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November 14, 2023 Policy Update

November 14, 2023 Policy Update

Policy matters were on the agenda in two ways during the School Board’s November 14th regular business meeting. First, there were two policies recommended for repeal, under what’s known as the “Policy Committee Report”, which is an agenda item where the Board’s Policy Committee Chair shares about the policy items the committee has referred to the full board for a “first reading”. In accordance with Board Policy 8520 (Policy Development), policy matters are to be on the agenda of two board meetings before taking action, unless the change is legally required, is an emergency, or the board approval is unanimous. This process of presentation, or first reading, at one meeting and then action at a future meeting (usually the next month), provides the Board with time to review and understand the proposal and it gives the community a greater opportunity to share feedback with the Board.

The two policies that had a first reading on the recommendation to repeal were:

Both of the policies were recommended for repeal because a review determined that they were unnecessary and outdated. Getting rid of obsolete policies is a goal of the Policy Committee so the overall number of policies can be reduced. Having fewer policies would make it easier for the Policy Committee and the Board to review and update policies on a more regular frequency. The Board plans to vote on these proposed repeals at its December 12th regular business meeting.

Second, there were two approved policy proposals under the “Action Items” portion of the agenda. Both of these proposals were referred from the Policy Committee for action at just one meeting because the items were legal in nature and about topics over which the board has no control.

The two approved items were:

  • An adoption of a new policy, Policy 5695 (Student Surveys). School districts are required to have a policy that addresses student surveys, and this new policy primarily follows the Minnesota School Board Association's (MSBA) model policy template. MSBA provides model policy language as a service to its member school districts, making the process of updating policies easier when something requires a policy to change, such as new or revised state or federal law, a court ruling, or regulatory change. This new policy first defines a student survey and then details the various requirements for conducting student surveys to ensure both that privacy is protected and that students are not being compelled to complete a survey. Importantly, this policy requires that all student surveys be conducted anonymously unless approved by the Superintendent’s Office. The policy also outlines the rights of parents and guardians to be notified in advance of surveys, to inspect the survey, and to opt their student out of the survey. Finally, the policy requires that an annual notice be provided to parents and guardians about the provisions of the policy.
  • A substantial revision of Policy 6222 (Online Instruction), which effectively repealed the old policy and replaced it with all new language that follows the MSBA model template. Because there were such significant changes to state law in the area of online instruction, it was recommended that MPS take the opportunity to shift to the model policy language. After some introductory clauses, the revised policy is organized into several main sections including definitions, digital instruction, supplemental online courses, enrolling district, and reporting. View both the old and new language in the resolution here.  

As a reminder, all MPS Board Policies and administrative regulations can be found here.