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To: Superintendent Michael Sullivan

From: Secondary Principal Annie Leonard


RE: Responding to Negative Behaviors and Promoting Positive School Climate
Date: January 22, 2019

Introduction
The secondary schools have well-established procedures for responding to negative behaviors
that interfere with a safe, positive learning environment and infringe on the rights of others.
These are described in the handbook for each school, available on each school’s website. The
focus of this memo is a description of staff roles related to these procedures, and an analysis of
the current functioning of these procedures and where improvement is needed. Before
discussing procedures, I want to state clearly that all reported incidents of civil rights violations
and other incidents of harassment this school year have been properly investigated, with
consequences, other interventions, and follow-up communication occurring in accordance with
the procedures in our handbooks.

Behavior Support and Intervention Roles at the Secondary Level


These staff work under the daily guidance and leadership of the Secondary Principal to provide
proactive actions, consultation, support, and disciplinary interventions to contribute to creating
and maintaining a safe, positive learning environment.

Assistant Principal role:


 A building-wide leader in creating a positive school climate, the Assistant Principal (AP)
works with all staff as well as students and families. Together with the principal, the AP
leads the development and implementation of developmentally appropriate, positive and
restorative behavior support policies, systems, and intervention strategies. The AP
oversees behavioral intervention procedures, including detentions, internal and external
suspensions, behavioral plans and contracts, mediations, restorative practices and other
disciplinary consequences, and implements interventions and consequences with
students, with the support of staff and families. The AP is responsible for notifying
families about serious behavioral incidents and consequences according to established
protocols. The AP leads secondary Student Support Team meetings and provides
training and coaching to staff to improve behavior support and intervention in classrooms.
Together with the principal, the AP ensures disciplinary investigations (including
procedures such as searches), decisions and communications are compliant with all
applicable procedural safeguards. The AP and principal manage hearings and other
aspects of any disciplinary incident that could lead to long-term suspension or expulsion.
The AP coordinates and facilitates post-suspension re-integrations and other types of
behavioral intervention meetings with parent/guardians, students, and outside care
providers. The AP is responsible for monitoring student attendance and overseeing the
implementation of attendance intervention steps, including phone contact, attendance
conferences, home visits, and preparing court paperwork. Together with the principal,
the AP is responsible for revision of student handbooks and other procedures. With the
Dean of Students, the AP is responsible for compiling and analyzing internal data, the

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School Safety and Discipline report, and other reports as assigned. Together with the
principal, the AP supervises and evaluates the work of the Dean of Students, Behavior
Interventionist and Justice Center Paraprofessional. The AP leads a weekly meeting and
monthly in-service sessions for the behavior intervention team, which includes the Dean
of Students, the TFHS Justice Center Paraprofessional, and the GFMS Behavior
Interventionist.

Dean of Students role:


 The Dean of Students (DoS) serves as a resource for all secondary students, staff,
administrators, and families in promoting a positive school climate and addressing
negative behaviors. The DoS participates in the development and implementation of
developmentally appropriate, positive and restorative behavior support policies, systems,
and intervention strategies. The DoS implements behavioral intervention steps, including
detentions, behavioral plans and contracts, community service, mediations, restorative
practices and other disciplinary consequences, working in close coordination with the AP.
The DoS attends and participates in various leadership team meetings and other
building meetings as assigned; brings relevant disciplinary and attendance data for
weekly review with the Student Support Teams; and provides training and coaching to
staff to improve behavior support and intervention in classrooms. The DoS coordinates
and facilitates behavioral intervention meetings with parent/guardians, students, and
outside care providers. The DoS participates in implementing attendance intervention
steps, including phone contact, attendance conferences, home visits, and preparing
court paperwork, in close coordination with the AP. The DoS supports revision of student
handbooks and assists with compiling and analyzing internal data, the School Safety
and Discipline report, and other reports as assigned.

TFHS Justice Center Paraprofessional role:


 The Justice Center Paraprofessional (JCP) supervises the TFHS Justice Center,
maintaining a quiet, structured atmosphere and supporting students who have left the
classroom setting in processing events and/or engaging in academic work on a
temporary basis, with a goal of returning to class when appropriate. The JCP supervises
students in detention and internal suspension, and assists with investigations and the
implementation of behavioral interventions such as pass restrictions and no-phone-use
contracts. The JCP may also provide supervision and support of students in hallways,
the cafeteria and outside the building, as assigned. Under the supervision of the AP, the
JCP assists with home communication and data entry for discipline and student
attendance.

