School Site Councils (SSCs) are a major part of the overall decision-making body at each school. They are a very special group of people who are elected by their peers to represent the members of a school community. Their primary role is to guide the academic planning process to ensure the needs of all students are adequately addressed in the Single Plan for Student
Achievement (SPSA). The SPSA delineates the goals, programs, activities, and funds (contingent
on availability) the school plans to use to ensure all students are challenged appropriately in the
quest to meet or exceed grade level standards.
SSCs are forums for shared governance. Research suggests that shared decision-making,
when done well, contributes to a healthy school culture and strong professional community
of educators. In addition, effective shared decision-making supports improved classroom
practices and student learning. These results indicate that democratic structures, such as SSCs,
are integral to school success.
The Federal government, State of California, and Fountain Valley School District (FVSD) have
not only embraced these research findings but made them the standard way to conduct
business. This has resulted in the adoption of the following common-sense principles to
- The individuals closest to the students should be actively involved and make decisions
that affect the school’s instructional program.
- A plan to improve education at a school receives more support when people understand
and/or help create that plan.
- When families participate in all aspects of their children’s education, including decision-
making, their children and the school are more successful.
The Composition of School Site Councils (SSCs)
The composition of SSCs reflects the desire of the California Legislature and FVSD to increase
the number of site-level decision makers. Those individuals most affected by outcomes from
decisions about planning and budgeting are best suited to coordinate and mobilize resources to
meet the needs of students.
The pie charts below illustrate the required composition of SSCs in elementary and
middle schools. In both cases, the number of participants can vary, but the proportional
representation for each groups remains the same. In an elementary school, half must be
parents/community members and the other half school staff. The same is true in middle
schools, except the community portion is split evenly into students and family/community
representatives. Participation is a two-year commitment with elections typically occurring in
late spring or early fall, as needed.
Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA)
The Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) is a tool to help guide a school’s improvement
efforts. It is created collaboratively with staff and parent members on the SSC. Broad goals
are outlined that establish levels of student achievement. Then to transform the goals into
manageable actions, student groups and grade level participants, annual growth targets,
evaluation tools, group data to collect, and actions to take are delineated and the funding
sources identified. An SPSA is useful for the following purposes:
Each school’s SPSA is archived and available on the website here.
- To define the school’s goals for meeting the District’s collective object of improving
student achievement and closing the achievement gap;
- To identify and align the strategies, programs, services, and resources the school will use
to help meet those goals;
- To monitor progress towards attainment of the goals;
- To have a comprehensible plan to guide learning and teaching; and
- As a communication tool to share with the school community.