The following information was taken directly from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
What is a school council?
A school council is a representative, school building-based committee composed of the principal, parents, teachers, community members and, at the secondary level, students, required to be established by each school pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71, Section 59C.
What are the main areas of responsibility for school councils?
The law outlines four major areas of responsibility for councils. School councils are to assist principals in:
What are the elements of the annual school improvement plan?
- Adopting educational goals for the school that are consistent with local educational policies and statewide student performance standards
- Identifying the educational needs of students attending the school
- Reviewing the annual school building budget
- Formulating a school improvement plan
The school improvement plan, as described in the legislation, has the following elements:
An assessment of:
- The impact of class size on student performance
- Student-to-teacher ratios
- Ratios of students to other supportive adult resources
- A scheduled plan for reducing class size, if deemed necessary
- Professional development for the school's staff and the allocation of any professional development funds in the school budget
- Enhancement of parental involvement in the life of the school
School safety and discipline
- Establishment of a school environment characterized by tolerance and respect for all groups
- Extra-curricular activities
- Means for meeting, within the regular education programs at the school, the diverse learning needs of as many children as possible, including children with special needs currently assigned to separate programs
- Any further subjects the principal, in consultation with the school council, shall consider appropriate