In order to produce a safe and supportive academic climate, it is imperative to establish a Positive Behavioral support system that all students and staff can effectively follow and utilize. The goal of the PBSS is to guide all students to success in regard to their behavior. In order to reach the desired behavior, the PBSS needs to include clear behavior expectations with enticing rewards that will encourage students to make good decisions. After a thorough examination of the office discipline referral data, numerous trends were identified to be disproportionate among the African American males at the Walters School.
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This claim can be supported by the data trend presented by the percentage of African American males who were refereed for the following disciplinary offenses from 2004-2007; disorderly conduct, insubordination, and staff assault. Walters School referred a total of 63 cases of disorderly conduct. Of those 63 cases, the African American males accounted for 76% of referrals. The following ethnicities accounted for the remaining 24% of referrals, African American females, Hispanic males, Hispanic females, Caucasian males and Caucasian females. In addition, from 2004-2007 Walters School referred a total of 504 cases of insubordination. Of that total, 62% of African American males were documented for being insubordinate. Furthermore, if we look at the data in regard to staff assaults, there were a total of 27 cases and 61% of the referrals were again African American males.
Disproportionate Referral Actions
From these school incidents African American males account for the highest rates of discipline action in the category of; in school suspension, out of school suspension, and corporal punishment. This statement can be verified by the following data percentages. In the first category of in school suspension Walters school reported 181 cases of in school suspension, of the 181 cases African American males accounted for 52% of all suspensions. In addition, there were 291 cases of disciplinary action that resulted in out of school suspension. Of those 291 cases, 73% of African American males were disciplined for out of school suspension. In the final category of corporal punishment, there were a total of 182 cases at Walters School. Of those 182 cases, 61% of African American males were reprimanded.
If we look at the enrollment by demographics, African American males and females account for nearly half of the entire enrollment. After careful consideration of all the data provided about disciplinary referrals compared to disciplinary action, enrollment gender and ethnicity. I believe Walters school is lacking a culturally responsive climate. By definition a culturally responsive climate is “recognizing the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning” (Ladson-Billings,1994). This is a legitimate consideration that should be addressed when creating a PBSS in a school that is comprised of 72% minorities. This ethnic trend will also continue to grow due to the fact we’ve seen in influx in minorities within the United States. According to the U.S. Department of education, we’ve increase in the student population in the United States that are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD; U.S. Department of Education, 2014). As a result of this trend, numerous forms of research have been conducted to bridge the gap to success for students who have multicultural backgrounds.
Considerations for PBSS revisions
According to the article, “Creating the opportunity to learn: moving from research to practice to close the achievement gap” students have meaningful experiences with learning, when students’ personal values and interests are taken into account and when their personal experiences are reflected in the curriculum and positive behavior support system we see heightened results (Boykin & Noguera, 2013). Thus, I’d recommend administering a culturally responsive education assessment that will be listed under appendix at the end of this analysis. The purpose of this survey is to bridge the gap of relevance between home, community, and school experiences; to ensure the learning experience becomes seamless. The staff survey would be administered to determine where their cultural inclusion is lacking. Identifying pedagogy weakness will allow for administrators to provide to proper training for staff to ensure a smooth transition into the adjusted curriculum and PBSS. The student survey will allow for a unique opportunity where students can identify how they feel in the current school climate. Whether its a positive or negative response, it will give them a chance to identify strengths and weaknesses of the current PBSS. After both surveys are conducted, a voluntary PBSS committee should be formed to analyze the data to ensure that students values are incorporated into the adjustments being made to the PBSS. In addition, after reviewing the staff survey, this team will create and implement a way to ensure student buy-in (how are we going to educate these students on school expectations with behavior).
