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RPS School Board meets in special study session to discuss discipline data

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Though the school year is now over, the Rochester Public Schools School Board came together for a special study session on Tuesday evening, looking at discipline statistics from the 2016 -2017 school year.

This discipline data from the 2016 - 2017 school year shows that this past year, there were nearly 2000 fewer referrals to the office than the prior year, however, those statistics also show that students of color continue to be referred to the office disproportionately.

Superintendent Michael Munoz said there are multiple factors that contribute to the root cause of these disproportions, whether it be individual characteristics, or the characteristics of society, and even the classroom environment.

Munoz also said an updated and revised Student Handbook is one of many ideas to help in closing some of the gap in these disparities.

“We've gotten away from the minors and majors, what we have now is Level 1, and these are the behaviors that will be handled by the classroom teacher, and then we've also standardized Level 2 behaviors, which would be an office referral,” said Munoz at Tuesday's meeting.

The new handbook would also require parents to sign the final page, and students return that signed page back to school.

Also brought up at the study session was the possibility of collecting data from the teachers, as far as which ones refer students to the office.

“They already feel like they're under the microscope with all of this stuff. I just feel like if we are going to be sincere, that's a piece of data that needs to be accounted for somehow,” said Rochester Public School Board of Directors member Gary Smith.

The board agreed that ongoing work in curbing these discrepancies, aside from the updated handbook, should include continued staff development focused on equity and monthly meetings between building administrators and the discipline supervisor.

There will be continued conversations on this before any action items are taken into effect.

Discipline Data Outline Per Powerpoint from Rochester Public Schools:

Points to Consider:

---Students of color continue to be referred disproportionately

---There are multiple factors involved in this disproportionality

---Upward trend in both intensive behaviors and mental health needs

---Individual student needs drive services and supports

---Data analysis is an ongoing process

---A small number of students account for a large number of referrals

---Not all office referrals result in discipline

---Definitions of infractions have not been well defined, responses to behaviors have varied across sites, data collection, and entry have been inconsistent

15-16 Referrals:

---Total is 14,215

---3545 students accounted for all referrals out of 19,328 total enrolled

---Average number of referrals per student who had referrals was just over 4

---81.7 percent didn't have any referrals

16-17 Referrals:

---Total is 12,325

---2785 students accounted for all referrals out of 19,553 total enrolled

---Average number of referrals per student who had referrals was just 4.4

---85.8 percent didn't have any referrals

15-16 Referrals by Race:

---Native American: 97

---Asian: 684

---Hispanic: 2943

---Black: 5282

---White: 5659

---Total: 14,215

16-17 Referrals by Race:

---Native American: 196

---Asian: 613

---Hispanic: 2173

---Black: 5166

---White: 4177

---Total: 12,325

Action Steps taken in 2015-2017

---Partnership with Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center-MAP Center (Great Lakes Equity Center)

---Trained the Police Liaison Officers and revised agreement with City of Rochester

---Multiple staff development opportunities (equity, culturally responsive classroom, historical trauma, non-verbal behavior strategies, etc.)

---Monthly meetings with Student School Board

Ongoing Work:

---Continuing staff development with a focus on equity; ENVoY, culturally responsive classroom, historical trauma

---Updated and revised the Student Behavior Handbook

---Monthly meetings between building administrators and Discipline Supervisor

---Consistent expectations of PBIS implementation

---Expand opportunities for parents to provide input on discipline practice

---Potential partnership with Mayo Clinic for further examination of data

Here's a link to the full data report so far. It was said at Tuesday's study session some tweaks will be made and the updated version will be complete in August:


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