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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Suspension and Student Work

Suspension and Student Work

Related Tags: School Leadership
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6 Replies 1029 Views
I would like to start a discussion regarding the philosophy of student discipline. Maybe I should share how I view this discussion format. I see it as an opportunity for school administrators to banter about issues relevant to school administrators. Therefore, this is a forum for micro-development and an opportunity to address issues that are on our minds. I say this because I want to be expressively clear that what I am looking for is to discuss the ideas we have regarding student discipline and punishment. I feel safe in the presumption that we all have independent views and policies regarding how we “administer” punitive actions. What I want to discuss for the sake of professional growth are issues related to RTI and how we intervene in students’ lives that are resistant to the social and moral expectations we have of them; however, I equally accept that we will all have independent systems for handling the situations that arise. So, what I am really after is a discussion on what it means for students to be suspended and still have the opportunity to submit work, contribute to their lessons, and progress in the system. Consider that it is common practice to separate “behavior” from “academics” for the purpose of instructional assessments. It is also common to integrate behavior interventions into the school day as we generally accept that student performance (behavior or academic) is interconnected. For example, failure to contribute to a lesson may be an indicator of a student’s inability to understand the material. The student may act up to escape the situation and create a cycle of failure (or continue to perpetuate the cycle started in earlier grades). The student may be suspended and escape the lesson all together. Should the thought be to make them accountable for work and how should this be done? Is work being done simply because it was assigned (i.e. a tribute based instructional system)? How do we know the student needs the lesson? How do we ensure that once they are suspended they have the opportunity to catch back up; should they be allowed to catch up? If not, why not? What are we using to address the intentional non-learner in our school who escape by means of punishment? For example consider that a discipline problem emerges because the student struggles with reading or writing yet they have a large report due on Friday; they get into a fight on Tuesday so they won’t have to deal with their need. What are we considering in these types of situations? I know the answer is in PBS and RTI, and is discussed in building level PLCs but I want to go into the ideology we have as leaders and consider our own turning points in dealing with these issues.

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Eric Sheninger's picture
Eric Sheninger
Principal at New Milford High School
Blogger
Facilitator

Most of our suspension or in-school (we rarely assign students out of school suspension). Throughout the day the suspended student will complete assigned work by all of his/her teachers that directly relates to the lesson. Teachers are also expected not only to assign work, but to check in on the student routinely to ensure comprehension of the material. The student is also required to reflect on his/her behavior that resulted in suspension focusing on what led to this behavior and different decisions that could have been made. This is in essay form and required at the completion of the suspension.

Michael J Ripley's picture

As we move toward standard based assessment/ learning, I believe that the importance of having students complete work (whether ISS or OSS) should not be an option. We need to make sure that they learn what we are teaching and not moving on if they don't.

Ryan Huff's picture

What we do in our school is if we have a student who has been suspended for 3 days they get their work before they leave the school. Anything longer than 3 days, such as 10 day suspension or semester, we have them pick up the work for that week on Monday and have them bring it back on Friday. That has seemed to work the best for us and our kids.

Thomas Flynn's picture
Thomas Flynn
Principal

What we do is use a BOCES Program located off campus that allows us to have a Certified Teacher work with students that are suspended, in a off campus setting which allows us to keep the student academically engaged, off the street, and yet send notice to the student body that the rules are enforced. Seems to work very well for us in rural upstate New York.

Jim Peiffer's picture
Jim Peiffer
Principal, Douglas J. Regan Intermediate School, Starpoint CSD

When students are in ISS, the staff collects work form all of that student's teachers and facilitates the completion thereof. When serving
taking place after the school day, is provided (up to 2 hours per day of OSS). Again, the staff member providing that instruction gathers the required work from the student's teachers.

BC's picture
BC
Grade 7 ELA Teacher

I am a 7th grade ELA teacher, and one of my students has just been suspended for five days. Our school doesn't have a policy regarding make-up work for suspended students, but I felt compelled to contact the student's mom via e-mail and provide the lessons she will miss. The kid made a very bad choice, but I want her to come back with the ability to succeed academically. Otherwise, I fear she might think there is no way to regain her academic standing and just give up altogether. My goal is to bring this student back from the edge, not to push her over the edge.

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