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References and Resources

Stop reinventing the wheel. Use available resources. But don’t limit you search to Lutheran schools. There are many outstanding examples among Christian/non-Lutheran schools and public schools. Never copy what another school is doing. Always write with you school’s needs and culture in mind.

LCMS School Ministry

LCMS Governing Manual for Lutheran Schools

University of California

Arkansas School Boards Association

other STF links

Loving Accreditation (Feature)

Talking with Parents About Struggling Students (LDnet)

Is It Ever Too Early to Start Planning VBS? (PEN)

 

Participate in the LEADnet listserv as a benefit of your LEA membership.

 

LEA is looking for writers

LEA is looking for writers in front-line ministries for articles in future ShapingtheFuture magazine pieces. If you would like to write, contact ed.grube@lea.org (do not reply to this publication) to express and discuss your interests.

 

LEADnet

Do we really need another policy?Let’s Make It Policy

Seems simple but…do you need another policy? REALLY?

Policy must be followed…so it must be enforced…so there must be consequences if it is ignored.
Do you REALLY want another policy to enforce?

Let’s help you avoid adding to your policy manual. Look the policy-lover in the eye and …

Ask them to articulate clearly the problem the policy is supposed to solve.  This can be really hard but is really necessary.

Ask them if this is a common problem.  Policies address recurring problems.

Ask them if this is a significant problem. Policies deal with major issues.

Ask them if dealing with the problem is taking a lot of time. Policies save time.

Ask them if their beloved policy will stand the test of time. Policies have staying power. They change infrequently.

Ask them if the policy will help them avoid having the problem again in the future. Policies simplify school life.

Ask them what they would like done to people who don’t follow the policy. Policies must be enforced. An unenforced policy is really just a written dream.

Policies improve relations with the people served. Policies support peaceful operations. Sweet.If the answers are good, then admit the need for a policy.

A good policy will make life easier for everyone…

Policies improve relations with the people served. Policies support peaceful operations. Sweet.

Procedures give life to policies.

Once the policy is set, put procedures in place to make sure the policy is actually put to use. The basics: who will do what and when.

Here is a sample policy with procedures found in the handy Governing Board Resource for Lutheran Schools. Note that who, what, and when are in the procedures. Its link is located in the resources found below. (Use it.)

A school needs a policy for overdue accounts. For the good of the school financially, and in fairness to all parents, all accounts need to be current. To provide support for the administrator and influence the parents, the board could adopt this policy:

All accounts are to be current. Accounts that are not current within a specified time limit require student expulsion.

If a board adopted such a policy (and clearly there are many issues to be addressed before such a statement could be made), it would be the administrator’s responsibility to develop a procedure to carry it out. For example:

  1. All family account balances will be reported to parents monthly.
  2. Accounts that are one month in arrears will receive a communication of concern from the school office. The message will include a request to contact the principal if unusual financial conditions are present.
  3. Accounts that are two months in arrears will receive a telephone call from the school office requesting a meeting with the administrator and the family involved. During this meeting, a letter will be delivered that states that if the unpaid amount is not paid within 30 days, the child will not be allowed to continue at school.
  4. One week before a potential expulsion, the principal and a designee shall contact the family to review the consequences of delayed payments and offer to extend the time limit for the debt to be paid if there is a documented financial need.

The board adopts policy statement. The administrator prepares and implements procedures. The wise administrator would review the procedure with the board and seek input while retaining final responsibility for the process.

Think through this common policy/procedure.

It is decided (the policy is shortened here)… We give vacation time because workers need rest and time away from work to remain sane. Our vacation policy is that full-time workers get x# of vacation days for every x# of years worked.

What procedures would you prepare? Consider…

By the way…

Don’t be cheap. Sometimes you need to pay for good advice.

Remember the “rule of unintended consequences.” Well-intended policies can have unintended negative consequences. Think weapons “zero tolerance” policies and the resulting heinous crime of packing a butter knife with a school lunch to…(gasp) spread butter. Before adoption, think about real people living by the policy in real life.

Paul Brandt is a long-time LEA member, educator, ministry leader, strategic planning and governance consultant.

Illustration by Adele Henning.