In order to reduce suspension rates at Happy Valley High School, the Happy Valley School District will kick off the “Classrooms not Courtrooms” initiative at the beginning of the 2016 school year. “Research indicates that excessive use of exclusionary discipline has a negative impact on the learning environment, student achievement, graduation rates, and rates of juvenile crime and delinquency” (Staples, 2015). The initiative will include several strategies for the principal and teachers to help eliminate disciplinary actions that lead to suspension. First of all, Happy Valley School District will have several opportunities throughout the year to promote constructive partnerships with law enforcement and the students at Happy Valley High School. Secondly, School Resource Officers will be trained to incorporate effective strategies for discipline. Thirdly, The framework of Happy Valley School District’s discipline code will be expanded and improved upon to include Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Consequently, Happy Valley School District will track specific data related to disorderly conduct offenses in order to implement alternatives for disciplinary action. Finally, the Happy Valley School District will also provide on going training opportunities for teachers during in-services.
The “Classrooms not Courtrooms” initiative will receive continual funding through the state government. The Governor, Terry McAuliffe, states that the initiative is “a multi-agency, administration-wide push to reduce student referrals to law enforcement, reduce suspensions and expulsions, address the disparate impact these practices have on African-Americans and students with disabilities, and address the emphasis on subjective offenses like disorderly conduct” (Staples, 2015). With support from the state and the Governor, Happy Valley School District hopes to change the face of discipline and educational success at Happy Valley High School.
Staples, S. R. (2015, November 13). Superintendent’s Memo #277-15, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2015/277-15.shtml
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