Overview of School Advisory Council
The School Advisory Council (or SAC) is part of the overall leadership structure at our school. Providing a forum for open discussion and problem-solving, SAC gives 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. SAC promote collaboration and understanding and builds support for Pine View's overall goals as well as individual programs, policies, and initiatives.
SAC is 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.
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.)