After spending a several days serving on jury duty, I began to wonder about a few school policies and how they are practiced and / or implemented within different districts and schools.
I wonder how different schools track or input discipline. Do all schools follow the same or similar practices? What procedures are in place? We follow board policy that states, “The principal of each school shall ensure that a copy of all rules pertaining to discipline, suspension, and expulsion of pupils are distributed to the parents of each pupil at the time the pupil is enrolled in school. The principal of each school shall ensure that all rules pertaining to the discipline, suspension, and expulsion of pupils are communicated to students at the beginning of each school year, and to transfer students at the time of their enrollment in the school. Information concerning a student’s disciplinary record will be held in the strictest confidence. Disciplinary actions taken will be recorded in an administrative log, and all types of suspensions or expulsions will be recorded in a separate file for each student.”
But what does that mean for a district or each school? What does discipline look like within each classroom? Is it uniform and fair for all students? Does it vary teacher to teacher?
I wonder how schools track and make decisions about retention. We follow board policy that states, “Retention of students is a process that is followed when the professional staff, in consultation with the parent, determines it to be in the best interests of the student. Though primary grades are suggested as the most appropriate time, retention may be considered at any grade level. When circumstances indicate that retention is in the best interest of the student, the student will have individual consideration, and decisions will be made only after a careful study of facts relating to all phases of the student’s growth and development. The student’s academic achievement level and mental ability are important, but physical and social characteristics are also important factors. A decision should be based on sufficient data, collected over a period of time and motivated by a desire to place students in school programs where they will be the most successful.”
So what does that mean for a district or at the school level? What criteria are used to determine whether a student will be promoted or not? Are we all using the same standard measures or indicators? Again does it depend on the teacher or class? Once a student and their parents are given a letter of retention, what happens? By that I mean does their mindset shift? Do they go into fight mode or passively except that they have failed? In what ways does this process impact a teacher and how he / she supports a student? What are the intended and unintended consequences of retention?