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Reducing Disproportionality in Suspensions and Positive Behavior Supports
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Reducing Disproportionality in Suspensions and Positive Behavior Supports

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  1. Reducing Disproportionality in Suspensions and Positive Behavior Supports Suzann Wilson Lori Rogerson

  2. Des Moines Public Schools • Over-representation in DMPS suspensions • Over-representation in juvenile justice system • Over –representation in child welfare system • Polk County Diversion Project • Minority Youth and Families Initiative

  3. Facilitator Training • Pat Parker, NRC Staff • DMPS Social Workers and Psychologists • Part One: Knowing your Stakeholders • Part Two: Relationship Building • Part Three: Conducting Focus Groups • Part Four: Making it Happen, Next Steps

  4. Sample • Minority Students with 1 < Suspensions • Middle and High School Students • Parent or Guardian Permission Obtained • Parents of Students with 1< Suspensions • Representative Population

  5. Instrument • Semi Structured Guide • Questions and Probes • Tool refined in collaboration with DMPS staff and University of Iowa NRC • Consistent Across all Focus Groups

  6. Questions • Let’s start with hearing, from your point of view, what kinds of things school usually suspend students for? • Describe what you think is the main reason that schools use suspension • Here’s some information that the school district and community are particularly concerned about… • When a students is suspended, what do they do-what does a day outside of school look like? • Tell me what it’s like when someone comes back to school after being suspended? • What is one suggestion you want to make to the school leadership for what they can do to make schools where African American and Latino students can succeed? • Is there anything else?

  7. Focus Groups Facilitation • Co-Facilitators • One Facilitator/One Recorder • Groups Ranged from 1-3 hours

  8. Focus Group Barriers • Trust • Frustration • Child Care • Schedules • Unable to Provide Compensation

  9. Focus Groups • Student Focus Groups-5 high schools, 5 middle schools and 1 alternative building • 81 Students Participated • Parent Focus Groups-Held in high schools, middle schools and community locations • 16 Parents Participated

  10. Focus Group Data and Report • Facilitators and Trainers • 2 Groups • One to process student groups • One to process parent groups • Findings and Recommendations to Generate Report: Reducing Disproportionality in Suspensions at Des Moines Public Schools: Findings and Recommendations from Focus Groups with Students and Parents (www.uiowa.edu/~nrcfcp)

  11. Focus Group Recommendations • It is incumbent upon the District to respond quickly to the request by participants for follow-up and feedback. • Suspension should be viewed as a process rather then as an action or event. • Teachers should go through a similar process. • District Administration and the School Board should participate the process.

  12. Focus Group Recommendations 5. Plans for cultural competence training throughout the district should be made. 6. To ensure reduction in suspensions and disproportionality, separate goals for reducing the number of suspension and for reducing disparate rates should be set.

  13. Background of PBS in DMPS • Six years ago, buildings were asking for help with behavior • Began PBS in 1 MS and 1 Elementary • Training was provided for individual and building-wide PBS • PBS is now implemented in 8 MS and 22 Elementaries

  14. Original Goals of PBS • Reduce or eliminate problem behaviors • Increase academic success; recapture lost number of minutes teaching and administrative time • School Safety

  15. Six Major Ideas • Build Multiple Systems of Behavior Support • Different systems for different challenges 2.Invest in Prevention • Build a culture of social competence • Define, teach, monitor, and reward appropriate behavior • Define, monitor and correct inappropriate behavior 3.Start with Administrative Commitment • Top 3 Goals, Administrator on team, 80% commitment 4.Use Team-based Implementation • No new resources (working smarter) 5.Adapt procedures to “fit” the context • Implement sustainable practices and systems 6.Collect and use information for decision-making

  16. Supporting Social Competence & Academic Achievement 4 PBS Elements OUTCOMES Supporting Decision Making Supporting Staff Behavior DATA SYSTEMS PRACTICES Supporting Student Behavior

  17. Tertiary Prevention: Specialized Individualized Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior CONTINUUM OF SCHOOL-WIDE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT ~5% Secondary Prevention: Specialized Group Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior ~15% Primary Prevention: School-/Classroom- Wide Systems for All Students, Staff, & Settings ~80% of Students

  18. School-wide Positive Behavior Support • School-wide positive behavior support is a set of systemic and individualized strategies forachieving social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior.

  19. Does PBS also improve disproportionality of suspensions? • Prevention: we need to have behavioral supports in place to set up students for success • Teaching: we need to define behavioral expectations and directly teach them in all areas • Systems: we need supportive systems in place to sustain practices with administrative support “Suspension should be viewed as a process rather then as an action or event” What does DMPS suspension data look like?

  20. Relative Risk Ratio What is the risk of suspension for African American students, compared to the risk for Caucasian students? African American students are suspended 2.16 times compared to Caucasian students. Relative RiskRisk for African American Students: Calculation: AA Students suspended: 1,303 .2470 All AA Students: 5,275 .1143 Relative Risk: 24.7% Risk for Caucasian Students: Caucasian students suspended: 2,228 All Caucasian students: 19,488 Relative Risk: 11.43%

  21. African American Students Suspended 2006-2007 1.56% 10+ Days 23.15% <10 Days 75.30% No Suspensions

  22. Caucasian Students Suspended 2006-2007 0.55% 10+ Days 11% <10 Days 88.45% No Suspensions

  23. What do we have in place/planned to address disproportionality of suspensions? • PBS support • Karega Rausch • Plan to develop goals and to put recommendations in place

  24. PBS Support • 31 Internal Coaches • 12 External Coaches • 31 Liaison Support Staff for Teams • 10 Trainers • District Leadership Team • 2 Supervisors • 1 Coordinator

  25. Consultant: Karega Rausch • Recommendations on: • How to infuse issues of inequity into the fabric of PBS • How to develop data systems to know if we are making progress • Measureable outcomes • How to create a culturally competent PBS system

  26. Targeted Measurable Outcomes • Reduce suspensions and expulsions • Reduce disproportionality in suspensions and expulsions • Reduce office referrals • Reduce disproportionality in office referrals