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Principal’s Quick Reference Guide

Principal’s Quick Reference Guide

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Principal’s Quick Reference Guide

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  1. Principal’s Quick Reference Guide Alabama Leadership Academy and Alabama State Department of Education

  2. Acknowledgements The Alabama Leadership Academy gratefully acknowledges the principals whose input contributed to the development of this guide: Billy Broadway Spain Park High School Lynn Cook Chelsea Elementary School Paul Curtis Geneva High School Randy Fuller Oak Mountain High School Anthony Stewart Holly Hill Elementary School Greg Yance Daleville Middle School The Quick Reference Guide will be continually updated and upgraded as needed. Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to Tony Thacker at or call 334/353-4810. For information about or to register for programs developed and presented by The Alabama Leadership Academy Visit our website at:

  3. Reference Topics Code of Ethics Duties Per Alabama Code School Safety Leadership Attendance BBSST Special Education AHSAA Info EXIT Legal NCLB Personnel

  4. Alabama Educator Code of Ethics • Introduction • The Alabama Educator Code of Ethics defines the professional behavior of educators in Alabama and serves as a guide to ethical conduct. The code protects the health, safety and general welfare of students and educators, outlines objective standards of conduct for professional educators, and clearly defines actions of an unethical nature for which disciplinary sanctions are justified. • Standards •  Standard 1: Professional Conduct • An educator should demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional standards. • Unethical conduct is any conduct that impairs the certificate holder’s ability to function in his or her employment position or a pattern of behavior that is detrimental to the health, welfare, discipline, or morals of students. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • harassment of colleagues; • misuse or mismanagement of tests or test materials; • inappropriate language on school grounds; • physical altercations; • failure to provide appropriate supervision of students.

  5. Standard 2: Trustworthiness • An educator should exemplify honesty and integrity in the course of professional practice. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting or erroneously reporting professional qualifications, criminal record, or employment history when applying for employment or certification; • falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting or erroneously reporting information submitted to federal, state and/or other governmental agencies; • falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting or erroneously reporting information regarding the evaluation of students and/or personnel; • falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting or erroneously reporting reasons for absences or leaves; • falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting or erroneously reporting information submitted in the course of an official inquiry or investigation Standard 3: Unlawful Acts An educator should abide by federal, state, and local laws and statutes. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to the commission or conviction of a felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude. As used herein, conviction includes a finding or verdict of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere, regardless of whether an appeal of the conviction has been sought or a situation where first offender treatment without adjudication of guilt pursuant to the charge was granted.

  6. Standard 4: Teacher/Student Relationship • An educator should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • committing any act of child abuse, including physical or verbal abuse; • committing any act of cruelty to children or any act of child endangerment; • committing or soliciting any unlawful sexual act; • engaging in harassing behavior on the basis of race, gender, national origin, religion or disability; • soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal, or physical relationship with a student; • furnishing tobacco, alcohol, or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any student or allowing a student to consume alcohol, or illegal/unauthorized drugs. • Standard 5: Alcohol/ Drug Use or Possession • An educator should refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs during the course of professional practice. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • being on school premises or at a school-related activity involving students while under the influence of, possessing, using, or consuming illegal or unauthorized drugs; • being on school premises or at a school-related activity involving students while documented as being under the influence of, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages. A school related activity includes, but is not limited to, any activity that is sponsored by a school or a school system or any activity designed to enhance the school curriculum such as club trips, etc.

