Share Power and Decision Making
“Shared leadership… is less like an orchestra, where the conductor is always in charge, and more like a jazz band, where leadership is passed around… depending on what the music demands at the moment and who feels most moved by the spirit to express the music” (Schlechy, 2001).
What is this best practice area?
Shared power and decision making is about providing opportunities for ALL family voices to be heard and reflected in school planning, practices, and decisions making at the school. Typically, this is done through showing up at meetings, but just because a family can’t be present or may not be available, it is still important for families to voice opinions, questions and concerns.
Diverse family perspectives and voices are heard, reflected and help inform critical discussions and decisions both within schools and the district as a whole.
Similarly, when school leadership, advisory groups, and governance teams reflect and represent the whole school community and work together across diverse and different backgrounds, it leads to better academic, social-emotional and behavioral outcomes for students, especially when tackling issues of access and equity.
Make this Best Practice Area Come to Life
1. Create a Virtual Suggestion Box
2. Inform All Families about the Diverse Parent Groups that Exist
3. Reflect on Family Representation and Shared Power at Your School Site
Create a Virtual Suggestion Box
Create a virtual suggestion box using a google form for families to provide input about school programs, share ideas to improve communication, and elevate the strategies that are working at the school to include family voice. Be sure to make phone calls to families who may have limited or no internet access.
Share this template with families to get their input. Be sure to make a copy!
For any parent leaders at your school, take a deeper dive by getting their feedback with this Google form template. Again, please make a copy of the template and the accompanying Excel data spreadsheet. If you feel comfortable sharing the data from these forms, please consider sharing it with the Office of Family Partnership. It helps us to understand how to best support our school sites.
Inform All families about the Diverse Parent Groups that Exist
Inform all families about the diverse parent groups that exist within your school and their leadership functions, such as the African American Parent Advisory Council, English Learner Advisory Committee, Inclusive Practices Parent Advisory Committee, PTA/PTOs, and School Site Council.
It is important to use a variety of methods to communicate and share this information with families, such as email, text, phone calls, school websites and newsletters.
Explore your understanding, commitment and knowledge about these parent affinity groups with this tool.
Reflect on Family Representation and Shared Power at Your School Site
It is essential that staff tackle reflective questions about family representation and shared power during staff meetings, School Site Council meetings and professional development opportunities.
Questions about diverse representation:
- What voices are represented on your school's School Site Council (SSC)?
- What voices are missing from the conversation?
- What are two concrete actions staff will take this year to bring the missing voices to the conversation to inform site-based decisions and planning?
To Do: Use the following tools to help site staff examine how well staff practices reflect diverse voices and perspectives in the decision making process at your school.
- Explore how well your site's family partnership processes incorporate diverse voices in the decision-making process with this tool.
- Bridging Racial, Class and Cultural Differences
Questions about shared power:
- “How can I share power with anyone when I don’t have any positional power as a teacher, family liaison, support staff, etc.?”
- “If parents and families don’t understand curriculum, teaching best practices, education policy, etc., how can they help us, as a school, make effective decisions?"
- "What does collaboration and effective partnership with families look like in my role?"
To Do: Use this tool to assess how well your school community is sharing power and practicing democracy with your families.
This page was last updated on June 6, 2022