School Councils Are Now Principal Advisory Councils

School Council from here on out will be referred to as Principal Advisory Council (PAC). DeKalb Schools administration has decided that PACs will now operate under the control and management of the DeKalb County School District.

school council

For almost 20 years, O.C.G.A. § 20-2-85–86 required that school councils be established at every public school. Establishing a school council at some of our lower performing schools has been challenging. Last year, board members had various meetings with district administrators to discuss solutions to this problem.

School district administration has decided to centralize control and management of the School Council and rebrand it as Principal Advisory Council (PAC). This will ease the formation and operations of PACs at our schools where establishing a school council has been challenging. Hopefully this will not have a negative impact on our existing high performing school councils. That will depend on the flexibility given to those PACs. Thus far I’m concerned about the district defining the Bylaws including elections and the make up of the PAC.

What are your thoughts?

Principal Advisory Council Bylaws School Year 2017/2018
DeKalb Schools Principal Advisory Councils Web Site.

Overview
The purpose of the Principal Advisory Council is to bring parents, school employees, students and community members together. The Principal Advisory Council provides advice and recommendations to the school principal, the local board of education and local school superintendent on matters related to school climate/culture, student achievement, and community partnerships.

The members of the Principal Advisory Council are accountable to the constituents they serve and shall:

  • Maintain a school-wide perspective on issues;
  • Act as a link between the school and the community;
  • Encourage the engagement of parents and other stakeholders within the school community; and
  • Work to increase student achievement and performance through transparent operations and shared best practices.

Principal Advisory Council Authority
The Principal Advisory Council shall advise and make recommendations on matters relating to school improvement and student achievement.
The Principal Advisory Council shall:

  • Review the Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP) and monitor progress toward goals,
  • Have the authority to create ad hoc committees of PAC members, parents, staff, and community members to provide input on school initiatives to improve school climate/culture, student achievement, and community partnerships,
  • Participate in the selection of the school principal, in the case of a vacancy, in accordance with the written policy of the DeKalb County School District,
  • Designate one Principal Advisory Council representative to participate in the Cluster Advisory Council, and
  • Have the same immunity as the DeKalb Board of Education in all matters directly related to the functions of the Principal Advisory Council.

Elections
Council elections will be conducted by the District in the fall before October 1.

The electing body for the parent/guardian members (as verified through the District’s Student Information System) shall consist of all parents/guardians eligible to serve as a parent/guardian member of the Principal Advisory Council. The electing body for teachers shall consist of all full-time non-supervisory staff eligible to serve as a teacher member of the Principal Advisory Council.

Membership
Membership on the Principal Advisory Council shall be open to principals, teachers, school employees, parents, community members and students (at high schools). The principal will be an ex officio, nonvoting member. Members of the Principal Advisory Council shall not receive compensation to serve on the Principal Advisory Council. Councils may appoint additional members. The recommended maximum number of members is 11. Councils may create subcommittees and may establish the membership for those committees. The DCSD reserves the right to establish the protocols for the Principal Selection Committee and the Construction Advisory Committee.

Elected Members of the Principal Advisory Council shall include the following two categories:

  • Four (4) parents/guardians of students enrolled in the school, excluding parents who are also employees of the school, elected by the parents/guardians of the school,
  • Two (2) teachers (non-supervisory instructional staff) elected by the full-time nonsupervisory staff of the school.

Appointed Members of the Principal Advisory Council may include the following:

  • Additional parents, students (high school only) and/or community members nominated by the elected Principal Advisory Council members and approved by the elected Principal Advisory Council members in a public meeting.
  • Additional ex officio members nominated by the elected Principal Advisory Council members and approved by the elected Principal Advisory Council members in a public meeting.

