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Policy 2020 – Policy Development and Adoption

This policy provides a uniform and consistent format for Board policies and establishes comprehensive processes by which policies are monitored, reviewed, developed, revised, and modified.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County, with the advice of the Superintendent, sets goals and expectations for the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) through the creation, revision, and adoption of policies. These policies guide the development and implementation of educational programs and the management of system operations. Board policies are aligned with the HCPSS mission and goals, as well as applicable federal, state, and local laws. The Board believes that sound policy decisions require the consideration of employee recommendations and community input.

II. Purpose

This policy provides a uniform and consistent format for Board policies and establishes comprehensive processes by which policies are monitored, reviewed, developed, revised, and modified.

III. Standards

  1. Initiating Policy Development, Revision, or Modification
    Policy development, revision, or modification can be initiated in any of the following ways:

    1. By majority vote of the Board, following the recommendation of one or more Board members.

    2. By the Superintendent subsequent to regular policy monitoring and maintenance activities (see Section B.2. below).

    3. By school system employees, upon approval by the Superintendent/designee, in accordance with procedures established by the Superintendent (see Implementation Procedures, Section II.B.).

  2. Policy Monitoring and Maintenance

    1. All Board policies will be assessed within a six-year cycle by the Superintendent’s Standing Policy Group (SSPG).

    2. The Superintendent/designee will present an annual report to the Board for approval of policies that:

      1. Need a comprehensive examination by a Policy Advisory Committee.

      2. Are in good standing and do not need revision at this time.

      3. Need revision to the implementation procedures only.

      4. Need some modifications by an HCPSS content expert but not a comprehensive examination review by a Policy Advisory Committee.

    3. A Policy Advisory Committee will be convened to consider new and/or revised policy language when a policy requires a comprehensive examination.

      1. Representatives of the community and other HCPSS stakeholder groups will be invited to serve on Policy Advisory Committees.

      2. The school system will post a public notice on standard HCPSS communication channels to solicit public participation from at least one general resident on each Policy Advisory Committee.

      3. The Policy Advisory Committee chair will assemble a committee, striving for equal representation of Department of Education employees and other stakeholders.

      4. The public is encouraged to contact the Board to provide input on any policy anytime during the policy development or revision process.

    4. Policies the SSPG designates as in good standing with no revision needs will upon Board approval, be designated as reviewed and will continue until the next scheduled assessment period.

  3. Policy Approval Process

    1. For each policy to be examined by a Policy Advisory Committee, the Superintendent/designee will present, as a report to the Board, a committee charter regarding a new or revised policy that:

      1. Explains the purpose for development or revision of the policy.

      2. Includes members of the Policy Advisory Committee.

      3. Identifies existing data sources to guide policy development and revision as appropriate.

      4. Provides other supporting rationale.

    2. Ongoing communication between the Policy Advisory Committee Chairs and relevant personnel such as General Counsel and Division Chiefs about the policy status is encouraged during the period that the committee is working. At the conclusion of the committee work the Policy Advisory Committee Chair will submit the policy proposal to the Superintendent/designee, to be examined by the Policy Manager, HCPSS General Counsel and the Superintendent’s Cabinet.

      1. The Superintendent/designee will present, as a report to the Board, recommendations and rationale for the content of a new policy or revisions to an existing policy. If there was committee dissent on a particular recommendation, the Superintendent/designee will present dissenting opinion reports on that matter as a component of the overall report to the Board.

      2. Following the Superintendent’s recommendation, the Board will provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposal, including a public hearing, in accordance with Policy 2040 Public Participation in Meetings of the Board.

      3. Following the public hearing and comment phase, the Board will take action on the proposed policy.

    3. Policies that directly affect students or employees will take effect on July 1 following their adoption unless otherwise approved by the Board.

    4. Updates to titles within a policy, such as position titles, office titles, form name titles, previously approved Board policy titles, and legislation related name titles, will be submitted to the Board as an information item.

    5. In certain cases, within or outside the regular cycle, policies may be modified. Policy modifications will:

      1. Not require review by either the SSPG or by a Policy Advisory Committee.

      2. Be presented to the HCPSS General Counsel and the Superintendent’s Cabinet for examination and comment.

      3. Be presented to the Board as a report/action at a regularly scheduled Board meeting by the Superintendent/designee.

      4. Take effect immediately.

    6. As appropriate, implementation procedures that correspond to a Board policy will be issued by the Superintendent.

      1. Implementation procedures will be submitted to the Board concurrent with the corresponding draft policy.

      2. Implementation procedures will include a way to monitor the effective implementation of the policy. Monitoring measures such as policy violations, key identified data points, and related Maryland State Department of Education or HCPSS established performance measures may be tracked to be used to understand the status of the policy and for incorporation into policy reviews. The Board may request reports and follow-up information on how a policy is meeting its purpose.

