Julia Manokhina440 N. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19130
School Advisory Councils
School Advisory Councils
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:
* 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.)
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440 N. Broad Street, Room 114 - Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: 215.400.4180 Fax: 215.400.4181