society Board)
  • Oversee the creation of MSCS School Council by-laws/operating procedures
  • Ensure roles and responsibilities are clearly defined
  • Ensure compliance with MSCS School Council by-laws/operating procedures and MSCS School Council regulations
  • Attend Society Board monthly meetings
  • Chair and maintain meeting decorum
  • Solicit input from all members
  • Stay informed about school board policy that impacts the MSCS School Council
  • Strive to ensure the diversity of the school community is represented on the MSCS School Council
  • Promote teamwork between the MSCS School Council, Society board, Principal and staff
  • Ensure minutes are recorded and maintained
  • Regular and ongoing communication with the school principal

Vice Chairperson

  • 2 year term (ideally alternating with Chair)
  • Must be a parent of a student enrolled in the school unless no parent is willing to be nominated
  • Support Chairperson in duties
  • Chair meetings, in the event the Chair is unavailable
  • Work with and support the chair in agenda preparation
  • Liaise with sub-committees to ensure continuity, good communication, necessary resources, processes are documented and succession plans are in place
  • MSCS School Council Bulletin Board design
  • Promote teamwork and assist the chair in the smooth running of the meetings
  • Keep informed of relevant school, society and school board policies
  • Prepare to assume the responsibility of Chairperson in the future

Secretary

  • 2 year term
  • Act as a recorder at each meeting and ensure the minutes accurately reflect the directions agreed to at the MSCS School Council meetings
  • Keep minutes, correspondence, records and other MSCS School Council documents (e.g. by-laws and operating procedures) filed in an orderly fashion and publicly accessible, in accordance with FOIP
  • Have a working knowledge of the operating procedures of the MSCS School Council
  • Ensure notices of meetings and other MSCS School Council events are distributed at least 10 days prior to the meeting or event
  • Provide minutes to MSCS School Council Executive, Palliser Trustee, Principal, and meeting attendees
  • Arrange for posting of minutes on Menno Simons Website
  • Ensure retention of meeting minutes onsite

Communications Officer

  • Assist the School Council in developing, implementing and evaluating a Communication Policy and Communications Plan.
  • Prepare School Council Newsletters and the School Council’s section of the School Newsletters.
  • In coordination with applicable groups/individuals, provide information for the School Council section of the School website to inform of the purpose and structure of the School Council, highlight activities and accomplishments of the School Council and to promote parental involvement.
  • In collaboration with society, evaluate, redesign and manage social media platforms for school families (Facebook, Twitter, website).
  • Ensure that the information in the School Council section of the parent’s handbook is updated annually.
  • Develop promotional material for the Annual General Meeting, special events, projects and programs and other School Council materials as directed by the School Council and in keeping with the School Council Communications Policy and the Communications Plan.
  • Collaborate with Alberta School Councils’ Association (ASCA) in obtaining templates and samples for promotional and other School Council materials.
  • Assist the Chair and the School Council by proofreading and editing reports, correspondence and other material, to ensure they reflect the School Council in a professional and consistent manner.
  • Develop communication strategies which facilitate two‐way communication between the School Council and the School Community (Surveys, discussion groups, social media).
  • Promote the School and its activities with the public (local media, community newspapers), as requested by the Principal.
  • Assess the effectiveness of School Council publications, distribution systems, etc. and recommend improvements.
  • Attend School Council meetings regularly.
  • Initiate, manage and maintain parent council email account.
  • Coordinate parent council communications the School Council Chair, Society and the School Principal as applicable.
  • Ensure the Menno Simons branding remains consistent with parent council communications.
  • Manage parent communication board to post relevant events, topics, feedback forms, etc.

2019/2020 School Council Executive

Chair 

Nita Jacks

I have a wonderful husband named Jonathan (AKA Favourite), I am the mother of Sadie (Gr.3) and Caleb Jacks (Gr.1) and we have been at Menno for two years since moving from Melbourne, AUS.  We also have another daughter, Elaina (Gr.5) who attends a specialist school for Autism. I used to be an operations manager for an Energy Company in Australia and am currently a stay at home mommy/bookeeper.    

Although I married an Aussie, I actually grew up in Calgary and I have a fond appreciation for this city.  When we moved our family here we were immediately welcomed by this lovely community Menno has built over the years and I so appreciate the opportunity to help further build on it and add to its rich history of kind, generous and caring parents.     

