A ‘No-Nonsense’ Classroom Where Teachers Don’t Say ‘Please’

NPR – Lisa Worf

“Any classroom can get out of control from time to time. But one unique teaching method empowers teachers to stop behavior problems before they begin. You can see No-Nonsense Nurturing, as it’s called, firsthand at Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, N.C. “Your pencil is in your hand. Your voice is on zero. If you got the problem correct, you’re following along and checking off the answer. If you got the problem incorrect, you are erasing it and correcting it on your paper.” Math teacher Jonnecia Alford has it down pat. She then describes to her sixth-graders what their peers are doing. “Vonetia’s looking at me. Denario put her pencil down — good indicator. Monica put hers down and she’s looking at me.” In “no-nonsense nurturing,” directions are often scripted in advance, and praise is kept to a minimum. The method is, in part, the brainchild of former school principal Kristyn Klei Borrero. She’s now CEO of the Center for Transformative Teacher Training, an education consulting company based in San Francisco.”(more)

L.A. Unified sees success in counseling rather than arresting truants and kids who fight

The Los Angeles Times – Teresa Watanabe

“Anderson is one of 405 sworn L.A. Unified police officers who, along with more than 125 safety officers, make up the nation’s largest independent school police force. Across the nation, campus officers are facing criticism that they’re pushing children into a “school-to-prison pipeline” with citations, arrests and excessive force for issues that could be resolved by other means. National studies show that one arrest doubles a student’s odds of dropping out. But in L.A. Unified, police Chief Steven Zipperman and his force worked with community organizations to launch a landmark reform last year that has ended citations for most fights, petty thefts and other minor offenses in favor of redirection into counseling programs. In the last year, he said, about 460 students who would otherwise have been cited were sent to counseling instead, with only 7% failing to complete their programs. The reform builds on earlier efforts to end tickets for truancy, which resulted in a steep decline in citations to 3,499 in 2013 from 11,698 in 2010. In the last year, he said, about 460 students who would otherwise have been cited were sent to counseling instead, with only 7% failing to complete their programs. All told, more than 770 students were sent to counseling in lieu of tickets for truancy, minor offenses and misdemeanor battery charges during the 2014-15 school year.”(more)

California Has Become A Nationwide Leader In Better School Discipline Practices

The Huffington Post – Rebecca Klein

“California is leading the way in making sure that young kids don’t get pushed out of school for minor misbehavior. A new study out Monday from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project shows that districts in the Golden State sharply reduced the number of suspensions given to kids between 2011 and 2014. At the same time that suspension rates went down in many areas, academic achievement improved — suggesting that the move away from harsh discipline practices benefitted schools. The study comes at a time when schools are facing increased scrutiny for perpetuating the so-called school-to-prison pipeline by employing tactics that push students out of school and make them more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. The school-to-prison pipeline especially impacts youth of color, who typically face higher suspension and expulsion rates.”(more)

‘Got to Go’ List Shines a Light on Evolving Debate Over How to Discipline Students

The 74 Million – Mark Keierleber

“In a year-and-a-half, Candido Brown was the third principal to lead the Success Academy charter school in the city’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Despite frequent suspensions to address misbehavior, Brown described a school where kids were out of control, preventing other children from learning. So he called for the creation of a list of students who have “got to go.” Created last December, the 16-student list became publicly known last week through a scathing New York Times article alleging school officials used punitive disciplinary policies to push out problem students.
“I was not advised by my organization to put children on the list, I was not advised by my organization to push children out of my school,” Brown said on Friday during a press conference where he failed to hold back tears. “I was doing what I thought I needed to do to fix a school where I would not send my own child.” Admitting Brown was in the wrong for creating the list, Success Academy Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz said Friday his actions were inconsistent with the organization’s policies and he was punished within days after the list was created. But she argued the Times mischaracterized the charter network’s intentions behind school discipline and failed to explain how quickly officials punished Brown.”(more)

School suspensions fall sharply, but continue to land most heavily on black students

Chalk Beat – Patrick Wall

“The number of school suspensions fell by 17 percent last academic year as the city shifts away from that more punitive approach to discipline, yet schools continued to suspend black students and those with disabilities at disproportionately high rates. Schools gave out about 9,000 fewer suspensions in 2014-15 than in the previous academic year, according to city education department data released Friday. In addition, arrests by school security officers dropped by 27 percent, and summonses fell by 15 percent, officials said. The declines come as the city has ordered educators to rely less on removing disruptive students from school and more on addressing the causes of their misbehavior. But while schools suspended fewer students from almost every group, certain groups continue to be suspended at disproportionate rates.”(more)

Schools shift focus to behavior as more children act out in class

Oregon Live – Laura Frazier

“Metro-area school districts are prioritizing student behavior among their youngest learners as educators report rising numbers of children struggling to manage their emotions in an academic environment. Teachers and administrators say more students are coming to school unprepared or unsettled, which can lead to tantrums, running from the classroom, despondent behavior or physical aggression. Officials aren’t sure exactly why the increase is happening and in most cases don’t have data tracking the trend. Still, several schools are adding staff, sending teachers to training sessions and offering curriculum focused on showing children how to handle their feelings.”(more)