Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is Your School Leadership Team a Sham?

Is your School LeadershipTeam (SLT) a sham?

The dictionary defines sham as "a hoax", "hypocrisy","imposture","an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine".Does this describe your SLT? If so, and you are a SLT member, you need to take some action. In addition, if you are a parent or teacher whose views are suppose to be represented on the SLT, you also need to take some action.

The SLT is the vehicle for shared decision making among the principal,teachers, parents,and others in the school community.The SLT is suppose to create the Comprehensive Educational Plan(CEP) for the school and to be intimately involved in the budget process (spending of school money).

Is your SLT meeting one where you go and listen to the principal give you updates on what he or she is doing in the school? Do you find out about major changes in the school after the fact? Have you ever seen or read the school's CEP which you are suppose to be developing? Have you seen the school budget and had any meaningful input? Do you give the principal a good SLT survey review at the end of the year even though there was no CEP collaboration? Did you sign the CEP last June that stated you participated in the CEP and budget process even though you did not? If you are a UFT Chapter Leader,do you give legitimacy to this process by sitting on a non-functional SLT and being silent. If so, you may be part of the problem in perpetuating a fraud that is violating State Educational Law.

What can you do if you are an SLT member in this situation? One recommendation is to learn about your responsibilities and speak with other SLT members about it.Put the issues on the SLT meeting agenda for discussion.Confront your principal with the issues. Attempt to get the UFT Chapter Leader's support, who is a Core Member of the Team. Seek the assistance of the Superintendent, District School Leadership Team or Office of Parent Engagement and Advocacy ( Get non-SLT member parents and teachers in the school to support your efforts to establish a functioning SLT. If all efforts fail, then the SLT member should resign rather than be a part of a fraudulent body.

If this e-mail stirs you to action, visit the SLT Support Center at for information that will educate you about your SLT responsibilities. I recommend you read Chancellor's Regulations A-655 (SLTs) and B-801 (School Based Budgeting) which you can find links to at the site.There are also sample SLT bylaws,sample CEPs and Parent and School Title 1 requirements.

James Calantjis
SLT Support Center
718 458-4237




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