There’s a national conversation about rethinking the concept of
school discipline, and Indianapolis Public Schools is playing a leading role in
this critical discussion! Earlier this summer, IPS representatives were invited to the
White House to join national leaders in a collaboration of innovative ideas to
steer schools away from exclusionary practices. Our work to reduce suspensions
and expulsions, along with implementing an ambitious new code of conduct, caught the
attention of educational leaders, and we’re excited to continue our efforts to
promote positive behaviors and a supportive climate in our schools!

We recently introduced our Student
Code of Conduct
(SCC), which outlines the rights and responsibilities of
our students, staff and parents to maintain a safe and welcoming climate in our
schools. The SCC is focused on establishing preventative expectations that are
equitable for all students, with corrective and restorative responses to
unacceptable behavior rather than exclusionary measures. Last year, IPS saw a
41% decrease in suspensions and an 83% decrease in expulsions. With these clear
guidelines emphasizing restorative justice rather than removing students from
the classroom, we anticipate continued success in this area.

Now that the SCC is complete, the focus moves to
implementation. To ensure each of our students receives the full support of the
SCC, it is imperative that each school rolls out these expectations clearly and
consistently. All of our principals are receiving support from Positive
Discipline Coordinator Dr. Cynthia Jackson to ensure the year starts smoothly
with our revised disciplinary guidelines.

A recent workshop for principals outlined foundational
supports necessary to provide a supportive and successful environment for
students. School-wide understanding of expectations and restorative measures is
key, both for students and staff. Reminders of rights and responsibilities for
the entire school community are recommended, so don’t be surprised to hear
about the SCC at meetings, assemblies and in school newsletters!

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“In our implementation services to schools, our
goal is to give principals the tools to build school climates and cultures that
support success for all students,” said IPS Positive Discipline Coordinator Dr.
Cynthia Jackson. “A well-implemented Code of Conduct is the key to solidifying
our relationship between positive behavior and academic achievement.”

IPS families, students, teachers, administrators and
community stakeholders collaborated in the SCC drafting process, and we’re
committed to sharing the product of their countless hours of work with our
community in a variety of ways. We’re rolling out a companion guide to the SCC,
which highlights key points of the document in a brief format. This document is just one resource
available to our students and families; your school’s teachers, administrators
and Parent Involvement Educators are ready to help answer questions as well. We
look forward to seeing the positive impact of this new initiative on the entire
IPS family!

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