Seattle Schools and Building Leadership Teams

Building Leadership Teams (BLTs) exist at every SPS school (or should).

There should be parent/community representation at every SPS school's BLT (or should).  That representation should NOT be controlled by the principal.

There should be bylaws written and readily available for anyone to be able to access about the decision-making process for each school.

Let us know how the BLT at your school works.

A huge thank you to Ann Donovan who pulled all this info together.  Follow her on Twitter: @ann_donovan for great ed news in one place.

Relevant info:

School Governance Structures - F20.00
Establishment and Operation of School Governance Structures Procedure - F20.01
Specific Areas of Involvement for School Governance Structures Procedures - F20.02

The SEA Collective Bargaining Agreement also includes additional details regarding the requirements of BLTs, see article II section 4, pages 10-12.

Here are two examples of schools in the district that have very detailed information available on the Internet about their BLTs:

Keep this thread in mind for when school resumes in the fall. I would expect this kind of issue is one the Executive Directors would cover but I'd have to ask.  If the district is truthful in its promises for parent engagement and transparency, this would be a good place to start.


Anonymous said…
Interesting North Beach BLT on their own voted to drop the Saxon math waiver for EN-VISION. When we pressed the principle he rebutted that "The bld staff made the choice"

They also got some new projectors from the district then the PTA voted to spend another $32K on upgrading and mounting of projectors. I see drop math waiver and get new it a coincidence ?

Many parents did not know of the waver decision and some still don't. The principle seemed very angry for anyone questioning his decision.

Two of the PTA anti-saxon members blurted out, now that we don't have to pay for Saxon math we can buy the better projectors.

I don't know about funds at other schools, but $32K seems like a lot of PTA money to blow on projector mounting!

BLTs Matter said…
Reposting from earlier thread:

I think most parents underestimate the potential importance of the BLT at their school, IF they even realize that it exists. In the "decision-making matrix" our BLT (elementary level) has a hand in:

Approving the CSIP
Budget allocation
Professional development foci
Family engagement
School-wide events
Strategic plan
Staff handbook
Curriculum adoption
Fundraising and Grants
Master Scheduling

Adequate and appropriate parent involvement is CRUCIAL if you want your school to have true community input on some of the most significant decisions regarding school operations.

Unfortunately, I know (because our old school was set up this way) that many parent reps on BLTs are appointed by the principal. This is to ensure a nice rubber-stamping atmosphere rather than having to deal with those pesky parents who insist on true community engagement.

Our current school (K-5 STEM) has a system through which the 2 BLT members are elected by the PTA membership in overlapping two year terms. Ideally, one parent rep for K-2 and one rep from 3-5. The overlap ensures that there is always someone familiar with the process on the committee. The BLT reports out (and asks for input) at every monthly PTA meeting, has coffee chats to hear community concerns, and has a dedicated PTA email address.

Do you know how your BLT operates? If not, I suggest that you ask and, if necessary, demand that the structure be transparent and have TRUE parent representation.

Yeah, it kind of IS that important...
Anonymous said…

I'm confused. Did North Beach BLT vote to apply for an enVision waiver, instead of adopting Math in Focus (the Board-adopted materials)?

If so, is the enVision waiver being funded by the District?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said…
Ours functions more like a secret society. For years, there was just one parent, it was an 'in' parent. Meetings were never publicized. Then it was two parents, hand picked quietly by the principal. They stay installed. Meetings were NEVER posted.

Then, some parents complained, possibly to the ex director? So now, there is a very brief notice of when meetings 'generally are'. And, 1 PTA parent was also coronated by the principal to be on it. Still kept very shadowy.

The BTL composition and process should be standardized. Have x # of parents per 150 students should be the minimum. And, all parents should be elected by the school parents, and, all nominations should be self-nominations -- open and transparent and therefore free from strange queen bee cliques. If these are one of the places where real decisions for a school partly get made (the other being the teacher caucus and the other the principal) then it really sucks to be in a building that where the practise is lockdown secrecy (with scant minutes) and a mean girls clique PTA who aid and abed.

Doesn't JSIS have a really good model? Hay as well?

mystery blt
Ragweed said…
Licton Springs K-8

Equal number of parent and faculty members on BLT. Parent members chosen by election organized by the Site Council (PTO). Last year Site Council did interim appointments in February 2014 (council vote rather than school-wide) because September elections never happened due to the closure fight.

We have had student BLT members in the past, and probably would again if there was an interested student.

We are currently working with UNEA and our other lead community partners to determine appropriate means of insuring Native Community oversight, whether that would mean setting aside BLT positions or creating a separate committee with specific authority (in the past we had an Equity Committee whose sole purpose was to moniter and address issues of disproportionality and instutional racism, which might be a model).
Anonymous said…
At my elementary school, our BLT doesn't really make decisions. We just function as a way to make our principal's decisions seem more valid. If we disagree, we fear retribution on our evaluations! Yikes. And parents? Not one representative in at least three years has shown up to one of our meetings.
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