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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Regulation 2-42.1


School Planning Council

  1. General

    Each principal shall activate a School Planning Council.

  2. Purpose

    The School Planning Council will develop and oversee a school Plan for Continuous Improvement that honors the Virginia Standards for Accreditation, is aligned with the strategic plan for the School Division, reflects site and community needs based upon analysis of school data and contains measurable objectives that support:

    1. Raising students' and school achievement in core Standards of Learning disciplines;
    2. Improving student and staff attendance;
    3. Reducing dropout rate; and
    4. Increasing the quality of instruction through professional development and licensure.
  3. Membership

    The School Planning Council shall consist of equal representation from staff and community:

    1. Staff membership – Fifty percent of the School Planning Council membership shall be elected from: administrators, instructional staff, support staff, including the trained Leadership Team consisting of the Principal, one Assistant Principal, the School Improvement Specialist at the middle and high school levels, and the Academic Coordinator and School Improvement Coordinator at the elementary level.
    2. Community membership – Fifty percent of the School Planning Council membership shall be elected from: school partners, volunteers, parents, and as feasible students. The president of the PTA, or the president's designee, will automatically serve as part of the community sector.
    3. Principal's membership and chair – The principal may serve as chair or have a member of the Leadership Team serve as chair. The principal shall not count as a member of the staff component but shall be a voting member.
    4. Each School Planning Council may determine the proportion of membership within staff and community sectors.
    5. Staff members who are also parents – full-time employees at school sites, who have children attending school at the site, may serve on the school's council to represent staff members, but not as community representatives. If employed full-time at a different Virginia Beach school than the child attends, the person is eligible to serve as a community member at the child's school.
    6. Recruitment of members – Members should be recruited from a broad cross-section of the community, from all sectors of the staff, and should represent the various populations served by the school. Prospective members should be invited to an open, highly-publicized orientation meeting. Following the orientation meeting, prospective community members will complete an application form.
    7. Membership term – Council members shall be elected for a term not to exceed three years. Individual councils may set terms for one, two, or three years. Membership rotation should be staggered according to the length of terms. No member can serve more than two consecutive terms.
    8. Council size – The size of the council should reflect the size of the school. Membership should not be less than ten members, excluding the Principal.
    9. Authority of council members – Council members will not have authority to act in an individual capacity or beyond the purposes set forth in this regulation.
  4. Meetings
    1. Scheduling meetings and rules of order – The principal shall call the first annual meeting. The agenda for that meeting shall include the establishment of a meeting schedule. Meetings are to be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time. Council meetings shall be open to the public. Robert's Rules of Order will be used to conduct council meetings.
    2. Agendas and meeting minutes – Each council member will be provided an opportunity to submit items for the agenda. Meeting agendas shall be posted in several prominent locations one week prior to each meeting. Each council member will receive the agenda at that time. Meeting minutes shall be posted in several prominent locations within five days after each meeting. Each council member shall receive a copy at that time. Anonymous concerns or personnel matters will not be placed on the agenda or considered by the council.
    3. Appointment of officers – The chair will appoint a recorder to manage minutes/agendas and may appoint any other officers the chair deems necessary for efficient council operation.
    4. Communication – The council will ensure that the school community at-large is informed about meetings, activities, and progress on the Plan for Continuous Improvement. School communication vehicles such as principal and PTA newsletters, calendars, bulletin boards, school-mailed fliers, marquee messages, etc., should be used on a regular basis to inform the entire school community about meeting dates and times, activities, and accomplishments
    5. Community input – To ensure that the School Planning Council gathers input from the school community the council must utilize or establish some means to gather staff and community input for continuous improvement planning purposes. These methods may include, but are not limited to surveys, public forums, citizens' hearings, meetings, etc.
  5. Principal: Duties and Responsibilities
    1. To retain responsibility for the entire school program and operation, to secure resources for school improvement initiatives, and to serve as the Chair of the School Planning Council or appoint a chair from the Leadership Team.

