Turning the Tide on School Discipline

Building Teacher Capacity to Eliminate Discipline Disparities

Jamilia Blake, Texas A&M University
Mary Barringer, Licensed Specialist in School Psychology
Steven Shuchat Ed.D., Principal, Van Wyck Junior High School

A volume in the series: Contemporary Perspectives on Access, Equity, and Achievement. Editor(s): Chance W. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The disparate impact of school discipline for students of color has plagued the United States educational system for over three decades (United States Department of Justice & Department of Education, 2014). Black students comprise 16 percent of the United States (US) public school population, but represent 32 to 42 percent of students’ exclusionary discipline sanctions, and 27 to 31 percent of law enforcement referrals and school-based arrests (US Department of Education, 2014). Similar rates of discipline disparities are observed for Latino and Native American students although the magnitude of the disparity is significantly smaller (US Department of Education, 2014). The potential for exclusionary discipline to widen the racialethnic achievement gap and to set over disciplined students on a trajectory for school failure and early criminal justice involvement underscores the need for evidenced-based interventions to eliminate discipline disparities. In the 2014 Dear Colleague letter, the U.S. Department of Justice and U. S. Department of Education issued guidance and recommendations for schools and juvenile justice systems to engage in discipline reform, by implementing policies that promote the use of non-punitive practices to address student misconduct. While most models to discipline reform emphasize the importance of high quality instruction and effective classroom management in reducing discipline referrals and sanctions, few of these approaches consider the capacity of teachers to implement such practices, with PK-12 students the focus of these interventions. That is current models attempt to address elevated discipline referrals by providing additional support services to students. Missing from these approaches however, is the supports that teachers may require to effectively implement these models. The lack of attention to providing teacher support services to eliminate discipline disparities in current discipline reform models is problematic since teachers identify student misbehavior to be one of their most pressing concerns (Evertson & Weinstein, 2006). Equally troubling is the fact that most teacher preparation training programs offer only a single course in classroom behavior management. Insufficient training in managing the daily challenges inherent in classroom behavior management may make it difficult for teachers to focus on the more relational aspects of teaching necessary for minimizing the cultural misunderstandings that seem to fuel teachers over reliance on office discipline referrals (ODRs) to manage student misbehavior.

The purpose of this book is to introduce a tiered teacher professional development model to support teachers in their implementation of behavior management strategies to reduce discipline disparities. The goal of our tiered teacher professional development model is to provide teachers with the capacity to appropriately address student misbehavior. The focus of this model is to support teachers who are having difficulty with managing student misbehavior and in need of professional supports to better manage their classrooms or disruptive students. Our tiered professional development model is rooted in evidenced-based practice and theory. We draw from relational and behavioral theories, best practices in service delivery as it relates to classroom behavior management and models of multi-tiered systems of support used with students, and models of instructional and multicultural consultation and coaching to create a tiered professional development program for teachers. In contrast to prior works on teacher professional development, which are general and primarily theoretical, this text is written for school-based practitioners who serve leadership roles in schools to address discipline disparities in their schools. Practical strategies for educational administrators and school leaders to implement this model within their school along with case examples and forms are provided to aid school leaders in thwarting discipline disparities. Turning the Tide on School Discipline: Building Teacher Capacity to Eliminate Discipline Disparities will represent the first text that offers an integrated evidenced-based approach to discipline reform that is written specifically for school-based practitioners and leaders. Its accessibility to educators who are currently working in PK-12 classrooms will make it a valuable resource to school districts nationwide.

Foreword. Chapter 1 - Introduction: School Discipline a National Crisis, Jamilia Blake, Ph.D. Chapter 2 - Theoretical Explanations for Discipline Disparities, Jamilia Blake, Ph.D. Chapter 3 - Current Approaches to School Discipline & Proposed Remedies, Jamilia Blake, Ph.D. Chapter 4 - Multi-tiered Support Models: A Primer, Mary Barringer, Ph.D. Chapter 5 - An Integrated model: Linking research to practice to address discipline disparities, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat. Chapter 6 - Lead by example: Leadership styles necessary for creating an organizational climate to foster teacher support, Steven Shuchat, Ed.D. Chapter 7 - Tier 1: Universal professional development support services for teachers in classroom management, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat. Chapter 8 - Tier 2: Focused professional development support services for teachers related to school discipline, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat. Chapter 9 - Tier 3: Individualized professional development support services for teachers related to school discipline, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat. Chapter 10 - Implementation: Getting started, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat. Chapter 11 - Developing a monitoring and evaluation system, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat. Chapter 12 - Anticipating barriers, Jamilia Blake, Mary Barringer, Steven Shuchat.