Collaborative School Committee (CSC) 


CSC Members:

Liliana Melendez (School Principal) Secretary

Alice Udelhofen (Teacher ELA-E) Chairperson

Lisa Lamson (Teacher  ELA-E)

Abbe Montoya (Social Worker)

Talia Jimenez (School Parent)

Maria Portillo ( Community Representative)


Cowell CSC By-Laws

Cowell Mission Statement:  

At Cowell, we collaborate with our students, families, district and community to uphold shared values that will empower and inspire students to become lifelong learners.

Cowell is a safe, respectful community that fosters excitement for learning and holds high expectations for all who enter our doors.

Cowell Elementary School provides all students with a rigorous academic experience while fostering a positive student culture of high expectations and support. Cowell Elementary School has been educating students in the Villa Park neighborhood to prepare them for success through middle school, high school and beyond.


CSC Purpose and Scope

To provide the CSC committee with an established set of rules and procedures under which to most effectively function.  In addition to these bylaws, the CSC will function within Board of Education Policy BDF-R4 which in many instances specifies CSC committee requirements and functions, and the Agreement between the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and the Denver Public School District, hereafter referred to as the Agreement.

The purpose and scope of CSC is now found in Board of Education Policy BDF-R4 of the DPS/DCTA Agreement

The purpose and scope of the Collaborative School Committee (CSC) shall be to focus on the Unified Improvement Plan as its primary responsibility at the school based on the “Multiple Measures”.

These are district-established indicators of individual school performance and data in the following areas:  attendance, graduation-rate, school leadership, instructional quality, student respect, school safety, and other measures such as the School Accountability Rating.

In particular the CSC will work to provide guidance, evaluation, and recommendations regarding staffing allocations as it relates to the UIP, school budget, and school program design, including consultation regarding adjustments that may be made due to pupil-count issues.

  • to enhance student achievement and school climate by engaging the school community in collaborative efforts supporting the school and district’s goals;
  • to provide strategic direction in support of the school’s mission and vision as stated in the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP). The UIP with the school’s program design, should serve as the strategic plan for the school;
  • to be in compliance with state and federal law, regulations of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), applicable U.S. District Court orders, the District Affirmative Action plan, the DPS/DCTA Agreement, other contracts and District mandates;
  • to use evaluation tools and systems using a variety of longitudinal measures or the School Performance Framework to determine student achievement, overall organizational strength, school’s accreditation ratings for reporting to the CDE and to provide input to the teacher and principal compensation.



Selection for membership should be through volunteers.  Elections should be held every two years.  The composition of the CSC committee should be, at a minimum, as follows:

  • The principal of the school or principal’s designee;
  • One (2) teachers, elected by majority vote of the faculty in the school (elected by secret ballot);
  • Two (2) parents or guardians of a student enrolled in the school, elected by majority of voting parents with children in the school;
  • One (1) adult member of an organization of parents, teachers and students recognized by the school; nominated by a member of the CSC and approved by the other members of the CSC;
  • One (1) business/employer or community representative from the local community nominated by a member of the CSC and approved by the other members of the CSC;



Member Diversity

The diversity of the school student population should be represented in the CSC committee membership.



CSC committee members are elected to a one or two-year term.  Members may be elected to no more than three (3) successive terms.  Staggered terms may be used to promote continuity.



If a vacancy occurs during the school year, the remaining members of the CSC shall fill the vacancy by majority vote (remaining CSC members should look to fill the vacancy with a representative of the constituent group that the vacating member represented).  Upon completion of his/her vacancy term, he/she may be re-elected for a full term.  The vacancy term served will not be counted as a successive term.  In case of vacancy of the Business Representative position, a CSC committee member will recommend a business representative to the remaining CSC committee members for approval.


If a CSC committee member accumulated three consecutive unexcused meeting absences during the school year, this should be grounds for removal from the committee.  However, under extenuating circumstances each situation should be addressed on a case-by-case basis.



