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Looking Deeper at Early Discipline Methods

Looking Deeper at

Early Discipline Methods

Last spring the suspension rates of students in kindergarten through third grade (K-3) were a topic at the state legislature.  Jeffco Public Schools decided to take an in-depth look at the issue when a state level report showed that the schools with both the highest and lowest rates were within our district.  Our schools had already been instituting methods such as restorative practices and playground restructure to address discipline issues, but this was the first time staff had analyzed data specifically about district-wide K-3 suspensions.

The report was completed over the summer; you can review the entire report here (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7AXeWAAXsLpc1l4OFRXOHFJaDg/view?usp=sharing).  

The results have prompted three immediate changes:

  • First, a step was added to the standardized checklist for suspensions for grades K-3.  Before suspending a K-3 student, school leaders are asked to pause and think through alternatives to suspension, taking into consideration what type of discipline might help address the root cause of the behavior, not simply keep the student out of school.
  • Second, school leaders will receive increased training on discipline practices, including consistent communication with families when disciplinary issues arise, improved record-keeping, engaging students in critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and learning about alternative discipline practices.
  • Lastly, a task force of school-level leaders, district staff, and other invested partners will explore best practices for early discipline and develop recommendations for implementation in our elementary schools.

The deeper dive into K-3 suspension rates is just one example of how Jeffco Public Schools applies data and research to aid in continuously improving services to students.

 

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