Home » Policies » What Is A Policy?

What Is A Policy

What we mean by policy varies depending on the level of the organization we’re talking about, and in some cases, depends upon the policy context at the levels above our program in whatever hierarchy it exists.

Different states, and the schools within them, vary in how they name, create and structure their policies. A policy in one state might be a rule, statute, or law in another. In one state, particular issues might be left up to the local district, while in other states, the same issue might be controlled by state law. What is policy in one place might be merely practice or procedure or process in another.

For our purposes, policy at the federal level means federal law, including the rules and guidance that generally accompany those laws. At the state level, policy means laws, statutes, or rules. At the district level, policies are the locally created, board-adopted guidelines for the district. At the school level, policies tend to be increasingly specific as they approach describing the nitty gritty of daily operations. The important thing is to not get hung up on the vocabulary of what a policy is, but to adapt the guidance here to whatever organizational level and specific labels apply to your particular situation.