At the core of Hudson's grand experiment is the community council, a committee consisting of elected students and staff that is responsible for making many decisions at Hudson typically left to the school principal or a faculty committee to decide. Meeting once a month, the committee (led by a student, rather than a teacher) discusses and recommends policy on everything from dress codes to lunchtime fare to parking policies and more. "Everyone on the council speaks with an equal voice," says Brian Daniels, a teacher at Hudson and executive to the Hudson High School Community Council. "It took a long time to get everyone ready for the change," he adds. Hudson students and staff discussed the new governance idea for two
years before holding their first Community Council meeting. One of the biggest challenges for students and staff was the shift of thinking -- and, in some ways, the shift in power -- that needed to occur in order for the Community Council to be effective. "It really pushes me to look at whose opinion should be valued more," reflects Sean Tanney, a Hudson graduate and head of the Community Council last year. "When the teacher says something, you normally think of it as right, and if a student says something, you always look to the teacher to reconfirm that," said Tanney. "However, in Community Council, whoever says something, it's automatically valid, regardless of who said it." The Community Council is governed by a three-page constitution, which lays out terms of service for representatives, election procedures, responsibilities, and areas of authority, which include "all matters at Hudson High School not controlled by school board policy, state policy, administrative regulations established by the Superintendent of Schools, and the collective bargaining agreement." The principal can veto council decisions, but the council can override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote, a move that triggers the creation of a Board of Conciliation, which includes the district superintendent, a Community Council member, and a third person with expertise in the area under question.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
First Class Citizens
Intesting article about a school that has a constructivist governance model. There's also a 6 minute video that goes along with the article you might want to watch.