Setting educational goals in accordance with State of Illinois law and adopting school board policies are among the Board of Education's responsibilities. Adopted goals, along with the district's strategic plan, help guide resource allocation and identify areas of focus in the district's planning efforts. Throughout the year, the district reports out on the progress toward achieving adopted goals and toward accomplishing the strategic plan objectives. These reports and updates are provided to the Board of Education and are part of the district's public records.
School board policies are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure they reflect district practices and state law. The individual sections as well as the comprehensive policy manual of the ETHS District 202 Board of Education are available in this section.
In many professional settings, the words “policy” and “procedure” are sometimes used interchangeably to describe a set of company rules that govern how employees will provide services, meet client expectations, or coordinate activities within the organization. When talking about public school districts, the words “policy” and “procedure” have very different meanings, and the difference between them does matter.
Policy: Policies are established by the Board of Education to ensure that Evanston Township High School District 202 responds to its mission and operates in an effective, efficient, and consistent manner. Policies define the desire and intent of the Board. In simple terms, think of policies as the general direction for how the Board would like the school system to operate. For example, policies can cover what the Board wants to happen in the district, such as the kind of public conduct expected at school events. Or policies can describe what should not happen, like using district communication channels to advertise for commercial business. A policy can include an explanation of the reasons behind it to help clarify why it’s needed, and often include requirements related to the policy as stated by local, state and federal law. Policies are expressed in broad terms, and answer the “what” and “why” questions while delegating implementation of policy to the administration. The Board’s policies are organized into a Board Policy Manual by section so they’re easy to review.
Procedures: The term procedures is used in connection with policies, because procedures are the methods or steps for carrying out a policy. Procedures are specific, telling staff, students, and other members of the school community how to put the basic policy into action on a day-to-day basis. School administrators develop procedures so they can put the Board’s policy into practice. Procedures answer the “how,” “who,” “where,” and “when” questions. The superintendent and other school staff are responsible for seeing that the Board’s policies are followed in the day-to-day life of the district by carrying out administrative procedures. Since procedures need to be flexible to adapt to changing conditions in the school and in the legal climate, it is important to differentiate policies from procedures so that procedural modifications can be made in a timely manner.
What is included in the category of administrative procedures?
Staff and student handbooks (e.g., The Pilot: Student & Family Handbook, the Faculty Handbook) are considered a part of the school's administrative procedures, as well as more specialized documents such as coaches' handbooks, special education guides, and the many resources (email, web pages, etc.) used in transmitting information between the district and its employees, students and members of the school community. These materials include reference to procedures and policy, and are governed by Board policy.
Why can't we omit the procedures and put all the information into the policies?
Policies must be formally adopted, revised or approved by the Board in its role as the properly elected representatives of the voters. Generally, the Board can only adopt or revise policy after introducing the change at a prior meeting (Policy 2:240), which means that it typically takes at least two Board meetings to make a change to policy. Policy should deal with broad issues of the proper governance and operation of the school in ways that provide continuity for the district and address the needs of all individuals served by the district while meeting all local, state and federal law.
Procedures, by the simple necessity of their detailed provisions, are generally delegated to the superintendent and the administrative team to be kept current in a quickly-changing legal, educational and social environment. The procedures are initially created or revised by the school’s administrative team, and the superintendent is responsible for overseeing the procedural revisions in keeping with Board policies as change occurs.
Repurposed in part from the following sources: