Developing AI Policy in K–12 Schools, Step 4: Implementation

Explore important steps to take once you have adopted AI policy in your K–12 school or district.

Grades K-12 14 min Resource by:
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In many ways, the formal adoption of an artificial intelligence policy is just the beginning of the important work to be done. A policy is only as useful as the impact that it makes on the actions and intentions of people involved. Therefore, it is important for several steps to be taken in bringing these written words to life.


The first order of business should be to communicate the purpose of and content within your new AI policy to constituents and stakeholders. This includes not only educators and school staff but also students and community members.

Policy language can be heavy in legalese and can feel cold and impersonal, and while sharing the actual policy language is important, efforts should also be made to summarize the key points in conversational and relatable language. You will want to humanize it and make it meaningful to your audience. After all, not everyone will be interested in hearing every aspect of the policy.

Consider crafting messaging that focuses on the most relevant information for each audience. You may also want to integrate concrete examples of how this policy will look in action and how it will impact practices. This approach can increase the likelihood that it will be understood on an actionable level. Transparency is also important in developing and maintaining trust.

Here are a few options that you might consider for communicating your new policy:

  • Staff Meetings: Educators should hear the news about new policies from local leadership, rather than reading or hearing about it secondhand. Therefore, you may want to begin sharing the news of any new policies in person at a staff meeting. If you have multiple buildings, consider sharing it on the same day or within a short period of time. This helps teachers and other staff feel equally valued and included in the process.
  • Staff Email: Not everyone is able to attend every staff meeting, and even for those in attendance, an email follow-up can be helpful. It can provide a quick summary, talking points, and links to relevant documents. This allows staff to follow up on any details at their own convenience.
  • School Newsletters: These might be directed toward school personnel, parents, or the community at large, with a message tailored specifically to each audience.
  • Social Media: This can be an effective option since many people get their news from social media as opposed to traditional outlets, like newspapers or local television. You might consider calling out key phrases or sharing an overall summary with a link to the full policy. Another option is to make it more personal by sharing a video of school leadership or a teacher talking about the relevance or impact of the new policy. This can give a face and voice to the message.
  • Local News Media: This will most often involve a local newspaper, but in larger districts, it might also include other media outlets, such as local television and radio stations. Many times, these news outlets have a reporter or regular column assigned to education news.
  • School Newspaper or Newscast: Many schools, especially high schools, have in-house newscasts. These are often run by students under the guidance of an advisor. It can be powerful to have students tell other students about relevant classroom issues and considerations, and it can be an effective way to spread a consistent message to the student body.
  • School Website or Blog: Almost every school has a formal online presence. This is an ideal place to post both policies and news about those policies. When a new policy is released, it can be helpful to post a feature story on the main page, with links to the internal pages where the actual policies are stored.
  • Homerooms: It’s important for students to know about policies that will impact them. Sharing in student homeroom meetings can be effective since students usually have a closer, more trusted relationship with their homeroom teachers.
  • School Assemblies: If your school has an orientation assembly at the beginning of a term or school year, relevant policy information can also be shared there. That most likely won’t be enough by itself, as it can get lost in a long list of announcements, but it can at least be a place to begin the awareness process.

Education, Training, and Guidance

General communication is an important first step, but it’s also helpful to provide more targeted training or guidance around practical implications of the new policy. This is especially true for school leaders, teachers, and support staff working in the schools.

Because the new policy will likely impact classroom practices, it can be helpful for leadership to offer guidance in the practical application of the larger district policy. How will this impact individual school policies or student handbook language? What impact will the new policy have on classroom rules and behaviors? How should teachers integrate the larger policy language into their syllabus, and how should it be communicated to students? How will this look different at different grade levels? What practices are required, and where do individual classrooms have options? Anticipating the questions that teachers and staff may have can guide the agenda.

Teachers will need to apply this new policy guidance to their classrooms. Concerns like cheating with AI, what should be allowed, how students should be referencing AI-generated content, what and how students should be learning about generative AI, and other related concerns are likely front and center on many teachers’ minds. By providing a dedicated time for teachers to learn, collaborate, and integrate new guidance, it can help empower them and ensure that the new policies make their way into practice. Staff meetings or professional learning communities (PLCs) can be effective settings for this work. Because staff can meet and work collaboratively in those settings, they can work through questions that are swirling and any ambiguous nuances of how the new policy may impact their classrooms.

After the policy has been in place for a while, it can be beneficial to solicit feedback from staff about how things are going. How are students responding? What’s working well? Where are there challenges? These conversations can help everyone involved and contribute to a collaborative approach to AI policy implementation. It can also lead to building-wide consistency, which can strengthen the impact of the policy.

Developing AI Policy at the Classroom Level

Students are the heart of any school. They are the reason that educators do what they do, which means that perhaps the most important outcome of any policy—including a policy about artificial intelligence—is how that language impacts students and the learning experience.

