by Lisa Donlan

Roles and Responsibilities of SLT Members

What are the responsibilities of members of a school’s SLT?

Mandatory members of the SLT include: The school principal, PA/PTA president or designated PA/PTA co-president, and UFT chapter leader or designee.

The SLT should have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 17members and may include 2 high school students (only in HSs) and representatives from community based organizations (CBOs). Most importantly, SLTs must have an equal number of parents and staff members – which includes the Principal on the staff portion.

The entire SLT creates the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP), based on consensus. All SLT members need to help develop or review (at least every 2 years) the SLT’s bylaws, which must comply with CR A-655.

All SLT members must regularly attend SLT meetings and actively participate.

All SLT members must communicate regularly with the members of their school community in an ongoing and meaningful way.

SLT members should frequently solicit input from their respective constituency group – teachers, parents, students, staff, administrators to ensure that all voices are heard on the issues and decisions that the SLT considers.

All SLT members should conduct surveys, polls and focus groups about what is and what is not working at the school.

Elected parent members should focus on input from the parents in the school community whom they are elected to represent.

SLT discussions should be informed by data and other evidence about the quality and effectiveness of the school’s educational practices.

SLTs should also seek out and learn from similar schools which are achieving good results. All SLT members must attend mandatory training.

All SLT members may participate on SLT subcommittees.

All SLT members may serve on the principal selection committee (C30) and be consulted prior to the appointment of a principal or assistant principal (AP) candidate to the school.

All SLT members may provide the superintendent with an annual assessment of the principal’s performance developing an effective shared decision-making relationship with SLT members.

All SLT members may participate in and jointly run the local public hearings described in CR A-190 regarding proposals to close the school or make significant changes in school utilization, including any proposed co-locations. (See more under the work of the SLT section below)

What are the responsibilities of the PTA President on the SLT?

The PA/PTA President is a mandatory member of the SLT, along with the school Principal and UFT Chapter leader. (When a PA/PTA has elected Co-Presidents or chairs, only one co-chair can serve as the designated SLT rep. The PA/PTA President or co- chair may designate another member of the PA/PTA to serve in his/her place.)

The PA/PTA President, along with all elected parent representatives, should continually solicit input from families, students, and other stakeholders, to ensure that all voices have an opportunity to be heard on matters discussed and decided upon by the SLT. As the elected leader of the parent body, the PA/PTA President is in the best position to see that this duty is consistently carried out.

Since all discussions ideally should be informed by data and other evidence about the quality and effectiveness of educational practices, the PA/PTA President, along with all the parent members of the SLT, should make various sources of data available to the parent body on a regular basis, such as: Current CEP/ Formal and informal assessment data, including Student portfolios/School Quality Report/School Report Card/Test data/Newsletters/ Parent and Family workshops/Surveys of school community/SLT planning calendar/SLT Bylaws, SLT minutes and agendas (translated as appropriate), etc.

What are the responsibilities of the Principal on the SLT?

The Principal is a mandatory member of the SLT, along with the elected UFT chapter chair and the elected PA/PTA President.

Principals count on the staff side of the 50/50 equation when determining balance on the team.

Although not explicitly forbidden by the regulations, both the AP and Principal should not serve on the SLT. If the AP is designated as the SLT representative for the administration then the Principal should not serve on the SLT as well.

The SLT chair should be elected each September for one term (duration determined by your bylaws); the Principal is not the automatic Chair.

Principals have the same rights and responsibilities as all the other elected SLT members, with the exception of developing the budget, which is solely the Principal’s duty. The SLT must be consulted, however, by the Principal on the development of the school’s budget to ensure it is aligned with the CEP.

Since all SLT discussions should be grounded in data and other evidence about the quality and effectiveness of educational practices, the school Principal is responsible for making various sources of data available to the SLT on a regular basis, and as needed. These could include:

  • The current CEP/ SLT planning calendar/SLT Bylaws/ SLT minutes and agendas (translated as appropriate)
  • Formal and informal assessment data such as: Student portfolios/School Quality Review/School Report Cards/Test data/ Information concerning Parent Teacher Conferences, Open School Week, Curriculum Night/Newsletters/ Parent and Family Workshops Surveys of school community/Site visits to other schools and Instructional rounds
  • School budget – Galaxy Table of Organization version

Each SLT must provide a list of its members and a copy of its current bylaws to the District Leadership Team (DLT) annually by October 31st. While this responsibility normally falls to the Chair, the Principal inputs this information into the School Parent Leader contact Information system and provides it to the District Family Advocate (DFA) for the DLT.

What are the responsibilities of the Chairperson on the SLT ?

The chair may be any member of the SLT and should be elected each September, according to each SLT’s bylaws.

