Spotlight on School Site Council

By Halima Mohamed (I) and Amanda Ajdini (III)

The Boston Latin School School Site Council (SSC) is starting the year off with a newly elected board as it prepares to conduct its responsibilities as the school’s governing body.

Each Boston Public School has a SSC as part of its administration board comprised of faculty and staff, parents or guardians, and two student representatives. The BLS SSC typically meets once a month to discuss budgeting, policy changes, school climate and more. The Council is responsible for approving changes to the school’s schedule, making alterations to the student handbook and the hiring process for new teachers.

Meetings begin with updates from Head of School Jason Gallagher about recent and upcoming schoolwide events. Aside from discussions around budgeting, each meeting also centers around a specific topic. November’s meeting focused on academic support programs at BLS. The SSC presented an overview of programs such as the Wolfpack After-School Program and Saturday Success School, outlining their goals, how they operate and any challenges they face.

This year, the Council looks forward to supporting Head of School Gallagher in his first year leading the BLS administration. Co-chair of the SSC and a BLS parent, Ms. Magda Hernandez, also says that the SCC is planning future initiatives to strengthen student support systems, especially in addressing the impacts of the pandemic. The SSC analyzes student school climate surveys to guide their initiatives.

As co-chair, Ms. Hernandez collaborates with Head of School Gallagher to lead and set the agenda for council meetings. Ms. Hernandez has been on the BLS SSC for six years as a parent representative, in addition to having served on the SSC of previous schools her children have gone to.

Ms. Hernandez says, “[Serving on the SSC] just gives you another lens into what’s going on in the school, so I find it really interesting work and I feel strongly about volunteering for our school.”

The members of the Council agree that the SSC is a valuable forum for families to become more involved with the school. Mr. Patrick Boor, a BLS AP Economics teacher who was newly elected as clerk of SCC, says he joined the council “to get a new perspective that will help me better serve the students in my classroom. And so, being part of a greater team allows me to collaborate and to listen to voices I might not normally hear in the school day.”

The SSC also provides students with an opportunity to voice their concerns and interests through student representatives such as Student Council co-presidents Jiajia Zhang (I) and Niall Reynolds (I).

Zhang encourages more students to attend Council meetings, saying, “I think it’s very useful because you hear a lot about the news of the school and get an early notice of a lot of things.”

SSC meetings are held on Zoom every other Tuesday of the month and are accessible to all students and parents who would like to join through a link posted on the Daily Bulletin.