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DCPS Philosophy and Approach to Student Behavior and Discipline

Intentional school culture

  • Every school and classroom cultivates a welcoming, positive, safe, orderly, and healthy environment that is student-centered, developmentally appropriate, and supports teaching and learning.
  • All people in schools actively build positive community, fostering academic, behavioral, and social/emotional growth.
  • School communities ensure the physical and emotional safety of every individual.
  • School-wide procedures and classroom instruction are structured to support positive student behavior.

Comprehensive student support

  • Students and their families are connected to support services necessary to engage students in school.
  • All school staff will work collaboratively to provide comprehensive support for students’ academic and social/emotional needs.
  • Staff use reinforcement, re-direction, de-escalation, mediation, conflict resolution, and other non disciplinary interventions to correct misbehavior.
  • Staff provide targeted support to students who have difficulty meeting behavior expectations, especially students returning from suspension.

Instructional approach to behavior and discipline

  • School staff communicate and model clear, high expectations for appropriate behavior for every person in the community.
  • School staff provide explicit and intentional instruction, structures, and supports to help students learn how to meet these expectations, including social and emotional skills to empower them to make good choices about their behavior.
  • School staff provide a range of disciplinary responses that hold students accountable when they do not meet expectations.
  • School staff work with students to correct misbehavior and prevent occurrences by re-teaching behavior expectations.
  • School staff enable and encourage students to reflect on their actions, learn from mistakes, and restore relationships that have been negatively impacted.

Consistent, progressive discipline responses that minimize disruption of instructional time

  • School-wide discipline policies and procedures are developed in collaboration with students, teachers, and families; each school has expectations and rules for student behavior that are aligned to district-wide expectations. Teachers’ classroom rules and expectations reflect school-wide expectations.
  • Discipline policies are developmentally-appropriate, equitable, and consistently enforced school wide.
  • In general, disciplinary responses progress from less severe to more severe until the behavior improves.
  • Disciplinary responses respect individuals, balance the interests of the school community, and minimize disruption of academic instruction. Responses must be logical, consistent, and instructive.
  • Intervention and remediation strategies are used along with disciplinary responses.
  • Student discipline data is systematically analyzed to inform policies and practices.