Data Summary of Office Referrals for High Schools in the United States
In order to create an environment conducive for learning, students need to have clear understanding on the behavior that is expected. In a recent study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, 1,600 public high schools in the United States were asked to identify the most common forms of disciplinary referrals. The method for this study was completed by a volunteer survey that was administer to 1,600 public schools in the United States. The following results are comprised of an 85% response rate for the school year 2013-2014. Participants were asked to pick the description that best describes how often office referrals are submitted for; student racial/ethnic tension, student bullying, student harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, widespread disorder in classrooms, student verbal abuse of teachers, student acts of disrespect for teachers other than verbal abuse”. To identify how frequently those disciplinary actions occurred, surveyors had the option to pick from the following choices, at least once a month, on occasion, or never happens” (U.S. Department of Education, 2013)
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The following analysis addresses the top 5 disciplinary issues of high schools around the country. Respondents revealed that on occasion, 74% of their referrals are for student sexual harassment of other students. While racial/ethnic tension, sexual orientation/gender identity harassment, and student verbal abuse of teachers occurs on occasion 64% of the time. Educators disclosed, that student bullying occurs within their school 56% of the time. The data then goes on to illustrate that the most common form of action taken, is suspension. This claim can be supported by the 53% of all total in school suspension compared to the 47% of total out of school suspensions. When we look at the breakdown by gender, 32% of female and 68% of males served in an in school suspension. Whereas, 30% of females and 70% of males were required to serve some form of out of school suspension. These numbers than pose the question, “why are our male students accounting for 70% of suspension rates?” This data allows educators to take common disciplinary problems/actions in consideration as they revamp their current PBBS. In doing so, it allows us to stay current to reduce the number of behavior problems that occur on a daily basis. As we continue to utilize technology, it poses a variety of threats that range from cyberbullying, student privacy, and the transmission of indecent phots.
Disproportionate Academic Success Due to Socioeconomic Status
Educations greatest down fall is that we assume students automatically understand how to behave in an academic climate. According to the American Psychological Association, school systems in low socioeconomic communities, are often under resourced, which negatively affects students’ academic progress and outcomes (Aikens & Barbarin, 2008). As a result of inadequate resources, we see low academic achievement which correlates with an increase in drop out rates. According to the Committee Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, such toxic stress in early childhood leads to lasting impacts on learning, behavior, and health. Data also supports the claim that, children from lower SES households are about twice as likely as those from high-SES households to display learning-related behavior problems (Morgan et al., 2009). These behavior, related problems result in disciplinary actions rather than educating and teaching students how to properly behave in school. This claim can be supported by data that was collected in 2014. The high school dropout rate among persons 16–24 years old was highest in low-income families (11.6 percent) as compared to high-income families (2.8 percent; National Center for Education Statistics, 2014) This further shows the demand for positive and nurturing behavior support systems to guide low income students to success rather than resort to punishment. In turn, we need students to be present in school to increase their academic skills to reduce the number of drop outs per year. As a result, urban districts need to put an emphasis on early intervention Positive Behavior Support Systems to provide those at risk students with the proper psychosocial care.
- Aikens, N. L., & Barbarin, O. (2008). Socioeconomic differences in reading trajectories: The contribution of family, neighborhood, and school contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, 235-251. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.206
- Boykin, A. W., & Noguera, P. (2013). Creating the opportunity to learn: moving from research to practice to close the achievement gap. Don Mills, Ontario: Pearson Education Canada. 111.
- Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Shonkoff, J. P., Siegel, B. S., Dobbins, M. I., …Wood, D. L. (2012). Early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the role of the pediatrician: Translating developmental science into lifelong health. Pediatrics, 129(1), e224-31. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2662
- Discipline Of Students With Disabilities In Elementary And Secondary Schools. (2013-2014). PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:10.1037/e367092004-001
- Flannery, K. B., Fenning, P., Kato, M. M., & Bohanon, H. (2011). A Descriptive Study of Office Disciplinary Referrals in High Schools. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 21(2), 138-149. doi:10.1177/1063426611419512
- Gray, L., and Lewis, L. (2015). Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14 (NCES 2015-051). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved [date] from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.
- Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishing Co.
- Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M. M., & Maczuga, S. (2009). Risk factors for learning-related behavior problems at 24 months of age: Population-based estimates. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 401-413. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9279-8
- U.S. Department of Education. (2014). State non fiscal public elementary/secondary education survey data. Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics website: http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
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