GFMS Behavior Interventionist role:


 The Behavior Interventionist (BI) supervises the GFMS Responsible Behavior Room,
maintaining a quiet, structured atmosphere and supporting students who have left the
classroom in processing events and/or engaging in academic work on a temporary basis,
with a goal of returning to class when appropriate. The BI supervises students in
detention and internal suspension, and assists with investigations and the
implementation of behavioral interventions. The BI may help with mediations or
restorative practices as requested by the AP or DoS. The BI may also provide
supervision of students in hallways, cafeteria and outside building, as assigned. The BI
oversees GFMS students remaining in the building after school Monday-Thursday.
Under the supervision of the AP, the BI assists with home communication and data entry
for discipline and student attendance.

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School Resource Officer role:
 The School Resource Officer (SRO) does not participate in school-based disciplinary
investigations, decision-making, or consequences. As per the Memorandum of
Agreement, “it remains the sole prerogative of school officials to enforce the code of
conduct and impose discipline for infractions of school rules and policies.”
 The SRO provides many non-disciplinary supports and services to students and the
wider school community such as supervision in drop-off areas at arrival and dismissal
time; helping with late bus sign-ups in the cafeteria during MS lunch (which helps reduce
interruptions to afternoon classes); assisting in the establishment of Child Requiring
Assistance interventions for students with chronic attendance and/or behavioral issues;
advising students interested in law enforcement careers; coordinating and participating
in safety and emergency drills and training in the district; and assisting with any serious
health or safety-related emergency that arises in the building.

Civil Rights and Title IX (Gender Equity) Coordinator roles:


 The Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinators are district-wide roles to assure compliance
with the GMRSD Anti-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure.
The coordinators are involved in any case when a district employee is identified as a
target or perpetrator of discrimination or harassment, and the principal or assistant
principal may consult with the coordinators in any investigation related to membership in
a protected class.

School Procedures, Practices and Areas for Improvement


TFHS and GFMS have common procedures for most discipline-related matters, but differ in
routine classroom practices according to what is developmentally appropriate for students.

TFHS classroom-based discipline and other teacher practices:


 All TFHS teachers are expected to review highlights from the handbook with students
and to state clear conduct expectations for students in their classes, such as: be present
and on time; bring learning materials; show respect for other people and their property;
be prepared to participate; always sign in/out and carry a hall pass when out of the
classroom; follow classroom cell phone rules. High School Meeting is also used to
remind students about behavioral expectations throughout the school year.
 All TFHS teachers are expected to work with their students to establish learning
community norms or guidelines with each class, and to post and frequently reference the
norms to help meet the needs of the entire class as well as the needs of individual
students.
 Students whose behaviors disrupt learning are first to be given an opportunity to resolve
the matter with the teacher through reminders, loss of privileges, seat changes,
conferences, home communication, or other classroom-level interventions.
 Teachers are expected to employ a variety of strategies to promote a safe, positive
learning environment such as student-centered instruction, offering students voice and
choice in learning, consistent classroom routines, frequent feedback to students
including keeping grades updated on Plus Portal, seeking advice from colleagues and
behavior intervention team members, and home communication.
 Increasing teacher skill in implementing these practices, and increasing the consistency
of expectations across high school classrooms regarding student behavior and
engagement, are areas needing ongoing attention and improvement. Strengthening the
HS Advisory program is another key strategy to improve school climate.

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GFMS classroom-based discipline and other teacher practices:
 All GFMS teachers are expected to review the Code of Conduct with students at the
beginning of the year using a variety of methods including handbook review, creation of
Y-Charts, practice opportunities, and the development of the Social Contract. Teachers
use visual reminders in classrooms and hallways, and provide verbal reminders to
individuals and groups as needed. Morning Meeting and Circles of Power and Respect
(homeroom) are also used to state and remind students about behavioral expectations
and the Social Contract throughout the school year.
 All GFMS teachers are expected to use Developmental Designs steps when addressing
negative behaviors in their classrooms. The basic steps are: 1) Take a break (TAB). 2)
Second TAB and/or Quick Conference. 3) Buddy Room: visit neighboring classroom to
make a Fix-It Plan. 4) Referral to RBR; after school responsibility (ASR) to make up for
time away from classroom. Teachers may utilize whatever step is most appropriate
according to the severity or repetitiveness of the behavior.
 Teachers are expected to employ a variety of strategies to promote a safe, positive
learning environment such as student-centered instruction, offering students voice and
choice in learning, consistent classroom routines, frequent feedback to students
including keeping grades updated on Plus Portal, seeking advice from colleagues and
behavior intervention team members, and home communication.
 Providing Developmental Designs training for new staff and refreshers for all staff to
support consistency and effectiveness in implementing these practices is an area
needing ongoing attention and improvement.

Incident Reporting and Investigation:


 Incidents requiring intervention beyond the classroom can be reported to any member of
the behavior intervention team, all of whom can be reached by calling the main office
throughout the school day. In general, initial reports are received in the Justice Center
for the HS and the RBR for the MS. Serious incidents are shared immediately with the
Dean, Assistant Principal, or Principal.
 In any disciplinary situation, a student can expect to be informed of the allegations, to be
given the chance to share his/her version of events, and to be informed of the rationale
behind any consequences assigned.
 Student and family understanding of the legal limits on what school staff can and cannot
say about the investigation and discipline of other students is an area needing further
attention.