  7. Standard 6: Public Funds and Property • An educator entrusted with public funds and property should honor that trust with a high level of honesty, accuracy and responsibility. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • misusing public or school related funds; • failing to account for funds collected from students or parents; • submitting fraudulent requests for reimbursement of expenses or for pay; • co-mingling public or school-related funds with personal funds or checking accounts; • using school property without the approval of the local board of education/governing body. • Standard 7: Remunerative Conduct • An educator should maintain integrity with students, colleagues, parents, patrons, or businesses when accepting gifts, gratuities, favors, and additional compensation. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • a. soliciting students or parents of students to purchase equipment, supplies or services from the educator or to participate in activities that financially benefit the educator unless approved by the local governing body; • accepting gifts from vendors or potential vendors for personal use or gain where there appears to be a conflict of interest; • tutoring students assigned to the educator for remuneration unless approved by the local board of education;

  8. Standard 8: Maintenance of Confidentiality • An educator should comply with state and federal laws and local school board policies relating to confidentiality of student and personnel records, standardized test material, and other information covered by confidentiality agreements. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • a. sharing of confidential information concerning student academic and disciplinary records, health and medical information, family status/income, and assessment/testing results unless disclosure is required or permitted by law; • violation of confidentiality agreements related to standardized testing including copying or teaching identified test items, publishing or distributing test items or answers, discussing test items, violating local school system or state directions for the use of tests or test items; • violation of other confidentiality agreements required by state or local policy. • Standard 9: Abandonment of Contract • An educator should fulfill all of the terms and obligations detailed in the contract with the local board of education or educational agency for the duration of the contract. • Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to: • abandoning the contract for professional services without prior release from the contract by the employer; • willfully refusing to perform services required by the contract.

  9. Reporting Educators are required to report a breach of one or more of the Standards in the Alabama Educator Code of Ethics, as soon as possible, but no later than sixty(60) days from the date the educator became aware of the alleged breach, unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner. Educators should be aware of their local School Board policies and procedures and/or chain of command for reporting unethical conduct. Complaints filed with the local or state school boards, or with the State Department of Education Teacher Certification Section, must be filed in writing and must include the original signature of the complainant. Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-2-.05 (1)-5-c Each Superintendent shall submit to the State Superintendent of Education within ten calendar days of the decision, the name and social security number of each employee holding an Alabama certificate or license who is terminated, or nonrenewed, resigns, or is placed on administrative leave for cause, and shall indicate the reason for such action. 

  10. Disciplinary Action Disciplinary action shall be defined as the issuance of a reprimand or warning, or the suspension, revocation, or denial of certificates. “Certificate” refers to any teaching, service, or leadership certificate issued by the authority of the Alabama State Department of Education.  Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-2-.05 Authority of the state Superintendent of Education (a)     The Superintendent shall have the authority under existing legal standards to: 1.  Revoke any certificate held by a person who has been proven guilty of immoral conduct or unbecoming or indecent behavior in Alabama or any other state or nation in accordance with Ala. Code §16-23-5 (1975). 2.  Refuse to issue a certificate to an applicant whose certificate has been subject to adverse action by another state until after the adverse action has been resolved by that state. 3.  Suspend or revoke an individual’s certificate issued by the Superintendent when a certificate or license issued by another state is subject to adverse action. 4.  Refuse to issue, suspend, or recall a certificate for just cause.  Any of the following grounds shall also be considered cause for disciplinary action: a.        unethical conduct as outlined in the Alabama Educator Code of Ethics, Standards 1-9; b.        order from a court of competent jurisdiction; c.        violation of any other laws or rules applicable to the profession; d.        any other good and sufficient cause An individual whose certificate has been revoked, denied, or suspended may not be employed as an educator, paraprofessional, aide, or substitute teacher during the period of his or her revocation, suspension, or denial.

  11. Principal’s Duties Per The Alabama Code Section 16-24B-4 • Supervise the daily operation and management of personnel, finances, facilities, and other matters of the school or campus for which responsible. Assume the administrative responsibility and instructional leadership, as directed by the chief executive officer, consistent with the policies of the employing board. • Shall observe all rules, policies, and procedures relative to the operation of public schools as established by applicable law, rule, and standards of both the State Board of Education and the employing board. • Shall perform all other duties assigned by the chief executive officer, consistent with the policies of the employing board and law. • Shall make written advisory recommendations to the chief executive officer regarding the appointment, assignment, promotion, transfer, and cancellation of the contracts of all personnel assigned to any school or campus under his or her responsibility. If the recommendation of a principal or contract principal regarding an appointment, assignment, or promotion is rejected, the principal or contract principal shall submit a second recommendation regarding that appointment, assignment, or promotion, subject to this chapter and board policy. These advisory recommendations shall not be binding upon the chief executive officer, and the chief executive officer shall have final authority for all personnel assignments within the applicable school system.