33 responses to “School Councils Are Now Principal Advisory Councils

  1. The same thing happened at Atlanta Public Schools. APS told us we the parents would have more control and we don’t. The new rebranded GO Teams have no parental authority. The GO TEAM (like the PAC) is stacked with employees beholden to the principal and community members selected by the principal.
    So what we have at APS at our school is the principal, two members she selects, four teachers and three parents The parents have no power at all because they have much fewer votes.
    So I say, if you have to go with a PAC, be sure to ensure that ELECTED PARENTS (parents whose children attend the school are elected by other parents whose children attend the school and that they are NOT the same as the PTA and Foundation board members.
    At schools where parents are active, we and you need more parents as officers and board members and council members, not the same people on several boards AND they need to be autonomous, not beholden to, not selected by, the administration of the school.

  2. DSW2Contributor

    What good is a school advisory council if there is no Principal to advise?

    Right now, there are 10 Principal openings posted to PATS: Dunaire, Evansdale, Henderson, Jolly, McNair, Redan, and Stone Elementary Schools, Lithonia and Bethune Middle Schools and Stone Mountain High.

    I expect another 9 Principals will be leaving their schools when the Palace announces the names of the two new Regional Superintendents and the seven new regional support positions.

    Figure on some retirements and other departures that haven’t yet been announced yet, so DCSD could be starting the summer with 25+ Principal vacancies.

  3. DSW2Contributor

    DCSD Region 4 is Desperate for Teachers; job fair tomorrow:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-pkK9ob1Dn05etH50sXOi-EPZoutFrtm/view

  4. Grandfather clause?

    Wow… what do you say for the schools where councils have been in full force, operating well, partnering well with teachers and Administration in the building, getting tons done, etc. recruiting every year, balancing seats that need filling with carrying over some for continuity… in essence, to the well-functioning Councils for whom this will all be likely a huge step backwards? In the current way of DCSD, it’s insanity to think, once again, that centralizing something is going to make things better. The announcement mentions that this can be helpful for schools where getting a Council running has been an issue and calls out those special concerns – no concern for the places where things are going great, and probably far better than can be expected once DCSD gets into the mix?

  5. I think some of the principals have been removed like last year.

  6. @Grandfather clause?,
    You are spot on! That’s the trouble with DCSD. In situations where some things are working and some things are not, DCSD always decides to set policy based on the lowest common denominator.

    It’s their obsession with defining “equity” as “equal.” They have no backbone to support Councils (or schools and teachers, for that matter) that have worked hard to be effective.

    Rather than using limited resources to strengthen Councils that are having difficulty, DCSD uses its limited resources to bring all Councils down to a level that they think even a dysfunctional school should be able to meet. Everything has to be controlled by the Central Office.

    This is so unfortunate, but completely predictable.

  7. Stan Jester

    It’s all about “Closing the gap”

  8. Sure, it’s about “closing the gap.”

    But do we do it by lowering the expectations at the top of the gap, or by authentic support of those on the bottom of the gap?

    It’s clear to me that DCSD favors lowering the expectations at the top, so the gap will be smaller and everything will look better.

    Except that it isn’t better at all, but just hidden.

  9. I do not see community members represent TRS in the new PAC. This is a recurring theme, Stan. It does not matter what business and home owners have to offer or contribute any more. Many of our schools are continuing to be successful through these two groups. It cannot be done by parents and teachers alone.

  10. Mr Jester,
    I first want to say that I truly appreciate you and Nancy being willing to answer questions and provide information. I knew Nancy when she was on the BOE. I was at one of the schools that she represented. She was such an advocate for the best thing for all children. I just wanted to say this. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the good things that people do. I think that people should be treated with respect.
    I was told by an elementary school friend that they were informed that their principal was being removed at the end of this current school year. It is apparently one of those situations like last year. How will that school , principal , students and parents be able to close our that school in a positive way? This could be a rumor. That is one of the things that is so frustrating about DeKalb. Unless it hits the news, we do not know about it.
    Mr. Jester, I don’t want to see anyone lose their job unless it is a very good reason. Our HR Department has had one bad situation after the other, but there are no ramifications.
    What special grace is extended to HR that cannot be given to our bus drivers or principals.
    There are factors related to the home and community that also impacts test scores. The schools cannot be responsible for everything.
    Are principals being reassigned like last year?

