"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has!"--Margaret Meade
The School Improvement Council (SIC) serves as an advisory committee to a school's principal and faculty. Unlike PTA/Os and other voluntary school organizations, councils are mandated by law to exist in every public school in South Carolina. SICs play a key role in the education of our state's children, bringing together parents, educators and community stakeholders to collaborate on the improvement of their local school. More than 16,000 people serve on SICs in South Carolina.
Who May Serve on a Council?
Almost anyone is eligible to serve on a School Improvement Council - parents, teachers, business partners, community leaders and students in grade nine and above. The average council has about 12 members; two thirds of the members must be elected parents, students and teachers. The principal appoints the remaining third of the council, careful to ensure broad representation from the larger school community including non-parent taxpayers who have a special expertise or perspective. The principal serves as an ex-officio member of the council as do a variety of other people by virtue of their position at the school. Ex-officio members may include the PTA/O president, volunteer coordinator, business partner, Booster Club president, Teacher of the Year, and last year's SIC Chair; the number depends on the school's needs.
SICsAre Not New!
School boards have been required to establish School Improvement Councils since 1977. Originally known as School Advisory Councils, the passage of the Education Improvement Act in 1984 changed the name and focused the role of the Councils in improving education quality in South Carolina. The SC General Assembly passed the Early Childhood Development and Academic Assistance Act in 1993. Known as Act 135, this law extended the role of the School Improvement Council to require their active participation in strategic planning and designated the responsibility for the annual Report to Parents about the school's progress to the SIC. In 1998 the SC General Assembly passed the Education Accountability Act, which calls upon the entire community, from the Governor to individual students to be held accountable for student achievement. Specific additional responsibilities of the councils include review and adjustment of the school improvement plan if the school is rated unsatisfactory, and preparation of the School Report Card narrative.
Councils work collaboratively with the school to develop and implement a five-year school improvement plan (school renewal plan), monitor and evaluate success in reaching the plan's goals and objectives, and write an annual report to parents about the progress of the plan. Councils also assist the principal in writing the narrative for the School Report Card. In addition, Councils advise on the use of school incentive awards and provide assistance as requested by the principal. School Improvement Councils do not have any of the powers and duties reserved by the local school board.
Why Should I Become Involved?
When parents are involved in their children's education, the quality of schools improves and children do better in school. Parents can bring great wisdom to the council. They have intimate knowledge about their children and access to other parents who can provide knowledge and insight. Citizens who are not parents of children in the school can make unique contributions to School Improvement Councils. Senior citizens, business people, members of the faith community, staff of social service agencies and others all have knowledge, experience and resources to share. Community members who feel ownership in the school are often the best advocates for the children and the school.
Become involved. Everyone has something to contribute.
Open SIC Meetings
You are invited to present ideas at the monthly SIC meetings.
Write to SIC with your ideas and concerns regarding issues of school improvement. Your comments will be reviewed by the committee at our monthly meetings. We consider your feedback to be especially important.
You may also drop off written ideas/concerns in the suggestion box located in the front office.