School Climate Matters: Week IV

As Districts around the state revise their LCAPs to meet the School Climate priority area requirement, we wanted to highlight the best practices we are seeing for ensuring that all students have the social and emotional tools they need to succeed:

Multiple data measures disaggregated by all key subgroups and clear baselines that the community can understand and track!

At a minimum, every District must include suspension and expulsion rates disaggregated by subgroups and other local measures, “including surveys of pupils, parents, and teachers on the sense of safety and school connectedness.”  District’s doing it right are including multiple measures, like instructional days lost to suspensions, number of students suspended, and number of willful defiance suspensions.  They are looking into office discipline referrals and tracking alternatives to suspension to make sure struggling students get help early and often.  Others are using the California Health Kids Survey to track connectedness and safety perceptions.  Still others are considering recommendations from the community to stop the school-to-prison pipeline and track referrals to law enforcements and student arrest rates.

Aggressive, clear and trackable goals for key subgroups that reduce out of class and out of school discipline!

At a minimum, every District must include measurable goals for reducing suspension and expulsion disaggregated by subgroups and increasing “other local measures.”  But the Districts who are making a real commitment to improving school climate and reducing disproportionality are setting aggressive goals, 20-30% or more reductions per year each year, reducing involuntary transfers, supporting teachers in keeping students in class, and setting more aggressive goal where they find disproportionate discipline or schools with a rate of removals that outpaces the rest of the district.

Real people power, funding, and professional development and specific research-based solutions to tackle the issues identified.

At a minimum, every District must include a description of the specific actions it will take to meet the goals identified and specific expenditures on actions to reduce suspension and expulsion rates.  Districts that are prioritizing a strong school climate as a fundamental building block of learning are investing real dollars in restorative justice, School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Social Emotional Learning curriculum, the Good Behavior Game to incorporate positive behavior in a way that students love, trauma informed training, and more mental health counselors who are trained to address the needs of students struggling with discipline and trauma. Where Districts are recognizing that there is significant disproportionality in discipline for students of color, they are weaving professional development on the impact of bias and racism and the importance of culturally relevant practices into training for all staff!

Click here for more information on best practices and a sample LCAPthat you can use to incorporate these practices in your District!

Check it out!

Schools like Davidson Middle School who have already invested in restorative justice and who truly believe that suspensions are not the solution, have already seen extraordinary increases in academic achievement and attendance.  You can do it too!

We want to help all Districts create the strongest and most effective LCAPs for students! Feel free to call or email us if your community or District needs help.

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