At the last School Committee meeting members where given this list of School Site Councils.
While I think it is a great foundation to build on I was struck that more questions were not asked by committee members and that really the only information that was requested was that in the future, whether the member would be identified as part of the faculty or a parent of a student.
Under the Mass Ed Reform Act dealing with School Site Council some things are very clearly spelled out:
1. Parent members are to be selected by the parents of students attending the school in elections held by the local recognized parent – teacher organization (PTO). The parent-teacher organization responsible for holding elections for parent representatives to the school council is that PTO which is most representative of the entire parent constituency. The electing organization needs to be open to all parents of all children in the school.
GN: I have been told by members from 3 different schools that there were no elections held at their school, In fact one person admitted to me she didn’t know she was on the Council and asked if I knew whether she was there as a teacher or a parent!
2. Parents “shall have parity with professional personnel on the school councils.” Regardless of the size of the council, the number of parent representatives must be equal to the number of teachers who serve on the council plus the principal.
2A. If a parent of a child attending the school also serves as a teacher at that school, that person can serve only as a teacher member of a council. An individual who is supervised and evaluated by the principal cannot be elected as a parent member of a council that is co-chaired by that same principal.
2B. The principal has ready access to the school’s administrative team, so it is inappropriate for the principal to appoint administrators to the seats on the school council that are reserved for “other persons, not parents or teachers of students at the school.”
GN: Yet I noted some schools that are made up of 4 members that have 3 who are school employees, especially teachers who have students at the school. I noticed at least one School where the Principal and Vice-Principal were both listed as members. Under the Ed Reform Act that isn’t allowed
At least this Superintendent seems to want parental involvement and now the active parents need to work together to explain the role of the School Site Council to both the parents and the principals and get them up and running per the law with the Lowell School Committee doing their part to insure that the law is being followed and that they have an election process approved and in place and that they ask for a receive from EVERY School a school improvement plan.
Here a list that was provided in the School Committee Packet and is available on line if you search the last packet. Meeting are supposed to be posted on the School Dept.’s Website with 48 hours notice but the list doesn’t even show what times these meetings are. (that’s another entire post)
The Pyne School has a pretty good handle on what a School Site Council can and should do and I would strongly urge the School Administration to have the principals from other schools to use the Pyne as a resource.