Advocate more Effectively by Understanding the Public School Hierarchy


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Advocate more Effectively by Understanding the Public School Hierarchy

We created the chart above to help parents and caregivers understand the hierarchy of leadership in public schools. It is essential to know who to engage with first should a situation arise in the school setting. If an issue occurs, the best practice is to reach out to Special Education teachers.

The next step would be to include the LEA (Local Education Agency) designee. This is a person at the meeting that has the authority to allocate resources and approve the IEP, and to facilitate individual problem solving as appropriate. This MAY require an IEP team meeting.

When an IEP team requires additional support, district personnel are assigned to assist as needed to resolve specific issues.

District personnel communicates specifics to the director of ESE for the next steps as appropriate.


STUDENTS AND PARENTS: The system exists to serve students and parents, whose needs and concerns influence a wide range of policies and practices.

SCHOOL BOARD: Oversees public schools and ensures that they are in compliance with constitutional responsibilities.

SUPERINTENDENT: Oversees and enhances educational programs, implements rules, regulations, policies, and procedures and increases student achievement.

DISTRICT ADMINISTRATORS: Oversees specific areas such as curriculumand instruction development, student services, special needs, English Language Learners, athletics, transportation, federal programs, testing and assessment, finances, etc.

DISTRICT ADVISORY TEAMS/SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT TEAMS: Formal committees are composed of community members, school leaders, and parents who advise the school district or individual schools and create improvement plans.

PRINCIPALS AND SCHOOL LEADERS: Oversees school operations, provide staff with necessary skills to fulfill educational goals and ensure that rules, regulations, policies, and procedures are enforced and fulfilled.

PARENT COMMITTEES (PTO/PTA): Parent-Teacher committees support school/family social interaction, enhance educational efforts through classroom assistance, information-sharing, and fundraising.

SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS: Assist students in gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in life.

SUPPORT STAFF: Provides support services, such as counseling, scheduling, communications, etc…

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