Grand County High School Principal Steve Hren has a message for parents of local high schoolers: If you want to help write the rules on how Grand County High School improves student learning over the next few years and decide how Grand County High School spends its roughly $100,000 allocation from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, doing so is easier than you might think.
The Grand County High School Community Council, a state-instituted body in roughly its 20th year of existence, meets once a month typically for no longer than two hours. The main purpose? To develop a school improvement plan on how GCHS improves student achievement, which in turn impacts how the school spends its SITLA funds.
The first meeting of the organization is Sept. 9. at 4:30 p.m. in classroom 100 of the Technical Science and Arts Center next to the high school. The classroom is immediately to the left when entering from the door facing the main building.
The student achievement plan that the School Community Council develops is in part informed by student assessment data from standardized tests like the ACT and MAP assessment. The council can form and appoint subcommittees that support the development of the plan, as well.
According to Hren, School Community Councils are a phenomenon that started in Utah and have spread to other states around the country. He said that the group is “more than a PTA,” or Parent-Teacher Association, which primarily facilitates parent involvement in school activities.
Although members of must typically be locally elected to the council, when participation is low, no election is necessary. Each public school in Utah has such a council, and each one is comprised of parents and teachers. By state rules, parents must outnumber teachers on the council.
The spending that the council determines is separate from the Grand County School District’s larger budget, which pays the bulk of teachers’ salaries, covers the costs of capital projects like the new middle school and funds other big spending items. The School Community Council budget, although smaller, is targeted toward school improvements.
The funds in the past have gone toward funding academic extracurriculars, teacher proposals, field trips, and other items. The high school’s math paraprofessional, who assists teachers in math lesson planning and the like, is paid primarily through trust land funds allocated by the School Community Council.
Only teachers and parents of GCHS students may sit on the School Community Council, although anybody can serve on the council’s subcommittees, which are appointed by the council. For more information, contact Hren at 435-719-4890 or 435-260-6020.
The full letter from Hren regarding the School Community Council and its obligations can be found in the opinion section.