Schools are busy and complex systems of people are created for educating school-aged youth. Families and the community at large expect schools to be safe and effective. The most effective way to create safe and supportive learning environments is through the development and implementation of clear and purposeful school policies.
School policy is defined as the set of established expectations for specific behavior and norms within a school. School policies are put in place to guide the day-to-day functioning of the school as well as to make it safe and an effective place for learning to occur.
Typically, schools have specific policies for different target audiences. For example, schools may have policies for families regarding sick children and drop off and pick-up. Schools may also have policies for students such as uniforms, cell phone policies or attendance policies. School policies are usually written out in the form of the student and parent handbook or online through the school’s website.
In order for school policies to be effective, they have to be more than just statements on paper. School policies have to be clearly articulated to faculty, staff, students and parents. All groups must be made aware of the policies and exactly how they are expected to follow them.
Ensuring that everyone is clear about policies and procedures will help reduce confusion. Additionally, if policies and procedures are clear, the greater the likelihood that they will be followed appropriately.