San Francisco Community School (SFCS): Governance Team Structure

How does sharing authority work in a teacher-powered school? The answer varies by school, but every successful team has a well-organized plan that is communicated widely. These charts developed by teachers at the San Francisco Community School (SFCS), a teacher-powered school since 1972, are a good example. Two Governance Team Structure charts are attached. One was developed prior to the local administrative union taking issue with teachers conducting evaluations, which led to a requirement that the school have a principal to handle evaluation and some other administrator duties. The other exists today, and reflects how the team has adapted to this change. Both are useful for teams designing and running teacher-powered schools to consider as potential models.

In the second chart, you’ll note that the personnel committee has disbanded. The teachers at SFCS would very much prefer to have one. Many teacher-powered schools do have a personnel committee to handle selection, retention, documentation, dismissal, and evaluation. The dynamics that forced SFCS teachers to drop their committee are explained in detail on pp.141-143 of Trusting Teachers with School Success: What Happens When Teachers Call the Shots. Their story serves as an example of why teachers who want to run teacher-powered schools should attempt to formalize as much autonomy as they can.

The third chart, Whole School Roles, documents the various roles the SFCS team has determined to be necessary, as well as the philosophy the team has regarding roles, including expectations for team members’ participation.

What do the acronyms in the chart stand for?

ASP = After School Program

DLT = Developmental Leadership Teams (organized by grade level)

HT = Head Teacher

MS = Middle School

PD = Professional Development

UBC = Union Building Committee (present in all schools in the San Francisco Unified School District)

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Determining a collaborative leadership model