I put up my hand for this role because I embrace dialogue; I believe it’s essential for growth as an individual, as a family, and as a school community.  I appreciate the teachers and staff at Menno and I would love the opportunity to be a piece of the constructive bridge between parents and admin and would enjoy being a helping hand towards maintaining strong community within our school.     

Marianne Williamson once said "In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”

Quite simply this is what’s in my heart: I support Palliser’s Christian Alternative Education Program as it is intended to be a safe place for our Christian foundations to be emphasized within our school walls.  I do not take our education system for granted. We are blessed to be a part of Menno Simons School, and I want to work to see Christian education thrive and community within these school walls deepen.

Thank you for your consideration of my opportunity to serve you in the role of School Council Chairperson.  Please feel free to come meet me anytime you like, I’m generally available in the morning after school drop offs.  Cheers!

Vice Chair

Jonathon Jacks

I am married to my beautiful wife Nita Jacks and I am the father of Sadie (Grade 3) and Caleb (Grade 1). I am a specialist IT consultant working in the Oil & Gas sector. Nita and I are active members of our local church and are very passionate about Christian Education. We were so happy to find a loving and accepting school community in Menno when we moved to Calgary almost 3 years ago. I believe as parents we play a critical role in the education and environment are children are placed in. In applying for this role as Vice Chairperson I hope to continue to build the strong community and loving Christian values that are the foundation of MSCS. 

Secretary 

Janet Bates

Janet Bates is a wife, mother and business owner. Currently her son is in the grade one class and her daughter will join the kindergarten class in the fall of 2019.

She grew up in a Christian home and spent her time after graduation from high school attending one year of bible college and then spent the following eight years working for a missions organization. She started out as a student with the missions program and then moved on staff into an administrative and bookkeeping role. During her time as a staff member, she also co-lead a team to Malta, working in Maltese schools speaking about good choices, drug and alcohol awareness and peer pressure, using the arts of public speaking, dance and drama.

Janet was married to Dustin in 2004. Shortly after marriage, she put the missions work aside to start working. She worked her way up in her first post-missions job within 2 short years, but found it was not a fit. She then landed a job as an executive assistant and bookkeeper for a small cap, publically traded mining corporation. This position eventually turned into self employment as she contracted for this company as well as others. During this time, she and her husband attempted to start their family. Through a handful of hard years, their first miracle from God was finally conceived.

After their son was born, she and her husband decided to expand their bookkeeping, accounting and administrative business and started to work the business together in order to both be able to both work from home and raise their children.

Janet now sits as interim CFO for a small cap mining company while managing their client base with her husband. She enjoys being able to work from home on their business in order to be as involved with her children as possible, while remaining actively involved in church activities, volunteering at Menno Simons and pursuing a small handful of various hobbies...when she can fit them in.

Janet is running for secretary on the school council as she is a firm believer that if you want a say in something you need to position yourself to be heard. While she may not have time to fill a role within the council with more responsibility, she would value a seat at the table. Her wide variety of experience in administration will be a big asset to this more administrative role.

Communications Directors

Laura Humphreys

I am a mother of two boys, seven and three years old, and adoptive mother to a sweet furry ‘child' who brings some female balance to our house. My older son, William, attends Grade 1 at Menno Simons with my other son, Jack, coming up the ranks to attend in 2020. In the past, I was fortunate to have served as Registrar on the board at my son's pre-school. That was my first opportunity to be involved in a collaborative parent committee where we worked together to enhance the experience for our children and increase family engagement at the school. My husband and I are also active in our children’s extra-curricular activities so you can find us on the field during soccer season or in your inbox during the hockey season.  

I have spent the last decade building my skills as a Human Resources professional (in my free time between raising two children). During this time I have had exposure to multiple sectors including immigration-focused non-profit work, oil field services, and now healthcare. I have refined my focus toward project management and change management for human resources program initiatives that have rolled out across the organization. 

I believe in the power of education to build character and shape our children into faithful and conscientious citizens, and I look forward to working with other parents, administration and society to serve this community.

Carolyn Mychaluk

My name is Carolyn Mychaluk and my daughter Jade, currently in grade 3, has been going to Menno Simons Christian school since kindergarten. I also have a 3 and a half year old son, Carson, whom you may have seen racing through the lobby! Since day 1, I have been actively involved in school activities, which include volunteering in the kindergarten classroom, being a room parent for grades 1 and 2 through school council and currently being a member of the parent education committee. I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my children having a previous background in banking. In my personal time, a few of my activities include taekwondo, reading, talking walks and connecting with friends and family. My favourite bible quote that I strive to live by is: Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14