CPS Suspension and Expulsion Rates Reach Record Low 

Restorative Approaches to Discipline Have Reduced Out-of-School Suspensions by 67 Percent and Expulsion by 74 Percent

Thursday, September 22, 2016                                                       

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CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that out-of-school suspensions and expulsions have reached a record low for the District. By transitioning from exclusionary disciplinary practices to research-based preventative approaches, the District’s out-of-school suspension (OSS) rate has decreased by 67 percent and the expulsion rate has decreased by 74 percent since 2012, when a revised Student Code of Conduct was implemented. By placing a strong emphasis on social and emotional learning, and restorative practices to improve school climates, CPS has been able to reduce misconducts, improve students’ connections to their school communities, and keep students in class.

“The monumental reduction in suspensions and expulsions is a credit to our school communities, which have embraced restorative practices to build stronger school communities,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “We are highly encouraged by the change that has occurred in recent years, and we remain committed to providing our schools and educators with the resources they need to keep students safe, supported and engaged in their learning.”

Data from District-operated schools in SY 15-16 shows that suspensions and other metrics that indicate student misconducts have significantly declined since the District shifted its focus to research-based preventative practices, resulting in more students remaining in the classroom. In SY 15-16,

  • Out-Of-School Suspensions declined 67 percent from SY 12-13 (24.27 suspensions per 100 students in SY 12-13 to 8.08 in SY 15-16);
  • In-School Suspensions declined 7 percent from SY 12-13 (12.97 suspensions per 100 students in SY 12-13 to 12.08 in SY 15-16)
  • Expulsions declined 74 percent from SY 12-13 (184 total expulsions in SY 12-13 to 48 in SY 15-16); and
  • Police Notifications declined 39 percent from SY 12-13 (5,189 total notifications in SY 12-13 to 3178 in SY 15-16).

The decline in both in- and out-of-school suspensions indicates that schools have not merely substituted one form of punitive discipline for another, but instead have reduced the use of suspensions as a disciplinary action.

“These results clearly show that our focus on restorative practices, along with our commitment to social-emotional learning, is keeping more students in the classroom where they belong,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “It’s no coincidence that our suspension and expulsion rates are declining as our academic gains keep growing, and we remain fully committed to a proactive approach that addresses student needs and keeps them in class where they can work toward a bright future. 

The steep decline in suspension and expulsion rates since SY 12-13 is seen among nearly every subgroup of students in the District. In particular, African American males, a group that has accounted for an outsized percentage of suspension and expulsions in the District, have seen a significant drop since SY 12-13. In just three years, suspensions of African American males have declined 68 percent and expulsions have declined 72 percent. To further address this issue, CPS will continue to support and seek out programs that specifically support African American male students.

As part of the District’s commitment to supporting preventative practices, CPS’ Office of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) has provided training and coaching to all school principals on strategies to effectively address misconducts while reducing the time students spend out of the classroom. The training encourages school-based staff to address the root cause of student behavior and respond using an array of social and emotional techniques that include conflict resolution, relationship building, and trauma and behavioral intervention. Additionally, the training equips teachers with classroom management strategies to help keep more students in the classroom.

These improvements also follow a series of concerted efforts by the District to swap out the punitive, zero tolerance disciplinary approach frequently applied in the past with a holistic approach that works to address the root cause of student misconduct and reduce the school-to-prison pipeline. To accomplish this paradigm shift, CPS has intensified coordination with CPD and other agencies, realizing significant improvements in key school and student safety outcomes, as announced today

Lower suspension and expulsions rates throughout the District mean that far fewer students today are missing out on valuable instructional time. By reducing barriers and keeping more students in classrooms, CPS students will continue to build on their academic successes, including record-high graduation rates (73.5 percent), freshman-on-track rates (87.4 percent), attendance rates (93.4 percent) and ACT scores (18.4).

Page Last Modified on Thursday, September 22, 2016