School Community Councils were established to provide a mechanism whereby key stakeholders can have a substantially increased voice in the affairs of their local schools. The “spirit” and intent of Act 51 was to:
- Strengthen the ties between school and community;
- Provide a voice for all major stakeholder groups;
- Create opportunities for collaboration and partnership in the educational system; and
- Focus on a shared goal of improving student achievement and system’s accountability.
As the “trustees or facilitators of the school’s vision and mission,” the School Community Council:
- Acts as a caretaker of the school;
- Functions in an advisory role;
- Practices good stewardship and acts as a whole, taking responsibility for communicating with all role groups and for the benefit of all children rather than as individuals representing a role group and specific agendas;
- Approaches issues from a unified perspective;
- Garners community support for major initiatives;
- Focuses decisions based upon what is best for ALL students; and
- Contributes to the share goal of improving student achievement.
The policies developed by the Hawaii State Board of Education and Hawaii State Department of Education to implement School Community Councils are based on three common-sense principles:
- Individuals closest to the students should be more involved in making significant decisions affecting the instructional program of the school.
- A school plan to improve student academic achievement receives more support when people understand and help create that plan.
- When families participate in a variety of ways in their children’s education, including decision-making, their children and the school are more successful.