Discipline

Accelerating Positive School Culture and Discipline Practices through the Charter Sector

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, has worked closely with educators through the #RethinkDiscipline campaign to support initiatives that build positive school climates and develop less punitive approaches to school discipline. Across the nation, educators are creating stronger school communities by adopting creative strategies that reimagine the role of discipline in their schools.

School climate is a multi-faceted concept that describes the extent to which a school community creates and maintains a safe school campus; a supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environment; and respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community. Research shows that creating a positive school climate can help districts, schools, and teachers meet key goals including boosting student achievement and closing achievement gaps, increasing high school graduation rates, decreasing teacher turnover and increasing teacher satisfaction, and turning around low-performing schools. Positive school climates also enhance safety in the school and community by increasing communication among students, families, and faculty, and reducing violence and bullying.

ED and other federal agencies have invested in developing and maintaining a breadth of resources and services for improving school climate and discipline to help ensure safe and supportive learning environments. The professional development (PD) information and tools provided here can be used to develop supportive classrooms and schools that prevent conflict and support the diversity of student needs, including social and emotional skills development and mental health services.

To help educators, network leaders, and other education stakeholders to better access these PD resources from across the federal government, ED has developed this list of Pre-K–12 school climate and discipline resources, including those developed by technical assistance centers funded by federal agencies.

The items below are intended to provide background information on issues relevant to school climate and discipline, help school leaders to develop and increase personnel skills and knowledge, and inform readers about strong practices and lessons learned from exemplary programs. This is particularly relevant for education stakeholders trying to locate materials that would help them in their efforts to launch new initiatives for improving school climate and discipline practices.

The resource list is designed to be reflective of the Guiding Principles developed by a steering committee with input from charter school leaders from across the country.

Guiding Principles

The guiding principles developed and affirmed by the steering committee are meant to create a framework for action. They serve as guideposts that express aligned values in the work to create or build upon positive, productive, and equitable school climates. As educators take up this effort, they will both rely on and build upon the following guiding principles:

  • Maximize the time students are in school and learning.
  • Cultivate systems that acknowledge and remedy the root causes of students’ and educators’ challenges in school.
  • Leverage data to inform equitable disciplinary systems.
  • Engage the entire school community in professional development and accountability systems that encourage alignment on the school’s intended processes and cultural goals.

The list of free resources includes:

Featured Discipline Resources

National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools logo
Using data from the US Department of Education’s biennial Civil…
Reports | 14 Nov, 2019
Bellwether logo
The State of the Charter Sector: What You Need to Know About the Charter Sector Today
Case Study: Student Discipline and School Climate in Charter Schools
SE Webinar Survey: Peer-to-Peer Consultancy - Peer Reviews and Subgrant Competition

All Discipline Resources

Deep Community Engagement at the Native American Community Academy (NACA) Case Study15 Feb, 2018 Students who attend the Native American Community Academy (NACA) demonstrate academic achievement, proficiency, retention, graduation, and college attendance rates that far outpace their… Read more
Measuring up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws ReportsNational Alliance for Public Charter Schools29 Jan, 2018 This report highlights policy wins in the charter school sector and demonstrates that many states around the nation are strengthening laws and regulations based on past success. Many states… Read more
SE Webinar Survey: CMOs, Authorizers, and the CSP Event17 Jul, 2018 to 27 Jul, 2018 Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. The purpose of the survey is to obtain information about how well the event met its objectives and your needs. Your feedback will assist… Read more
SE Webinar Survey: CSP Grantee Dashboard Overview Event28 Nov, 2017 Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. The purpose of the survey is to obtain information about how well the event met its objectives and your needs. Your feedback will assist… Read more
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December 2017 Newsletter Newsletters01 Dec, 2017 STEM Curriculum Paired With Creativity Boosts Outdoor Education Knowledge Key Takeaways: Flagstaff Academy encourages creativity and a strong foundation in science and technology through a… Read more
Partnership Schools: New Governance Models for Creating Quality School Options in Districts ReportsRobin Lake01 Oct, 2017 In at least 10 U.S. cities, a new partnership schools model is emerging. This “third way” governance strategy can break through contentious district-charter divides and could help improve… Read more
Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools ReportsThomas B. Fordham Institute01 Jan, 1970 In Teacher Absenteeism in Charter and Traditional Public Schools, Fordham senior research and policy associate David Griffith takes an unprecedented look at teacher chronic absenteeism… Read more
SEA Webinar Survey: Consultancy Call on Monitoring Event28 Sep, 2017 Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. The purpose of the survey is to obtain information about how well the event met its objectives and your needs. Your feedback will assist… Read more
Charter School Performance in Texas Reports02 Aug, 2017 This report finds that on average, students in Texas public charter schools experience stronger growth annually in reading and math. It provides views of Texas charter school performance… Read more