Delaware - Family Engagement in Local Governance: Stakeholders

Policy Type: 

State law encourages parent or family member representation on school governance councils or in school improvement planning efforts.

Delaware Code 14-801 Definitions.

As used in this chapter,

  • (1) "School community" shall mean a community comprised of the stakeholders responsible for providing and structuring a child's education; specifically, the board of education at the district level, certified and noncertified school employees, parents, community members and, as appropriate, students.

  • (2) "Shared decision-making" shall mean an inclusive, representative decision-making process in which members of the school community at the school and district levels participate as equals. Shared decision-making may occur at all levels of a school system.

  • (3) "Structured conversations and activities" shall mean ongoing opportunities for representatives of the entire school community, as defined herein, to collectively and collaboratively explore and become knowledgeable about the processes, systems and governance structures commonly associated with shared decision-making; to identify the skills, knowledge and attitudes which promote successful shared decision-making; to review the research related to the successes and shortcomings of shared decision-making in educational settings; and to determine the readiness and commitment of the various groups within the school community to proceed with shared decision-making as a means to achieve the goal of improved teaching and student learning and improved school safety and discipline. The use of professional facilitators to conduct such conversations is advisable and the Department of Education and local districts shall collaborate with other educational stakeholder groups to make such facilitators available at reasonable costs to districts and schools for such purposes.

Delaware Code 14-802 Shared decision-making at the school district level.

(a) Each board of education shall initiate with other representatives of the school community initial structured conversations and activities concerning the utilization of shared decision-making by April 1, 1998, using such funds as are appropriated for this specific purpose in the annual appropriations act and as specified under § 807(a) of this title.

(b) The local board of education shall facilitate the selection of a district shared decision-making advisory committee ("District Advisory Committee") through an inclusive process that reflects the diversity within the school community.

Representatives of employee groups recognized under Chapter 40 of this title shall be selected by the relevant exclusive representative in a manner of the exclusive representative's choosing. Employees not organized under Chapter 40 of this title shall select their representatives from the membership of their employee groups. For student (where appropriate), parent and community groups, the local board of education shall coordinate the selection of representatives with organizations for each of these groups where they exist.

(c) The structured conversations and activities of the District Advisory Committee shall result in a Report and Recommendation to the local board, through a decision-making process it developed to produce as much agreement as practicable, that:

  • (1) They wish to pursue shared decision-making further by developing a district transition plan to implement shared decision-making as a means of pursuing school improvement in the district, identifying the process they recommend for establishing a district transition plan, and determining the composition and roles and responsibilities of the "District Transition Team" to develop the district transition plan; or
  • (2) They recommend that the district not explore shared decision-making further.
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