FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, February 12, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that suspensions and expulsions fell significantly in School Year 2014-15, using a research-based approach to improve students’ achievement and reduce exclusionary discipline. These results follow an overhaul of the District’s Student Code of Conduct in the 2014-2015 school year designed to move away from exclusionary disciplinary practices that remove students from the classroom when instructional time is key to success.
The District’s strategy is focused on both research-based preventive structures and targeted interventions to address the root cause of students’ behaviors (trauma-focused groups, targeted skill-building, restorative responses that repair relationships, among others), and delivering tailored supports to help those students excel, all while keeping them in the classrooms.
“Students are more likely to succeed when they have access to a positive learning environment where they have the resources to succeed,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “More constructive disciplinary practices create more valuable instructional time for students who are usually the most in need of extra support. By working together, teachers and administrators can keep these positive trends going.”
Across the district, expulsions fell by 57 percent. Out-of-school suspensions fell from more than 69,000 occurrences in SY12-13 to fewer than 25,000 in SY14-15, a 65 percent decrease over two years. Police notifications – in which schools report calling police – have dropped by 19 percent. SY14-15 data can be viewed at: http://cps.edu/SchoolData/Pages/SchoolData.aspx.
Yet while in-school suspensions have increased by four percent over this time, this signifies that more students remain in the learning environment to receive restorative methods that address discipline issues. The reported usage of recommended disciplinary practices – including instructive, corrective, and restorative practices – more than doubled during that same time period.
To ensure consistency with this approach, the district provides training to school staff using In School Suspensions (ISS), including training ISS coordinators and providing a skills-building ISS curriculum.
“Over the past few years, CPS principals, teachers and students have made tremendous progress in approaching student discipline in a smarter way, but we still have important work to do,” said Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson. “We’re encouraged that less punitive discipline is being used against all of our students, and we will continue to use proven methods to keep our students in their classrooms.”
As part of the district’s continued investment in restorative justice, CPS’s Office of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has trained all school principals in using suspensions as a last resort and increased tools, training and coaching available to all CPS schools in developing alternatives to suspension and preventive practices.
Since 2013, more than 400 schools have received training in at least one of several strategies including school climate improvement, proactive classroom management strategies, social and emotional learning instruction, trauma and behavioral interventions, and restorative practices. Additionally, CPS is providing intensive coaching to 58 schools to improve school climates, as well as Restorative Practice coaches via our community partners to another 74 schools to help leverage more restorative approaches to discipline.
CPS has also expanded alternatives to expulsion – such as intervention programming – and provided intensive individualized intervention supports (individualized counseling, substance abuse counseling, mentoring, etc.) at 40 schools. The district has also adjusted the expulsion hearing review process, so that response times are shorter and resources are better identified for students who are not expelled.
CPS is collaborating with charter schools on their discipline approaches through the “Chicago Collaborative for Supportive School Discipline,” a district-wide effort to establish more consistent and supportive discipline policies across all school types. The district has expanded its “alternatives to expulsion” intervention programs, which have dramatically reduced expulsions in district-managed schools, and has made them available to charters. CPS has also worked with charters on development of their school codes to more closely align with the district’s.
Chicago Public Schools serves 392,000 students in 660 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.