Presentation on theme: "School Councils: Organization and Procedure"— Presentation transcript:
1 School Councils: Organization and Procedure This presentation is intended to accompany the Georgia School Council GuideBook.
2 Why was education reform on the legislative agenda in 2000? Georgia students performed poorly on most achievement measures.Only 49% of students who entered 9th grade in Fall 1995 graduated in Spring 1999 with a college prep or vocational diploma.SAT state average: 967 (49th in nation)ACT state average: 20.2 (41st in nation)
4 A+ Reform Act of 2000 Assessments in all grades: CRCTs and EOCTs School and School System GradingSubgroup scores reportedEarly intervention & smaller class sizesLocal School Councils in every schoolThe A+ Reform Act of 2000 was followed by No Child Left Behind in 2001.
5 CRCTs were first given in 2000 2000 CRCT scores confirmed the national results:35% of 4th graders did not meet the standard in Reading38% of 4th graders did not meet the standard in Math25% of 8th graders did not meet the standard in Reading46% of 8th graders did not meet the standard in Math
6 Why were school councils included in education reform? To improve communication and participation of parents and the community in the management and operation of schools.Parents and the community are critical to the success of students and schools.O.C.G.A. § (a)
7 How can school councils make a difference? Bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solve difficult education problemsImprove academic achievementProvide support for teachers and administratorsBring parents into the school-based decision making processO.C.G.A. § (a)The A+ Reform Act of 2000 specifically states four reasons for the establishment of school councils.To bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solvedifficult education problems,To improve academic achievement,To provide support for teachers and administrators, andTo bring parents into the school-based decision making process.Careful perusal of these reasons leads one to conclude that improving academic achievement is the keystone of this new law.When communities and schools work together in a spirit of cooperation to solve difficult education problems, student achievement will likely improve.When teachers and administrators are supported by parents and the community, student achievement will likely improve.When parents are brought into the school-based decision making process, student achievement will likely improve.
8 What is the purpose of school councils? To help the local board of education develop and nurture participationTo bring parents and the community together with teachers and school administrators to create a better understanding of and mutual respect for each other’s concernsTo share ideas for school improvementO.C.G.A. § (a)
9 What is the local governance structure of public schools? The management and control of schools is the responsibility of the local board of education. The board determines the policies and procedures and sets the expectations for the system.The board of education is accountable to the voters in their districts.O.C.G.A. § (b)
10 What is the local governance structure of public schools? The superintendent is hired by the local board of education to run the school system.The superintendent is accountable to the board of education.The principal is the school leader.The principal is accountable to the superintendent.O.C.G.A. § (b)
11 What is the role of school councils? School councils are policy level advisory bodies.School councils represent the community of parents and businesses.School council members are accountable to the constituents they serve.
12 What is the mission of school councils? To Focus on Student Achievement
13 How do school councils accomplish their mission? By providing advice and recommendations to the school principal and, when appropriate, the superintendent and the local board of education on any matter related to student achievement and school improvement.O.C.G.A. § (s)The law is very clear. School councils are advisory bodies. This distinction as an advisory body is very important. The law clearly states that the management and control of public schools is the responsibility of local boards of education. Additionally, the law states that the principal is the school leader.School councils are advisory bodies created to improve student achievement and performance by providing advice and recommendations to the school principal and, where appropriate, the local board of education.Given this distinction as an advisory body, on what, then, do school councils give advice and recommendations?When answering this question it is important to keep in mind two things: (1) the ultimate goal of the school council is to improve academic achievement and (2) the school council’s role is as an advisory body.The law provides a suggested list of topics for consideration. It is important to note that this is a suggested list and is not exhaustive. Because improving the academic achievement of our students is the ultimate goal, almost any issue related to that goal is appropriate for school councils to address.
