School Site Council is a decision making body that is mandated by law and the district. It is intended to represent all the stakeholders of the school community. School Site Council is responsible for developing, monitoring, and revising the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA); Allocating resources to support the SPSA; Annually revising the SPSA with the recommendations solicited from various advisory committees. There are council members elected to represent teachers, administration, staff, students, and parents. All members of SSC are elected by their representative groups according to state and district policy. Meetings are run in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and are open to the public.
Teachers Association Instruction and Professional Development: California
The School Improvement Program (SIP) was established in
California in 1974 under the title of Early Childhood Education and was originally limited to grades K-3. Under provisions of that law, requirements were provided that set forth the composition and general responsibilities of a school site council (SSC). In 1977, Assembly Bill 65 expanded the School Improvement Program to include grades K-12. The School Site Council was the vehicle through which the school community would come together to chart the school's path to improvement. Since that time, other programs have been established which require school site councils, such as the School-based coordinated Program (SBCP) in 1981, and the Motivation and Maintenance Program (SB 65 Dropout Prevention) in 1985. In the California Budget Act of 1996-97, money was made available to schools with the requirement that spending plans for the use of such money must be developed by School Site Councils. The School Site Council has now become a recognized feature of the public school system in California.
The SSC is intended to be representative of all segments of the school community. Being composed of the school principal, teachers, other school personnel, parents and students, it provides a forum for all of the major players in the school to come together to identify common goals and establish a plan to achieve these goals. The success of the SSC depends upon the ability and willingness of all those in the process to work together in a cooperative manner to develop an effective curricular and instructional program in which all students may attain higher levels of academic competence.
Each segment of the school community that makes up the SSC brings a unique perspective and knowledge of how the school functions and how it might be improved and strengthened to offer the best program possible to the students. The principal and teaching staff have been trained in curriculum development and implementation; parents are able to offer insights on how effective the school is in creating a positive learning environment and how well their children understand their assignments; and students can offer insight on the range and effectiveness of instructional and learning options available. Other school personnel, such as counselors, aides, and clerical staff, provide special perspectives on how the school can function to support student learning. The school's improvement effort should also be coordinated with the district's effort to upgrade its curriculum offerings and quality of instruction in order that both the school and the local governing board become part of a single improvement effort.
As districts in
California experiment with new forms of site decision-making and with restructuring of their schools, they should build on what is already in place. In fact, the basic premise underlying the restructuring movement in California and around the nation is the same as the guiding principle of school improvement; that is, that the individuals closest to the students should be more involved in making decisions that affect the instructional program of the school.
FUNCTIONS OF A SCHOOL SITE COUNCIL
The School Site Council has the responsibility of developing a comprehensive strategy (school plan) to ensure that al1 of the resources available to the school, the base program and the supplementalresources, are coordinated and focused on providing a high-quality educational program in which students of all ranges of ability and background can succeed at learning.
The primary task of the School Site Council is to ensure that the school is continually engaged in identifying and implementing curriculum and instructional practices that result in both strengthening the core academic program and guaranteeing student access to and success in that program. This core program should embody the district's curriculum, which itself should reflect the essence of the state frameworks. The state frameworks, which are developed by teachers and other curriculum experts, represent a professional consensus of the essential body of knowledge and abilities that all students should attain in their schooling and are designed to produce citizens who can think, reason, and solve problems.
The basic principle underlying the establishment of the School Site Council (SSC) is that those individuals who are most affected by the operation of the school should have a major role in the decisions regarding how that school functions. This involvement occurs through the development of a school improvement plan, including a budget that is reflective and supportive of the plan, the continuous review of the effectiveness of the plan, and the ongoing assessment and updating of the plan. The school plan becomes the instrument by which the school, represented by the SSC and the local governing board, establishes a common agreement regarding the educational strategies that will be implemented at a particular site to help support the highest possible levels of teaching and learning at that site.
The school plan is also the contract that exists between the school and the governing board that controls how the supplemental funds provided will be expended. This contract can only be modified with the agreement of both the SSC and the governing board. Accordingly, it is important that the school plan be clear and precise in order that everyone knows not only what is to be done but also why it is to be done. An annual review and updating of the plan and the budget is required to reflect the changing needs and priorities within the school and the school community.
Some Budget Act programs require a school site council as a condition for receiving and expending supplemental funds. Supplemental funds are those funds that are granted to districts and schools over and above the general revenue funds the districts and schools receive to support the base program. Supplemental funds must be used to enhance the district's and the school's regular program. Supplemental funds may not be used to replace or supplant the funds and programs the district normal1y provides the school.
The SSC is charged with the task of developing a school plan for using the supplemental resources to increase student understanding of and success in learning the core curriculum. In planning for and allocating the supplemental resources, SSCs need to be aware of the very different kinds of curriculum and instructional practices that will be necessary to prepare students adequately for future success in a highly competitive international economy. Since many teachers have not been prepared by training or experience to deliver this curriculum, particularly to a student body which is becoming increasingly diverse in ethnicity and background, schools will need to make a sizable investment in the professional development of their teachers so they are better equipped to teach the content in the new curriculum frameworks to all the students in the school.
The School Site Council is not to be viewed as an advisory body whose advice may be accepted or rejected. Instead, the actions of the SSC constitute the first step in a formal process for developing improvement strategies and for allocating resources to support these efforts. The process is completed only when the local governing board formally agrees to the SSC's proposal for utilizing the supplemental resources.
The process of school improvement should not be seen as adversarial but rather as a process that enables both the school, through the SSC, and the governing board, usually through the district office, to strengthen the education system by allocating appropriate decision-making authority to bodies that are nearest to the tasks that are to be completed. It is successful only when the SSC and the local governing board focus this decision-making authority on ongoing improvement in the curriculum and instructional program of the school.
It is incumbent upon the governing board, the district staff, and the SSC to establish and maintain continual communication regarding the district's goals and core curriculum as well as each school's needs, and plan to implement a program that can enable students to succeed in that curriculum. It is also the responsibility of each body to do everything possible to keep the program responsive to changing needs and priorities of the participating schools.
If schools are to be improved for the benefit of students, all segments of the school community must join to accomplish this task. The SSC represents the major mechanism in
California public education for bringing these segments together in a manner that provides for real and meaningful commitment in the effort to improve schools.
The mission of James A Foshay Learning Center is to develop socially responsible citizens who are prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century.
To create an internationally focused school that promotes: