Thursday, July 5, 2007

School Leadership Teams

To ensure that students are able to strive and feel included in their schools, students must be included in the decisions made about their education. Ideally, School Leadership Teams play a large role in the decisions made in their schools. According to the DOE an SLT is a:
Team at each school responsible for developing an educational plan, matching budget to needs, and building a sense of community. Parents make up half of membership; rest is teachers, school staff, union and Parent Association representation, and possibly students or community members.
At LaGuardia High School, students play an active role on the SLT. The school's four SGO officers sit on the team and are frequently involved in discussion and decision making. They bring to the table the feelings of their student body. Because of this, LaGuardia students have some say in the decisions made in their school. One example of this is the recent decision to create a student performance society in the school, one that has engaged many members of the student community.

At NYC Student Union meetings, students come from a diverse range of schools. Some from specialized schools, others from new small schools and more from impact schools. All of these students come to meetings with the desire to express their opinions about the DOE and about their individual schools. These students, who think critically about their education, would be of great value to any SLT and any school administration.

If we are going to fix many of the problems of our schools today, we must find ways to engage students. At February's Dropout Prevention Summit, Dr. Pedro Noguera noted that 47% of national dropouts did so because the were "bored." This shows just how important student engagement is. Who knows more about what engages students than the students themselves. The SLT might prove to be the most important organizational body in a school's development. At LaGuardia, it has certainly made an important positive impact. If we are going to succeed in improving our schools, the DOE must require student representation on School Leadership Teams.

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