State law requires community member representation on school governance councils or in school improvement planning efforts.
General Laws of Massachusetts 15.1G Office of School and District Accountability.
There shall be established advisory councils to the board in the following areas: school and district accountability and assistance; life management skills; home economics; educational personnel; fine arts education; gifted and talented education; math and science education; racial imbalance; parent and community education and involvement; special education; bilingual education; digital learning; vocational-technical education; violence prevention; adult basic education; global education and comprehensive health education and human service programs. The members of these councils shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed subject to appropriation for expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred in the performance of their responsibilities. Each council shall be composed of members who shall be recommended by the commissioner and appointed by the board and who shall not, by virtue of their membership, be deemed state employees under chapter two hundred and sixty–eight A. Members shall be appointed for a term of three years. No member shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. The members serving on such councils may be school committee members, school superintendents, professional educators, parents or students. A reasonable balance of members representing business, labor, civic, educational, parental and professional groups shall be maintained. Members serving on such councils shall represent a reasonable geographic balance. The members of the advisory council on school and district accountability and assistance shall consist of 15 members: 1 of whom shall be selected from a list of 3 nominees offered by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, 1 of whom shall be selected from a list of 3 nominees offered jointly by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers of Massachusetts, 1 of whom shall be selected from a list of 3 nominees offered by the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association, 1 of whom shall be selected from a list of 3 nominees offered by the Massachusetts Elementary School Principals’ Association, 1 of whom shall be selected from a list of 3 nominees offered by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, 1 of whom shall be selected from a list of 3 nominees offered by the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a business or an industry with a demonstrated commitment to education and 8 of whom shall be individuals with a demonstrated record of achievement or academic expertise in: education administration; education or business finance and management; the use of student achievement data to improve instruction and administration; the conduct or use of school and district audits and evaluations; educator evaluation and professional development; or other areas of expertise in education reforms established by chapter 71 of the acts of 1993. The advisory council members shall be recommended by the commissioner and appointed by the board. The council shall meet no less than 4 times annually to review and advise the department and board on the policies and practices of the office of school and district accountability established by section 55A of chapter 15 and the targeted assistance and intervention efforts of the department, established by chapter 69 and the accountability provisions of federal law. The council shall develop and administer, through the department, a post-audit survey to audited school districts and an annual survey to any schools and districts receiving technical assistance under said chapter 69. The council shall present its findings and recommendations to the board no less than 2 times annually. The council shall have the opportunity to review and comment on all regulations relative to the accountability and assistance program areas before board approval. The members of the council on education personnel shall have demonstrated scholarship, creativity, or distinguished service in education, and shall be broadly representative of all areas of public education. The council on global education shall include the directors of each of the bay state centers for global education. The members of the council on math and science education shall have demonstrated scholarship or creativity in, or distinguished service to science or mathematics, and shall be broadly representative of all areas of science and mathematics. There shall be twelve voting members of the advisory council for special education, six of whom shall be parents of children with special needs. The commissioners of the departments of mental health, developmental services, public health and public welfare shall each appoint a representative to serve as ex officio members of the advisory council for special education. At all times the makeup of the advisory council for special education shall comply with requirements of federal law. There shall be twelve voting members of the advisory council for bilingual education, six of whom shall be parents of bilingual students. The advisory council for comprehensive interdisciplinary health education and human service programs shall consist of at least fifteen, but shall not exceed thirty, members who represent school counseling professionals, health home economics educators, child and adolescent health service providers, teachers, parents, high school students, school administrators and officials, and the departments of welfare, public health, mental health, youth services, children and families, the department of early education and care, a suicide prevention specialist, a substance abuse specialist, a school age child care specialist, a youth programming expert and a member of the clergy. The duties of the advisory council on vocational-technical education shall be performed by the state council on vocational education as constituted under federal vocational-technical education law. The state council on vocational-technical education shall also advise the board on school to work policies. The board may appoint up to three additional members to this council and such members’ responsibilities shall be limited to duties required under this Statuteonly. The advisory council on violence prevention shall consist of twelve members, who shall include one assistant district attorney, one assistant attorney general, two teachers of public schools in the commonwealth, one duly elected member of a school committee in the commonwealth, one school district superintendent in the commonwealth, one principal of a public school in the commonwealth, one police chief and two students enrolled in secondary public schools in the commonwealth. Of the student members, at least one shall have experience with a youth violence prevention program. The commissioner, with the approval of the board, shall appoint the chair of each council. The commissioner or his designee shall serve as the secretary to each council. Each council shall make other programmatic recommendations as it deems necessary to fulfill the goals established by the board. The commissioner, with the approval of the board, may establish such other advisory groups as deemed necessary to assist in developing educational plans or programs to advance the purposes of the department. The board shall further establish a school breakfast and summer food service outreach program. Said program or elements of said program shall be operated directly through the department or contracted out. (a) Said program shall be designed to: (i) increase the participation of low–income children in existing school breakfast programs and secondarily to encourage other schools to start a breakfast program. The target of said program is to bring the participation level of children who qualify for free or reduced price breakfasts under federal income eligibility guidelines to at least eighty–five percent of those eligible; (ii) increase the number of summer food service programs offered across the state, with particular emphasis on needy communities, and to ensure that at least eighty–five percent of the children eligible under federal income guidelines participate in these programs. (b) The school breakfast related outreach program activities shall include, but not be limited to: (i) development of an outreach campaign to promote the link between a nutritious breakfast and the ability to learn; to make the school breakfast program attractive to all children; and to create