We are fortunate to live and work in a community where there is no shortage of parental and overall community support for our schools. An example of this type of support occurs in each school through their community councils. In 1999, the Utah legislature established the School Land Trust Program and with it School Community Councils (SCC).
The purpose of the SCC is to identify the school’s greatest academic needs and to prepare a plan to meet those needs. The annual School Improvement Plan for your school can be viewed at http://www.schoollandtrust.org/schools/program-plans/ The School Improvement Plan must be and is approved by our local school board for implementation the following school year.
http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE53A/htm/53A01a010800.htm identifies the following duties and responsibilities of the SCC.
(3) (a) Each school community council shall:
(i) create a school improvement plan in accordance with Section 53A-1a-108.5;
(ii) create the School LAND Trust Program in accordance with Section 53A-16-101.5;
(iii) assist in the creation and implementation of a staff professional development plan as provided by Section 53A-3-701; and
(iv) advise and make recommendations to school and school district administrators and the local school board regarding the school and its programs, school district programs, a child access routing plan in accordance with Section 53A-3-402, and other issues relating to the community environment for students.
(b) In addition to the duties specified in Subsection (3) (a), a school community council for an elementary school shall create a reading achievement plan in accordance with Section 53A-1-606.5.
(c) A school or school district administrator may not prohibit or discourage a school community council from discussing issues, or offering advice or recommendations, regarding the school and its programs, school district programs, the curriculum, or the community environment for students.
From this we learn that the SCC is an advisory council to both the individual schools and the school board – not a decision or policy-making body.
The council consists of parents, teachers and the principal all of whom except for the principal are to be elected to serve a two year term. According to the rules that govern the SCC any parent who has a student enrolled in the school may run for and if elected serve on the council.
In many schools throughout the state they often have to ask people to serve on the council because no one will volunteer to run for election or serve on the council. Here in Morgan we always have a plethora of individuals who are willing to serve, as evident by the fact that we had nine candidates at the middle school this year for two open council seats.
Rules also state that there must be more parent/guardian members than there are school employees on the council. This is to ensure that the community has an active voice in this advisory group.
Members of the SCC represent you and your students. I would like to encourage you to keep in touch with your SCC representatives to remain informed of what is going on at your school and to let them know of concerns that you may have. Community Council information can also be found on your school’s web page.
Thanks to all of you for the opportunity that we have to work with your students.