14 What are some topics school councils can address? The law specifically mentions 14 topics on which school councils may offer advice and make recommendations. The law also states that the school council is not limited to these topics.The 14 topics fall into three broad categories:Student LearningLocal School Board PoliciesCommunication and Collaboration
15 Student Learning School improvement plans Curriculum and assessments Reports from the school principal regarding progress toward the school's student achievement goals, including progress within specific grade and subject areas, and by school personnelO.C.G.A. § (s)
16 Student LearningReport cards issued or audits of the school conducted by the Office of Student AchievementSchool-based and community servicesThe method and specifications for the delivery of early intervention services or other appropriate services for underachieving studentsO.C.G.A. § (s)
17 Local School Board Policies Extracurricular activities in the schoolCommunity use of school facilitiesSchool budget priorities, including school capital improvement plansStudent discipline and attendanceO.C.G.A. § (s)Remember, the focus for school councils is always on impacting student achievement. Given this list of possible topics for advice and recommendations, let’s take a look at how school councils can operate at the policy level related to some of these topics.School CalendarsThe intent of the law is not to have school councils micromanage schools, but rather to work closely with school personnel and the community in an advisory capacity.It is not the responsibility of a school council to establish a school calendar. However, school councils might consider whether or not the testing schedule is protected in the school calendar. For example, ensuring that spring break does not conflict with statewide testing would be an appropriate role for school councils. This might be done at the policy level by making recommendations to the local board of education.In other words, school councils can impact academic achievement by recommending policies that protect the testing schedule and even the instructional time in the classroom.School Conduct and Dress CodesHow might school councils address school conduct and dress codes in relation to student achievement?School conduct falls into the local board policy category. School councils might appropriately examine rules for school conduct and dress to ensure that policies are in place which address disruptive students so that they do not interfere with the learning of others. If no rules are in place, the school council might determine a list of rules.Again, addressing issues related to school conduct and dress code is best dealt with at a policy level. Recommendations to the local board of education on policies addressing the issue would be appropriate.
18 Communication and Collaboration Developing a school profile, containing data identified by the council to describe the academic performance, academic progress, services, awards, interventions, and environment of the schoolSchool-community communication strategiesMethods of involving parents and the communityO.C.G.A. § (s)
19 BrainstormOn which of these 14 topics would your school council want to ask for more information?Who could provide the information?
20 What is a school council legally authorized to do? Advise and make recommendations to the principal, local board of education, and superintendent on matters relating to student achievement.Participate in the selection of the school principal in accordance with the written policy of the local board.Review and approve the School Improvement Plan.
21 What is a school council legally authorized to do? Review school site budget and expenditure information and class size by grade.Request and receive data relative to the use of an academic coach and whether the use of the coach has led to increased student achievementWriting and submitting an annual report to the local school board.
22 What are additional school council responsibilities? Appoint committees, study groups, or task forces for such purposes as it deems helpful O.C.G.A. § (o)Utilize existing or new school advisory groups O.C.G.A. § (o)Provide a parent member to serve on an intervention team in the case of low school performance as indicated by the Office of Student Achievement O.C.G.A. § (a)(4)(A)Participate in any hearing at the local school ordered by the State Board of Education in case of low performance as indicated by the Office of Student Achievement O.C.G.A. § (a)(2)
23 What are the expectations for all school council members? Maintain a school-wide perspective on issuesRegularly participate in school council meetingsParticipate in information and training programsAct as a link between the school council and the communityEncourage the participation of parents and others within the school communityWork to improve student achievement and performanceO.C.G.A. § (k)What are the expectations for all school council members?Council members are accountable to the constituents they serve, meaning that parent members are accountable to the parents who elected them, teachers are accountable to the teachers who elected them, and business members represent the interests of the business community.The law requires council members to maintain a school-wide perspective. Being accountable to the constituents they serve and maintaining a school-wide perspective can be difficult. In fact, one of the most difficult aspects of being a leader is assessing the needs of all and choosing the best course of action that benefits the most. Effective communication about the issues facing the school council is essential to maintaining this delicate balance.Council members must participate regularly in the council meetings and information and training programs like this one. Monthly meetings at the school site are required. Participation in the monthly meetings is important because a quorum or majority of the seven members must be present to conduct council business. Council members must be present to vote. Thus, four members must be present to conduct any council business. At all meetings, every question or motion is determined by a majority vote of members present, representing a quorum. Remember, a quorum which is a majority of the members of the council, is four members.Not only are members accountable to their constituents, but they also act as a liaison between the council and the community.A part of the charge for council members is to encourage participation of parents and others within the school community.Council members, then, represent the community in carrying out the business of school councils, link the school and community, and are responsible for bringing the community into the school in supportive and positive ways.The charge is quite extensive and important. As important as the responsibilities of school council members are, note that the law does not allow school council members to receive any pay for work done in relation to their role as a school council member.
24 DiscussWhat are some ways school council members can communicate with the constituents they serve?How can the school council encourage the participation of parents? Others?
