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

Students need a safe and supportive school environment to maximize…
Case Study | 24 Jun, 2016
Charter School Discipline Toolkit: A Toolkit for Charter School Leaders
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Webinar: The Role of States and Charter School Authorizers in Overseeing Student Discipline in Charter Schools

All Discipline Resources

CSO Master Class: Managing to Change the World Event07 Dec, 2016 Purpose: Student discipline is a hot topic facing all public schools, including charter public schools. This master class provided information to charter support organizations (CSOs) about… Read more
Charter School Boards in the Nation’s Capital ReportsJuliet Squire and Allison Crean Davis30 Sep, 2016 Tens of thousands of individuals across the United States volunteer their time, energy, and expertise as members of charter school boards. Yet as the charter sector has grown, we’ve learned… Read more
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Webinar: The Role of States and Charter School Authorizers in Overseeing Student Discipline in Charter Schools Webinar09 Sep, 2016 Facilitator: Alex Medler, Senior Director, National Charter School Resource Center; former Chair of the Colorado Charter School Institute Board of Directors Presenters: Karega Rausch, Ph.… Read more
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Webinar: For SEA Staff - Overview of CSP's Recently Released Dear Colleague Letter and of The National Charter School Resource Center Webinar08 Sep, 2016 Presenters: Amy Huber, Program Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program Alex Medler, Senior Director, National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) Description:… Read more
Authorizers Are Not Monolithic on School Discipline: How Charter School Authorizers Differ in School Discipline Engagement ReportsNational Association of Charter Schools Authorizers15 Aug, 2016 In theory, authorizers play an important role in decisions regarding charter schools and student discipline, as they are the bodies responsible for protecting the public interest, while… Read more
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Webinar: Using Data to Create Positive School Climates and Discipline Practices in Charter Schools - National Research and Examples from the Field Webinar21 Jul, 2016 to 21 Jul, 2016 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… Read more
Webinar: Using Data to Create Positive School Climates and Discipline Practices in Charter Schools - National Research and Examples from the Field Event21 Jul, 2016 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… Read more
White Paper: An Honest Approach to Discipline ReportsDC Public Charter School Board07 Jul, 2016 This white paper examines our approach to supporting decreased out-of-school suspension rates and highlights strategies put in place by three DC public charter school networks - Center City… Read more
Charter School Discipline Toolkit: A Toolkit for Charter School Leaders ToolkitsSuzie Kim, Safal Partners28 Jun, 2016 The NCSRC presents a toolkit on ways that school leaders can rethink student discipline and school climate. The five enabling factors in the planning and implementation of discipline reform… Read more
Charter School Discipline: Examples of Policies and School Climate Efforts from the Field ReportsNora Kern, Suzie Kim, Safal Partners28 Jun, 2016 The report profiles four charter schools with innovative approaches to discipline: Health Sciences High and Middle College, KIPP Bay Area Schools, New Orleans College Prep Network, and Rowe… Read more