Parents from other Catholic schools have stepped in to help St. Alphonsus Catholic School undertake fundraising for a new playground.

Due to zoning regulations, land use, and funding allocation, there isn’t enough money to build a playground, and the school can’t access city funds. The school hasn’t had a parent council for over 10 years, which has impacted the ability to fundraise. Many parents don’t have the time or energy to join or create a parent council as they work two or three jobs.

Lori McDonough, principal at St. Alphonsus, said, “We are going to try to have a parent council. But many of our parents are just making it.”

Parent councils play a significant role in fundraising and are integral to a child’s education. These non-profit organizations offer parent input and perspective in how a school is run, act as a fundraising body, and guide a school’s focus.

“Parent councils provide voices that can help shape school identity and create extended learning opportunities for students, families, and the community,” said Joanne Wynn, former principal of Norwood School.

Through the actions of Norwood School’s parent council, students have the opportunity to learn a nature-based curriculum hands-on. | Rebecca Lippiatt

St. Alphonsus School has similar demographics to Norwood School. At Norwood School, the 2010-2016 parent council valued nature-based learning and wanted to provide students with the opportunity to learn the curriculum hands-on. They raised more than $100,000 to create the school’s beautiful green space, and nature-based learning and outdoor education have been integrated into the curriculum.  

Norwood School’s parent council raised over $100,000 to create a green space that would give students valuable learning opportunities. | Rebecca Lippiatt

Parent council meets with school staff monthly to give input on the education children receive.

Erica Keyes, treasurer of Norwood’s parent council, said, “I joined parent council because my oldest child had just started kindergarten and I wanted to be aware of what was happening at his school and have some knowledge of curriculum. I remain active because I see how beneficial the funds raised are to all students and staff.”  

Parent councils play a part in shaping a school’s focus. | Rebecca Lippiatt

Norwood’s parent council also fundraises so students can attend field trips and have unique experiences. For example, Edmonton Opera has performed at the school and students have embarked on week-long field trips to Fort Edmonton Park or city hall. Parent council gives over $35,000 to the school annually so families don’t have to pay for these experiences.  

For St. Alphonsus School, the situation finally reached the point where the Catholic school board intervened.  

The school board’s superintendent approached Kim Street, who has children in the Catholic school system, to see if she would be willing to head a fundraising committee. Street has extensive experience in fundraising and agreed. “Doing this is my thank you to Edmonton Catholic for what they did for my kids.”

The Friends of St. Alphonsus Society is holding a fundraiser to build a new playground. | Rebecca Lippiatt

Street and other Catholic school parents formed a committee called The Friends of St. Alphonsus. They’ll hold a casino once they obtain a license, and are hosting a silent auction and supper in November at the Norwood Legion.

This fundraising allows them to have matching funds when applying for grants. They hope to raise $500,000 for the playground and $100,000 to renovate the courtyard.  


Nov. 18, 6 pm

Royal Canadian Legion (11150 82 St)

Kim Street: 780.484.9399 or to donate or buy tickets.


Nov. 19 & 20

Volunteers needed

Email Shannon:  

Featured Image: Incoming chair of Norwood parent council, Shannon Price, stands with outgoing chair, Rebecca Lippiatt, in front of Norwood School. The parent council is holding a casino on Nov. 19-20. Volunteers are needed. | Rebecca Lippiatt & Gabriel Lippiatt-Long