25 How do school council members learn to be effective? The local board shall provide a training program that consists of:One training that addresses the organization of school councils, their purpose and responsibilities, applicable laws, rules, regulations, and meeting procedures, and important state and local school system program requirements.Additional training programs shall be offered to school council members annually.O.C.G.A. § (b)
26 What are other responsibilities of the Local Board of Education to School Councils? To provide all non-confidential information including school site budget and expenditure information and class sizes by grade to the council as requested or as required by state law or state board rule O.C.G.A. § (p)To designate a system representative to attend council meetings when requested O.C.G.A. § (p)To receive and consider all recommendations of the school council and the annual report O.C.G.A. § (q)
27 How does the local Board of Education respond to school council recommendations? Public notice shall be given to the community of the local board’s intent to consider school council reports or recommendations.Written notice shall be given to the members of the school council at least seven days prior to a local board meeting, along with a notice of intent to consider a council report or recommendation.O.C.G.A. § (q)
28 How does the local Board of Education respond to school council recommendations? The members of the school council shall be afforded an opportunity to present information in support of the school council’s report or recommendation.The local board shall respond to recommendations of the school council within 60 days after being notified in writing of the recommendation.O.C.G.A. § (q)
29 Obtaining Information The central administration shall be responsive to requests for information from a school council.O.C.G.A. § (p)
31 Who serves on a school council? The school principalA number of parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school, excluding employees who are parents or guardians of such students to make up the majority of the council
32 Who serves on a school council? At least two parents must be business personsAt least two certificated teachers, excluding any personnel employed in administrative positions, who are employed at least four of the six school segments at the school.O.C.G.A. § (d)
33 Who serves on a school council? Other businesspersons if desiredOther members as specified in the council’s bylaws, such as, but not limited to, students, staff, and representatives of school related organizations.O.C.G.A. § (d)
34 How are teachers and parents elected? The principal is to provide public notice at least two weeks prior to elections.The principal shall call a meeting of electing bodies.The electing body for parents or guardians consists of all persons eligible to serve as the parent or guardian representative on the council.The electing body for teachers consists of all certificated personnel eligible to serve as the teacher representative on the council.O.C.G.A. § (g)
35 ElectionsThe school council shall specify in its bylaws the month in which elections are to be held and shall specify a nomination and election process. O.C.G.A. § (g)Officers shall be elected at the first meeting following election of council members.
36 Selecting Business and Other Members Selection procedures of the business members, other than the required parent business members, and other members shall be specified in the council’s bylaws. O.C.G.A. § (d)(5)The school council may choose to have students, staff, representatives of school related organizations or others on the school council.
37 What is the term of school council members? Two year terms or as specified in the council’s bylaws O.C.G.A. § (e)Terms beginning after July 1, 2004 must be staggered. One half of the parents and teachers will be elected to one year terms; the others will be elected to two year terms to begin the staggering process. O.C.G.A. § (e)Terms shall begin and end on the dates specified in the council’s bylaws. O.C.G.A. § (n)
38 When does a vacancy occur? A member withdraws by submitting a written resignation to the council O.C.G.A. § (c)An inactive member, as defined by the bylaws of the council, is removed by a majority vote of the members of the council O.C.G.A. § (c)A member no longer meets the specified qualifications O.C.G.A. § (e)Members serve a two-year term that begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. In the event that a member is not able to fulfill his or her duties, resignation is possible. A member may withdraw by submitting a written resignation to the council.The responsibilities are demanding and require a commitment on the part of each council member. You might ask, “What happens if one falls short of his or her responsibilities?” If a member is determined to be no longer active by the other members of the council, that member may be removed from the council with five affirmative votes. The new member will be elected by the appropriate electing body.If a member no longer meets the qualifications, the member can be withdrawn and replaced. For example, if the child of a parent member transfers to another school, the parent will be replaced through the election process by the parents of the school.As you can tell, the work of the school council is serious and cannot be taken lightly. The hope is that school councils will make a difference. The law allows for school councils to play an even greater role in improving student achievement and performance in the future.After two years of successful operation and after receiving a high performance designation by the Office of Education Accountability, the local board of education may give the school council additional authority, as it deems appropriate.
