District Site Council

At the beginning of the school year the BUSD board approved their existing Parent Involvement Policy and Regulations.  The policy calls for the administration to work with parents to develop a plan to find ways to increase parent involvement. Even though the board voted 5-0, I don’t believe there has been any move by the administration to sit down with parents to develop a parent involvement plan.

After last month's discussion regarding instructional training, Mrs. Latham informed me there would be a workshop to outline her multi-year instructional development in a future board meeting. I think this would also be useful to present to parents. Currently the district doesn't have a platform to deliver this workshop to parents.

I have a proposal that I think will provide a platform to present workshops, develop a parent involvement plan, and to get valuable input from parents about agenda items the board will be considering. Having parent input before controversial agenda items are considered, might help you avoid future embarrassing moments. My idea is a District Site Council.

A District Site Council could be structured the same way as the School Site Councils, made up of an equal amount of parents and district representatives. The District Site Council, like the School Site Councils, would have very little, or no, policy making power but would be an advisory committee. They could be presented the workshops that are presented to the board and be informed about future agenda items.

This would provide parents with the ability to provide feedback and at the same time give the administration a better understanding of how the board’s future actions might be received by parents before they are actually considered. The District Site Council could have the ability to setup committees like a parent involvement plan committee. 

I know Mrs. Lara is concerned about district wide parent involvement taking away from what the School Site Councils do but I think this could add value to the School Site Councils. I believe more parents would be motivated to get involved in their School Site Councils if they knew they also had representation at the District Site Council.

Here are some of my ideas but obviously the District Site Council would establish their own rules and bylaws:
  • Comprised of an equal number of parents and district representatives
  • One parent from each School Site Council would be selected by the parent members of their site council
  • Meets once a month in the first week, before the School Site Councils, to allow parents to report back to their School Site Council
  • Meetings held in the evening with child care offered
  • The District Site Council’s chair will be a parent representative
  • The administration should determine their representation but should include a teacher, a classified employee, a site administrator, and a board member, or two
The benefits would be the following:
  • Provide parents a platform to be heard
  • Provide the administration with direct input from parents
  • School Site Council parent members have already exhibited a dedication and willingness to get involved; their input would be a valuable asset to the district.
  • Increase the value of School Site Councils. More parents may get involved in their School Site Councils if they know they will have more access to the administration

Here are some specific issues that a District Site Council Parent Involvement Plan Committee could address to increase parent involvement:
  • what is the district going to do to make parents aware of the resources and programs available?
  • How many parents are taking advantage of the existing programs and resources?
  • What do parents think of the programs?
  • What recommendations do parents have to improve the programs and increase parent participation?
  • What can the district do to capitalize on the enthusiasm of the kindergarten parents at the Kindergarten Round-up?
  • How will the district harness this enthusiasm to keep these new BUSD parents engaged and involved in the years to come?
  • What platform or vehicle to can be used to best communicate with parents?