When the 2019-20 school year starts Aug. 13 in the Bexley City School District, teachers, administrators and other professional staff will know exactly what is expected of them, thanks to an Employee Code of Conduct policy adopted this month.

The Bexley school board approved the code July 15. It consists of 14 points, from modeling responsible behavior by reporting for work on time and being prepared to reporting to the employee's immediate supervisor any concerns with students, staff or community members.

"This is a launching point for us that these are the 14 things that we value that are our agreements," said Harley Williams, director of staff and student operations for the Bexley City Schools.

The purpose of the Employee Code of Conduct was to put the district's existing standards for employee behavior in writing, Williams said.

"We'll put these online and staff will acknowledge receipt," he said. "I think it's good to know what our expectations are, as an employee, and it's good for us in the administration management to make sure we're communicating our expectations and our responsibilities."

The district also decided to publish the code of conduct to eliminate any ambiguity that has resulted in the past when employees who are new to the district said they were unaware of certain policies, Williams said.

"Communications happen a lot of times after something happens -- 'I didn't really know that. Why did you tell me that?'" Williams said. "This is our way of communicating."

Williams and Bexley Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller said the code of conduct does not contain any new policies but rather reinforces the district's long-standing standards for employee behavior.

"Everything in here is grounded in board policy, state and federal law and the code of ethics for Ohio licensure educators," Miller said.

The district sought feedback on the code of conduct at a recent meeting with administrators, teachers and staff, Williams said.

"We sat down and we worked through (the points), and we shared with the various stakeholders," Williams said.

School board members said the code of conduct is intended to provide staff with an overview of the district's employment policies.

"It's really not new content; it's just sort of a consolidation, one-stop shop, basic high-level view," board member Mike Denison said.

Items in the code, posted at bexleyschools.org, include:

* Model responsible behaviors by reporting to work on time, being prepared for and remaining fit for duty per the terms of the employment agreement.

* Model responsible actions by preparing for and performing all assigned duties required by one's job description(s).

* Model respect and responsibility by complying with reasonable directives issued by established lines of authority.

* Ensure a safe and secure learning environment by Identifying, reporting and controlling, if possible, unsafe conditions or safety hazards to maintain safe and secure working and learning environments.

* Demonstrate professionalism and integrity when interacting with students, families, staff, community members and other stakeholders.

* Direct any concern involving any student, families, staff, community member or other stakeholders that is not resolved at the most local level directly to an immediate supervisor or administrator.

* Ensure a safe working environment by complying with federal laws, state statutes, contractual obligations, board policies and/or related regulations that prohibit coercive, harassing, threatening, retaliating or discriminating conduct.

* Communicate in a truthful and timely manner about any matter of interest to the district while using established lines of authority.

* Encourage continuous improvement and a healthful working environment by holding self and others accountable to the four themes of the Bexley Strategic Plan -- build upon student-centered learning culture; open doors that lead to flexible, expansive future opportunities; leverage and grow vital community relationships; and develop a high-performing team.

* Acquire, use, maintain and dispose of district assets in an ethical and responsible manner in accordance with federal laws, state statutes, board policies, related regulations and operating procedures.

* Model safe, respectful and responsible behavior by maintaining confidentiality of information as required under federal laws, state statutes, board policies and/or related regulations.

* Report to any administrator any actions that might represent violations of federal laws, state statutes, board policies and/or related regulations.

* Refrain from any activity that might negatively interfere with either one's ability to effectively perform one's duties as assigned or the legitimate operational interests of the district.

* Comply with all other federal laws, state statutes, board policies, related regulations and operating procedures.

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