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TIEE’s Code of Ethics


Deeply held principles

TIEE operates its schools according to its Mission and certain principles and student goals we care deeply about. At TIEE’s schools, effective education means adhering to the highest ethical standards, which we have codified in the following statements:

  • Teaching and therapy must be free of coercion and punishment.

TIEE is committed to positive practices. We teach our students what to do to be successful and then we make every effort to “catch ‘em being good.” Praise is the most common form of consequence our teachers provide for our students. When a student’s program requires it, however, we also provide access to activities, objects, and, for a few of our students, edibles. TIEE’s teachers and therapists and their assistants are expected to catch their students being good a lot, but, in addition, we also teach our students to catch one another being good. In TIEE’s schools, there simply can be no coercion, no punishment, no put-downs, no bullying, no abuse. Our schools are truly friendly learning environments. Some say that they are the most positive places ever seen.

  • Teaching and therapy must involve measurably superior methods.

In TIEE’s schools, we care about what quality research identifies as effective and efficient teaching and therapy, so our teachers and therapists must use research-validated methods and materials. That is why we are committed to ABA methods, to DI methods and materials, to data based instructional decision making, to methods that encourage high rates of student engagement, and to fluency building activities. When a component of our curriculum does not have evidence based methods and/or materials, we develop them based on sound behavioral principles and then we evaluate them to determine whether they truly are effective and efficient. At TIEE’s schools, we believe that “measurably superior” means research validated.

  • Teaching and therapy must be guided by frequent measures of student progress.

In TIEE’s schools, we believe that a significant part of teaching involves knowing whether students are learning. Teaching conducted in a way that results in many student responses can tell us whether our students are “getting it” and permits us to modify our lessons accordingly. We also collect student performance data frequently, we chart it, and the display of student achievement helps us decide what to teach now. That’s called curriculum-based measurement. It is one of the most powerful teaching tools and we are strong proponents.

  • Teaching and therapy must be tailored to each student’s needs.

TIEE’s schools provide education and therapy for students who characterize nearly the full range of talent, from students who are excelling in an advanced academic curriculum to students whose disabilities are so severe that they may require lifelong caretaking. We accommodate the full range of educational needs through selection of curriculum, grouping students by skill in the various subject areas, using appropriate instructional methods and materials, and frequently monitoring the progress our students are making.

  • Teaching and therapy must be frequently observed and constantly developed.

TIEE’s Directors and Program Coordinators are highly skilled teachers who are also exceptional trainers of educators. They are expected to provide frequent observations and coaching of their assigned staff members because we believe that regular coaching and supervisory feedback is essential to becoming better teachers and therapists. We evaluate our professionals and paraprofessionals on over 100 behavioral measures of teaching effectiveness.

  • Teachers and therapists must accept responsibility for student success.

At TIEE’s schools, we are committed to the view that students learn because we teach and, conversely, student failure to learn means there is a flaw in the teaching. We seek out and hire individuals who are committed to the success of their students. We strongly encourage them and work closely with them so that their students achieve their highest potential.

Codes of Ethics

Several professional organizations concerned with education and education related therapies have promulgated codes of ethics. We provide website information here for the interested viewer.

National Education Association:

Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts:

Council for Exceptional Children:

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):

American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA):

American Association of Marriage Family Therapists (AAMFT):

Association for Behavior Analysis International

CAPSES Code of Ethics

Finally, TIEE has been a long-standing member of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (formerly California Association of Private Special Education and Services) (CAPSES), which currently does not report its code of ethics on its website ( So, we have reproduced here the CAPSES Code of Ethics, which all members are expected to abide:

“Members of the California Association of Private Specialized Education and Services (CAPSES) shall strive, by providing the highest quality instruction, therapy, guidance, and advocacy, to maximize the potential of their clients/students with handicaps to lead independent and dignified lifestyles. CAPSES recognizes that this mission can be fulfilled only if Members conform to the highest ethical standards. Consequently, this Code of Ethics is promulgated by CAPSES to provide guidelines for Member activities.

It is understood by CAPSES that guidelines pertinent to one group of individuals, say, clients/students with handicaps, are not necessarily pertinent to another group of individuals, such as the faculty and staff of Member organizations. This understanding has led to the organization of this Code According to the major groups of individuals with whom CAPSES Members must interact. Specifically identified groups include (a) clients/students with handicaps, (b) parents of guardians of these individuals with handicaps, (c) Local Education Agencies and other contracting or referral agencies, (d) employees, consultants and subcontractors of CAPSES Members, (e) the Community at large, (f) Government organizations, and (g) other schools and agencies.