  12. Personnel PEPE • PEPE is the evaluation system for educators in the State of Alabama. Manuals for all PEPE programs, along with PowerPoint material, survey analysis programs, and a “Contact Us” for questions can be found at the following website address: . Professional Development • Effective Professional Development should be: 1. Results driven and job embedded 2. Curriculum centered and standards based 3. Sustained, rigorous, and cumulative 4. Directly linked to what teachers do in the classroom One time, stand alone seminars with no follow-up is not an example of good professional development. Professional development must include the training and follow-up needed to develop new, and more progressive, habits. Tenure • Answers to tenure questions can be found at : • Select “Title 16: Education” then “Chapter 24: Tenure of Employment of Teachers”

  13. School Safety • School Incident Reports (SIR) must be transmitted to the State Department of Education twice annually, at the end of the first semester and end of the school year • Fire drills must be done, and documented, on a monthly basis • Severe weather drills must be held seasonally, with one during the period of September through November and one during the period of January through March. • Bus evacuation drills must be done, and documented, at least twice a year • Fire escape and safe place diagrams for severe weather must be posted in all rooms that house students. • The school must maintain evidence/documentation of a comprehensive program of substance abuse and violence prevention. The program must be designed to: a. prevent the use, possession and distribution of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs by students b. prevent the use, possession and distribution of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs by employees c. prevent violence and promote safety d. Create a disciplined environment conducive to learning e. Promote coordination with community groups, agencies and families • The “Gun Free Schools Act” requires that any student found to have brought a firearm to school is to be expelled from school for a period of not less than one calendar year. The policy may allow the school system’s chief administrating officer to modify the expulsion on a case by case basis.

  14. The Alabama Code Section 16-28A-4 • A teacher or administrator who, in good faith, reports suspected drug abuse by a student to appropriate authorities shall be immune from civil or criminal liability

  15. Leadership • Please click on the appropriate web address to access the corresponding presentation. • How Leadership Influences Student Achievement • Leadership Matters: Building Leadership Capacity

  16. Attendance • Every child between the ages of 7 and 16 must attend a public school, private school, church school, or be instructed by a competent private tutor for the entire length of the school term. • The minimum age of admission to a public school is six years of age prior to September 1st or the date on which school begins in the enrolling district. A child who is five years of age prior to September 1st or the date on which school begins in the enrolling district is entitled to admission to kindergarten. Children who were enrolled in a private or church school or were tutored in accordance with the Alabama Code and seek admission to kindergarten or Grade 1in a public school must meet the age requirements for admission. • An underage child who transfers from the first grade of a school in another state may be admitted upon the approval of the local board of education. • Section 16-28-14 of The Alabama Code: Habitual Truant If a child becomes habitually truant, or because of irregular attendance or misconduct becomes a menace to the best interests to the school he is or should attend, and the parent, guardian or other person in charge of the student files a written statement in court as provided in Section 16-28-13, stating that he/she is unable to control such child, the attendance officer must file a complaint before the judge of the juvenile court of the county, alleging the facts, whereupon such child must be proceeded against.

  17. Absences • Explanation required- every parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of a child required to attend public school, private school, or church school, shall as soon as practical explain the cause of any absence of the child under his/her control or charge which was without the permission of the teacher. • Failure to furnish such explanation shall be admissible as evidence of such child being truant with the consent and connivance of the person in control or charge of the child, unless such person can show to the reasonable satisfaction of the court that he/she had no knowledge of such absence and had been diligent in his/her efforts to secure the attendance of such child. • Excused Absences-Illness, Death in Immediate Family, Legal Quarantine, Emergency Conditions as determined by the principal, prior permission of the principal upon request of the parent or guardian. • Unexcused Absences- any absences not excused shall be considered unexcused • Students can be retained because of a certain number of unexcused absences assuming the school board has, and carefully complies with, a policy relating attendance to academic achievement. • Academic sanctions (grade penalties) can be imposed upon a student after a certain number of unexcused absences. • The local school board must have a clearly stated policy that delineates the number of unexcused absences that result in academic sanctions or retention.

