Parent Association, Parent Council, and School – what’s the difference?

The “Woodbine School Parent Association” is a separate organization from “Woodbine School” and the “Woodbine School Parent Council.”

  • Woodbine school is operated through the Calgary Board of Education.
  • The “Woodbine School Parent Council” is a council that provides guidance, oversight, and feedback on school matters. It reports to the school and the school board.
  • The “Woodbine School Parent Association” is a registered society. Its goal is fundraising and disbursement of those funds for the benefit of the school.

Most of the time, the school is where most of the activity happens.

The Parent Council is for parent contribution to matters regarding the running and planning of the school.

The Parent Association is for matters regarding fundraising for the school and parent-led events for the school.

Why the differences?

The Parent Council is created through the education act. Alberta Education defines school councils as a collective association of parents, secondary students, the principal, teachers, and community representative(s) whose purpose is to advise the principal and the Board of Trustees respecting matters related to the school. School councils have legislated advisory and decision-making authority defined within the Education Act and the School Councils Regulation 94/2019.

The Parent Council typically discusses matters such as:

  • Feedback on school planning and direction
  • Reporting to the Calgary Board of Education
  • Advising the principal and board of trustees on school matters

The Parent Association is a registered society. A better name may have been “Friends of Woodbine School.” Rules around fundraising require that there be arms-length separation between the organization doing the fundraising and the beneficiary of those funds.

The Parent Association typically discusses:

  • Fundraising
  • Events
  • Donation of raised funds for the benefit of the school

Separate organizations for school governance (council) and fundraising (association) are required by CBE policy and for larger donors such as the AGLC.

Meetings for the Parent Council and the Parent Association usually take place back-to-back on the same evening once per month during the school year.

More information