  11. Stan Jester

    Joy, A number of principals are being removed from their current position for various reasons. Academic performance of the school is job one.

  12. C D,
    PACs have elected members and appointed members. Teachers and parents are elected.

    Community members are appointed. They may be nominated by the elected Principal Advisory Council members and approved by the elected Principal Advisory Council members in a public meeting. (see Stan’s post above)

  13. DSW2Contributor

    Sounds like a Stone Mountain HS student googled their teacher:
    “A teacher was removed from the classroom this week after allegations surfaced that he raped a student in New York in the 1980s, DeKalb County School District officials said Thursday.

    Stone Mountain High School teacher Rodney Alejandro was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.”
    AJC article: https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-teacher-leave-after-80s-new-york-rape-allegations/7R9XI9NogvHromEgKAgGMP/

    Here’s the May 2, 2016 New York Post article about this allegations against Mr. Alejando:
    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-teacher-leave-after-80s-new-york-rape-allegations/7R9XI9NogvHromEgKAgGMP/

  14. Stan,
    When are schools going to find out if their principal is being removed?

  15. Stan Jester

    I don’t think there is a schedule for that.

  16. Stan,
    No schedule, but this information has already been given to the BOE?

  17. Stan Jester

    I don’t believe the board has been given that information.

  18. Principal, Dunaire Elementary Principal
    Principal, Evansdale Elementary
    Principal, Henderson Mill Elem Principal
    Principal, Jolly Elementary Principal
    Lithonia Middle School Principal
    M.M. Bethune Middle Principal
    McNair Discovery Learning Principal
    Peachtree Principal, Middle School
    Redan Elementary Principal
    Stone Mtn Elementary Principal
    I was trying to copy and paste. I may have missed some. These were the principal jobs listed on PATS.
    I didn’t do a very neat job. Please forgive me. It has been a long day.

  19. Fed Up Anonymous

    These are phony organizations that will speak for parents. They’ll pretend to be ‘elected’ parents. But they’re not really made up of parents. And they’re not really elected -they’re appointed.

  20. WHY?
    Are you asking for people to vote are run for a job and your giving it to a school Council .when you know only going too do what the Principal tell them.the school will never see improvements are adding something new to the learning table

  21. This is off topic, but I wasn’t able to comment elsewhere.

    DCSD is suing the City of Atlanta over the way it handled the Emory annexation. At the time, when Dr. Green talked about last minute changes that transferred $2M to APS, I thought DCSD had been naive and relied on a handshake on the deal.

    However, the 15-page lawsuit (available at http://ocgnews.com/dcsc-sues-city-atlanta-emory-annexation/) states that the Atlanta City Council did indeed ignore its own policies and voted on an Emory annexation item that was materially different from the item that had been read in two previous City Council meetings.

    So I’m glad that DCSD is pursuing this issue. I think if DCSD had been more clear that its understanding with Atlanta on the Emory annexation was in writing, but was then changed, then DCSD would have had more public support back in the fall.

  22. DSW2Contributor

    A little birdie told me that some Principal departures may be announced this week.

  23. Stan Jester

    HR is supposed to give the board a principal and asst principal vacancy report on Monday at the works session.

  24. DSW2Contributor

    Staff at some impacted schools were notified today. I think they sent emails, so be sure to check your work account if you are out for the summer.

    The newly-created vacancies are NOT yet listed on PATS. PATS does have eight Principal vacancies listed: Henderson, Midvale, Hambrick, Redan, and Stone Mountain Elementary Schools, plus Peachtree and Bethune Middle Schools, and McNair Discovery.

