This policy is designed to insure the consistent implementation
throughout the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional Public
Schools of provisions of Massachusetts General Law 71:59C and 71:38Q1/2
which require the establishment of School Councils in each of the public
schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Superintendent and
the Principals shall be responsible for familiarizing themselves and
ensuring full compliance with MGL 71:59C.
Under this policy, the Principal will have primary responsibility for
the management of the school. The law emphasizes the role of the
Principal in forming the School Council, for insuring "parity" among
staff and parents, for seeking diversity in community representation,
and for promoting the climate of participatory involvement and
decision-making within each School Council. The school's educational
goals will be determined by the principal, in consultation with the
School Council. The School Councils, by law, are to assist and make
recommendations to the principal.
Decisions which are made at the school level must be aligned with the
Three Year District Improvement Plan, with the District Annual Action
Plan and with the district’s budget, policies, curriculum, and
administrative regulations, and must be aligned with any long-range and
short-range goals adopted by the School Committee. In addition,
decisions must comply with any state and federal laws and regulations
and with any negotiated agreements of the school District.
The School Committee encourages schools to hold School Council
elections prior to the end of each school year in June, or by the end of
September at the latest. School Councils are considered
municipal agencies and their members are considered municipal employees
for purposes of the Conflict of Interest law. (MGL 268A)
Each principal may define the size and composition of the council,
subject to the approval of the Superintendent and School Committee of a
representative process for selection. The following conditions must be
The Council shall include the principal, teachers, parents/guardians,
other community members and, for the middle school and the high school,
at least one student representative. Parent, teacher, and student
members are to be elected by their peers.
The number of parent/guardian representatives must be equal to the
number of teachers who serve on the Council plus the principal.
Not more than 50% of the council shall be made up of members who are
not parents/guardians, teachers, students, or staff at the school.
The Council should be broadly representative of the racial and ethnic
diversity of the school building and community. To ensure a diverse
membership of the School Council, efforts will be made by the leaders of
the peer groups running the elections for School Council to encourage
individuals from commonly underrepresented groups to run for the elected
positions. Also, some of the other community members on the School
Council will be members of these commonly underrepresented groups.
The principal and another member elected by the council from its membership will co-chair the council.
Elected members of the School Councils will serve two-year terms,
except for the student member of the School Council of the High School,
who will serve a one-year term, and are eligible for re-election one
time. The School Council terms should be staggered to ensure a blend of
new and experienced leadership. In the event of a member resignation,
the co-chairs may appoint a new member to fill the position until the
next scheduled election. At that time, a member will be elected to
complete the term of the member who resigned.
The school Principal will be responsible for convening the first
meeting no later than forty days after the first day of school, at which
meeting an individual will be selected to co-chair the School Council
with the Principal. The School Council will meet regularly during the
school year. Meetings of the School Council are public meetings and are
subject to the provisions of the Open Meeting Law. (MGL 39:23A to C)
Meetings must be posted at least 48 hours in advance with the Town
Clerk’s office in the appropriate town(s), and minutes must be
maintained as required.
Each council is encouraged to set its calendar of regular meetings
for the year at its first meeting of the school year, and to post these
meetings on the District website and/or their own school website in
addition to the posting required by Massachusetts law. Where
circumstances warrant, the council may choose to call additional
meetings. The scope of the school council does not require, and
therefore does not qualify for, executive session.
The role of the School Council is to meet regularly with the school Principal and to assist in:
Adoption of educational goals for the school and student performance
goals for the school which are consistent with state and district
policies and standards.
Identification of the educational needs of the students attending the school.
Review of the school building budget
Formulation of a school improvement plan that may be implemented only after review and approval by the Superintendent.
The School Council of the High School will review student handbook
each spring to consider changes in disciplinary policy to take effect
the following school year.
The School Council may not expand the scope of its authority beyond
that established in law or expressly granted by School Committee policy.
The council will have no authority over matters that are subject to
Good practice also suggests that a Council should not become involved
as an ombudsman or a grievance committee in individual cases that
involve students, parents, teachers, and other school staff.
The Superintendent or his/her designee will develop a list of topics
to be addressed in each School Improvement Plan and a consistent written
format for School Improvement Plans which will be used by all the
School Councils in the Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional
School Districts. (See policy BDFB)
Each School Council’s School Improvement Plan for advancing the
educational goals of the school and improving student performance will
be submitted annually to the Superintendent for approval. Each School
Improvement Plan will be presented to the appropriate School Committee
for review in order to ensure consistency with the 3-year District
Improvement Plan and the District Annual Action Plan. The
Superintendent, however, will have the final approval authority of all
school Improvement Plans. (See policy BDFB)
MGL 30A:18, 30A:20, 30A:21, 30A:22, 30A:23, 69:11, 71:38Q , 71:38Q 1/2, 71:59C, 150E, 268A
Region Voted to Approve: 2/28/12
Amherst Voted to Approve: 3/20/12
Pelham Voted to Approve: 5/3/12