This Code of Ethics describes practices that are recognized by CAPSES as highly desirable. They are expected of CAPSES Members. As such, this Code is assumed to go considerably beyond the quality of practices dictated by Law or by Regulations. Any act that is in violation of this Code or of the spirit with which it is instituted shall be deemed unethical by CAPSES. Moreover, it is the responsibility of each Member to advise the Ethics Committee of such acts, and Members whose acts are found in violation of this Code, or of failing to report such violations, may be expelled from CAPSES or otherwise dealt with in accordance with CAPSES’ bylaws.

  1. With respect to its clients/students with handicaps, a CAPSES Member will:
  2. Implement programs and otherwise provide access to environments that lead its clients/students to acquire the skills they need to become productive citizens with maximum independence and maximum normalization as quickly as possible;
  3. Implement programs and otherwise provide access to environments that lead its clients/students to enjoy learning and to feel good about themselves;
  4. Continually monitor its programs in order to ensure that only those that are effective with respect to the concerns expressed in (a) and (b) will be practiced;
  5. Continually monitor its programs so that aversive stimulation will not be used inappropriately, and so that, when aversive stimulation is used, its frequency and intensity of use will be minimized; and
  6. Provide quality services as much as possible regardless of the ability of clients/students or of their families to pay.
  7. With respect to the parents or guardians or parent surrogates of its dependent clients/students with handicaps, a CAPSES member will:
  8. enlist their assistance towards the most rapid development and normalization of their child;
  9. provide information, guidance, and training that leads parents to understand and take effective action concerning their child’s handicapping condition(s);
  10. provide periodic information concerning their child’s progress in Member programs, that is in the best interest of the child and of the parent;
  11. provide information and assistance concerning the child’s and the parent’s legal rights and protections; and
  12. provide information and assistance concerning the child’s social service and other needs that extend beyond special education, per se.

III. With respect to contracting and referral agencies (including LEA’s, Social Service agencies, Mental Health agencies, Regional Centers, private parties, et al.), a CAPSES Member will:

  1. provide fair and detailed characterizations of programs offered;
  2. contract to serve only those students/clients for whom appropriate programs are available at the time of contracting;
  3. provide accurate, periodic, and timely reports that describe progress of the specific behaviors for which programs have been targeted;
  4. advocate, when necessary, for service3s to students/clients without advocating to provide those services; and
  5. conduct business activities in a manner that does not conflict with the best interests of the students/clients.
  6. With respect to its employees, consultants, and subcontractors, a CAPSES Member will:
  7. provide detailed descriptions of the direct-service and other duties that such persons are expected to perform;
  8. provide observation of direct-service and other activities to determine that they are performed in keeping with the best interests of students/clients, of the Member, and of CAPSES;
  9. provide feedback concerning observations of direct-service and other activities and provide training programs or access to such programs that, taken together, will assist these persons to continuously improve the quality of the services they provide;
  10. provide a physical and social environment and enlists the best efforts of these persons toward the CAPSES’ purpose; and
  11. hire and fire employees, consultants, and subcontractors primarily on the basis of performance criteria, but consistent with other requirements that may have been established through collective bargaining.
  12. With respect to the Community at large, a CAPSES Member will:
  13. provide information concerning the needs of persons with handicaps like those who Members serve;
  14. advocate for services to individuals with handicaps; and
  15. provide programs that enable members of the Community to live with, to work with, and otherwise to interact with persons with handicaps, so that the latter will gain maximum independence with maximum dignity.
  16. With respect to Governmental organizations that are involved in licensing, certifying, monitoring, and/or funding Member activities, a CAPSES Member will:
  17. provide information about and access to Member’s programs, staff members, students/clients, and records in the most forthright and open manner possible; and
  18. provide information that will assist such organizations to develop and implement standards that will lead to quality services for handicapped individuals.

VII. With respect to other CAPSES Members and to other Nonpublic schools, and to private schools and agencies, a CAPSES Member will:

  1. provide information concerning successful programs of habilitation and rehabilitation;
  2. support and commend programs and other activities that are in the long-term best interests of persons with handicaps, and
  3. provide responsible, constructive criticism of programs and other activities that can be improved.”


"You have the most positive schools I've ever seen!" State Department of Education site reviewer