    Stan, thank you for mentioning the Monday work session. I assume that all notifications will be made and the jobs posted to PATS prior to the work session.

  25. Don't Speak For Me Thanks

    Cities need to conduct their own scientific surveys of parents and stakeholders. So that contrived fake parent action groups don’t speak for the crowd while pushing some inside agenda

  26. DSW2Contributor

    Seven new Principal openings appeared on PATS today:

    Brockett ES
    Laurel Ridge ES
    Pleasantdale ES
    Indian Creek ES
    Chapel Hill MS
    Harris ES
    Cedar Grove MS

    I *assume* that these seven Principals were promoted to regional positions.

  27. It seems poor timing to move the Pleasantdale Elementary School principal right as construction of a brand new school begins. Coming in as a new principal is difficult enough, without having this additional critical task. Safety, planning, consultation with staff and the neighborhood will require much more attention than normal. I pray that DCSD finds a suitable replacement, and I wish Principal Brown well as she moves on.

  28. DSW2Contributor

    Two departure letters are on Facebook.

    Syrenthia Venessa Bines-Truitt is becoming “Regional Coordinator III for Region 2” according to Brockett ES’s facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/Brockett-Elementary-School-1533481003576730/

    Terri Brown is becoming a “Regional Coordinator for Dekalb County Schools” according to Pleasantdale ES’s facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=598428760531501&id=470393616668350
    It doesn’t say which region he is going to.

    There’s no mention of the Principal leaving on the official Laurel Ridge ES facebook page and there does not seem to be any official facebook pages for Harris, Indian Creek, Chapel Hill or Cedar Grove middle schools.

  29. What is a regional coordinator III? Regions already have a superintendent, a coordinator and an executive assistant.
    Is Syrenthia Bines-Truitt in addition to the region 2 coordinator Makeba West or is she replacing West?

  30. Mr. Jester,

    The BOE Meeting is Monday. There is no HR report listed on the agenda. There is no attachment connected to the HR Report. This seems to be a regular event each month. Is there a reason that the DCSD does not post that information with the rest of the BOE Agenda? I was hoping that things would be more open with a new HR director, but I guess somethings never change.

  31. Stan Jester

    AB, We are adding two new regions in South DeKalb.

    Joy, The theory is that the HR department runs the report Monday morning … to get the very latest info to the board. I’m with you. I would rather have it a few days ahead of time. Also, the new chief of that department is probably still drinking from the fire hose.

  32. DSW2Contributor

    AB, see Stan’s “Making a Big School District Feel Small” blog from August 2016:
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2016/08/6632/
    According to the chart on that page, Makeba West is a “Coordinator Leadership”.

    As I understand things, the “Regional Coordinator III” jobs are brand new positions that fall directly below the “Regional Superintendents” and are higher than the “Coordinator Leaderships”.

    The Wallace Foundation grant (that Michael Thurmond won for DCSD) would have required creating “Principal Supervisor” positions that would be in chart where these “Regional Coordinator III” positions are going. However, Out of Steam Green quietly abandoned the Wallace Foundation, so I don’t actually know if the “Regional Coordinator III” jobs are supposed to be the same as “Principal Supervisors”.

    I think Out of Steam Green is creating a total of 13 new palace jobs. There are the 7 new “Regional Coordinator III” positions, plus he is creating 2 new Regional Superintendents, plus 2 new “Coordinator Leadership” positions and 2 new “Executive Assistants”.

  33. Stan,

    Thank you for answering my question. I appreciate you be willing to help us stay abreast of information in the school district. It should not be this difficult to find out information. I will check on Monday. Since the school system will be closed on Fridays, I am not sure what is going occur between now and Monday morning.
    It just seems like the DCSD does not want us to have an opportunity to look over the information in time to raise questions and make comments. Perhaps there is concern when teachers are not getting significant raises, there will be questions if there are too many non school based leadership jobs that have been created and filled.

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