Understanding the role of school, District accountability committees
by Kathy Brown
School/Community Partnership Coordinator
In less than one short month with DCSD, I have attended dozens of parent and school meetings. In many of these meetings, parents have asked questions ranging from standardized testing to school budgets. The first thing I suggest to them is to get involved with their School Accountability Committee (SAC). Due to the day-to-day craziness of life and congested schedules, it’s understandable why some would say, “What is that?”
SAC is yet another education acronym that has great impact and is also required by state law. Important to the success of every Douglas County School District school and student, are School Accountability Committees (SACs) and the District Accountability Committee (DAC). These committees represent the “local control” of each school in the district and are required by Colorado state law according to the Educational Accountability Act of 2009.
Each School Accountability Committee is comprised of parents, community leaders, principals and teachers who meet to discuss topics of vital importance to their individual school. The SAC makes a recommendation to the principal regarding how the school should spend money, engage parents, create strategies for success, and any other areas or issues that affect the function of the school and the success of its students.
The District Accountability Committee (DAC) meets monthly and makes recommendations to the Douglas County School Board on spending district money, charter school applications, improvement plans and parent engagement plans. The members of the DAC also make recommendations for areas and issues for study as requested by the Board of Education.
It is important to note that the state and federal government mandate these committees and set their requirements. Both committees serve in an advisory capacity only and do not have decision-making authority.
I will be visiting approximately 30 SACs next month, talking to parents and finding out more about the schools they represent and the individual challenges and opportunities each face. Many DCSD schools are as unique as the students they serve, so it makes sense that schools would need to address varying topics on an ongoing basis to make the best decisions for their school.
If you cannot attend SAC meetings, at least find out who sits on the committees and look over the agenda and minutes of each meeting. From there, you can provide input to your committee members and become informed about the direction of your child’s school.
Look forward to seeing you there!