State law requires community member representation on school governance councils or in school improvement planning efforts.
200-RICR-20-10-1.1.4. Expectations for the Local Education Agency in Implementing the Basic Education Program.
B. Functions of Local Education Agency
- Each LEA shall address seven core functions in order to ensure that all of its schools are providing an adequate education to every student:
- a) Lead the Focus on Learning and Achievement. The LEA shall provide on-site direction that continuously guides site-based leadership; identify expectations and accountability for implementation of proven practices; and address barriers to implementation of identified educational goals.
- b) Recruit, Support, and Retain Highly Effective Staff. The LEA shall recruit, identify, mentor, support, and retain effective staff; build the capacity of staff to meet organizational expectations; and provide job-embedded professional development based on student need.
- c) Guide the Implementation of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. The LEA shall provide access to rigorous, guaranteed, and viable curricula for all students; ensure differentiated instructional strategies, materials, and assessments; and build systems that provide opportunities for common planning and assessment.
- d) Use Information for Planning and Accountability. The LEA shall develop and implement proficiency-based comprehensive assessment systems; distribute results of measured school progress and student performance; and maintain responsive and accessible information systems.
- e) Engage Families and the Community. The LEA shall implement effective family and community communication systems; engage families and the community to promote positive student achievement and behavior; and provide adult and alternative learning opportunities integrated with community needs.
- f) Foster Safe and Supportive Environments for Students and Staff. The LEA shall address the physical, social, and emotional needs of all students; ensure safe school facilities and learning environments; and require that every student has at least one adult accountable for his or her learning.
- g) Ensure Equity and Adequacy of Fiscal and Human Resources. The LEA shall identify and provide requisite resources to meet student needs; allocate fiscal and human resources based on student need and overcome barriers to effective resource allocation at the school level.
200-RICR-20-10-1.2.4. Evaluation of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
A. Each LEA shall have an evaluation plan with timelines for ongoing and formal reviews of curriculum, instruction, and assessment systems. The plan shall include the gathering of both qualitative and quantitative data to make informed decisions about improvements and revisions to the established curriculum, instruction, and assessment systems. The plan shall:
- Involve educators, community members, and experts in the review process.
200-RICR-20-10-1.3.2 Supportive and Nurturing School Community.
G. Student, Family, and Community Engagement
- Each LEA shall facilitate partnerships with community organizations and agencies, municipal entities, and businesses to meet the needs of students and families. Therefore, each LEA shall establish communication strategies that will engage community partners, including:
- a. Ensuring community representation on the school improvement team or other decision-making teams;
- b. Identifying and recruiting businesses to provide career exploration activities for students;
- c. Soliciting community organizations or business members to mentor students;
- d. Facilitating on-site services of local organizations at the school, e.g. counseling, food pantry, tax assistance, legal aid; and
- e. Recruiting volunteers from community organizations and businesses.
Rhode Island ESSA State Plan
"To align to our priority of engaged communities and families, Rhode Island will require all LEAs with schools identified as in need of comprehensive support and improve ongoing progress of the LEA’s school improvement plan... LEAs may leverage the CAB to help better identify direct roles that community stakeholders can play within the school improvement process."
State of Rhode Island General Laws § 16-53.1-2. Establishment of school improvement teams
(a) (1) The school board or school committees of the cities and towns shall establish a school improvement team for each school in the district, and shall develop procedures for the election and appointment of school improvement team members. Each school improvement team shall be composed of the principal and an appropriately balanced number of teachers, education support employees, students, parents, and other business and community citizens who are representative of the ethnic, racial, and economic community served by the school, provided that vocational-technical center and high school school-improvement teams shall include students, and middle and junior high school school-improvement teams may include students. Members representing teachers, education support employees, students, and parents shall be selected by their peer groups at the school in a fair and equitable manner. At the middle and high school levels, where there are designated department heads, those department heads will also be included on the school improvement team. At a minimum, these school improvement teams at this middle and high school level shall include at least one department head from a humanities subject area and at least one department head from one of the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics subject areas. (2) Business and other community members shall be selected by the school according to a procedure established by the school board. The school board shall review the membership composition of each school improvement team. Should the school board determine that the membership elected by the school is not representative of the ethnic, racial, and economic community served by the school, the board shall appoint additional members to achieve proper representation. For the purposes of school improvement teams, the term "teacher" includes classroom teachers, certified student services personnel, and media specialists. For purposes of this subsection, "education support employee" means any person employed by a school who is not defined as instructional or administrative personnel pursuant to law and whose duties require twenty (20) or more hours in each normal working week. (b) The school board may establish a district school improvement team representative of the district and composed of teachers, students, parents, and other citizens or a district school improvement team which may be comprised of representatives of each school improvement team.