School Management

Behind the Classroom: The Parent Council

The Northern Beaches Montessori Association is a parent-run, non-profit organisation, so parent involvement is essential. By helping in whatever way possible, parents are closer to their child’s school environment, aware of the needs and problems of the school and, importantly, costs are kept down and the school kept viable. Parents over many years have believed in Montessori education for their children is worth fighting and working for and have made the Karuna Montessori School what it is today. However, past achievements must be maintained and further improvements sought – parent effort is mutually beneficial!

The School (Parent) Council

The School Council is comprised of the parent body and has the job of managing the school’s business and is operated on a non-profit basis without Government funding. The Director is responsible only for the educational policy of the school in accordance with Montessori philosophy.

The School Council ensures that the school operates within the dictates of its Memorandum and Articles of Association and is accountable to the members of the parent body. The School Council’s main function is to oversee all the financial arrangements of the School, to develop and implement a set of objectives or aims that are consistent with Montessori philosophy and the Memorandum of Association and to set policies and oversee the management of the School. The School Council is dependent on the diversity of talent within the parent body for input into the development and operation of the school.

Parents are expected to serve on the School Council for a minimum of one year per child. Council members are elected at the AGM by the members of the school at the first meeting of the year. If vacancies occur during the year the Committee can appoint a new member to fill the vacancy. The office bearers and other members of the School Council can nominate and elect a parent to serve as an officer or a member of the School Council. We need every family to do their share of the work. Shared efforts create a harmonious environment in the school for everyone – especially the children who have the opportunity of seeing our participation.

Parents are encouraged to attend Parent Council meetings and bring any skills that could help in the running of the school. That is just about anything; for example; management skills, fundraising, finance, law, public relations, maintenance etc.

Council Meetings

The Council usually meets once a term at the School at 7.30pm. All parents are encouraged to attend. The Council makes decisions on school business by majority vote. Each Council member has one vote and in the case of equality of votes, the President has a second or casting vote. The Director attends the meeting.

Council meetings are open meetings for Northern Beaches Montessori Association members. Parents are welcome to attend and speak at the meetings. Council minutes are issued to every family and contain the date of the next meeting.

Note: It is Council policy not to discuss individual children, staff members or parent situations at Council meetings other than in closed session. A reminder of the council meeting date will be posted on the school noticeboard prior to each meeting.

How to become a Council Member

Simply turn up at the first meeting of the year and volunteer to take on one of the Parent Council Positions listed on the right. It’s a great way to get involved with the children and meet other parents.

Parent Council Positions

School Council members are expected to make a short report to each meeting about events within their responsibility. If a member cannot attend a meeting she/he is expected to inform the Secretary and prepare a written report for presentation in absentia. (The Director also presents a report.)

President

Overall co-ordination and management of the school. Providing leadership and direction for the parent body. Preparation and chairing of each Parent’s Meeting, the Annual General Meeting, and any required Extraordinary General Meetings, plus liaising with our landlords, the Church, as required.

The President is also responsible for ensuring the operations of the school conform to all legal, licensing, regulatory and other requirements.

Vice-President

Vice-Presidents may be called upon to stand-in for the President (in his/her absence) in meetings or on other occasions. The President may delegate duties to the Vice-President.

The Vice-President/s should be familiar with school’s business records, being aware of the school’s business and of the current status of committee personnel and projects throughout the year.

Secretary

Collecting reports from all the council members prior to each meeting and distributing these reports to all parents as a way of informing every one of the issues that will be discussed in the meeting. During the meeting the secretary keeps complete and accurate minutes and distributes these minutes to all parents following each meeting.

Treasurer
Generally responsible for the financial management of the school – for example; payroll and salary responsibilities, accounts payable and receivable, collection of overdue fees, etc. The treasurer advises the council on budgets – for example; capital expenditure, preparing recommendations to Council on increasing or decreasing fees.
Premises
Organising a Working Bee every term, arranging a roster for lawn-mowing and edge-trimming and purchasing equipment and materials. Also organising internal and external repairs and maintenance. The Premises coordinator also liaises with our landlords (the church) and advises them of school activities outside normal school hours.
Fundraising Team

General responsibility for ensuring fund-raising targets as set out by council is achieved. Proposing appropriate fundraising events for ratification by the Council. Organising those events including rostering of parents to support those events.

Promotions
Responsible for creating a high and positive level of visibility for the school in the community. Planning whatever events or publicity as is necessary to create and maintain a long and solid waiting list. Negotiate with other schools and MAF regarding advertising.
Enrolments
Welcome new parents 2 weeks before they start at Karuna, providing them with another point of contact for any questions. Send an email to all Karuna families at the beginning of each term, welcoming and introducing the new families and their children. Organise: open days, volunteers for childcare for observers in need, promotion of information evenings.
Communications

Production of a school newsletter each term. Newsletters are distributed to parents and posted to waiting list parents. The newsletter contains reports from Council members relating to the progress and aspects of the running of the school, Director reports, policy decisions by Council, information regarding fundraising events, term dates and articles relevant to the upbringing of young children and Montessori education.

Grants Officer

The Grants Coordinator reports to the Management Committee. Their specific responsibilities are to coordinate the organisation’s sourcing of funding in consultation with the Director.

This includes:
– To examine the availability of governmental funding via internet and media sources.
– To undertake discussions with members of the Management Committee and Director in relation to then type of funding required.
– Provide the Management Committee and Principal/ Director with quarterly updates regarding availability of funding.
– To investigate possible sponsorship opportunities for the school.