While district- and building-level guidance can be very helpful, ultimately, it will likely be the teachers who implement policy decisions directly with their students.

For younger students, this may involve classroom conversations about what is allowed and what is not. Teachers might create anchor charts with their students describing acceptable and unacceptable behavior regarding AI. If those students are not directly engaging with AI, the teacher’s main task might be reaching out to parents to share the parameters of AI policy for their classroom or school. This type of outreach can enhance trust between schools and families. It can also provide guidance for parents who want to establish consistent expectations in their homes.

For older students, especially those who will be using generative AI tools, it becomes more important to develop a consistent, and more formal, classroom policy that is in alignment with district and building guidance. Classroom expectations are routinely included in a course syllabus. They can also be developed collaboratively with students and in alignment with the formal policy. The non-negotiable aspects of these expectations can be stated up front while more flexible elements can be fleshed out through classroom conversation and activities, such as the development of a T-Chart or Y-Chart. Conversations should focus on identifying clear, common expectations as well as a shared understanding of what these expectations look like in practice. Students will benefit from very concrete examples.

To guide classroom behaviors, some teachers have adopted a tiered system of acceptable AI use to help students understand when it is permissible and impermissible to use generative AI. These frameworks all must operate within the parameters of formal policy. Here are a few examples:

  • T-Chart or Y-Chart: Teachers use this method to have students describe what acceptable use of AI looks like, sounds like, and feels like, and then they can hang these agreements in the classroom as visual reminders of what the class discussed. The descriptions should be anchored in input from students that turn policy and expectations into identifiable actions and practice. They can help students better understand how, to what degree, and when AI use is permitted.
  • Red, Yellow, and Green Light: The blog Teacher Directed AI suggests a traffic light system to let students know what is allowed during particular class activities. In this model, a red light means that no AI is allowed, a yellow light means that access to generative AI is assumed, and a green light indicates that AI is expected to be used for a learning activity.
  • AI Assessment Scale: Leon Furze, Dr. Mike Perkins, Dr. Jasper Roe, and Jason MacVaugh coauthored the creation of an AI Assessment Scale that is more nuanced than the three-tier stoplight approach. Their model has five levels: No AI, Ideas and Structure, AI Editing, AI + Human Evaluation, and Full AI. A version of this scale could be used with students to help them understand what level of AI use is acceptable for a particular learning activity.
  • Plagiarism and Cheating Continuum: Matt Miller from Ditch That Textbook has created a continuum that suggests rethinking plagiarism and cheating in the age of AI as a sliding scale. The scale ranges from work that is fully student-created to fully bot-created. In between, there are variable degrees of student and AI-generated content. This scale can be a useful tool in initiating conversation with students about what constitutes cheating and what falls under acceptable use of AI.
  • Proper Citations: To promote digital literacy and responsible AI use, classrooms can lean on guidance about how to properly cite AI-generated content. Guidance is available in popular citation styles, including MLA Style, APA Style, and the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • AI Detection Software: While many products on the market claim to be able to detect AI-generated content, these tools are largely ineffective and may provide false-positive reports. The use of these tools can also lead to a never-ending “gotcha” game of cat and mouse, with teachers trying to catch students cheating, and students trying to hide their behaviors. To avoid this adversarial situation, the use of detection software is generally discouraged. Instead, teachers are encouraged to foster open communication with their students and develop clear and meaningful guidelines for acceptable AI use in the classroom.

In some cases, schools may dictate a common set of expectations or practices that all teachers will use. In other cases, it might be left to each teacher to implement in a way that fits their classroom needs.

Maintaining Flexibility

Ideally, your new AI policy will have been written in a way that can evolve as technology changes. However, even with the best intentions, it’s possible that a new policy may miss the mark at times. Because of this, it’s important that stakeholders have a process for communicating unforeseen concerns with leadership. A process for open dialogue can prevent frustration from boiling up at the grassroots level. Additionally, an open-door policy can help people feel respected and empowered.

If a situation emerges where a policy needs revision, you should have a process in place for acting upon those necessary updates, and in order to take advantage of those procedures, stakeholders should also be aware of those processes.

As with any policy, those addressing concerns with artificial intelligence will continue to be works in progress. Dr. Jordan Mroziak, AI and Education Project Director for EDSAFE AI and InnovateEDU reminds us, “There is no ‘one size fits all’ AI policy model.” He adds, “We are all in a space of learning.”

With trust and collaboration, schools can successfully navigate the challenges of writing effective AI policy.

AVID Connections

This resource connects with the following components of the AVID College and Career Readiness Framework:

  • Systems
  • Leadership
  • Culture
  • Break Down Barriers
  • Align the Work
  • Advocate for Students
  • Collective Educator Agency

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