If a CSC committee member fails to comply with these bylaws, procedures or rules and regulations of the CSC Committee, or the district, this failure should be grounds for removal from the CSC Committee.



Duties should be assigned at the beginning of the school year by consensus of the committee.  Leadership positions should consist of a CSC committee chairperson and a secretary.



The chairperson is responsible for maintaining order of each meeting.  This is achieved through effective facilitation of discussions, recognizing the individual who has the floor and conducting the collaborative resolution for issues under consideration by the CSC committee.


The secretary is responsible for compiling the meeting minutes along with a list of decisions made for all meetings.  The CSC Secretary should compile minutes of each meeting in a notebook for each school year.



Agendas should be made available to staff and the community at least one working day before the CSC meeting.

A partial agenda for the next meeting should be discussed at the conclusion of each meeting.  A final agenda will be prepared through consultation with the principal and chairperson with input from the committee members.  Agendas will be posted on the CSC communication board and/or other agreed-upon location.  Topics for consideration must be submitted to the CSC committee.  These may be submitted in writing or to a CSC committee member.  It is the responsibility of each CSC member to present issues conveyed to them with the intent that the information be shared with the CSC committee.


            Minutes from the most recent meeting should be made available to staff and to the community in a timely fashion and put in CSC file for the school’s records.


A quorum must be present at the CSC committee meeting in order to enact, or take action upon issues.

  • A majority of CSC members, of whom the principal is one, should constitute a quorum. A quorum must be present at the CSC committee meeting in order to enact or take action upon issues.
  • Quick turnaround decisions that must be resolved prior to the next scheduled meeting may be addressed by an emergency meeting called by the principal. A quorum must be present to make a decision.  The entire CSC committee will abide by the decision derived from this emergency meeting.  These discussions will be communicated to all CSC members at the next scheduled meeting.


Decisions should be made by consensus.  A consensus decision is either unanimous or a majority decision that the entire committee (including dissenter(s)) will implement and support.  The CSC committee will seek to operate in an environment marked by mutual support and respect.  Collaborative decision-making is based upon trust and on the belief in the strength of shared responsibility in decision-making.  All participants must be able to state their cases, be listened to, and have their points of view considered.

  • Members cannot be instructed by their representative groups on how to decide. Members decide for the good of the students.
  • Members will see proposals before decisions are made on the proposals.
  • The CSC committee will follow norms established at the first meeting. The ground rules/norms for conducting the CSC committee meetings are as follows:
  • Growth Mindset- step into your learning zone
  • Use Technology for learning
  • Be present
  • Assume positive intent
  • Ask questions
  • Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer
  • Have fun!
  • Take risks – we’re in a safe space
  • Know thy self- be reflective, confront personal biases
  • Facilitation may be requested whenever any three representatives of the CSC committee want to improve the collaborative decision-making process.



Meetings should be open to the public.

Notice of meetings should be posted in a timely fashion in appropriate public places as well as published in the school calendar, newsletter or other appropriate medium.

Public Input

At least once a month, CSC meetings should include time for public input. 

  1. Decision Making Process:
    1. Consensus is a process through which a group makes a decision (without voting) that all members can support. Consensus decisions represent a group decision, supported (or at least accepted) by all group members, that is based on:
      • A thorough understanding of relevant information
      • Participation by all group members
      • An understanding of different perspectives, concerns, needs and recommendations
      • Creative effort to accommodate different needs
      • A willingness to raise and understand disagreement and address the underlying needs manifested in disagreement
    2. If a CSC is not able to reach a decision by consensus and if the timing of the decision permits, the CSC shall seek facilitation assistance from Instructional Superintendent to resolve the impasse. If the timing of the decision does not permit further delay, the principal shall make an impasse decision.  The fact of an impasse decision having been made by the principal will be reported in writing to the Instructional Superintendent and the CSC chairperson.  Where a pattern of impasse decisions emerges, the Instructional Superintendent will provide assistance to the principal and the CSC.
    3. The principal, the CSC chairperson and one member of each constituency group shall review bylaws and consensus decision-making process on an annual basis.