School Advisory Councils

School Advisory Councils


In 2016-2017 school year each school in the School District of Philadelphia is expected to have a functioning a School Advisory Council.

If you are interested in joining the SAC at your school, apply NOW!

Apply online or  download a paper application (Nomination Form) and bring it to your school or send it to the Office of Parent, Family and Community Services (The School District of Philadelphia, 440. N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130  |  Fax: 215-400-4181  | E-mail: sac@philasd.org).

Please download a flyer to share information about the SACs with anyone you know who might be interested, or visit our Forms/Downloads page for additional materials and resources.

The Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) is available to provide support with getting your SAC up and running. A number of supports are available to the schools seeking to form a School Advisory Council. Please connect to your Parent Coordinator or reach out to sac@philasd.org with all SAC related questions.

Overview of School Advisory Councils

School Advisory Councils (or SACs) are part of the overall leadership structure at each school. Providing a forum for open discussion and problem-solving, SACs give all stakeholder groups (administrators, parents, students, staff, and the larger community) a real voice in school-based decision-making and the power to influence all aspects of the work of the school. SACs promote collaboration and understanding and build support for the school’s overall goals as well as individual programs, policies, and initiatives.

School Advisory Councils are comprised of peer-elected representatives from various stakeholder groups at the school, whose main responsibility is to collaborate with the principal on specific matters that affect student achievement and school improvement. Their primary role is to participate in the decision-making process that ensures that the needs of all students are specifically addressed in the school Action Plan and Budget—the two key documents which set the overall education plan for the school.

Recent research suggests that when properly executed, consultative planning contributes to improved school culture and a strong professional learning community. In addition, effective decision-making supports improved classroom practice and student learning.

Extensive research on Chicago Local School Councils* has shown that shared decision making positively impacts student achievement. Chicago Local School Councils (LSCs) have been shown to play an important role in school improvement, including adoption of responsive pedagogy and creation of a positive climate.

There is a strong correlation between schools with effective school councils and those with substantially improved test scores. In addition, studies have found that school councils increase accountability and encourage low-income minority to become more involved in their schools and communities. Other findings reported positive feedback from principals about the councils’ involvement in principals’ selection and confirmed that the majority of teachers see school councils as helping to make schools better.

These results show that democratic structures like SACs are integral to school and student success. The School District of Philadelphia recognizes these research findings and has developed corollary policies to support SACs based on three guiding principles:

  • Individuals closest to the students know them the best. They should be more involved in making significant decisions affecting students’ learning and school experience.
  • A school plan to improve student academic achievement receives increased support when people understand and help create that plan.
  • When families participate in their children’s education, including decision-making, their children and the school are more successful.
In addition to exploring this website, please look at the pubications compiled by the Philadelphia Cross-City Campaign for School Reform for additional information and testimonies about the experience with SACs of parents and schools here in Philadelphia. 


* Sources: Empowered Participation by Archon Fung, 2004; Charting the Course and other studies by the Consortium on Chicago School Research; The Big Picture by Design for Change, 2005.)

This page was put together by the Office of Family and Community Engagement as a resource for Philadelphia schools interested in creating or improving the work on their SAC. Please check it often for resource updates and training opportunities and reach out to us with questions and requests for support.

Please call us at 215-400-4180 or e-mail sac@philasd.org.