Middle School

Avoid Simple Solutions and Quick Fixes: Lessons Learned from a Comprehensive Districtwide Approach to Improving Conditions for Learning

Urban schools are often viewed as disorderly and unsafe and often have poor conditions for learning that affect student attendance, behavior, achievement, and safety. These conditions include the experience of emotional and physical safety, connectedness to and support from caring adults and peers, peer social and emotional competence, and academic engagement and challenge. Although connectedness and appropriate mental health services can improve safety as well as conditions for learning, many school districts focus on control through hardware and security officers.

Solution-Finding Report: Good Instruction and Decreased Suspensions and Expulsions

This Solution-Finding Report provides information, requested by a State Department for any research “that demonstrates that good instruction (including relationships and high expectations) is a preventive measure or shows a correlation of a decrease in suspensions and expulsions.” The following articles range from somewhat anecdotal (though with useful information) to those with more scientific rigor. Of special note are: Decker, Dona, & Christenson, 2007; Gregory, Cornell, & Fan, 2011; Gregory & Ripski, 2008; Hinojosa, 2008; and REL Northwest, 2012.

Letter from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Department of Education on Addressing and Eliminating Chronic Absenteeism.

This letter from the United States Cabinet Secretaries announces their long-term commitment to addressing and eliminating chronic absenteeism. 

Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?

The main body of this report documents gross disparities in the use of out-of-school suspension experienced by students with disabilities and those from historically disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and gender subgroups. The egregious disparities revealed in the pages that follow transform concerns about educational policy that allows frequent disciplinary removal into a profound matter of civil rights and social justice. This implicates the potentially unlawful denial of educational opportunity and resultant disparate impact on students in numerous districts across the country.

Every Student, Every Day: A Community Toolkit to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism

In response and in support of the President's My Brother's Keeper Initiative (MBK), the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Justice (DOJ) are launching Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism to support coordinated community action that addresses the underlying causes of local chronic absenteeism affecting millions of children in our Nation's public schools each year.

Do Out-of-School Suspensions Prevent Future Exclusionary Discipline?

This evaluation brief examines the use of suspensions in 1,840 public middle schools in the United States and assesses the extent to which they are effective at reducing future problem behavior for students who receive them. The question of whether, and to what extent, a suspension serves as a deterrent for future exclusionary discipline incidents was evaluated for those students who received one or more suspensions at the beginning of the school year (August, September, or October).

Advancing School Discipline Reform

Published by the National Association of State Boards of Education in Education Leaders Report, this report focuses on how to address students’ behavioral issues while enabling them to succeed. It describes current discipline practice—which is often reactive, punitive, and exclusionary—and its impact on students, achievement, and school climate. The report then reviews alternatives and shows what states can do to advance discipline reform. Each section includes questions that state boards can address in partnership with key stakeholders and using related resources.

Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the U.S.

In this archived webinar, WestEd’s Anthony Petrosino and Sarah Guckenburg describe their research on restorative justice, a non-punitive approach for dealing with conflict that’s transforming the disciplinary approaches in a growing number of schools. Petrosino and Guckenburg conducted interviews in the field, surveyed practitioners nationwide, and conducted a comprehensive literature review on restorative justice practices in the United States.


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