a positive picture of school as a basic source of breakfast for all income groups. The efforts should be particularly targeted toward communities with the highest need and should include outreach to linguistic minorities; (ii) technical assistance shall be provided and technical assistance materials shall be produced including, but not be limited to, facts and guidelines on United States Department of Agriculture requirements; ideas for increasing participation; ideas for safeguarding confidentiality; ways to involve parents and other members of the community; and suggestions for creative menus; and (iii) technical assistance shall be provided for the development of new and innovative proposals including a “school breakfast period” during existing school hours in schools in which a majority of children are program eligible, and a universal breakfast program in school systems with eighty percent of the students eligible. (c) The summer food service related outreach program activities shall include, but not be limited to: (i) an outreach effort to public schools, public entities and private non–profit agencies which would be eligible to provide the summer food services program. Said outreach shall include information and incentives to encourage eligible organizations to be local sponsors or meal preparation sites for the federal summer food service program; (ii) ongoing support and technical assistance shall be made available to existing programs year round to ensure that they continue to offer the program and to assist in increasing participation levels; (iii) reviewing and developing training methods and materials provided however that particular attention be given to providing appropriate training for first time sponsors; (iv) targeting communities and schools which have the highest percentage of program eligible children and establishing an order of descending priorities based on the percentage of program eligible children; provided, however, that there should be a concerted effort to outreach potential participants who are linguistic minorities; and (v) establishing start up grants not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars to encourage the participation of first time summer food service sites. (d) In all activities of this school breakfast and summer food service outreach program, local communities shall be encouraged and assisted in maximizing the use of federal resources. (e) Said school breakfast and summer food service outreach program shall work to ensure that local programs are carried out in a manner which protects the confidentiality of those children receiving subsidized meals. (f) The commissioner shall submit a report to the clerk of the house of representatives who shall forward the same to the joint committee on education, arts and humanities on or before December thirty–first, nineteen hundred and ninety–four and on December thirty–first of each year thereafter. The report shall include, but not be limited to: the percentage of eligible children participating in school breakfast programs statewide during the previous school year; the amount of additional federal dollars brought into the state by all school breakfast and summer food service outreach program activities; the number of additional school breakfast and summer food service programs started in the preceding year; and the increase in participation in summer food services and school breakfast programs. (g) The commissioner of education, in consultation with the chairman of the board of higher education, shall direct the global education advisory council to explore international opportunities for learning, exchange programs and the availability of curriculum materials for students, teachers, administrators and educational policy makers. Said global education advisory council shall: (a) investigate and compile information concerning international education programs and opportunities. The council shall make recommendations to the commissioner on the expansion of international education programs and opportunities and shall consider ways to encourage participation in such programs. The council shall advise the department of education and the joint committee on education on international program opportunities and the availability of federal or nonprofit agency grants or other funding sources for such programs. The department shall provide information on international education opportunities to local and regional boards of education and to institutions of higher education; (b) develop guidelines and standards to aid local and regional school districts in the establishment of programs of international studies. Such guidelines and standards shall describe the essential components of a quality educational program incorporating international education concepts. The council shall submit such guidelines and standards to the department of education for review and approval; (c) develop criteria for what constitutes a sister school partnership program between a public school of this state and a foreign school. Such criteria shall provide a process for recognition of such partnership. The council shall submit such criteria to the department of education for review and approval; (d) advise the department of education on possible incentives to encourage the formation of partnerships that meet criteria established in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c). Such incentives may include, but need not be limited to, cooperation between sister partnership schools in teacher certification, student assessment programs and recognition of student course credit, participation in summer programs and in other areas where the state could recognize the value of the sister school partnership relationships with minimal cost; (e) conduct an assessment of current practices regarding international education in elementary and secondary public schools in the commonwealth. The global education advisory council’s assessment of current practices shall include, but not be limited to, information gathering through public hearings.
General Laws of Massachusetts 69.1S. Statewide targets.
(b) Each district shall establish targets for addressing persistent disparities in achievement among student subgroups consistent with the targets established by the department. Each district shall develop an evidence-based 3-year plan to meet its targets. Each district’s plan shall be developed by the superintendent in consultation with the school committee and shall consider input and recommendations from parents and other relevant community stakeholders, including but not limited to, special education and English learner parent advisory councils, school improvement councils and educators in the school district.
General Laws of Massachusetts 71.59C School councils; members; meetings; duties
At each public elementary, secondary and independent vocational school in the commonwealth there shall be a school council consisting of the school principal, who shall co–chair the council; parents of students attending the school who shall be selected by the parents of students attending such school who will be chosen in elections held by the local recognized parent teacher organization under the direction of the principal, or if none exists, chosen by a representative process approved by the school committee. Said parents shall have parity with professional personnel on the school councils; teachers who shall be selected by the teachers in such school; other persons, not parents or teachers of students at the school, drawn from such groups or entities as municipal government, business and labor organizations, institutions of higher education, human services agencies or other interested groups including those from school age child care programs; and for schools containing any of the grades nine to twelve, at least one such student; provided, however, that not more that fifty percent of the council shall be non–school members. The principal, except as otherwise provided herein, shall have the responsibility for defining the composition of and forming the group pursuant to a representative process approved by the superintendent and school committee and for convening the first meeting no later than forty days after the first day of school, at which meeting a co–chairman shall be selected. School councils should be broadly representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of the school building and community. For purposes of this paragraph the term “non–school members” shall mean those members of the council, other than parents, teachers, students and staff of the school.