Code of Conduct for School Board Members

Identifying the issues, influencing legislation and shaping the debate on key education issues

PSBA Standards for Effective School Governance,
Code of Conduct for Members of Pennsylvania School Boards

To promote student growth and achievement, an effective school board . . .

Advocates for a thorough and efficient system of public education by:
a.  Promoting public education as a keystone of democracy.
b.  Engaging and promoting community support by seeking input, building support networks and generating action.
c.  Allocating resources in a manner designed to facilitate student achievement consistent with school district goals and plans.
d.  Maintaining legislative awareness and communicating with members of local, state and federal legislative bodies.
e.  Ensuring strong management of the school system by hiring, setting goals with and evaluating the superintendent.
f.  Employing qualified staff to meet student and program needs.

Models responsible governance and leadership by:
a.  Staying current with changing needs and requirements by reviewing educational literature, attending professional development opportunities prior to board service and continuously during board service, and preparing to make informed decisions.
b.  Interacting with school officials in other districts and using resources provided by organizations and agencies committed to effective governance and management of public schools.
c.  Leading with respect and taking full responsibility for board activity and behavior.
d.  Adopting and acting in accordance with the PSBA Code of Conduct for Members of Pennsylvania School Boards.
e.  Engaging all community stakeholders.
f.  Complying with board policy and all applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations.
g.  Operating as a collective board in making decisions.
h.  Participating in annual board retreats.

Governs through policy by:
a.  Seeking input from stakeholders and following an established procedure for consideration.
b.  Regularly reviewing and, as necessary, revising and adopting board policy.
c.  Delegating to the superintendent responsibility for implementation of board policy.
d.  Ensuring public access to adopted board policy.
e.  Purposefully linking its actions to applicable board policies.

Ensures that effective planning occurs by:
a. Adopting and implementing a collaborative strategic planning process, including regular reviews.
b.  Setting annual goals that are aligned with the strategic plan.
c.  Linking board actions to the strategic plan.
d. Adopting a financial plan that considers short-term and long-term needs.
e.  Adopting professional development plans for board and staff.
f.  Adopting a plan to ensure evaluation of student growth and achievement using relevant data.
g.  Adopting a master facilities plan conducive to teaching and learning.
h.  Adopting a plan for curriculum review and development.

Monitors results by:
a. Using data appropriately to make informed decisions.
b.  Ensuring effective practices for evaluation of staff, programs, plans and services.
c.  Evaluating its own performance.
d.  Assessing student growth and achievement.
e.  Evaluating the effectiveness of the strategic plan.

Communicates with and engages the community by:
a. Distributing relevant information about the district.
b. Providing methods of communication to the board and appropriate staff.
c. Seeking input through a variety of methods.
d. Including stakeholders in all communications.

PSBA Code of Conduct
for Members of Pennsylvania School Boards

We, as members of our local board of education, representing all the residents of our school district, believe that:

  • Striving toward ideal conditions for effective school board service to our community, in a spirit of teamwork and devotion to public education, is the greatest instrument for preserving and perpetuating our representative democracy.
  • The future welfare of this community, commonwealth and nation depends upon the quality of education we provide in the public schools.
  • In order to maintain a free and strong country, our civic obligation to the community, commonwealth and nation is to maintain free and strong public schools in the United States of America, without surrendering our responsibilities to any other person, group or organization.
  • Boards of school directors share responsibility for ensuring a "thorough and efficient system of public education" as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  • Our fellow residents have entrusted us with the advocacy for and stewardship of the education of the youth of this community.
  • The public expects that our first and greatest priority is to provide equitable educational opportunities for all youth.


  • The community should be provided with information about its schools and be engaged by the board and staff to encourage input and support for the school system.
    Devoting time, thought and study to our duties and responsibilities as school board members is critical for rendering effective and credible service.
  • Board members should work together in a spirit of harmony, respect and cooperation, despite differences of opinion.
  • Personal decisions should be based upon all sufficient facts, we should vote our honest conviction without partisan bias, and we will abide by and uphold the majority decision of the board.
  • Individuals have no legal authority outside the meetings of the board, and should conduct their relationships with all stakeholders and media on this basis.
  • We will not use our positions as school directors to benefit ourselves or any individual or agency.
  • School boards must balance their responsibility to provide educational programs with the need to be effective stewards of public resources.
  • We should recognize that the primary responsibility of the board is to adopt policies by which the schools are to be administered.
  • We should respect that the superintendent of schools and his or her staff are responsible and accountable for the delivery of the educational programs and the conduct of school operations.
  • Communication with all stakeholders and the media should be conducted in accordance with board policy.

Copyright PSBA 2005 - all rights reserved. PSBA member entities are encouraged and expressly permitted to reproduce and distribute this material, with attribution, among their school boards, staff, students, and among their community's citizens, taxpayers, civic and business leaders and supporting or related organizations.