The duties of the chair should be outlined in the team’s bylaws and generally include: Scheduling meetings (including setting an annual schedule of monthly meeting, as well as any additional meetings as required) and ensuring that members have access to all the necessary tools and information for planning and agreeing on educational goals and priorities.

The chair is responsible for reporting back mandatory attendance and training (see below) for any member remuneration unless the Team has elected a financial liaison who is accountable for this duty according to NYS CR 100.11.

While the responsibility of providing to the DLT, by October 31st, a list of SLT members and a current copy of the SLT’s bylaws normally falls to the Chair, the Principal inputs this information into the School Parent Leader contact Information system and provides it to the DFA for the DLT.

Recording and notice responsibilities of the SLT

Attendance and minutes must be recorded at every meeting, generally by an elected Secretary.

An elected Secretary should ensure that adequate meeting notice and agendas are provided to each constituency group, that minutes are available in a timely manner.

SLT Basics

What is the CEP and who creates it?

The CEP is the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan. SLTs are required by New York State Education Law to create the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP) by developing the school’s overall mission, goals, and objectives to help all children reach their full potential.

The entire SLT creates the CEP, based on consensus.

How are the CEP goals created?

An effective CEP focuses on a few key priorities and aligns its resources (staff, budget, etc.) accordingly.

The plan is only the beginning: SLTs should treat the CEP as a living document, like a dashboard tool, and plan to evaluate and adjust it throughout the year.

The CEP requires careful implementation, detailed follow-through, and continuous evidence-based monitoring of progress, such as a review of student performance data.

SLTs are charged with making sure that that the plan was actually followed and that the money was spent accordingly each year.

How are decisions reached by the SLT?

All of an SLT’s decisions are made by consensus.

Consensus–based decision making is a group decision making process by which the consent of all participants is reached. In other words, the decision reached is acceptable to everyone in the group.

According to Merriam-Webster consensus is defined as “general agreement” and “group solidarity of beliefs or sentiment.” It originates from the Latin word cōnsēnsus (agreement) from – cōn sentiō — literally, “feel together.”

What is the role of members of the school community who are not serving on the SLT in the development of the CEP?

Every stakeholder in the school community should be given opportunities to participate in the work of the SLT. SLTs are governed by Open Meetings Laws (OML). Thus, anyone from the general public can attend a meeting as an observer. However each Team’s bylaws specify to what extent non-members may actively participate in the SLT’s meetings.

In addition to satisfying OML requirements, meeting agendas and minutes should be posted and circulated so everyone in the school community knows what the SLT is doing and deciding.

Translation of approved minutes and at meetings may be necessary to support the participation of the parent body and the elected parents serving on the SLT.

Each representative on the SLT should be gathering input from the stakeholders they represent to inform the discussions and work of the SLT. This can be in the form of surveys, reports, meetings, town halls, small group discussions, email drop boxes, petitions, etc.

How can I see my school’s CEP?

The final CEP and the school-based budget must be publicly posted on the school portal on the DOE’s website. A copy of the current CEP must be on file at the school and can be request at any time. Ask your Principal or the SLT chair to see a copy of the current CEP, which should be available at each meeting.

The Work of the SLT

What does it mean to align the school budget with the CEP?

The SLT must be consulted by the principal on the development of the school’s budget to ensure it is aligned with the CEP, meaning there are sufficient resources committed to meeting the CEP goals.

The SLT should identify the resources that will be used to perform the tasks and conduct activities that will help the school community met the goals outlined in the CEP.

The SLT should identify the costs of each resource and the funding sources that can be allocated for the personnel, purchased services, supplies, and materials.

To ensure alignment of school based budget with the CEP, any member of the SLT may request the Galaxy Table of Organization Report (up to 2 times per semester). The Principal must provide the report within 5 school days.

The Principal certifies that the school-based budget is aligned with the CEP by sending a written justification to the Superintendent. See addendum to CR A-655, attachment No.1, pages1-2.

SLT members may provide a written response within 10 days if they reach consensus that the Principal’s proposed budget is NOT consistent with the goals and policies outlined in the CEP.

If the members of the SLT (other than the Principal) believe that the budget is not aligned with the CEP, they can file a complaint with the superintendent. See addendum to CR A-655 attachment No.1, page 3.

The Superintendent must provide a response to the compliant within 10 schools days with a determination. See addendum to CR A-655 attachment No.2.

How does the SLT go about writing the CEP?

