By GreatSchools Staff
Knowing who does what in your child's school, and figuring out the best ways to communicate with school staff, can help you be effective in supporting your child's success in school.
All public school districts have many legal responsibilities. These must be taken care of "at the district level," meaning they require the review or approval of the district's school board. They include the following:
In addition, most school districts centralize certain parts of their operation for efficiency and effectiveness. These can include staff development, purchasing, technology planning, strategic planning, public information, student transportation, student performance standards, and student assessments, to name just a few.
With the trend toward school-level decision making, some districts have pushed more operations and decisions to the school level. The district, however, retains the responsibility for equity of educational opportunity for all students in all of its schools.
Every school district is free to organize itself and the way it does business. As you might expect, larger school districts usually have bigger and more complex central operations. You might find separate departments or offices for virtually every function mentioned above. In a medium-sized district, a district administrator might have multiple responsibilities, such as purchasing, facilities, monitoring expenditures, and fiscal planning. In a one-school district, the principal is often also the superintendent and has some extra duties, including working with the school board.
Often, school site people refer to the district office as "they" or the "folks downtown." The degree to which schools and district office personnel work as partners can reveal a lot about the district's culture. Many school districts that formerly functioned as regulators, ensuring school-level compliance with the rules, now emphasize providing support to school site staffs to help them improve their performance. With a few careful questions you can usually determine how your school district relates to the school site.
The school district superintendent is the equivalent of a corporate chief executive officer. This is the person the school board holds accountable. The superintendent also acts as secretary to the board and as such is part of the school district's governance team. The nature of the board/superintendent relationship in a district will tell you a great deal about how that district is run.
If you want to become involved in district-level decisions or committees, ask your school principal or another active parent how you can play a role. You can also call the superintendent's office, which is often the first and best place to go for information. From this office you may be directed elsewhere, but it's usually by someone who routinely deals with the public and knows how the district is organized.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.