Dallas ISD has established an aggressive timeline to complete conversations toward a goal of establishing restorative discipline practices in all of our schools. An outcome of these conversations is to develop a robust and holistic approach to student discipline. A critical piece to this work is to eliminate suspensions for Level I and Level II discretionary offenses beginning in the 2021–2022 school year. Level III and Level IV offenses require mandatory removal to an alternative site.
As it determines how to move forward, district officials want to hear from parents, students and community members. All stakeholders are invited to attend a Zoom webinar happening May 18 (click here to join the meeting when it starts at 6 p.m.) and May 20 (click here to join the meeting when it starts at 5:30 p.m.) to learn more and provide feedback on effective discipline practices.
District officials have been meeting with principals, teachers, parents, students, and community groups to rethink out-of-school suspensions. The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees in 2017 eliminated out-of-school suspensions for students in grades PK – 2. This work will now expand to all grade levels and both in-school and out-of-school suspensions.
Based on the feedback from all stakeholders, the district will fund a Reset Center Coordinator for all 52 comprehensive middle and high schools to have a dedicated employee who would work with students who might, in the past, behave in a way that would lead to an out-of-school suspension. Each comprehensive middle and high school will also receive resources for the Reset Center to intervene and work with these students, while still keeping them engaged in their schoolwork and learning.
The district is also looking to train teachers and staff on best social and emotional learning practices and conflict resolution, while increasing access to counseling and mental health services. In addition, the lessons learned from the utilization of technology during the pandemic will allow students to stay engaged with their teachers and to access behavior management and SEL lessons.
“The idea is that if the student continuously commits Level I and Level II offenses, we can bring in supports to find out why that student is acting this way,” Assistant Superintendent Vince Reyes said. “We want to create a system of support and accountability around the student instead of just removing them from classroom learning and sending them home.”