School Leadership Teams (SLTs) and Citywide/Community Education Councils (CCECs) are essential elements of our educational governance structure and ensure collaborative decision- making in school-level and district-level policy. The guidance below explains how SLT and CCEC meetings can be conducted in accordance with recent changes in law and vaccination mandates.
Deciding How to Meet – Remote or Hybrid?
On September 2, 2021, Governor Hochul enacted Chapter 417 of the Laws of 2021,authorizing public meetings to be held virtually via tele- or video-conferencing, provided the public has the ability to view or listen to the virtual meeting and the meetings are recorded and transcribed, restoring the same flexibility public bodies had during New York’s state of emergency. The law expires on January 15, 2022.
On September 12, 2021, the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an order requiring that beginning September 13, 2021, prior to entry in a DOE building, all visitors must show proof of vaccination. (The order was amended on September 15, 2021.) Under the order, public meetings and hearings held in a DOE school building must offer individuals the opportunity to participate remotely in accordance with Chapter 417.
Accordingly, SLTs and CCECs may hold meetings remotely or in a “hybrid” format. Public meetings cannot be held in-person without offering an option for remote participation by the public. The following requirements must also be met:
- The public must be able to view or listen to the meetings
- The meetings must be recorded and later transcribed
- Applicable notice and quorum requirements must be satisfied
Public comment must be allowed, where applicable (CCECs)
We recommend that SLTs and CCECs discuss the technical challenges and engagement possibilities of each meeting format and arrive at a decision in September. Given that the new law expires on January 15, 2022, we recommend that the decision be made through a motion rather than an amendment to the bylaws, which would take a minimum of two monthly meetings to implement. For CCECs, the motion must be approved by a vote of 6 (7 for CCHS); for SLTs, approval would be by consensus. The quorum requirements have not changed, and can be satisfied by a combination of in-person and virtual attendance in a hybrid meeting.
Meeting Format Considerations
- CCECs/SLTs should consider barriers to the public’s participation in fully remotely or “hybrid” meetings.
- If CCECs/SLTs decide to host “hybrid” meetings, they should consider the number of members that will attend in-person for “hybrid” meetings, and how in-person attendees would be selected.
- Will all public meetings be held in the same format (e.g., monthly calendar meeting, business meeting, special meeting, committee meeting, etc.), or will some meetings be virtual while others hybrid?
CCEC/SLT should consider whether they have the equipment or technical skills needed to successfully run a “hybrid” meeting?
Notice for Hybrid Meetings
SLTs and CECs must continue to provide the public with advanced notice of meetings (see timelines below). This should be done using all communication channels possible – websites, social media, flyers, emails, etc. For hybrid meetings the notice must include the following:
- physical location of the in-person meeting
- A statement that entry to the physical location (if a DOE building) will require showing proof of vaccination
- the meeting link for virtual participation by the public, for CCEC meetings (SLT meetings are not require to allow public comment/speaking)
A statement that the public has the right to attend the meeting at any of the locations
SLT Best Practices
Videoconferencing and Notice of SLT Meetings
The SLT’s chairperson should continue to chair the SLT, and the secretary should continue to provide notice of these meetings consistent with Open Meetings Law requirements. They should work with the school’s principal to identify a DOE-approved virtual platform (see guidance for NYCDOE Videoconferencing) that will allow all members to meet and also provide an opportunity for the school community and the public to view and/or listen to the meeting.
The SLT’s by-laws regarding the time and date of the meeting still apply. In general, SLTs should seek to ensure that all members of the SLT are able to attend the meeting and that notice of the date and time of any SLT meeting has been made public 10 days before the meeting.
- While a public comment period is not required, SLT meetings are an opportunity to hear from members of the school community.
- Agenda should be emailed to all SLT members and posted on the school’s public website before the meeting.
- Virtual platform must have the ability to allow SLT members to speak or provide written comment through a moderated chat. (See guidance for NYCDOE Videoconferencing.)
- The chair, or designated meeting facilitator, should announce the meeting norms at the beginning of the meeting and periodically throughout. (For example, speaking order will be established).
- The chair, or designated meeting facilitator, should endeavor to ensure that all members have the opportunity to speak and be heard during the meeting.
- The meeting should be recorded and transcribed by the tele- or video- conferencing application, and shared with the membership as soon as possible. If the conferencing application does not offer transcription, a transcript will need to be created.
- SLTs must continue to make decisions through consensus.
- The Principal must ensure that members are provisioned to view their school’s CEP through iPlan.
- SLT members are eligible for annual remuneration of $300 if they complete 30 hours of service on the SLT and attend a mandatory training session relating to CEPs and budget issues each year. Service includes attendance at remote meetings. SLT members who attend the training but serve fewer than 30 hours may request remuneration on a pro-rata basis.
- No permission is required to record the meeting. As a matter of courtesy, the host should inform the participants that the meeting is being recorded when announcing the ground rules. Bylaws should be available in case questions arise. If the SLT’s own bylaws cannot be found, the Bylaws Template may be used but only as a guide—a template is not a controlling document for any organization.
Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) generally govern how meetings are conducted, particularly with respect to motions, speaking rules, and minutes. A searchable version of Robert’s Rules is available with answers to many questions on the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) , interpretation, and forum sections.
CEC Capital Planning School Visits
Education Councils have important responsibilities that require school visits. CEC members need access to schools to assess the condition of the facilities so that they can recommend capital improvements. School visits should promote collaboration, understanding, and partnership with families and the community. The procedure through which Education Council members request school visits is governed by Section I of Chancellor's Regulation D-130.
CEC official school visits related to the capital planning process should take place from October to December, and can be held in-person, provided that the visit is held outside of school hours and that CEC member(s) are in compliance with DOE’s visitor policy, including the vaccination requirement (see above). All official visits by CEC members can be held virtually via video- conference, upon request by the CEC. If an Education Council member contacts a principal or superintendent to request an official visit, it is important that a mutually agreed upon scheduled time is reached in advance of the proposed visit. If the Education Council member only reaches out to a principal, the principal must notify both the Superintendent, and FACE Executive Director, Sadye Campoamor, that a request has been granted.
CEC School Visits as the SLT Liaison
CECs are responsible for assessing the effect of the district’s educational programs on student achievement, evaluating the superintendent, and liaising with SLTs, all which require contact and access to the district schools. While CEC members can attend SLTs as members of the public, if a CEC member wants to attend as the SLT liaison, a request to the principals or superintendent must be made in advance. If the SLT meeting is being held in a “hybrid” format, the CEC member may attend in-person, provided that they are in compliance with DOE’s visitor policy, including the vaccination requirement.
In-Person School Visits and Meetings Visitor Vaccine Mandate
Pursuant to a Health Commissioner order, all visitors wishing to enter DOE buildings must show proof of having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. Acceptable proof of vaccination is one of the following:
Education Council members should study school data and statistics before the meeting takes place. It is important to ensure that the school's parent leadership is aware of the CEC visits. As liaisons to the SLT, CEC members may attend and observe SLT meetings or consult with SLT members to learn more about the school, particularly in preparation for a school visit.
It is important that we promote collaboration, understanding, and a willingness to improve our partnership with our parents and community. We know parent and school leaders want to help parents navigate and understand schools and we want to be part of that solution.