Sometimes called “School Councils,” Site-Based Councils were mandated by the Education Reform Act of 1993 as part of the Act’ s decentralization of decision-making. At every Massachusetts public school, the Council is composed of equal numbers of elected teachers and parents, together with the principal and a community representative. Generally the representatives serve staggered terms. The role of the School Council is to advise the Principal, notably in creating and evaluating the School Improvement Plan. As the Council works with the Principal on matters concerning the school as a community, members of all Bridge constituencies are invited to convey ideas and concerns to any council member. The feedback can be brought before the School Council for discussion. For more information please visit the Department of Education website.
The work of the Site Council reflects the results of the needs assessment survey administered to our community every three years. The results of the last survey identified enrichment as a need. In response, our Site Council has spent the bulk of its time this year exploring ways that we can increase enrichment opportunities for our students during and after school. The in-school part is ongoing as the faculty continues to look for ways to differentiate instruction in the classroom or between classrooms. Several grade levels have experimented with regrouping students across a grade level regularly or periodically to provide challenge, remediation, or practice learning activities for students.Differentiation of instruction is a priority for the school and the district and efforts will continue. We found that parents are very interested in after-school club-type enrichment activities for their children.
The Site Council is exploring ways to provide interest-based enrichment. One avenue we have accessed is what is called an extra duty stipend supported by the school budget. These stipends are available to teachers who provide activities such as drama, sports teams, math clubs, etc. mostly at the high school or middle schools. Since the positions are budget-based, they are limited.This year, there are only funds for five new positions for the entire district. We applied for two positions: Math Club (directed by Dan Garland, Grade 5) and Primary Drama Club (directed by Jill O'Reilly,Grade 1). Currently we have one extra duty stipend position(Shakespeare Players, Leslie Colby, Grade 5). Interested in getting involved? Please email bridgePTA@gmail.com if you would like to serve on Site Council next year.
The other idea we have is for a parent-run volunteer enrichment program. We have asked the PTA Board to consider identifying a new position:Enrichment Program Coordinator. This person would elicit parent interest in sharing their talents with a group of interested students, liaison with the office for space, advertise the offerings, etc.Volunteers would develop their own plan (# sessions, # students, day,cost for materials, etc.). This could be a wonderful opportunity to involve parents in school as role models and for students to see parents in a different light.