As part of the Supportive Schools Discipline Initiative, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice hosted an in-person listening session on February 24, 2012 and three listening session Webinars on March 14, 16, and 23, 2012 to identify high-priority resources, tools, and training products that, if created, would:
- Fill critical skills and knowledge gaps for key practitioners operating along the school-to-prison pipeline.
- Leverage the unique needs, roles, and expertise of the practitioners who will use them.
- Build on best practices for improving discipline practice.
- Not duplicate resources already available for use.
During the events, 224 participants representing a diverse range of individuals and relevant organizations, including family members and youth, answered the following questions:
- What skills, knowledge, and professional development, trainings, tools, and resources are needed to improve discipline practices in schools? What training opportunities are currently available to fill these needs?
- What lessons can we learn from helping schools to improve discipline practices?
- What types of personnel are most in need of training to improve discipline practices, particularly in justice and education?
Over the course of an in-person and three virtual (webinar) listening sessions, the following themes arose as participants discussed how to support good school discipline practices:
- Decision makers, including education personnel at all levels (State, district, school, grade), law enforcement, and community members need to be more positive and relational, and that there needs to be district- and school-wide consistency in approaches to managing student behavior, across professional and grade levels.
- Reduce pressures on and engage staff and students by ensuring the focus on test preparation and testing is not excessive or exclusive.
- To shift the current mindset and practices, the decision makers and a variety of other stakeholders (e.g., family, community, and social service providers) need ongoing training, including coaching, on how to develop, plan, and implement systems, policies, and practices that ensure schools are safe and supportive to prevent negative student behavior and promote academic excellence, and promote and support positive approaches to discipline when negative behaviors do occur.
- Training should emphasize, among other things, cultural competence, social emotional learning, positive youth development, character education, and positive behavioral supports programs.
- Because each stakeholder plays a different role in supporting good school discipline practices, training should be differentiated across roles and systems to meet unique needs and preferences, yet consistent in purpose across systems.
Click here for a complete summary of the listening sessions.