January SAC Tip of the Month: Keep Up the Momentum in the New Calendar Year

Posted on December 28, 2018
Categories: 2019 January, FACE News, Focus on FACE, School Advisory Councils

Now that the holiday break is coming to a close, it’s time for students and staff to hit the ground running again–and for School Advisory Councils as well! Perhaps your SAC has had one or more meetings in the first half of the school year. Between January and May, SACs should plan to have two or more meetings. In the beginning of the school year, your SAC may have had elections, set bylaws, or discussed initial agenda items. Looking for future topics that your SAC may want to discuss? Curious about what some SACs have been up to? Here are some tips on topics that your SAC may want to tackle in the second half of the school year.

Attendance and Lateness: We often hear that many SACs choose to talk about attendance and lateness. Your SAC can discuss some of the specific attendance obstacles within your school as well as potential strategies that may help your school. Your SAC can also brainstorm creative ways to get students to come to school not only every day but also on time!

Arrival and Dismissal: Perhaps your school needs an arrival or dismissal plan. Each school may face different obstacles: maybe your school needs volunteers to watch students before they’re allowed in the school building, better communication about when students are allowed in, a breakfast plan, staggered dismissal times per grade, varied pickup locations, and more. Your SAC can begin to discuss where the difficulties in arrival and dismissal are and propose initiatives that can help.

Further Recruitment and Retention of SAC Members & Participants: A common issue that many SACs face are parents and families dropping out of the group. If this is something that your SAC is facing, you can team up to think about ways to keep SAC Members coming back to meetings, how to recruit future SAC members and keep them involved for longer than just one year or one term. Each member of your SAC may have something different to offer–resources or partnerships that may help recruit future SAC participants–so it’s valuable to pool those resources together.

Looking at Data: A good place to look at data in regards to your school’s progress is The School District of Philadelphia’s School Progress Reports (SPR). The SPR will provide your SAC information about a spectrum of different things including academic progress, climate issues, and more. Click here to see your school’s progress report and see what pieces of data your SAC might want to discuss.

Gearing Up For Next Year: When it comes to SAC membership and participation, we strongly recommend planning ahead in order to prepare for the next school year. See who is going to stay on your SAC, who wants to be a part of your SAC team, and prepare a SAC election date to ensure that there will be a dependable team come next school year.

Your SAC may choose to take on one of these suggested initiatives or choose a totally different topic. Remember that each school is unique and has its own needs, so what other school SACs are talking about may not be what your school wants to talk about. Remember the three goals of a SAC: to support academic achievement, improve school climate, and to strengthen family engagement. As long as your SAC initiatives work to strengthen one of these categories, go ahead and get the ball rolling! You can check out SAC Training Materials here. There are worksheets that your SAC can use together as well as past SAC Academy presentations about attendance, SAC meetings, and much more. Let’s make the second half of this school year a productive one!