Human Resources Fundamentals for Independent Schools

Human Resources Fundamentals for Independent Schools is a three-week online course designed to provide essential knowledge to the business office personnel who are responsible for the HR functions of independent schools. Participants will develop an understanding of key areas of federal human resources compliance and learn best practices for personnel management. Through this course, participants will be empowered with the knowledge and tools to address day-to-day human resources challenges, improve their policies and practices and know when to engage legal counsel.

Through information sharing with peers and interaction with trained class facilitators, participants gain a comprehensive understanding of independent school human resources practices. Discover resources for ongoing operational support and establish a national community of peers with whom you can continue to explore the concepts of human resources compliance and policy within independent schools.

Topics will be covered weekly in an asynchronous manner so that while participants should plan to work for 3-5 hours each week on the class, the timing of that work can be flexible. The class uses a variety of resources including articles, recorded videos, case studies and discussion boards. Participants will gain the greatest value from this course if they share information about their schools, allowing the facilitator and colleagues to make comments and suggestions. Topics will include hiring, evaluating and separating employees; employment contracts and letters; exempt/non-exempt classifications; disabilities and reasonable accommodations; family and medical leave; and employee policies and handbooks.

This course is being offered in partnership between NBOA and One Schoolhouse and with thanks to Sara Skinner, Liane Faermann and Grace Lee for their assistance with materials and course structure.

Course Schedule

Week 1

Employment Fundamentals

Schools must clearly define the employment relationship and ensure proper payment of employees under U.S. law, but with so many different categories of employees, it is important that key terms, documents and standards are established up front. Focus on the crucial steps to properly define the employment relationship and determine whether the employee should be given an employment contract or an offer letter, whether they are part-time or seasonal, or even independent contractors. Make sure employees are properly classified as exempt or nonexempt, and accurately record compensable hours, leave and overtime. Learn how to handle employees who work in multiple capacities to support the school and challenge your knowledge with a case study.

Week 2

Employment Policies

The business office is primarily responsible for setting and communicating employment policies, providing both behavioral standards for employees and expectations for their interactions with the school. Review the policies required by law, policies that should be included as best practice, and policies and language that promote a school's mission and culture. Ensure an understanding of employee rights to leave and accommodations under FMLA, ADA and workers compensation laws. Discuss the school's obligations to provide a reasonable accommodation and explore what it means to engage in the interactive process in compliance with the ADA. Learn to manage the school's obligations under the FMLA including providing employees with notice of their rights, managing medical certifications, and properly tracking leave for all employees, including those school personnel who have special allowances under the FMLA.

Week 3

Employment Practices

Examine your employment practices throughout the employee life cycle, from recruiting, hiring and conducting background checks to setting expectations, managing performance, and ending the relationship. Learn the important elements of a hiring process, understand the do's and don'ts of the interview, develop tools to manage performance and understand when and how to end the employment relationship.


SHRM Information

Credit Hours: 9.0
Category: HR Expertise (Workforce Management)

NBOA is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). For more information about certification or recertification, please visit


HRCI Information

Credit Hours: 9.0
Category: HR (General)

NBOA is a recognized provider of recertification credits. HR Certification Institute® pre-approved this program for credits towards aPHR™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification.

Online Courses


Email or call 202-407-7140


None at this time.




Group discount available

Time Commitment

4-5 hours per week for 3 weeks

Learn more about the platform and coursework

Class Size

Up to 30 participants

Recommended Audience

  • HR professionals
  • Business officers
  • Business office staff with HR responsibilities

Candice Boyce

Human Resources Specialist, The Parish School

Program Sponsor