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Courage To Change: What It Takes to Shift to Restorative Discipline

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) has become well known in the charter school movement for getting low-income kids into college. But KIPP schools also have a reputation for strict discipline and classroom management practices that require conformity. Over the past decade, many KIPP schools have been shifting their strategies, moving from strict no-excuses style discipline to restorative practices. There’s a recognition among educators in the network, and outside of it, that kids need opportunities at school to practice the social and emotional skills that will help them be resilient after they graduate.”(more)

Psychiatrists suggest administrators address students’ underlying perceptions in discipline

Education Dive – Roger Riddell

“Greater attention to the school-to-prison pipeline — a phenomenon that has seen a particularly disproportionate number of students of color funneled into the criminal justice system over minor infractions via “zero-tolerance” discipline policies — is resulting in a rethinking of approaches to student behavioral discipline. Approaches that have contributed to the pipeline ultimately haven’t addressed the underlying behavior, and class time lost as a result of related suspensions and expulsions have only contributed to recidivism and drop-out rates.”(more)

School Suspensions Have Plunged: We Don’t Yet Know If That’s Good News

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“We are in the midst of a quiet revolution in school discipline. In the past five years, 27 states have revised their laws with the intention of reducing suspensions and expulsions. And, more than 50 of America’s largest school districts have also reformed their discipline policies — changes which collectively affect more than 6.35 million students. A new paper from Max Eden, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, argues that this is all too much, too soon. In New York City, for example, suspensions have fallen by half since 2011.”(more)

Suspensions plummet in NYC school that incentivizes good behavior

Education Dive – Tara García Mathewson

“Robert Van Wyck Middle School in New York City has about 1,650 students, and four years ago it averaged about 150 suspensions per year. By the end of the first semester this year, there had only been a dozen. Longtime Principal Patrick Burns credits plummeting suspensions to a combination of factors and an ability to track progress. Importantly, the school culture has undergone a shift. Teachers and administrators have become more mindful of the social-emotional aspects of child development at the middle school level. They pored over research about preadolescent behavior and took a new approach with their responses. They also implemented restorative justice practices, asking students to reflect on their behaviors, take responsibility for them, and find opportunities for resolution.”(more)

What Do We Know About School Discipline Reform?

Education Next – Matthew P. Steinberg and Johanna Lacoe

“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced this spring that the number of suspensions and expulsions in the nation’s public schools had dropped 20 percent between 2012 and 2014. The news was welcomed by those who oppose the frequent use of suspensions and expulsions, known as exclusionary discipline. In recent years, many policymakers and educators have called for the adoption of alternative disciplinary strategies that allow students to stay in school and not miss valuable learning time. Advocates for discipline reform contend that suspensions are meted out in a biased way, because minority students and those with disabilities receive a disproportionate share of them. Some also assert that reducing suspensions would improve school climate for all students.”(more)

Why Discipline Should Be Aligned With A School’s Learning Philosophy

KQED News Mind/Shift – Katrina Schwartz

“After school one day, a middle school girl got physically aggressive with one of her peers while still on school property. At some schools she would have been suspended or expelled for assaulting another student, but High Tech Middle Chula Vista is experimenting with restorative practices. So, instead of taking that typical disciplinary step, school leaders called the two students and their families in for a meeting, where they discussed what had led up to the point where she boiled over and lashed out. “It was incredibly deep and emotional,” said Rhea Brown, a recent graduate of the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, who was working in the school at the time. Not only were the students able to talk through the underlying issues of the fight, but the student who would have been suspended ended up feeling reconnected to the school community, not alienated. And, she became a big advocate for restorative practices, often pushing students in conflict to meet with the social and emotional coach to work out their problems.”(more)