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Principles of Good Practice (PGPs)


Individual PGPs are linked from the list below, or you may download a PDF file containing all the PGPs.

The NAIS Principles of Good Practice for member schools define high standards and ethical behavior in key areas of independent school operations. The PGPs reflect the overall dedication to quality education that has always characterized independent schools. As members, all NAIS schools work to uphold the spirit of the PGPs. NAIS endorses in principle and follows in practice the Code of Ethics recommended by Independent Sector. Also see the NAIS Guidelines of Professional Practice, which are focused on defining specific standards of professional conduct for various roles or positions within independent schools.  

General Considerations Regarding NAIS PGPs 

Definitions: Principles are precepts grounded in an ethic and ethos of “doing the right thing”; practices are common activities.
Implementation: NAIS recommends that on the agenda of individual schools and that of groups of schools at the local, state, and/or regional levels, leaders initiate programming that educates school professionals and volunteers to the PGPs so that individuals use them to guide decision-making, especially in arenas that are fraught with potential challenges. Recommended implementation strategies include:
  • Heads of schools distributing to staff and board members select PGPs, inviting community members to review them for applicability and compliance in their school and to tease out common themes across the set of PGPs (such as ethics, transparency, standards of excellence, and inclusivity).
  • School leaders using NAIS Case Studies (available on this website) and applying the relevant PGPs to role-playing how one’s school or board would trouble-shoot the situation, including identifying the locus of responsibility for ensuring the spirit of the PGPs is being adhered to, as appropriate to a school’s mission.
  • Faculty and staff attending sessions at NAIS conferences and workshops and those of other independent school organizations devoted to the actualization of the PGPs in school operations and validation of them via the accreditation and strategic planning processes.
Modifications: If an NAIS member school or group of NAIS member schools wishes to use a modified version of an NAIS Principle of Good Practice that is more detailed for its specific use, we ask that the school or group include on the resulting document the following statement: "This document is based on the NAIS Principles of Good Practice created by the National Association of Independent Schools."
Concerns about Possible Violations of NAIS PGPs: NAIS recognizes there may be various interpretations of how the PGPs apply to each school and that, in some cases, one principle may conflict with another. Schools may air their concerns by contacting In the case of inquiries to NAIS about possible violations that have legal or accreditation implications, NAIS refers inquirers first back to the school authorities, and if that doesn’t resolve the question, to the school’s accrediting body or to legal counsel, as the case may dictate. 

How Are the PGPs Created?

These PGPs have been and continue to be developed by the industry for the industry, with much care and thought from NAIS school practitioners. NAIS's Principles of Good Practice are only as strong as the educational community that created them. Each set of principles is drafted by an NAIS committee of practitioners in that professional area, submitted to the NAIS board of directors for approval, then distributed to every member school. Read about the process NAIS uses to vet and create the PGPs.  

Admissions (9/10/2013)
Athletics (11/15/2012)
Board of Trustees (11/15/2012)
Business Officers (9/10/2013)
Equity and Justice (6/21/2016)
Fund Raising (9/10/2013)
Head Searches (11/16/2012)
Hiring Process (11/18/2014)
Middle School Educators (11/15/2012)


Article Date: 11/13/2012
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