Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting involved with PSCC (school parent organizations)

On the August "Start a new post" bystander wrote:

"PTOs and PTAs and PTSOs contribute a great deal to their buildings in the form of activities, fundraising for field trips and outside programs and performances, a ready group of volunteers, etc

Each school has a PSCC (Parent/School/Community Council) with scheduled meetings monthly. You may not find its purpose easily, and I may be simplifying the whole process, but this is the grassroots level of parent engagement. You will find buildings in PPS where fewer than three parents attend a monthly PSCC meeting. You will find buildings where a meeting is held just to SAY a meeting was held. And, you will find buildings where even if the staff attending a meeting outnumber the parents in the room, the purpose of the PSCC is respected. In these cases, in my observation, it happens when the parents make it happen.

Parents need to start thinking differently about parent meetings. Parents need to redirect the agenda to focus on the issues of the day, the ones THEY feel are critical at that moment. For instance, every PSCC meetings should begin with a report from the building Discipline Committee. Nothing sinks a building's reputation more than the perception of disorder. The rumors on the streets should be addressed at a PSCC and not be left to grow OR be swept away and dismissed. If our kids and our staff are not safe, this is where the campaign to fix the situation should begin and where accountability is paramount. A PSCC can be useful to the school community. It is up to parents to restore it to its original purpose and have it move away from being just a way to meet a federal requirement for parent involvement."


Questioner said...

This is a good reminder as parents look ahead to the start of a new school year.

Bystander, do you know if every school has a Discipline Committee and if any PSCC's have been successful in obtaining monthly reports?

bystander said...

Every high school has a discipline committee (that I am sure of) beyond that I am not positive. Years ago, a report from the committee was an agenda item, even if a member of the committee did not attend. It is not the number of bodies in the room that should matter, but the quality of the discussion. There is no need to have more than two staff members at a PSCC meeting for general discussions and there is no need for these meetings to become a burden.

bystander said...

OMG, I just reread my original post and sound sooooo like a know-it-all. To clarify I am a bystander because I have no kids left in PPS. I did not want to be "accused" of being a PPS employee, LOL.

Questioner said...

In any event, PPS employees and administrators are welcome to post here as long as comments are sincere and accurate to the best of their knowledge.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher who has been in multiple buildings, the Discipline Committees out there really very in their effectiveness and their empowerment by administration. Without the latter, the DC of a building is in name only (and yes, all buildings are required to have one, but they're often in name only). Much depends on administrators who may or may not feel that the DC somehow usurps their position.

Anonymous said...

PSCC's have been in existence for a very long time. There was a PSCC Manual produced by the Associate Director of Parent Engagement and sent out to each school on a yearly basis for new and old members. This manual was very helpful in understanding the role of the PSCC and the expectations of all members being parents, community and school personnel. Over the years schools configured their PSCCs to meet their individual needs however the mission stayed constant and that was to be the grassroots body for knowledge. Perhaps the Assistant Director of Parent/Community Engagement can be a resource?

Wally D. said...

Get involved? To do what, have a bakesale? Pick a prom date?

PPS administration simply will not let parents have a meaningful say in anything. And by administration, I mean principal level on up.

You'll get a polite listen, of course. But please submit all questions in writing so they can be ignored.

Oh yes, this post was meant to be provocative.

Involved parents are the last best hope of this district!

You folks had better know, if you don't know already, that you are not considered equal partners in the decision-making process.

They've got the "research" and the expensive consultants. All you've got is decades of experience.

It'll be a hard fight to get your point across. Don't give up for a second. Don't let them wear you down with delay tactics and educational jargon.

They don't know what's best for your kids. You do.

bystander said...

Anonymous 11:27, I have the manual you mentioned and got it a long time ago but it can still serve as an operations manual and I will pass it on to a parent with kids still in school. I just realized I have not seen a recent version in the past few years.

Anonymous 10:17, I pretty much guessed that the admin determined whether or not the DC was effective.

Anonymous said...


Hopefully, PPS administration and Board are watching!

Anonymous said...

Wally D, don't you just cringe when somebody just lets you vent and the issue never leaves the room? Move on up the ladder and talk about the issue everywhere you go.

Questioner said...

Even if we don't comment back- many of us are thinking about the posts- Wallly's comment about parents knowing what is best is particularly notable.

Anonymous said...

Pittsburgh Public Schools did NOT make AYP___thus not "making the grade" according to the minimum requirements set by the PDE and USDOE.

This morning (at CAPA) the PPS superintendent "highlighted” PSSA data___ focusing on three school that showed progress____Greenfield, Manchester and Allegheny Middle School. 

There was NO PSSA DATA presented on Pittsburgh HIgh Schools or the ALAs (Accelerated Learning Academies).

No PDE PSSA DATA was presented this morning___only the “spin” applied by PPS for the public “highlighting” isolated examples of success. The news is not good!

It appears that the public must wait until PDE releases the PSSA data online for public access (in September).