Policy of the Toronto District School Board
Index of Policies

Basic Commitment A.02                          Framework for Policy Development
Adoption/Revision Date: February 25, 1998

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Rationale for Policy Development
Principles Underlying Policy Development
Terms for Policy Development
Criteria for Exemplary Policy
Establishing Priorities
Process for Policy Development
Consultation Process
Process for Policy Implementation
Process for Policy Review

1. Rationale for Policy Development

  • To give substance to the Mission and Values of the Board
  • To make a public statement by which the Board can be held accountable
  • To comply with legal requirements
  • To set parameters by which staff can develop administrative procedures
  • To provide the basis for budget development and resource allocation

2. Principles Underlying Policy Development

  • One of the primary roles of the Toronto District School Board is to establish clear and consistent policies
    and, through the Director of Education, monitor their implementation.
  • The process of policy development should include open and authentic com-munication between the Board and its students, staff, parents and communi-ties.
  • The policies of the Board should reflect the Mission and Values of the Board.

3. Terms for Policy Development

  • Policy - A statement adopted by the Board that provides the framework for the development of a course of action consistent with the Board's Mission and Values; a commitment by which the Board is held account-able
  • Procedure - A prescribed course of action, emanating from Board policy, that must be taken in a given situation and which is consistent with the Board's Mission and Values
  • Guideline - A recommended course of action that may be taken in a given situa-tion and which is consistent with the Board's Mission and Values and policies
  • Protocol - A procedure which sets out the rules for the interaction between the Board and outside agencies, as well as the formalities and etiquette to be ob-served on formal or ceremonial occasions

4. Criteria for Exemplary Policy

Exemplary policies:

  • are consistent with the Board's Mission and Values;
  • are developed through a consultation process;
  • are clearly written, easily understood and in language that is inclusive;
  • are readily available and accessible to all;
  • are current and up to date;
  • achieve the intended purpose.

5. Establishing Priorities

Priorities will be identified by the Board by addressing the following questions:

  • Is a policy required by an act or regulation?
  • Is the development of a policy the appropriate response to an issue or circumstance?
  • Is there a health and safety issue?
  • Is there a program need?
  • Is there an operational need?
  • Is there an equity issue?
  • Is there a community issue?
  • Is there a governance issue?
  • Are there financial implications?
  • Is there urgency?
  • Is the issue important?
  • What are the implications of continuing with the status quo?
  • What is the practicality or feasibility of developing a particular policy?

6. Process for Policy Development

(a) An issue requiring policy development is identified by the Board.

(b) Responsibility for policy development is assigned by the Director to a desig-nated project leader.

(c) A task group is identified by the project leader.

(d) A work plan is developed by the task group that takes into consideration:

  • The Mission and Values of the Board
  • Timelines
  • Orientation and professional development needs
  • A process for consultation
  • The relationship to existing policies
  • The legal requirements and implications
  • Resources and research needs
  • The template or format for the final draft

(e) The task group, working under the supervision of the project leader, develops a proposed policy.

(f) The proposed policy is presented by the Director of Education, or designate, to the Board for consideration.

7. Consultation Process

Consultation is fundamental to policy development and is based on the following princi-ples:

  • Consultation should involve all parties who can contribute to and/or are af-fected by the proposed policy.
  • Consultation should be characterized by openness, trust, integrity and mutual respect for the points of view of all participants.
  • Participants in a consultation process should be given clear mandates.
  • Appropriate resources should be provided to enable participants to contribute fully to the consultation.
  • The timelines for consultation should be clear so that participants can plan their involvement.
  • Consultation should be scheduled to allow full participation.
  • Consultation should not be used to affirm decisions already made.
  • Participants should be informed of the results of the consultation.

The purposes of consultation on policy development are:

  • to provide a broader base for input;
  • to clarify and promote a better understanding of the issues;
  • to provide information and receive feedback;
  • to identify alternative courses of action;
  • to get expert advice where necessary;
  • to build trust and mutual respect;
  • to build positive relationships;
  • to build consensus;
  • to develop ownership.

Effective strategies for consultation may include:
  • public meetings
  • focus groups
  • advisory-liaison committees
  • calls for briefs
  • distribution of position papers
  • deputations
  • e-mail response
  • telephone hotlines
  • expert panels
  • using facilitators
  • adding members to the task group
  • research
  • public opinion polls workshops
Having due regard for the consultative process, the Board will continue to be respon-sible for its legislated powers and duties under the Education Act. As such, the Board accepts its decision-making role and subsequent accountability.

8. Process for Policy Implementation

Following Board approval of a policy:

(a) the Director of Education assumes responsibility for implementation of the policy;

(b) an implementation plan is developed that includes:

  • roles and responsibilities
  • timelines
  • resources required, including staff
  • a communications plan
  • a process for monitoring the policy

9. Process for Policy Review

Board policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure:

  • that they are still relevant;
  • that they still conform to the criteria for exemplary policy;
  • that they have been implemented effectively.

In the process for policy review:

(a) the Director of Education assumes responsibility for developing a review process;

(b) a review plan is developed that includes:

  • roles and responsibilities
  • timelines
  • resources required, including staff
  • an evaluation strategy
  • a process for revising the policy, if needed;

(c) the Director of Education presents a review report to the Board for considera-tion;

(d) the Director of Education assumes responsibility for implementing any policy revisions.

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