You found the perfect teacher to fill the vacancy at your school – now what? Conveying the offer is a critically important step for an independent school. From a business perspective, a school’s goal is to ensure adequate faculty coverage throughout the academic year. From a legal perspective, a school’s goal is to avoid guaranteeing employment to a teacher who may prove to be ineffective. A well-drafted offer letter can assist a school in achieving both of these goals. But what should a school say (and not say) in the offer letter?
The goal of this training is to educate independent schools on the value of well-drafted faculty offer letters. The training focuses on important elements to include in each offer letter, as well as pitfalls of poorly drafted offer letters and includes:
In addition to offering this training at the Firm’s offices, we are available to present this training on campus. Because of the value teachers bring to independent schools, this training can be especially effective in creating a productive and informed faculty.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon at independent schools. However, the methods bullies use to harass their victims are evolving at a rate faster than the laws designed to prevent bullying. Thus, independent schools must not only protect their students from the new and various methods of bullying, but must also comply with numerous anti-bullying and anti-hazing laws, the requirements of which vary significantly from state to state. Fortunately, however, there are a number of steps an independent school can take to minimize the risk of bullying becoming a serious problem among its students. What should a school’s anti-bullying policy contain? How should complaints or suspicions of bullying be handled? How can a school prevent bullying in the first place?
The goal of this training is to educate independent schools on the importance of taking bullying seriously. The training focuses on important elements to include in an anti-bullying/anti-harassment policy and includes:
In addition to offering this training at the Firm’s offices, we are available to present this training on campus. Because of the increased focus on school bullying over the past few years, this training can be especially effective in implementing preventative anti-bullying measures at independent schools.
State laws are constantly changing around criminal and sex offender records. When was the last time you reviewed your school’s practices in this area? Are your consent forms current? Are you properly checking volunteers? Do you have written guidelines in place? Avoid legal risks like potential litigation from parents denied access to campus, job applicants denied employment, discrimination claims, students harmed by employees/volunteers who are hired with criminal records, and more. An experienced employment lawyer simplified criminal and sex offender records and provided models to take back to campus, so that you could conduct a self-audit and minimize liability for your school.
In this three hour program, participants will (i) witness a mock trial, (ii) deliberate as jurors over a long-term teacher’s claim that her employer (an independent school) illegally non-renewed her contract, and (iii) discuss the lessons learned with experienced employment counsel and heads of schools. This mock trial will provide realistic insights into the legal issues and concrete concerns of employment litigation. The skillfully-led discussion will address legal requirements and practical tips for key employment documents such as teacher’s contracts, performance evaluations, and personnel files. Participants will serve as jurors, (weighing evidence and deciding the case), discovering what really goes during deliberations. Come enjoy this highly interactive session – and learn! (Caveat jurors: both sides will be litigating to win!)
The “great recession” has led to some changes for our independent schools, but are we really operating differently or did we just make minor modifications? There are few economic levers to pull which have much of an impact on the financial model of our schools. On the revenue side, we have been experimenting with tuition and financial aid (net tuition revenue). Enrollment Management is the new term for Admission – what does this mean for your school? The other side of the coin is expenses, and the number one place to examine should be: compensation! What will it take to dramatically alter the compensation equation?
Some believe that a school’s finances are the wrong focus for strategic change—instead, revising the entire structure of teaching itself, and the technology used to do it, will create financially sustainable “schools of the future.” Changing the structure of teaching may indeed be the key to redefining the financial model. Revising our employment model will inevitably alter each school’s relationship with its employees, leading to countless legal issues that must be carefully considered. Rapid changes in how technology is used in our schools create legal and risk management challenges that merit consideration in new ways.
This interactive presentation focuses on best practices for BYOD policies, procedures and agreements related to students. Experienced Schwartz Hannum PC attorneys will discuss solutions to practical and legal difficulties that arise when students use their own devices on and off campus and/or to access the school’s network. They will use sexting and cyber-bullying case studies to address issues that often arise in the BYOD context.
Attendees will receive useful checklists to help establish sound BYOD policies and procedures for students.
“Thanks again for the great job yesterday. The feedback that I have received from the teachers and students has been excellent.”
~ Headmaster, Independent Middle School
As important as it is for independent school faculty, staff and administrators to know what to do when confronted with students who bully, cyber-bully or sext, students also need to learn about how important it is to abide by the law and their own school policies that restrict such behaviors. We have found that our experienced counselors are often better able to convey to students the gravity attendant to these types of behaviors than internal school personnel, with whom students interact on a daily, collegial basis.
The Firm’s education lawyers are skilled at interpreting the law and the school student handbook for student audiences of all ages, and are happy to join students and faculty on campus to educate students about these topics.
In this interactive presentation, our attorneys will:
By using real world scenarios from the Firm’s counseling experiences, our attorneys describe the consequences—from hurt feelings, to embarrassment to potential legal jeopardy—that may ensue if students misbehave in this fashion. The Firm conducts both large group presentations and also facilitates smaller student discussion groups about these sensitive topics.