Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC)
Youth on Board co-administers the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) with the Office of Family and Community Engagement of the Boston Public Schools. BSAC is a citywide body of elected student leaders representing most BPS high schools. BSAC works to identify and address pertinent student issues, thereby putting students at the center of the decisions that affect them the most. BSAC students have led organizing efforts, forged relationships with district and city-leaders, impacted policy change, and transformed school culture across the board.
BSAC has played a key role in advising the School Committee and the Superintendent on district policy, working with the Headmasters on student climate issues, and informing students of their rights and responsibilities under district rules. Over the last 10 years BSAC has worked on issues and informed policy changes such as: Punctuality Policy, Homework Policy, Cell Phone Policy, Teacher Evaluation & Hiring, Student Government, School Safety, BPS Budget and School Quality.
1. Student Rights and Responsibilities Campaign – Over the past decade, BSAC has developed and advised on many policies. In an effort to help our peers understand their rights, we launched student rights campaigns at several of our schools this year. BSAC members made announcements, organized information tables at lunch, and handed out student rights cards to raise awareness.
Download the Student Rights and Responsibilities Flyer
2. Student Feedback in Teacher Evaluation – Students have a great perspective on what makes a teacher efficient and effective, and there should be a formal process to incorporate student input in teacher evaluations. In May 2010, the Boston School Committee approved the Boston Student Advisory Council’s Constructive Feedback Proposal and voted to implement the policy at the high school level starting the 2010-2011 school year. BSAC has since taken this project to the state level, successfully lobbying for student feedback in educator regulations beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. Beginning in the next school year, student feedback will be included as evidence informing a teacher’s performance evaluation.
Visit Student Voice Matters, our National Student Feedback web site, to learn more about the movement across the country
3. Students Involvement in the Teacher Hiring Process – The goals of this project are to increase student representation on the School Site Council (or Governing Board) and to appoint students to a school’s Personnel Subcommittee. Since school-based management is primarily a contractual issue, BSAC advocated for these changes through our work with the Boston United for Students Coalition. In the 2012-2013 school year, we successfully advocated for the increase of student representation on the School Site Council (from 1 to 2) and for there to be a student on the Personnel Subcommittee to be a part of the teacher hiring process.
4. School Discipline – Over the past couple of years, students and parents have played an integral role in revising the Code of Conduct (formerly known as the Code of Discipline). BSAC studied the document, and presented feedback to the School Committee. As part of the revision process, parents pushed for an advisory committee composed of students and parents to review the implementation of the Code of Conduct in schools. BSAC made sure that meetings would be held at times that students could attend. BSAC now serves on the Code of Conduct Advisory Committee. We are also part of a national coalition, Dignity in Schools, which supports our local efforts, such as the BSAC annual listening project. We played an integral role in lobbying for the passage of Chapter 222, a law that encourages schools to explore options other than suspensions and expulsions.
5. Health/ Wellness – All students deserve a complete education at their school, which includes issues of health and sexuality. They should also be educated about community resources such as clinics, substance abuse programs, and counseling. BSAC is working with community groups and BPS to improve the quality of health education. We also have representatives on the district’s Wellness Council.In recent years, BSAC has played a key role in advising the School Committee and the Superintendent on district policy, working with the Headmasters on student climate issues, and informing students on their rights and responsibilities under district rules.