  18. The Building Based Student Support Team(BBSST) The BBSST is a mandatory, best practice, problem-solving team implemented at the local school level. • All BBSST team members and all administrators are required to have received training in BBSST procedures in a trainer-of-trainers model from the State Department of Education • Principals must insure that teachers are implementing strategies as outlined in their BBSST plan for a minimum of 6 weeks. The effective administrator uses the BBSST to: • Reduce inappropriate special education referrals • Clarify the nature of a student’s academic and/or behavioral difficulty • Search for appropriate accommodations to meet individual student needs • Serve as a support team for students as well as teachers • Promote a positive, productive, and responsive school culture To download necessary forms go to , go to Sections, go to Prevention and Support Services, go to Building Based Student Support Team, chose the form you would like to download. For more information go to Prevention and Support Services, hit the FAQs button, go to BBSST. Prevention and Support Services can be reached at 334/242-8165.

  19. Special Education • A referral form must be completed each and every time a student is suspected of having a disability From Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9.02 “Evaluations” • If the IEP Team determines that the child should be evaluated, the evaluation must be conducted as follows: a. the educational agency must obtain written consent, if consent for evaluation is refused, the education agency may pursue an evaluation through mediation and/or due process. b. The evaluation must include a thorough review of all data on the child From Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.03 “Criteria for Eligibility” • Disabilities for which referrals can be made: Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Mental Retardation, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Specific Learning Disability, Speech and Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairment From Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.04 “Eligibility” • The eligibility team must consider all children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21. The child remains eligible for services if he/she has not reached their twenty-first birthday by September 1 and has not received an Alabama High School Diploma.

  20. From Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.05 “IEP” • Each child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team must include parent, at least one general education teacher of the child; at least one special education teacher of the child; a representative of the educational agency with a knowledge of the general curriculum, the availability of resources, and the qualifications necessary to provide or supervise specially designed instruction; an individual to interpret instructional implications of evaluation results; at the discretion of the parents, individuals with special expertise regarding the child; when appropriate the child; Transition Services Participants for Children Ages Fourteen and Above. • The child’s IEP must be accessible to each general education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider, and other service provider(s) responsible for the implementation of the IEP. Each teacher and provider must be informed of his/her responsibilities related to implementing the child’s IEP. • From Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.06 “Least Restrictive Environment” • To the maximum extent appropriate children with disabilities must be educated with children who are not disabled. A child with a disability cannot be removed from his/her age-appropriate general education classroom solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum • If the child’s special education and related services are not provided totally in the child’s home school and general education setting the child would be in if nondisabled, the reasons why must be justified on the IEP.

  21. From Alabama Administrative Code 290-8-9-.09 “Discipline Procedures” • When there is agreement between school personnel and the child’s parents regarding a change in placement for disciplinary reasons, there is no requirement to implement the discipline provisions in Ala. Admin. Code r. 290-8-9-.09. • The educational agency is not required to provide services to a child who is has been removed from his/her current placement for a violation of school rules for 10 days or less in a school year. • If a child with a disability has already been removed for ten days in a school year and is to be removed for another incident for a violation of school rules for less than ten consecutive days, schools personnel, in coordination with the child’s special education teacher, must determine the extent to which services must be provided to enable the child to appropriately progress in the general curriculum. • To the extent removal would be applied to children without disabilities, school personnel may order multiple removals of a child for not more than ten days for violations of school rules. School officials may not do so as a means of avoiding appropriately considering and addressing the child’s behavior as part of the IEP. A consistent pattern of removals could constitute a “change of placement” and would require the development of an amended IEP. • When a child with a disability is found to have a weapon at school or a school function or knowingly possesses, uses, sells or solicits illegal drugs or controlled substances, the interim alternative setting must be determined by the IEP Team. The interim alternative setting may not exceed forty-five calendar days. • An in-school suspension would not be considered a day of suspension as long as the child is afforded the opportunity to progress in the general curriculum and continues to receive the services identified in his/her IEP. • Bus Suspension does count as a day of suspension if bus transportation is part of the child’s IEP.

