Rochester Public Schools releases disciplinary numbers, sees pro - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Rochester Public Schools releases disciplinary numbers, sees progress

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -

Rochester Public Schools School Board had their bi-weekly meeting Tuesday night.

And one topic up for discussion has been weighing heavily on much of the community, for quite some time.

The subject of racial disparities in discipline within Rochester Public Schools has been ongoing for years, and steps have been taken to lower these disparities.

Tuesday night, the numbers for this year compared with years' previous were up for discussion.

Findings show that progress is being made, on a district-wide level.

The findings compare the 2015 - 2016 school year from the first day of class until winter break, with that of the same time period for this school year.

Before getting into the numbers, various programs and methods have been implemented in the district to curb the need for disciplinary action.

The district has brought in equity specialists to act as mediators, added more mentorship programs, hosted keynote speakers, and started a program called ENVoY or Non-Verbal Yardsticks to help with classroom management help in curbing those disparities.

Since last year, the total number of district-wide referrals recorded went from 5310 in 2015 - 2016, down to 5097 in 2016 - 2017.

Though the total number has gone down, there has been an increase in some minority groups.

For example, Native American student referrals to the office jumped from 49 to 84, Asian student referrals jumped from 283 to 310, and black student referrals jumped from 2000 to 2207.

On the flip side, Hispanic and White student referrals decreased, from 873 to 861 and 2105 to 1636, respectively.

Rochester Public School Board Vice Chair Jean Marvin said it's important to recognize where students are coming from.

She said they don't need fixing from teachers, but they do need educating.

"I'm hoping that in addition to collecting numbers about office referrals, we're also spending time talking to the kids. 'What's happening here?', 'Is it getting better?' or 'Are you feeling less marginalized?'" said Marvin.

Superintendent Michael Munoz said he's pleased with progress that's being made in the district-wide results and hopes to keep continuing to lower the numbers of those office referrals, whether they be major or minor events.

Munoz also said Tuesday night that he will be taking over as head of the focus group on racial disparities in discipline.

The next meeting will be March 28th at 5:30 in the board room.

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