Policy Review Session

Policies need routine check-ups too

Even with regular numbered updates and local district updates for your localized policy manual, board policies are fighting a constant battle against time and change. Changes in board composition and district administration, in student demographics and district size, in statutes, technology, and economic outlook—these things and more can cause even the best-maintained set of board policies to gradually fall out of date.

The answer to this maintenance conundrum is the Policy Review Session (PRS). In a PRS the district's policy consultant works with the superintendent and the board to evaluate and refresh the entire policy manual. At the end of a PRS the district's senior administration and trustees will come away with:

  • thoroughly examined and up-to-date policies
  • a sound education about the best policymaking practices
  • for new superintendents, an excellent grounding in the district's policies
  • for trustees, continuing education credits that can be applied to statutory requirements
  • an excellent opportunity to put the district's policies online

To schedule a PRS contact your policy consultant at 800-580-7529 or 512-467-0222.

The process

The exact steps may vary from case to case, but a PRS will generally follow this outline.

  • Audit: A copy of the policy manual provided by the district is compared to TASB's records. We take note of any discrepancies and any policies that are out of date or that contain questionable provisions.
  • Policy recommendations: The district's policy consultant assembles a packet of recommended changes to your manual's legal policies, local policies, and administrative regulations. These are submitted to the superintendent for review, and a process of back-and-forth ensues as the superintendent and the consultant hammer out the details.
  • District visit and board training session: Your consultant visits the district, works with the superintendent to polish the policy recommendations that will go before the board, and then conducts several hours of board training to familiarize trustees with their role as stewards of the district's policies. This training can be applied to the trustee's continuing education requirements.
  • Wrap-up and summary: The district visit always produces new changes that need to be made to the manual. These are added to the work done to date, and then the consultant returns to the superintendent a "PRS Summary," a checklist document that summarizes the changes and invites the superintendent and board to say "yea" or "nay" to each one. At this point the board may adopt the policy changes based on the PRS summary, or it can wait to receive the newly revised policy manual.
  • Print and place online: The policy changes having been finalized, TASB prints and sends a brand new copy (or multiple copies, if needed) of the board's fresh policy manual to the district. This is an excellent opportunity for a district to start using Policy On Line if it hasn't already done so.