Tuesday, October 27, 2015

School Governance

The Board has a policy F20.00 (last revised April 1996) around school governance.  It speaks of "school governance structures such as, but not limited to, local site councils, leadership teams and/or school management teams."

I have also heard from parents that parents are not always included on Building Leadership Teams (BLTs).  There are also Site Councils which can include parents and students as well as staff.  The BLTs are much more building governance and Site Council is more about planning and goals.

But one key item that generally happens if your school does has a Site Council is that they have some degree of input in any principal search.  

I'd be interested if readers could let me know what the structure is at their school. I'd also be interested in readers who ask their principals about Site Council and/or BLT. 

My experience is that this "school governance" that includes parents is very hit or miss and is largely dependent on the principal. 


Joseph Rockne said...

I've been on BLT at Whitman the past two years. I am on again this year. One other member has served as long as I.

We have had a terrible to time finding anyone to commit to the BLT.

I wonder if other schools have the same problem.

From the outside, it might look like a principal problem, but maybe there are not parents willing to serve.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also a good point, Joe.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Governance and documents etc.

Take a look at the CSIP for your school. Is it up to date? Does it accurately describe your school?

A Continuous School Improvement Plan should be updated and used.

If you select your school "profile" from the list of schools, at the bottom of the profile page there is a link to CSIP.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Silly Dan- You assume anything on the district's website is up to date instead of waiting for someone to update it?
-Sillyexpectationthat Websiteisuseful

Anonymous said...

At B.F. Day, we have a PTSA board member (the Vice President) serving on the BLT, and it's quite active. It's a great conduit for information exchange between the building and the PTSA, and we learn a lot about what's going on and how we can support things. Works well, I think.

- Steve

Anonymous said...

Do PTA/parent members on the BLT usually get to vote? There is some discussion about this right now at McDonald International.

Cat Howell

Anonymous said...

@Cat Howell

I served as the parent/PTA rep on the BLT for 2 years at my sons' former elementary school, and I voted on all recommendations made by the BLT. At our school, the BLT would usually make their recommendations (on budget, etc...), and then these recommendations would go to staff for a vote.

At our school, the BLT rep was also a PTA Board member and would give a BLT report at the board meetings.

It is a difficult volunteer gig for a lot of parents, because it means committing to monthly BLT meetings, usually before or after school, and possibly additional meetings during budget season, as well as committing to PTA Board meetings.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

We used to be a whole-staff BLT with parents in an advisory role and our union said that was still possible. The latest principal talked staff into a small supposedly non-decision making group with reps from grade level bands, a couple of parents, and the principal of course. The problem with parents is that they always follow the principal. And staff because my principal hand-picks them also follow the principal. We have a faux election after we are told the people are who have offered to do it.

In our situation, people who speak up hurt themselves in the long run. The principal runs the building.

On its face, our school looks well run. Underneath you have more veteran teachers quietly spiteful at having no voice and newer teachers groomed to follow the principal. I don't know what you do about that. Maybe that's a good thing. One leader for the school.

There may be cracks in the surface however. One item finally has staff rallied. But we'll see if it leads anywhere.

We do not have a site council.

Always politics

Anonymous said...

Always politics,
Is your school Salmon Bay by chance?
-sounds familiar

Always Politics said...

No but thanks for letting me know that my post won't give me away. I believe these are mandates coming from Nyland and his crew. i wonder how Marty McLaren would respond to the rigid autocratic micro-managing in schools if she were still teaching?

Ragweed said...

At Licton Springs there is a Site Council which is the PTO, and elects parent/community members to the BLT. The BLT maintains parity between the number of staff and parents, currently four of each. All BLT members have a vote and have input on the budget, staff allocation etc., though the Principal will pull rank at times and there are decisions that we are told "came down from the district", meaning that there is no option of overriding them.

I think its a good model of BLT organization, if you have enough involved parents to maintain staff/parent parity.

Anonymous said...

Our school has a site council not a PTA. Some wise parents in past set it up that way. Couldn't be better. No PTA national state local politics. No siphoning of school money to PTA. Strong participation by administrators and staff. More schools should go this route.

SCs rock

Ann D said...

It sounds like the principal owns the BLT bylaws at some of these schools, at least in their absence. This goes against the school board policy of intent and establishment of the BLT. Schools are not meant to be fiefdoms in this model.

Read the policy again, linked in Melissa's original post

Charlie Mas said...

I strongly advocate school communities getting an MOU with the District modeled on the MOU that LEV has for SouthShore.

Your BLT bylaws are not enforceable. Board policy is not enforceable. Superintendent procedures are not enforceable. An MOU is.

Anonymous said...

One thing I will throw in about BLTs: some aspects of their operation (for instance the way staff are selected to serve, the general structure, the stipend) are dictated by the teacher contract. The bylaws could in theory be owned by the principal, but a better model would be for the bylaws to include some provision for bylaw review/amendment by the group as a whole (with final approval by staff). The teacher contract does not require that parents be included on the BLT, but they are at both of my kids' schools, and this can be stipulated in the bylaws too. I have served on BLTs before, and one way that the principal can control things somewhat is by setting the agenda (and the non-agenda). I have seen different levels of relationship between PTAs and BLTs. At many schools they have to collaborate pretty closely because of budget stuff (i.e. PTAs filling in funding gaps).

-Former BLTer