      3. If revisions to implementation procedures do not require changes to a corresponding Board policy, the implementation procedures will be submitted to the Board as an information item prior to implementation.

    7. After policies are approved by the Board, the HCPSS Policy website and other related HCPSS websites will be updated.

    8. The Board may alter a policy at any time upon a majority vote of the Board. Board alterations will consider HCPSS content expert, community member, and legal rationales. The Board will hold a public hearing prior to a majority vote to alter a policy, when possible.

  4. Policy Format
    All policies will begin with an outline to provide an overview of the structure of the policy. As appropriate, it is expected that related standards will be grouped together under headings. The History section will include a footnoted key. Policies of the Board will include the following format:

    1. Policy Value Statement

    2. Purpose

    3. Standards

    4. Responsibilities

    5. Delegation of Authority

    6. Definitions

    7. References

    8. History

IV. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will annually prepare and present a list of proposed policy development, revision, and modification.

  2. The Superintendent/designee is authorized to develop and issue implementation procedures to execute Board policies when applicable.

  3. The Superintendent/designee will publish and maintain HCPSS Policies and ensure that information is made available to all employees, employee associations, students, and the community regarding newly developed, revised, or modified Board policies and implementation procedures.

  4. The Superintendent/designee will develop a process to ensure the continuous monitoring of how policies are meeting their stated goals and their implementation including, as appropriate, the submission of reports to the Board that link data sources to policy implementation.

V. Delegation of Authority

  1. The Superintendent is directed to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

  2. The Superintendent is authorized to suspend a Board policy in circumstances in which implementation of the policy is reasonably believed to compromise the health, safety, or welfare of students, employees, or others.

    1. If the Superintendent acts to suspend a Board policy, the rationale for the suspension will be provided to the Board at its next regular meeting.

    2. The suspension will not extend beyond the date of the meeting at which the rationale is provided unless its continuation is approved by the Board.

    3. The Board will approve the reinstatement of the suspended policy based on the recommendation of the Superintendent.

VI. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Adopted – Original date the Board took action to approve a policy.

  2. Charter – A document that focuses the work of a Policy Advisory Committee by establishing the reason the committee is formed, the objectives of the committee, and the parameters within which the committee will work.

  3. Comprehensive Examination – An evaluation of a policy that uses a Policy Advisory Committee to look at all aspects of a policy and consider the development and/or revision of policy language.

  4. Effective – The date a policy is implemented throughout the HCPSS, typically July 1 following Board action.

  5. Implementation Procedures – Administrative directives adopted by the Superintendent that provide specific instructions related to the execution of Board policy.

  6. Information Item – Documents presented to the Board for informational purposes only and Board approval is not required.

  7. Modification – A change to a policy that may occur during or outside the policy’s designated review cycle due to legal mandates, federal/state/local/HCPSS Board/HCPSS Superintendent guidance, and best practices.

  8. Modified – The date the Board took action to alter a policy that, based on the recommendation of the Superintendent/designee, did not require a comprehensive examination.

  9. Policy – A written document adopted by the Board that furthers the mission of the HCPSS and guides the development and implementation of educational programs and system operations.

  10. Policy Advisory Committee – An advisory committee to employees and schools, as outlined in Policy 2050, who discuss and make recommendations to the Superintendent regarding the development or revision of a policy. These committees are chartered based on the recommendation of the Board or the Superintendent/designee after the SSPG annual policy assessment.

  11. Report/Action – A Board agenda item for the purpose of obtaining approval of a policy modification.

  12. Reviewed – The date the status of a policy was assessed by the Superintendent’s Standing Policy Group.

  13. Revised – The date the Board took action on a policy that based on the recommendation of the Superintendent/designee, needed a comprehensive examination.

  14. Standards – Parameters that specify the required behavior or outcome that follows from the broad intent of a policy.

  15. Superintendent’s Standing Policy Group (SSPG) – A group of HCPSS employee stakeholders who annually review policies and recommend those policies that are in good standing, need a Policy Advisory Committee revision, or a modification.

VII. References

The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §4-108(3) and (4)

C. Relevant Data Sources

D. Other

HCPSS Policy Manual

VIII. History

ADOPTED: January 22, 2004



REVISED: April 27, 2006, January 26, 2012

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2020