Teachers pull back curtains on Instructional Council


Blot graphic by Dani McLaughlin

A survey of 63 students from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, 2020.

Lillian Chen

It appears once per month on the school calendar, on display for all students and faculty: 10:30 am Instructional Council Meeting. A virtual mystery to a majority of CHS students, the purpose and inner workings of the Instructional Council remain a secret shared only by its members. 

“The council is a group of teachers that meet to discuss concerns around the school,” Principal James Gleason said. “Hopefully it’s instructionally based, but quite honestly it’s an open forum to discuss things that we can improve upon around the school.”

At a typical meeting, members discuss issues they have noticed at CHS or suggest ways to improve students’ school experiences. From creating stricter sports release times to school-wide assemblies with the Commissioner of Education (the new topics of the December meeting), teachers from each department come together to find ways to deliver the best education possible.

Gleason has previously invited students to apply for Instructional Council in spring for the following school year, but decided to only include teachers this year, thus noting its lack of recognition among students.

“In the past, we’ve had students on Instructional Council. This particular year, it was my decision to just have teachers. I thought that we just needed a little bit of a break and I do believe, though, that my goal going into next year is to have students back,” Gleason said. “Because students aren’t on it this year, I would say that maybe it’s not as well known as what it’s been in the past.”

Despite its lack of student recognition, Spanish III teacher and Instructional Council member Courtney Van Arsdale believes the Instructional Council greatly impacts the way that CHS functions and aids in creating a healthy student-faculty relationship.

“I find communication to be one of the most important pieces in cohesive education and monthly discussions ensure all issues are revealed,” Van Arsdale said. “We are a rather large ‘village’ so it’s necessary to stick together and be transparent, put our heads together, and be solution-oriented.”

Van Arsdale added that the “meetings are concise and focused with one goal in mind: improving always.”