SCHOOL COUNCILS: MAKING SCHOOLS WORK FOR KIDS
BACKGROUNDAs part of a law that completely overhauled Kentucky's public education system in 1990, the General Assembly created school councils as a new unit of accountability to move individual schools toward the state's goals for producing proficient students. While alternative models can be approved, councils are generally made up of a school's principal, three teachers, and two parents.
RESPONSIBILITIES In addition to approving basic policies for schools, councils are responsible for overseeing the overall direction for schools. Councils select school principals based on candidates forwarded by the superintendent. Councils make decisions about improvement planning, including setting targets for closing achievement gaps. Councils also deal with professional development and spending on staff and instructional materials.
ROLES As a school's instructional leader, principals play an overarching role in leading the school council and carrying out its decisions. Teacher representatives reflect the voice and wishes of classroom professionals working with students to reach proficiency goals. Parent representatives bring an outside perspective and a focus on ensuring that decisions meet students' needs. At the heart of everyone's work is attention to Kentucky's definition of proficient student work and school improvement targets. Councils are charged with using the tools at schools' disposal to find a way to reach proficiency goals for children.
DECISIONMAKING As a small leadership team, KASC advises that school councils make decisions based on consensus of all members and focused on meeting students' needs and assuring that schools are providing a proficient education — or working diligently toward that goal.