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School Review

School Review is a school based group of professionals and volunteers that can provide input and guidance for matters related to curriculum and policies at an individual school.

There are monthly meetings with topics such as math, lunch time activities, writing, parent-teacher communication, etc. The meetings are publicized as far in advance as possible. There can be guest speakers or a teacher or administrator as the "program."

Meetings are open to anyone in the public but only actual school review members can vote. The actual School Review Committee,i.e. the voting members, is the group that leads the meetings, sets agendas, and reaches out for participation. It is composed of five staff people plus the principal, and six parents/caregivers, (including one PTA liaison) for schools K-8. For the high school, six students can and should be members in addition to the roster first mentioned. Members are selected by the principal, the PTA, and open invitation.

The set up for district collaboration is similar to a PTA Council where representatives of each School Review meet in district wide forums to exchange ideas and come to consensus on various issues if applicable. 

Policy

Curriculum Design/Development/School-Based Change: School Review

R-6141(A)

I: Purpose of Regulation

The Montclair Board of Education believes that a quality educational system is developed and improved through the collective and appropriate involvement of administrators, teachers and other school staff, parents/caregivers, and students. Efforts shall be made to see that discussions and dialogue occur in each school community to involve those closest to the issues in the decision-making process. Although there are different roles for administrators, teachers, other school staff, parents/caregivers, and students, the Board establishes School Review as the specific avenue for involving all as potential planners, participants, and initiators for proposed change. The purpose of School Review is to provide an open and inclusive forum for input from the school community in the development, implementation and evaluation of educational programs and policies.

School Review shall include: (1) monthly School Review meetings of each school community to discuss current or proposed school initiatives and issues; and (2) a working group called the School Review Committee that develops agendas for and conducts these monthly meetings, and sets up and oversees working subcommittees and other programs as needed. School Review shall organize and conduct its business in a manner which is open and inclusive. As the principal means of achieving thoughtful and valuable proposals for change, School Review shall operate in a manner which recognizes and encourages the need for many points of view to be heard and considered. School Review shall, therefore, be governed by the following general principles in this administrative regulation. The superintendent or his/her designee shall be responsible for implementation of this regulation and shall in September of each year review the guidelines developed and procedures implemented at each school, and the composition of the School Review Committee at each school.

II. Membership of School Review Committee

A. Composition of Membership: Five staff members and the Principal, and six parents/caregivers (including a PTA liaison) shall make up the formal membership of the School Review Committee for schools K-8. The high school shall have nine parent/caregiver members (including a PTSO liaison) and faculty representatives from each department. Six high school students shall also be members and they shall come from student organizations. Variations in these numbers may be approved by the Superintendent.

B. Selection of Committee Members:

  1. Selection of Staff Members: Staff members shall be selected by the Principal from volunteers among subject matter leaders, building curriculum specialists, team leaders, department chairs, teaching staff, and other school staff. Staff members shall volunteer to serve as a result of an open request from the Principal.

  2. Selection of Parent/Caregiver Members:

    1. PTA/PTSO Representative: One parent/caregiver member position shall be filled by a PTA/PTSO parent representative, preferably a member of the Executive Board, named by the PTA/PTSO who shall represent the PTA/PTSO and serve as a liaison between the PTA/PTSO and the School Review Committee. If the PTA/PTSO declines to fill that position, it shall be filled in the same manner as all other parent/caregiver positions.

    2. Other Parent Members: The remaining five parent/caregiver members shall be solicited through an open invitation from the Principal and the current School Review Committee, and other means of public invitation. The invitation shall explain the function and purposes of School Review, and shall ask for anyone interested in serving on the Committee to respond. The parent/caregiver members shall be selected from among those responding by consensus of the Principal, the current School Review Co-Chairs and the current PTA/PTSO President(s).

    3. Selection as Alternates: Any interested parent/caregiver who has not been selected for the School Review Committee shall be invited to serve as an alternate and/or a subcommittee chair or member, or other appropriate function.

  3. Selection of Student Members (High School only): The Principal shall consult with co- curricular advisors in making the selection of student members.

C. Chairpersons: One staff member shall serve as co-chairperson while the other co-chair shall be a parent/caregiver. Chairpersons shall be selected by the Principal, in consultation with the current School Review Co-Chairs. It is recommended that Chairs not serve more than two consecutive years. Terms are for one school year, September to June.