Intervention/Consequence Determination:
 Decisions regarding behavioral interventions and consequences to be assigned after an
incident are made by the Dean, Assistant Principal and/or Principal in consultation with
other staff as appropriate. Behavioral violations and levels of response information (pp.
36-40 of the TFHS handbook; pp. 8-9 of the GFMS handbook) guides decision-making
about consequences.
 Level 1 behaviors are typically first-time offenses that are minimally disruptive to the
learning environment. The aim of Level 1 interventions and consequences (staff
conference, mediation, mentoring, community service, harm repair, family contact, lunch
detention) is to support the student in understanding and changing the unsuccessful
behaviors.
 Level 2 behaviors are more serious or persistent offenses which negatively affect the
learning environment. The aim of Level 2 interventions and consequences (family
conference, data collection and plan development, SST referral, loss of privilege, after

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school detentions, in school suspension up to three days) is to correct repetitive or
escalating unsuccessful behaviors while attempting to re-engage the student in the
learning process and school community.
 Level 3 and 4 behaviors present a serious threat of harm to the members of the school
community or the learning environment. Level 3 and 4 consequences include removing a
student from the school environment (short or longer term out of school suspension,
suspension from transportation, exclusion from school activity participation, expulsion)
and a required re-integration meeting to address the seriousness of the behavior.
 The use of restorative practices that re-build community (such as mediation, conflict
resolution, circles, and harm repair actions) is encouraged as a component of a
behavioral intervention, when appropriate and when student and staff participants are
willing and ready. Increasing staff and wider school community understanding of the
rationale and application for use of both traditional consequences and restorative
practices is an area needing improvement, as is thorough communication of this
rationale to staff and families on a case-by-case basis.
 Sufficient staff skilled in leading restorative practices, as well as time and space for all
staff to participate in harm repair, are also needed in order to fully implement a
restorative model in our schools.
 TFHS and GFMS have specialized therapeutic programs for students with social-
emotional disabilities. The Special Education Teachers and School Adjustment
Counselors working with these students are involved in decision-making and
implementation of their behavioral interventions and consequences, which may differ
from the general guidelines above.

Protection of Targeted Students:


 Actions are taken to protect targeted students against further harassment or retaliation
for reporting incidents of harassment or bullying. These always include directives to
aggressor students, same-day home communication, and notification to staff working
with the targeted student, and may also include other steps such as a behavioral plan or
no-contact contract, and involvement of law enforcement where appropriate.
 In cases of bullying, the district Safety Plan for Student Target form is utilized to develop
and monitor the effectiveness of interventions.

Home Communication:
 As noted above, same-day home communication for targeted students is essential, as is
follow-up outreach a few weeks after an incident.
 The Behavior Interventionist or Justice Center Paraprofessional will contact home for
students involved in most Level 1 and some Level 2 infractions. The Dean or Assistant
Principal will communicate with home for some Level 2 infractions and any Level 3 or
higher infractions.
 Parent/guardians can email, call or meet with the Dean, Assistant Principal or Principal
at any time, or request a conference with a larger staff team.
 An individual teacher or teacher team can request a parent conference with behavior
team members to plan to address persistent behavioral issues.

Staff Communication and Documentation:


 The staff person who refers a student, group of students, or incident to the JC or RBR
can expect follow-up communication (usually via email) from the behavior intervention
team staff describing the outcome of the investigation and any interventions. Referring
staff should describe their own follow-up requests (e.g. student not to return to class until

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a behavior contract is developed). Whenever possible, the referring staff are involved in
the development of interventions.
 An individual teacher or teacher team can refer a student of concern to the Student
Support Team to plan to address persistent behavioral issues.
 Teachers and behavior intervention team members need to work together to better
articulate the possible responses for the small number of highly disruptive and
disrespectful students for whom neither repeated traditional disciplinary consequences
nor other types of interventions are successful in changing behavior.

Conclusion
The recent concerns around civil rights violations led to questions about our system for
addressing behavioral infractions generally at the secondary level, and how effective that
system is in promoting a positive school climate. The existing system is functional, but needs
improvement, not only in areas identified in this memo, but also in some areas that go beyond
the scope of this memo, such as training for all staff in recognizing and interrupting bias-related
aggressions and micro-aggressions, and delivering a culturally proficient educational response
not just to perpetrators but also to witnesses; broadening and strengthening social justice
education in our secondary curriculum; providing an articulated pre-K-12 anti-bias education to
all district students; and more engagement with families to better explain our expectations and
actions, and better enlist the support and involvement of families in improving school climate.