School Site Councils (SSCs) are a major part of the overall decision-making body at each school. They are a very special group of people who are elected by their peers to represent the members of a school community. Their primary role is to guide the academic planning process to ensure the needs of all students are adequately addressed in the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The SPSA delineates the goals, programs, activities, and funds (contingent on availability) the school plans to use to ensure all students are challenged appropriately in the quest to meet or exceed grade level standards.
SSCs are forums for shared governance. Research suggests that shared decision-making, when done well, contributes to a healthy school culture and strong professional community of educators. In addition, effective shared decision-making supports improved classroom practices and student learning. These results indicate that democratic structures, such as SSCs, are integral to school success.
The Federal government, State of California, and Fountain Valley School District (FVSD) have not only embraced these research findings but made them the standard way to conduct business. This has resulted in the adoption of the following common-sense principles to support SSCs:
The Composition of School Site Councils (SSCs)
The composition of SSCs reflects the desire of the California Legislature and FVSD to increase the number of site-level decision makers. Those individuals most affected by outcomes from decisions about planning and budgeting are best suited to coordinate and mobilize resources to meet the needs of students.
The pie charts below illustrate the required composition of SSCs in elementary and middle schools. In both cases, the number of participants can vary, but the proportional representation for each groups remains the same. In an elementary school, half must be parents/community members and the other half school staff. The same is true in middle schools, except the community portion is split evenly into students and family/community representatives. Participation is a two-year commitment with elections typically occurring in early fall, as needed.
Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA)
The Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) is a tool to help guide a school’s improvement efforts. It is created collaboratively with staff and parent members on the SSC. Broad goals are outlined that establish levels of student achievement. Then to transform the goals into manageable actions, student groups and grade level participants, annual growth targets, evaluation tools, group data to collect, and actions to take are delineated and the funding sources identified. An SPSA is useful for the following purposes:
To see each school's individual SPSA CLICK HERE