In an effort to increase social wellness for students throughout the district, officials are working on streamlining processes for behavior discipline and finding ways to eliminate bias.
District director of student services Emmett Durtschi gave the school board a progress update Monday night, showing members a small sample of a behavior response grid and ways the district was planning to reduce bias, including a dress code that doesn’t punish students based on gender or body type.
The plan is being designed with racial equity in mind to create proactive practices and responsive practices for behavior, Durtschi said.
“A lot of this is trying to get that place where we’re more consistent with our responses, and we’re looking for a grade system where we can look for those biases that lead to decision making that happens,” he said.
The behavior response grids which determine what kind of disciplinary action is taken and what staff members may be involved are undergoing internal review within the district, and are set for review by board members in January. The draft behavior response grids will then be open for parents and the public to give feedback in February and March.
The grids distinguish between younger students at the elementary schools, and older students in the middle and high schools. The general concept, Durtschi said, is that as students get older and receive more infractions, the consequences for their actions increase.
The behavior response grids currently consist of four steps, with varying degrees of staff intervention and disciplinary consequences as student behavior warrants. The first level would have the situation managed by classroom teachers, and the behavior wouldn’t become a part of a student’s permanent record.
As the levels increase, so does the severity of action: Support staff could be brought in to take over the situation, students may be removed from class or receive an in- or out-of-school suspension and for older students, expulsion may be an option once they hit the higher levels of behavioral issues.