D. Representative of School Population: Parent/caregiver and staff membership on School Review shall fully represent the school's student population. Every effort shall be made to ensure representation proportionate of the school's population, including but not limited to race, grade level, ESL/bilingual, special education, and Title I/STARS program.

E. Notice of School Review Membership: The formal membership for all School Review Committees shall be established and communicated to parents/caregivers and staff by the Principal through established bulletins and newsletters no later than the last day of school each June.

F. Vacancies: Any vacancies in the School Review Committee shall be replaced by the Principal and current School Review Committee from any existing alternates. If no alternates exist, the parent/caregiver member vacancies shall be filed from recommendations by the current School Review Committee and PTA/PTSO Executive Board. Any staff vacancies shall be filed by the Principal. For the High School, any student vacancies shall be filled by the Principal in consultation with co-curricular advisors.

G. Term of Membership: The term of membership for parent/caregiver and staff members shall be two years, except that a parent/caregiver may serve for three years if at least one year is as a co-chair and a staff member may serve for more than two years if serving as subject matter, house, or curriculum leader. The term of membership for students shall be one year.

H. Orientation and training of School Review Members: The Superintendent shall provide an orientation for School Review Committee members regarding their roles and responsibilities in the beginning of each school year. The Superintendent shall provide for periodic training and leadership development of School Review Committee members in areas related to their roles and responsibilities.

III. Goals, Purposes, and Authority of School Review

A. Purposes and Responsibilities: The purposes of School Review are to:

  1. Review issues and concerns related to school improvement, including any substantive issues which affect significant numbers of children;

  2. Facilitate the creation of annual school goals, priorities and action plans consistent with the district's overall priorities through an annual planning process;

  3. Monitor and review the implementation and impact of action plans and other school improvement activities, including parent and professional development activities;

  4. Review state and district-wide assessment results and consider and recommend solutions for problems and concerns related to school goals and objectives;

  5. Review and comment on proposed changes or additions to educational programs, policies and procedures on a school and district-wide level.

  6. Solicit and review ideas for new educational programs, policies and procedures.

  7. Recommend and review proposals for the initiation or modification of a school program under Regulation 6141A.

  8. Provide information for families concerning curriculum, new or ongoing programs, and issues such as homework and testing;

  9. Provide support to school-level programs for student development, including health, mental health, substance abuse prevention, and social problem-solving; and

  10. Coordinate and work with the PTA/PTSO and District Leadership Planning Committee for the good of the school and the district.

B. Authority of School Review: The School Review Committee may raise concerns, make suggestions for changes in existing programs or policies, make recommendations for new proposals, and endorse or reject proposals as provided under this regulation. All such suggestions, recommendations, or decisions of the School Review Committee shall be reported in writing to the Principal, who shall decide how to act upon the reports. If there is a conflict between the Principal and the School Review Committee on any issue, the School Review Committee (or any member thereof) may request a meeting with the Principal to discuss such conflict. If consensus is not reached, the Committee or the Principal may request mediation by the Superintendent.

IV. School Review Meetings

A. Scheduling of Meetings: There shall be a minimum of eight community-wide School Review meetings per school year, and they shall be at times that are conducive to participation of the school community. At least half of the meetings shall be scheduled in the evening. Each School Review Committee shall determine the number and time of the meetings. In addition, the School Review Committee shall set a meeting schedule for itself as a working committee.

B. Participation at School Review Meetings: All meetings are open to the entire school community and general participation is encouraged. Members of the School Review Committee are expected to attend the School Review meetings. Other staff members may be invited to attend School Review meetings if appropriate for the subject matter being discussed.

C. Agenda:

  1. Input into Agenda: Members of the school community may suggest proposed agenda items to the Chairpersons or members of the School Review Committee on an ongoing basis. There shall be opportunities to discuss proposed agenda items during the first and last meeting of each school year, and at the end of every school-wide School Review meeting, where a time shall be set aside for any attendee to raise concerns and suggestions for future agendas. Every proposed agenda item shall receive follow-up by the Committee.

