School Site Council (SSC)
Each SFUSD school must have an elected School Site Council (SSC) to represent parents, students, community members, and school staff in the school governance process. The SSC has a number of important responsibilities, including:
- Reviewing and analyzing student achievement data,
- gathering community input,
- helping develop the Balanced Scorecard/Single Plan for Student Achievement (BSC/SPSA) and the school site budget,
- and monitoring the implementation of the plan and budget.
What families can expect with their school’s planning process
Each SFUSD school is expected to hold at least two school community meetings (often in addition to several School Site Council and ELAC meetings) to develop the site plan for next year.
These are the steps in the school planning process:
- Review data about your school and students and reflect on how your school is doing to support students to
succeed. Examples of information you can review include:
- Academic assessments, such as SBAC/CAASPP, Fountas & Pinnell, CELDT, writing assessments, and FEP reclassification data
- Attendance, out-of-class referrals and suspension data
- Student and family school climate surveys
- Based on that data, set goals and identify priorities for the next school year. What are the programs, services, and other resources your school wants to focus on, to reach these goals?
- Beginning the week of February 22, look at how the draft school budget can best support these goals and priorities.
How you can participate
- Participate in School Site Council, ELAC and school planning meetings
- Participate in your school’s student and parent/family surveys to make sure your voice is heard
- Participate in the annual School Planning Retreat
Other elected advisory committees
In addition to the SSC, some schools are required to have other elected advisory committees, depending on the characteristics of their student populations. These advisory committees help underrepresented students and their families play a larger role in school governance:
The SSC, SAC, and ELAC can bring diverse ideas to the table, and help the school craft a shared plan for improvement. The most effective councils and committees are able to focus on the big picture, make a concerted effort to achieve authentic participation of staff and families, diagnose problems, develop innovative and effective solutions, and work collaboratively to monitor progress.
What are the roles of the School Site Council (SSC)?
A School Site Council must be established at all San Francisco Schools. The elected members of the SSC represent parents, students, community members, and school staff in school governance. By state law, the SSC must oversee the site-based budgeting of categorical funds and the development and monitoring of the BSC/SPSA. The SSC is expected to:
- Review and analyze student data.
- Solicit community input, including feedback from the ELAC.
- Assist the principal in developing the Academic Plan and school site budget.
- Monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the BSC/SPSA on an ongoing basis.
- Approve categorical funding (Title I) in the BSC/SPSA and/or review the school site budget (schools without Title I) before it is submitted to the District for final review and approval.
What is the composition of members of the SSC?
The council shall be composed of the principal and representatives of teachers selected by teachers at the school; other school staff selected by other school staff at the school; parents of students attending the school or community members selected by parents of students and, in secondary schools, students selected by students (California Education Code Section 52852).
How many members are elected to the School Site Council at the elementary level?
At the elementary level the council shall be constituted to ensure parity between (a) school staff members (principal, classroom teachers and other school staff); and (b) parent/community members (EC 52852). In other words one-half of the members must be school staff (classroom teachers shall comprise the majority of this half of the council) and the other half must be parents/community members.
For example, a 10-member SSC could satisfy this requirement
- Five School staff members (1 - principal, 3 – classroom teachers and 1 - other school staff), and
- Five Parent/community members.
A site may choose to have a larger SSC, but parity between school staff members and parent/community members must be maintained.
How many members are elected to the School Site Council at the secondary level?
At the secondary level the council shall be constituted to ensure parity between (a) school staff members (principal, classroom teachers and other school staff); and (b) parent/community members and students (EC 52852). In addition, the number of parent/community members must be equal to the number of student members. In other words, one-half of the members must be school staff (with classroom teachers comprising the majority of this half of the council), one-quarter of the members must be parents/community members, and one-quarter of the members must be students.
For example, a 12-member SSC could satisfy this requirement:
- Six School staff members (1 - principal, 4 – classroom teachers and 1 - other school staff), and
- Three Parent/community members, and
- Three Student members.
A site may choose to have a larger SSC, but parity between school staff members and parent/community/student members must be maintained; the parity between parent/community members and student members must also be maintained.
Who are the “classroom teachers” elected to the School Site Council?
A “classroom teacher” is a credentialed employee of the school district whose primary job responsibility is to provide daily instruction to students on their registry/class list. School staff members of the SSC are elected by other school staff members.
Who are the “other school staff” elected to the School Site Council?
“Other school staff” are persons who work directly with students. This includes: Non-classroom teachers (e.g., resource teachers, instructional reform facilitators), school psychologists, counselors, school nurses, instructional aides, school clerks, custodians and learning support professionals. School staff members of the SSC are elected by other school staff members. The school should ensure that all staff who work directly with students, whether or not they are classroom teachers, are invited to participate in the election process.
Who are the “parents” elected to the School Site Council?
A “parent” is a mother, father or guardian of a child. A parent has the full responsibility for the nurturing and care-giving of children.
Who are the “community members” elected to the School Site Council?
A “community member” is a person who is not employed by the school district, nor the parent or guardian of a pupil attending the participating school. Community members seeking seats on the SSC are listed on the same ballot as parents. Parent/community members of the SSC are elected by parents.
Can seats on the SSC be reserved for members representing special school committees or interests, (e.g., PTA president, SAC chairperson, ELAC chairperson, department representatives, etc.)?
No, seats may not be reserved on the SSC. Members must be elected to the council. When coordinating the election, schools are encouraged to seek diversity in their candidates to ensure that the SSC broadly represents the entire school community.
Can parent members of a School Site Council (SSC) be employed at that school?
No, the parent cannot serve as a “parent member” if (s)he is employed at that school site; however, (s)he may be elected as a “staff member” on the SSC. If (s)he has a child attending another SFUSD school, s(he) is eligible to run for a seat as a “parent member” on that school’s SSC.
Can student body officers at the secondary schools automatically serve as student members of the SSC?
No, the student members must be elected to their seats on the SSC. However, one strategy a school might use is to make School Site Council membership one of the required duties of student body officers. They could be elected to both positions at once, via the student body elections.
Who coordinates the election for the School Site Council (SSC)?
In the SFUSD, the Union Building Committee (UBC) has been designated to coordinate the SSC elections for staff members. Typically, the principal or designee coordinates the SSC election for parent and community members and for student members.
When should SSC elections take place? What is the term of office?
The Department of State and Federal Programs announces the SSC elections deadline each year; generally, it is in mid-October. The term of office is two years.
Can elections be organized so that SSC members’ terms of office are staggered?
Yes, this would provide for continuity and schools are encouraged to do this. As new members are elected to the council, “experienced” members would serve as models. The council could continue its critical work without the interruption of beginning anew every two years.
Is the School Site Council required to develop bylaws?
Yes, the School Site Council is required to develop and maintain a set of bylaws. The SSC may seek assistance from school officials in this process. The bylaws must be in accord with SFUSD policies and state law. There is no state requirement for review or approval of council bylaws by any other entity; however, the bylaws should be regularly consulted in the conduct of SSC business and revised whenever a need is identified. Sample bylaws are available on the SFUSD website.
What may be done to ensure reasonable attendance of members at council meetings?
The School Site Council bylaws may specify the participation required of members and the means to vacate seats and select alternate members.
If sites have questions regarding the SSC where can they find assistance?
Assistance is available from the Department of State and Federal Programs: 415-379-7618.