There are eleven basic steps involved in writing the CEP:

  • The SLT agrees on the school’s vision and mission by using consensus.
  • The SLT members conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, including reviewing school data and input from the various school stakeholders.
  • Through a consensus- based deliberation, the SLT establish priorities for the school year.
  • The SLT develops annual goals and measurable objectives via consensus.
  • The SLT select strategies and activities for meeting those goals.
  • The SLT develops action plans for implementation of each goal.
  • The Principal develops the school budget, aligning it with the goals and action plans outlined in the CEP by the SLT.
  • Each goal should be supported by appropriate action plans which should be adequately supported by resources in the budget.
  • The SLT members ensure the school budget is fully aligned with the comprehensive education plan.
  • The school community implements the plan throughout the year by completing each action plan.
  • The SLT evaluates and adjusts the plan as it is being implemented to re assess the goals, action plans and resources for effectiveness.

What are the parts of the CEP that SLTs work on, and how do they fit together?

  • The CEP Goals are key priorities.
  • The CEP Action Plans are steps to accomplish goals.
  • The school Budget is the allocation of funds to implement the Action Plans

Since all discussions ideally should be informed by data and other evidence about the quality and effectiveness of educational practices, the parent members of the SLT should make various sources of data available to the parent body on a regular basis.

How can my SLT shape and provide feedback at local hearings on proposed colocations and school closings?

The SLT serves as a co-host, along with the appropriate CEC or Citywide Council, of any local hearings to provide feedback on proposals to change the school building utilization – colocations, closings, grade expansion or reduction, etc.

The SLT can set the hearing format with the DoE, provide testimony, present data and ask questions at the hearing as part of this duty, as described in the CR A-190.

Rules/SLT Operation

What are the rules that SLTs are governed by?

Is a PTA officer eligible to run for one of the parent member seats on the SLT?

Any eligible parent may run for the SLT.

How are SLT members elected?

Each constituency is responsible for holding elections (according to the terms of the Team’s bylaws) prior to the next scheduled SLT meeting to fill any vacancies occurring during the term.

Parents and staff are elected by their own constituent groups (such as PA/PTA, CSA, UFT, DC 37) as determined by each group. Each group is to ensure that their election process is fair, advertised widely, provides advance notice and is open to all members of the constituency, in accordance with the terms of the different constituency and team’s bylaws.

Only parent members of the PA/PTA may vote to elect parent representatives for the SLT. Parent members’ elections require a minimum of ten calendar days’ notice. SLT elections can only be held after the PA/PTA elections in the spring (see Chancellor’s Regulation A-660 for more details). PA/PTAs may want to stagger the terms of the non-mandatory parent members of the SLT to ensure greater continuity.

Parents may serve on more than one SLT as a parent member in any schools where they have a child in attendance, except in a school where they are employed.

Is a CEC member eligible to run for one of the parent member seats on the SLT?

Parent members of the CEC (in an election year, this includes any candidates for the CEC) may serve as parent members of an SLT in the school their child attends.

If our SLT is not functioning/ has issues whom can we turn to?

SLTs are charged with developing ways to problem solve and resolve conflict collaboratively. If members are unable to reach consensus after making every effort to resolve an issue, the SLT should reach out to the DLT for technical assistance.

If the DLT is unable to help the SLT reach consensus, then the community or high school superintendent can facilitate the efforts.

If the SLT is still not able to reach consensus on the CEP, then the superintendent makes the final determination on developing a CEP, but only as a last resort, after all other efforts have been tried and failed.

Any time SLT members have difficulty obtaining information or need technical assistance resolving issues they should contact the DLT, Superintendent or FACE for support and resolution.

Do SLT members get remuneration for their service?

SLT members, including students and CBO representatives, who complete 30 hours of service on the SLT and attend a mandatory training session relating to CEPs and budget issues are eligible to receive an annual remuneration of $300.

Any team members who attend training but serve less than 30 hours may request remuneration on a pro-rated basis. Individual SLT members may choose whether to waive the annual remuneration and instead donate the funds back to the school.

Each SLT member must keep and submit to the Chair, or designated Financial Officer, records documenting the number of hours served. SLT bylaws can not specify whether or not team members are remunerated or if the fee is to be donated – it is always an individual choice.

What kinds of goals can the SLT set that affect the school community?*

  • Increase school diversity
  • Improve college support capacity
  • Bring more arts into the curriculum
  • Change homework policies
  • Fix the bathrooms
  • Improve classroom space and facilities
  • Require school uniforms
  • Start a new sports program
  • Reduce suspensions
  • Support struggling students

What are some of the things an SLT can NOT do?*

  • Determine what happens in the classroom
  • Make the school budget
  • Evaluate the Principal’s overall performance (beyond their role on the SLT)
  • Stop a co-location if the PEP votes to impose it
  • Keep a school open if the PEP votes to close it
  • Evaluate teachers
  • Punish students, teachers, or the Principal
  • Hire or fire school staff

*From the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s (CUP) “Schools Are Us” brochure