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School Site Governance Team Makes Important Decisions

Jazveline Martinez, Staff Writer

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   School staff, parents, and students are all qualified members of UC High’s School Site Governance Team (SSGT) which meets one to two times a month on UC High’s campus to decide courses of action in order to address various issues affecting UC High.

   According to the Financial Planning Monitoring and Accountability School Site Council Handbook, the SSGT makes school-wide student discipline plans, and develops/implements site security plans (sandiegounified.org).

   Student Body Representative Junior Firas Mosalam said, “Every time there is an issue at our school, we bring up the topic and discuss what it is. Based on what we talk about, we create a policy for that issue. We see all the stuff that is wrong with our school and try to fix it.”

   In Article 24 of The Collective Negotiations Contract, it states, “The scope of authority of a Governance Team shall include improvement of the instructional program as its main focus” (sandiegounified.org).

   “Before the school can make any new rules it has to go through SSGT. We create the rule, we vote on it, and bring it to action,” said SSGT Chairperson Freshman Elaina Martin.

   This year, SGT is composed of twelve members. One of those members is UC High Teacher Anthony Pollard. “When there’s an issue that’s brought up by any one of the constituents, they bring it to the SGT to have a discussion about it. They bring in other professional evidence, speakers, and get input from people who are a part of those groups. We later have a quarram vote,” explained Pollard.

   Principle Jeff Olivero said, “SSGT has the power to create policies that don’t interrupt district policy. Technically, we can’t institute a policy contradictory to what the Board of Education has decided for schools.”

   “I know SSGT has been in existence for at least fifteen to twenty years. At that time, the decisions were being reached at the board level, and stakeholder groups felt like they should have more of a say in those decisions. Before [the establishment of the SSGT], the principal would [have the authority to] say, ‘We’re doing this’ and that would be the rule,” said Olivero.

  Olivero went on to explain that, now, the whole idea of SSGT is to have different perspectives that come together to make decisions rather than one individual with all the power.

   Teacher Maureen Quessenberry said, “SSGT started at all schools when teachers were feeling very left out of the decision making in their schools. Every school is supposed to have one.”

   According to the UC High website, the SSGT has covered many different points of discussion. These points range from the budget, all the way to drug possession, along with drug use on campus (sandiegounified.org).

   “The teachers elect their representative, the parents elect their representative, and the students elect their representative. The students have to go up to Mr. Olivero and speak to him about joining the team,” said Quessenberry.

   “I was on the SSGT at my middle school, so it was something that carried over to high school. I want to be involved, because I think it’s a good extracurricular to be in. It shows leadership,” said Martin.

   “I’ve always been an advocate of SSGT, especially when it comes to money. Giving advice about money and how it’s spent. I love having those type of discussions. We have a strong student body, and I believe in listening to the students. I’m a big student advocate,” said Pollard.

   Olivero explains how an idea for next year is getting rid of bells all together, hoping it will create more maturity in students, hoping they can get from point A to point B without needing bells.

   “I am very impressed with our SSGT. They take these matters seriously. They do their homework, and they listen to what they’re being told from their constituents. Group members listen to who they represent, aside from what they think,” said Olivero.

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School Site Governance Team Makes Important Decisions