39 How is a vacancy filled?An election to fill a vacancy must occur within 30 days unless there are 90 days or less remaining in the vacated term.The election fills an unexpired term. It does not begin a new term.The election should follow the procedures in the council’s bylaws.O.C.G.A. § (e)
40 Who are the officers of a school council? Chairperson– Must be a parent memberVice chairpersonSecretaryThe officers shall be elected at the first meeting of the council after the election of the council members.The term of office for the officers shall be specified in the council bylaws.O.C.G.A. § (j)
41 The principal shall:Set the initial agenda, meeting time, and location; and notify all school council members of the samePerform all duties required by law and the bylaws of the school councilCommunicate all council requests for information and assistance to the local school superintendent and inform the council of responses or actions takenO.C.G.A. § (r)Without question, the principal has a tremendous responsibility.Since members of our audience are duly elected members of a school council, the principal, as chair, has already fulfilled some of his or her responsibilities by convening the appropriate bodies to elect council members to represent them.The principal, as chair, is responsible for setting the initial agenda, meeting time, and location and sending notification to all school council members.Additionally, the principal will:represent the school council in all school council matters before the local board of education;communicate the council’s requests for information and assistance to the superintendent and keep the council informed regarding the superintendent’s responses or actions taken;
42 The principal shall:Develop the school improvement plan and school operations plan and submit the plans to the school council for its review , comments, recommendations, and approvalAid in the development of the agenda for each meeting after taking into consideration suggestions of council members and the urgency of school mattersO.C.G.A. § (r)
43 The vice chairperson shall: In the absence or disability of the chairperson, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the chairpersonPerform such other duties as shall from time to time be required by the school councilO.C.G.A. § (j)(2)
44 The school council secretary shall: Attend all school council meetingsAct as clerk of the council, and be responsible for recording all votes and minutes of all proceedings in the books to be kept for that purposeGive or cause to be given notice of all meetings of the councilPerform other duties as may be prescribed by the councilO.C.G.A. § (j)(3)
46 Quorum A quorum must be present in order to conduct official business. A quorum is comprised of a majority of the members.A majority of the members present, representing a quorum, must vote yes for a motion to pass.Adopting and amending bylaws requires two-thirds majority of the school council.O.C.G.A. § (f)Quorum means a majority of members. Since the school council is comprised of seven members, a quorum is 4 members. So, to conduct any school council business, at least four members must be present. To approve any motion, a majority of the members present representing a quorum must vote yes.Majority means more than half.
47 BylawsThe school council adopts bylaws as it deems appropriate to conduct business. O.C.G.A. § (h)The State Board of Education shall make available model council bylaws. O.C.G.A. § (h)A Bylaws template is available at under “School Councils”In order to ensure the smooth operation of school councils, the law requires each school council to adopt bylaws as it deems appropriate to conduct the business of the council.Bylaws are like traffic rules. They keep things running smoothly, help avoid collisions, and make sure everyone gets where they need to be safely and effectively. Remember, the adoption of bylaws or changes to adopted bylaws requires five affirmative votes.
48 Choices Defined In Bylaws The school council adopts the bylaws it deems appropriate to conduct its business. O.C.G.A. § (h)Bylaws must specify:The number of members O.C.G.A. § (d)Election and nomination procedures O.C.G.A. § (g)Selection process for additional members O.C.G.A. § (d)(5)Term of office – beginning and ending date and length of term O.C.G.A. § (n)Month of election O.C.G.A. § (g)Number of meetings (with a minimum of four) O.C.G.A. § (f)A definition of “inactive member” O.C.G.A. § (c)
49 MeetingsMust be held at least four times a year – the number of meetings must be specified in the bylawsMust be open to the publicMust be notified by mail at least 7 days prior to the meeting of the date, time, and location of the meetingMay be called by the chair or by the request of the majority of the members of the councilAre subject to Open Meetings and Open Records lawsO.C.G.A. § (f)
50 Voting Each council member has one vote O.C.G.A. § 20-2-86 (f) Votes must be recorded in a book kept for that purpose O.C.G.A. § (j)(3)
51 Pop QuizHow many affirmative votes are required to pass a motion with four members present?1234Let’s review.If four members are present, the school council can conduct business because four members represent a quorum.To pass a motion with four members present, three yes votes are required.A majority of members present representing a quorum must vote yes to pass a motion.
52 Answer“C” is correct. Three votes would be the majority with four members present.
53 AgendaItems may be added at the request of 3 or more members. O.C.G.A. § (r)The agenda must be posted at the meeting site within two weeks of the meeting. O.C.G.A. § (e)(2)
54 BrainstormWhat topic(s) would you suggest for the first school council meeting of the school year?
55 Brainstorm Would this topic require: An ongoing discussion by school council members?Research by school council members?Further information from the principal or central office?A study committee to do research and report back to the school council?