  22. AHSAA Eligibility Guidelines • Enrollment- a student must be enrolled within the first 20 days of a semester as a regular student. AHSAA can waive this requirement under extenuating circumstances. • Age Rule- Any high school student who reaches their 19th birthday before August 1 is ineligible. Any junior high student who reaches their 16th birthday before August 1 is ineligible. Any middle school student who reaches their 15th birthday before August 1 is ineligible. • Eight Semester Rule- A high school student may be eligible only eight semesters in attendance after entering the ninth grade. School attendance of 15 days or more of any semester is counted as a semester. A student may only be eligible for four fall semesters and four spring semesters after entering 9th grade. • Academic Rule- Students entering the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades must have passed during the last two semesters and summer school, if applicable, at least six Carnegie units with a minimum composite numerical average of 70 in those six units. Four core courses must be included in those units passed and averaged. Students entering 8th and 9th grades must have passed during the last two semesters and summer school, if applicable, at least five new subjects with a minimum composite score of 70 in those five subjects. Students entering the 7th grade for the first time are eligible. • Transfer Rule- A student is eligible in the school zone in which his parents reside. Any student who completes one year’s attendance at a school outside his/her home school zone and fulfills all other requirements becomes eligible in that zone. A student whose parents make a bone fide move completely out of one school zone into another may transfer all his/her rights and privileges to the member school that serves the area where the parents reside.Custody or legal guardianship set up with anyone will not establish immediate athletic eligibility. • Overlapping School Zones- A student whose parents reside in an area served by more than one school lives in the zone of each school, thus in overlapping school zones. A student who changes schools within these overlapping school zones is ineligible for one year at the new school

  23. Legal FERPA • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Rights (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA gives parents rights with respect to their children’s educational records. Those rights transfer to the student when the he/she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. • Parents have the right to inspect or review the student’s records. Schools are not required to provide copies of those records unless it is IMPOSSIBLE for the parents to review the records at the school. Schools may charge a fee for copies. • Parents have the right to request that a school correct record that they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school does not comply, the parents have a right to a formal hearing. • Although FERPA generally requires schools to have written parental permission before releasing any information from a student’s records it does allow schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions: 1. School officials with legitimate educational interest; 2. Other schools to which the student is transferring; 3. Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; 4. Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; 5. Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school; 6. Accrediting organizations; 7. To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; 8. Appropriate officials in case of health and safety emergencies; and 9. State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to State Law Schools must notify parents of their rights under FERPA annually For additional information or technical assistance you may call (202)260-3887.

  24. HIPAA • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Final Privacy Rule protects oral, written and electronic Protected Health Information(PHI). PHI is any information that relates to the past, present or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual.To be PHI that information must be individually identifiable. Before releasing any PHI, the school must get secure a release. • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act • The McKinney-Vento Act requires LEA’s to implement measure to eliminate enrollment barriers faced by homeless children. These measures include the following: • 1. Make School placement decisions that are in the “best interest of the child”. This means, to the extent feasible, keeping a homeless child in their school of origin unless a move is requested by the child or guardian. • 2. The school that the LEA selects on the basis of the best interest determination must immediately enroll the homeless child or youth. If the child needs immunizations, the LEA must immediately refer the child to the homeless liaison who must assist in obtaining the immunizations or records. • 3. The LEA cannot segregate or otherwise separate homeless students from the general population. • 4. The LEA must arrange transportation to and from school for all homeless students.

  25. NCLB • For information concerning NCLB please click on the link below. This will take you to the overview section of the website where you will find brief explanations of all aspects of the NCLB legislation.