      The principal leads the decision-making process of the council, yet retains veto power to be used sparingly in cases where he/she feels a decision will be detrimental to the welfare of students, staff, or community. This veto, along with the meeting minutes, must be submitted in writing to the assistant superintendent for the appropriate school level. The rationale for the veto shall be available to the school community as part of the official minutes of the meeting.

    2. To facilitate the leadership activities of school staff and community.
    3. Action team – The principal in collaboration with the council will appoint action teams to address measurable objectives and/or areas of focus in the school's Plan for Continuous Improvement.
    4. Support and resources – The principal will secure support and resources for school improvement initiatives.
    5. Training resources – The principal will work with the chair and council to discuss, plan, and schedule member training activities. Each school site shall use a portion of staff development monies for any site-specific council training deemed necessary by the School Planning Council. In addition, the School Division shall make ongoing annual training available to council members in need of training.
    6. To provide avenues for conflict resolution within the school community.
    7. To collaborate with the Department of Planning, Innovation and Accountability in assessing the effectiveness of continuous improvement at the site.

      The Department of Planning, Innovation and Accountability will administer an annual survey to School Planning Council members as an external support to the principal's ongoing internal efforts to assess the effectiveness of the school's site planning council.

    8. To ensure that the council's activities are consistent with School Board policies and regulations.
    9. To work with the council on planning for continuous improvement and reporting as described in subsection F.
  6. School Planning Councils Duties and Responsibilities
    1. Plan for Improvement – The council will work in collaboration with the principal to develop the school's Plan for Continuous Improvement. The plan shall consist of measurable objectives and areas of focus written in plain language. The measurable objectives of the Plan for Continuous Improvement shall be aligned with the Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia and the School Division's strategic plan.
    2. To receive and review Action Team Updates as scheduled in the school's Plan for Continuous Improvement.
    3. Progress toward measurable objectives – The council will review annually the extent to which the school has met its measurable objectives, to analyze the school's student performance data including data by grade or academic department as necessary, and report the progress to the school community. The report may be delivered in writing or orally at a regularly scheduled parent-teacher meeting or other publicized public meeting or forum.
    4. Training – The council will plan and participate in appropriate site-specific and divisionwide training.
    5. Shared Responsibility – The council members will share responsibility for learning conditions, students' well-being, parental involvement, community relations, school climate factors, oversight of special projects related to the Plan for Continuous Improvement by serving as communication channels through input from their constituent groups and providing feedback from these groups.
    6. Exemptions to regulation – If the council determines that an exemption to this regulation is necessary, the council should formally disseminate information regarding the rationale for the exemption, along with the proposed changes, for a period of thirty days. During that time, community comment should be received. The council may also plan formal vehicles to gather input, such as surveys, etc. At the end of the thirty-day period, the council should revisit the issue in formal session and make a determination as to whether to proceed, or not to proceed, with the exemption request. If the decision is not to proceed, the community should be notified that the issue would remain as stated for the School Division.

      If the decision is to proceed with the application for an exemption from the regulation, a written request should be formulated based upon how the exemption will improve School Planning Council effectiveness. The request must be submitted by the principal to the designated Assistant Superintendent or Director in the Department of School Leadership. Once that request has been reviewed and a decision has been rendered, the results should be disseminated to the school community through normal council information channels.

Legal Reference:

8 VAC 20-131-20, as amended. Philosophy, goals and objectives.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:6, as amended. Standard 6. Planning and public involvement.

Approved by Superintendent: September 21, 1993 (Effective August 14, 1993)
Revised by Superintendent: September 3, 1997
Revised by Superintendent: January 26, 1999
Revised by Superintendent: December 4, 2001
Revised by Superintendent: February 5, 2002
Revised by Superintendent: November 21, 2002
Revised by Superintendent: February 28, 2008
Scrivener’s Amendments: September 28, 2011
Scrivener’s Amendments: August 10, 2013