  2. Development of Agenda: The agenda for each School Review meeting shall be developed by the School Review Committee, based on priority areas identified by the Principal, the Committee, and the school community, and district proposals requiring review by School Review. Any substantive issue that would affect a significant portion of the school population (including students, staff, and or parents/guardians) must be included on the School Review agenda (for example, changing from mixed to single-age classrooms, a change in the recess program, or a change to block scheduling).

  3. Announcement of Meeting Agenda: Monthly meeting agendas shall be announced to parents and staff through the principal's bulletin and newsletters. A reminder notice shall be disseminated to all parent/caregivers and staff no later than one week prior to the meeting.

D. Input into Decision-Making and Solicitation of Ideas from the School Community: School Review members shall solicit the input of the school community prior to making decisions. As appropriate, the School Review Committee shall also use surveys, questionnaires, or other methods to solicit opinions and perspectives of the school community.

E. Subcommittees: Whenever appropriate, the School Review Committee shall establish subcommittees on critical issues, open to anyone in the school community.

F. Rules of Order and Decision-Making: The rules of order to be followed at School Review meetings shall either be by consensus in writing, or Roberts Rules of Order. These shall be established no later than the first school-wide School Review meeting of each year. Decision-making shall be by consensus. Dissenting opinions shall be included in the minutes.

V. School Review Council

A. Purpose: The School Review Council, consisting of all School Review Committee co-chairs (parent/caregiver and staff), shall meet as a collaborative body for communication and idea-sharing purposes. Communication shall also occur among the School Review Council, the PTA Council, and the District Leadership Planning Team.

B. Meetings: There shall be a meeting of the School Review Council and the Superintendent at least three times a year. Written minutes shall be taken and distributed to all Council members.

C. Facilitator: The Superintendent shall designate one or two member(s) of the School Review Council to act as Facilitator(s), for scheduling meetings, preparing agendas, assuring minutes are maintained and disseminated, etc. The term of this position shall be for one school year, and the Superintendent shall rotate this position among all the schools.

VI. School-Based Program Initiation or Modification

A. Initiation. Any staff member and/or parent/caregiver may recommend the initiation or modification of a school program. A proposal of up to two pages, which includes (1) rationale for the change, (2) objectives for the change, (3) proposed textbook/software/instructional materials, (4) budget implications, and (5) method(s) of evaluation, may be submitted to the School Review Committee and the principal at any time during the school year. When proposals involve budget implications, adoption shall conform to the annual budget calendar and requirements.

B. Preliminary Review. All proposals are referred to the School Review Committee with written comments from (1) the appropriate subject leader or department chairs, and (2) the Principal. The subject leaders/department chairpersons/ comments shall reflect the opinions of teaching faculty affected by the proposed change.

C. Open Discussion. The School Review Committee shall advertise to the parent/caregiver community and teaching faculty the proposal to be discussed with the announced agenda. The initiator of the proposal shall be requested to present the information to the School Review Committee; the subject leader/department chairs shall present the comments representing the teaching faculty in that department.

The School Review Committee may provide an opportunity for small group discussions within the monthly School Review meeting to clarify issues and to report their comments to the larger group.

The School Review Committee shall reach a consensus recommendation based on input to (1) endorse, (2) change, (3) table for additional discussion, or (4) reject the proposal. All proposals shall include rationale for the position and also dissenting opinions, if any. The Principal shall then, in writing, either (1) endorse the proposal, (2) endorse the proposal with reservations/comments, or (3) reject the proposal with reasons.

D. Administrative Review. The Principal shall then forward the proposal with one of three written positions for a program/course change in his/her building to the Superintendent, who may refer the proposal to his/her designee. The proposal shall continue to include all written responses through the review process. The proposal shall then be evaluated for a decision to either (1) endorse, (2) return to the Principal and School Review Committee for modification, or (3) reject.

E. Formal Adoption. If it is endorsed by the Superintendent, the proposal shall be presented to the Board of Education, which shall consider the proposal and vote to (1) accept, (2) revise and accept, or (3) reject the proposal. If modifications are made by the Superintendent, the initiators shal be notified and if those modifications are accepted by the Board, the initiators and School Review shall have the opportunity to indicate whether those modifications can be implemented prior to formal adoption by the Board.

Regulation adopted October 20, 2003

Updated: 9/29/2017