56 MinutesThe school council secretary must make the council minutes available to the public at the school site.The school council secretary must provide a summary of the meeting, subjects acted on, and members present within 2 business days of the meeting. O.C.G.A. § (2)The school council secretary must send the minutes to school council members within 20 days.The school council adopts the minutes, as may be amended, at the next meeting.The school council secretary must make the official minutes available to the public following adoption. O.C.G.A. § (l)
57 MinutesThe school council secretary keeps minutes and records votes in a book kept for that purpose. O.C.G.A. § (j)(3)Minutes must include:Names of all council members attending O.C.G.A. § (j)(3)A description of each motion or proposal O.C.G.A. § (e)(2)A record of all votes O.C.G.A. § (e)(2)Roll call votes must be listed with the name of each person voting for or against. O.C.G.A. § (e)(2)
58 Parliamentary Procedure School council meetings should be conducted using parliamentary procedure which can be summed up as:Make a motionSecond a motionDebate a motionVote on a motionMake a motionAny school council member, including the chairperson, may make a motion. A long motion should be written and given to the chairperson. The school council member who makes a motion is not required to vote in favor of it.Second a motionAny school council member may second a motion except the individual who made the motion. A second merely implies that the motion should come before the school council for discussion. The school council member who seconded a motion is not required to vote in favor of it. If a motion does not receive a second, it fails and no vote is taken.Please note that a second is not required for the motion to adjourn.Debate a motionThe chairperson states the motion to be debated. Customarily, the person who makes the motion speaks first. School council members should confine their remarks to the pending question. The chairperson may participate in the debate. When the chairperson determines that debate is ending, he or she should ask, “Is there any objection to calling the question?” If there is no objection, the council proceeds to a vote on the motion. If there is an objection, the chairperson should take a vote on whether or not to end debate.Vote on the motionBefore taking the vote, the chairperson should repeat the motion clearly so that everyone understands the motion. School council members should vote with either a “yes,” “no,” or “abstain.” If a voice vote is inconclusive, the chairperson should call for a show of hands. The chairperson may participate in the vote. The chairperson states the results of the vote.Rather than voting on every issue, the chairperson can ask for unanimous consent on items that do not seem to be controversial. This can be done by saying, “Is there any objection to . . .?” If there is no objection, the action can be taken.Again, please remember that any procedures related to taking official action must be clearly outlined in the bylaws. Thus, if a school council chooses to operate with the unanimous consent rule, it must be clearly defined in the bylaws.See the Georgia School Council GuideBook for additional information.
59 Open Meetings O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1 –O.C.G.A. § 50-14-6
60 School Council Meetings School councils are subject to the Open Meetings Act. O.C.G.A. § (f)A meeting is defined as a gathering of a quorum of the members of the school council at which any public matter, official business, or policy is to be discussed with official actions taken.All meetings are open unless specifically allowed by law to be closed.“Open” means open to public attendance. It does not require that the meeting be open to public participation.
61 School Council Meetings Meetings may be called by the chair or at the request of a majority of the members of the council.When discussing candidates for a principal vacancy, the school council may go into executive session. All votes must be taken in public.See the Georgia School Council GuideBook or the Open Meetings Act for the rules on called meetings and executive session.
62 Violations of the Open Meetings Act Anyone conducting or participating in a meeting in violation of the Open Meetings Act is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.Any action taken in violation of the Open Meetings Act is not binding.
63 Open Records O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 – O.C.G.A. § 50-18-74
64 School Council Records School councils are subject to the Open Records Act.School council records are public and open to the review of any citizen at a reasonable time and place.Response to a request for open records must be made within three business days.Reasonable charges may be charged for time and labor to produce and copy requested records.
66 Confidential RecordsStudent records are not accessible to school council members.Personnel evaluations are not accessible to school council members.School personnel personal information is not accessible to school council members.
68 What are school councils doing? School councils spend a lot of time learning about:Test scores and assessmentsSchool budgets and teacher allocationsStudent interventions and support teamsCurriculum and instructionDiscipline and other student policies
69 What are school councils doing? The most frequently addressed topics are math, reading/literacy, attendance, and parental involvement.Linking parent workshops with school improvement plan.Developing plans to reduce absenteeism and tardiness.Publicizing school improvement goals and achievements.Addressing a variety of needs in their schools.
70 School Council Evaluation There is no legal requirement that a school council be evaluated.Most effective organizations, however, do self-evaluations periodically.See the Georgia School Council GuideBook for an Effectiveness Checklist and self-evaluation form.
71 School Councils: Organization and Procedure This presentation is intended to accompany the Georgia School Council GuideBook.