California Educator

April 2017

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District had the fourth-highest per capita suspension rate in the state. Its current LCAP includes a three-year plan to train all its educators in restorative practices, hire 10 restorative practice specialists to address discipline issues, and fund the hiring of family engagement facilitators. e plan has a specific goal to reduce suspensions and expul- sions for Latino students, who have a disproportionate rate of suspension compared with other students. Now in year 2 of the plan, about a third of the district's school staff have gone through training, including work- shops at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and, in collaboration with the Santa Rosa Teachers Association (SRTA), "Unconscious Bias" training presented by CTA. A work in progress It's a work in progress, says Ola King-Claye, SRTA president and a physical education and history teacher at Rincon Valley Middle School. "It used to be if a student threw rocks in the playground, they were suspended for two days," King-Claye says. "With restorative justice, we're making kids responsible for their actions. We try to talk it through — 'Why did you throw the rock and break the window?' Sometimes it works, not 100 percent." "Not everybody is happy, especially those who haven't had training," she adds. "ere's no relief. For example, with the new system, some of our students who would go to county schools [when they were suspended or expelled] are back in our schools. We're hoping that by year 3 all schools and educators will be trained, and we' ll have a better handle on the situation." Stockton Unified School District, according to the Fight Crime report, specified in its LCAP that it would continue to invest in PBIS for students, including $105,000 for a classroom management trainer, $25,000 for training for school sites, $100,000 for curriculum, and $15,000 for prog- ress monitoring. Irvine Unified set a goal in its LCAP to increase the number of schools that achieve an 80 percent score on PBIS site assessments. ACLU Northern California praised several other district LCAPs with a focus on alternative discipline, including Santa Ana Unified, Azusa Unified and Berkeley Unified. As implementation of AB 420 continues to be refined, and as training, staffing and funding are incorporated into LCAPs and educators get the support they need, more students will receive a quality education in a safe, nurturing environment. Restorative Practices Research has shown that punitive zero-tolerance approaches to discipline, such as suspension and expulsion, do not prevent or reduce student misbehavior. In fact, they have negative impacts on learning. By contrast, restorative justice focuses on repairing harm to relationships instead of assigning blame and dispensing punishment, and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a systemic approach to create and maintain a positive school environment so all students can succeed academically and socially. Other restorative practices similarly focus on keeping students in school. NEA partnered with the Advancement Project and others on a toolkit to guide educators titled "Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools." Get it at A scene from a Restorative Resources video, "Restorative Justice in Schools," focusing on restorative practices in Santa Rosa schools. Watch the video at " Keeping students in school and reducing suspension rates is the right approach, but educators must have the support and resources needed to run effective programs." — CTA President ERIC HEINS 37 April 2017

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