Thursday, September 25, 2008

Contract for Excellence Funds and SLT's

Last June, schools received their Contracts for Excellence Funds (C4E). According to the "Department of Education 2008-2009 Contracts For Excellence Public Hearings" guide (p.11), "C4E planning is included in the 2008-09 Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP) process, which requires input from the School Leadership Team (SLT). SLT's are also being provided with C4E training."

In conjunction with the SLT, decisions were to be made concerning how the money would be spent among the mandated categories, which included smaller class size.

In July, the principal completed a survey on how the money would be spent. You can look up your school and make a copy of the four page survey by accessing the Contracts For Excellence Link on this web page.

If your SLT was shut out of the process, put the topic on the agenda for your next meeting.Hold the principal accountable and assert your rights as members of the SLT.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting Your School Leadership Team Off to a Good Start

The responsibility for assuring that the school has a functioning SLT rests with the PA/PTA and the UFT Chapter Leader. If left to the Principal, it will not happen.

There should be a meeting in September in which the following is addressed:

1) The Team should have elected representatives that include teachers, with 50% comprised of parents. The Team should have two student representatives at the High School level. The Principal, PA/PTA President, and UFT Chapter Leader are Core members. There should ideally be 12-14 SLT members.

2) Officers should be selected by consensus that include a Chair Person, which should not be the Principal. The Chair Person should be knowledgeable of the SLT process and have good planning and leadership skills.

3) The meeting schedule should be planned for the rest of the school year. There should be monthly meetings of at least two to three hour duration during after school hours. A stipend ($10 per hour) is provided up to 30 hours, which is the minimum time required.

4) All SLT members should be given copies of the 2008-2009 preliminary CEP or template along with the school budget. The NYCDOE has extended the time to submit the 2008-2009 CEP until early November. Developing the CEP includes a needs assessment, creating goals and writing objectives (Action Plans). The budget should be aligned with the CEP and be reflected in each Action Plan. After the 2008-2009 CEP is submitted, work should begin on the 2009-2010 CEP to assure it is completed by June.

5) A preliminary agenda should be completed for the next meeting that focuses on the CEP and budget. Any SLT member cam submit an item for the agenda before the next meeting.

6) Training sessions should be scheduled for the entire Team concerning completing a CEP and aligning the school budget.

Contact Sharon Rencher ( if your school needs the 2008-2009 Template. Also, ask for the 2008-2009 CEP Guide.

Commission on School Governance Recommends Strengthening School Leadership Teams

The final report of the Commission on School Governance to the Public Advocate recommends strengthening School Leadership Teams as one of the checks on Mayoral control to ensure parent, staff and community participation in school decisions. The findings and recommendations will be presented to Cathy Nolan, the Chair of the Education Committee of the State Assembly.The report can be accessed under "links" on this page.

Concerning School Leadership Teams, it states:

1) "Existing law needs to be revised to guarantee that there is more opportunities for meaningful input by parents and communities in the decision making process and the education of their children" (p.25).

2) "School Leadership Teams must be invigorated at the school level to serve as a voice for parents and a resource for principals, teachers and administration in the development of a Comprehensive Educational Plan tied to a school budget" (p.9).

3) "School Leadership Teams have not functioned adequately since the implementation of mayoral control" (p.26)

4) "The legislature must reaffirm the role of SLT's to serve as a voice for parents and a resource for principals,teachers and staff in developing a Comprehensive Educational Plan aligned with the school budget" (p.34)

5) "To enable parents and other SLT members to perform their duties ably, relevant training must be provided regularly".

State Education Law on SLT's as well as Mayoral control sunsets in June 2009.

Jacob Morris and I, representing the School Leadership Team Empowerment Alliance, testified before the Commission on April 3, 2008.

We recommend that certain parts of State Education Law (2590-h(15) and 2590-r) be re-written to strengthen the law, clearing up any ambiguities concerning the role of School Leadership Teams. Please read the post on that subject to view our suggestions for re-writing the law.