In response to efforts in many California school districts to reduce suspensions and expulsions, EdSource is convening an Educators Network for Effective School Discipline to help school and district officials as well as teachers – those most responsible for implementing discipline policies – share best practices and collaborate on successful strategies.
The initiative was inspired by a widespread feeling that the voice of educators has not been sufficiently heard in debates and discussions regarding school discipline at a state and national level. Too often in policy discussions and decision-making regarding school discipline, the perspectives of educators themselves are not given sufficient prominence.
The network will encourage a range of strategies and approaches, in recognition of the fact that a “one-size-fits-all” approach will not work for California’s nearly 1,000 school districts. Instead, the network will seek to connect superintendents, principals and teachers with a range of tools and models for implementing effective and prevention-oriented approaches that promote positive behavior.
The chairman is Carl Cohn, the former superintendent at Long Beach Unified and San Diego Unified school districts. Cohn is also a member of the State Board of Education, as well as of the EdSource Board of Directors. Cohn has a longstanding interest in this issue, and was a member of the 1999 Task Force on School Safety formed by the attorney general and the state superintendent of public instruction. Assisting Cohn is an 18–person steering committee comprised of superintendents, principals, teachers and representatives of state-level organizations.
“Our goal is to generate ideas and encourage participation from those most responsible for implementing a district’s or school’s discipline policies,” Cohn said. “Rather than trying to suggest top-down approaches, we are most interested in generating solutions from the bottom up.”
The network will offer new ways for school officials to share information on school discipline issues. It will also allow them to communicate their perspectives in the media and elsewhere on strategies that are working in their districts and what resources they need to be most effective. It will help facilitate peer-to-peer workshops for school officials to collaborate directly on school discipline issues of greatest concern to their districts.
In the coming months, EdSource will be reaching out to educators across the state to provide information on how they can join the network. Educators wishing to get more information about the network should go to the EdSource website by clicking here.