January 2021 SAC Tip of the Month: Taking SAC Meeting Minutes

Posted on January 5, 2021
Categories: 2021 January, School Advisory Councils

Utilizing various online platforms throughout the city, School Advisory Councils (SACs) have been virtually meeting across our District schools. As a group of school stakeholders come together to discuss relevant school topics, there may often be many strands of thoughts, questions, and opinions that are presented. A good way to consolidate these different thoughts can be to take meeting minutes or notes during SAC meetings.

Taking meeting notes can have many benefits:

  • Meeting notes can put everyone on the same page. Meeting notes can be sent out to everyone in the group so that those who were present can review and refresh what was talked about and those who were absent can catch up on the information that they missed.
  • All thoughts can be captured. Another benefit of meeting notes is that it can capture all of the different thoughts or opinions that were present and have a space in which all of those thoughts are reflected.
  • Notes can bring organization to a meeting. Meeting notes can also help organize the SAC meeting if the discussion took a tangent or deviation of some sort– the notes can still organize information based on categories, subheadings, or titles.

There are also various ways that SAC meeting minutes can be recorded. Here are some tips that may help structure meeting minutes:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Meeting minutes do not have to be very long, and not every single word that is spoken during the meeting has to be captured. In fact, writing down every single thing that was said could be overwhelming for someone to read afterward. The beauty of SAC meeting notes could be that things could be written down in succinct bullet points. Oftentimes, there can also be phrases that are written rather than full sentences.
  • Jot down names. If it’s helpful to a SAC team to remember who said what, the notetaker could also record the names of who gave what suggestion or opinion.
  • Follow the meeting agenda. Usually, a SAC meeting will have an agenda for that day. A helpful way to organize SAC meeting notes can be to follow the existing meeting agenda. Under each heading or topic, the notetaker can record what people’s responses and thoughts were so that everyone can know what unfolded during each topic of discussion.
  • Include action steps, things to follow-up on, and questions that were left unanswered. It can be helpful to include action steps in a SAC meeting agenda so that everyone can know who needs to do what. Leaving some space at the end of the meeting notes can help provide a place to start the next meeting with — addressing questions that were left unanswered or items that still need to be followed-up on.

While SACs are not required to take meeting minutes, we wanted to provide some helpful suggestions for ways to organize your SAC meetings into this next term to keep everyone on the same page! We hope that meeting minutes can be a helpful tool for your school’s SAC meetings. If you have any additional questions or thoughts about your school’s SAC or great tips on SAC meeting minutes, feel free to email us at sac@philasd.org!