Artificial intelligence (AI) in schools presents exciting opportunities and challenges, and school leaders are navigating that balance—harnessing AI’s potential while safeguarding student privacy, data security, and ethical considerations. With the emergence of sites like ChatGPT, some schools are choosing to draw up an official AI policy to help them navigate this complex landscape.
Here are six things to keep in mind if you choose to write an AI policy for your school.
Step 1: Understand Your Purpose
Begin by defining the goals of your AI policy. If you are allowing AI in some capacity in your school, are you using it for personalized learning, administrative tasks, or enhancing classroom experiences? Clarify the intended benefits and outcomes, keeping the students and staff’s best interests in mind.
Step 2: Assemble Your Team
Your board probably already consists of a multidisciplinary team—comprising educators, IT professionals, legal experts, and administrators. Their insights will ensure a holistic approach to AI policy development, addressing technical, educational, legal, and ethical aspects.
Step 3: Identify and Secure Data Usage
Your IT team can clearly outline the types of data that AI systems might collect, process, and analyze. Specify whether it includes student records, attendance, behavioral patterns, or assessment data. Ensure you take data protection measures and compliance with relevant privacy laws, such as FERPA. Adapt your cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data from breaches or unauthorized access.
Step 4: Define Your Ethical Guidelines
Establish a set of ethical principles that guide AI usage. Address bias, transparency, accountability, and fairness. Offer training programs to ensure that teachers and staff are equipped to effectively integrate AI tools into their roles. Define procedures for obtaining informed parental consent when AI technologies involve students’ personal data.
In your policy, you’ll want to clarify what your school considers “Appropriate AI Use.” Provide examples of proper AI usage as a tool, such as using AI programs for research. Outline what students should not do with AI, which might include avoiding using AI to replace their own work, or using AI when teachers have asked students not to. Encourage students to report instances of AI misuse or violations and define potential consequences.
Step 5: Establish Transparency
Make sure your policy is distributed to your board, parents, educators and students. Foster open communication about its use, and be open to questions.
Step 6: Practice Continuous Assessment and Improvement
Develop a framework for regularly assessing the impact of AI on student outcomes, teaching practices, and administrative efficiency. Highlight that the AI policy is a living document subject to updates as technology evolves and the school’s needs change. Regularly revisit the policy to ensure alignment with emerging best practices and legal requirements.
Creating an AI policy is a vital step in fostering responsible AI integration within your school. For more on how to navigate AI usage, check out the following resources:
Safeguarding your school’s information and maintaining compliance with FERPA.
Protecting your school from the potential impact of cyberattacks on operations and student learning.
Establishing a cybersecurity framework for your school.
Finding and vetting providers of cybersecurity insurance and solutions.
Want to share?
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!