Redefining Dignity in Our Schools

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Redefining Dignity in our Schools:  A Shadow Report on School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Implementation in South Los Angeles, 2007-2010

This report, published by Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE), Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc., and Public Counsel, evaluates whether the LAUSD has fulfilled its promise to implement a much-needed proactive student discipline policy and program in LA schools called "School-Wide Positive Behavior Support."

In response to significant community outcry about dropout rates and the disproportionate effects of punitive school discipline on students with special needs and students of color, and in recognition of the need to implement a more effective approach, LAUSD adopted a policy in 2007 that requires implementation of SWPBS in all of its schools. SWPBS refers to an evidence-based approach to improving student behavior and learning outcomes by focusing on behavior modeling, corrective responses, and intensive proactive interventions, and by seeking to decrease the use of aversive and exclusionary punishments, such as class removal and suspension. When fully implemented, studies show that SWPBS can result in a 60% reduction in disciplinary problems and suspensions. Secondary benefits include improved academic achievement, reduced dropout rates, higher teacher retention, and a more positive school culture.

Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, each school within LAUSD was expected to implement its own SWPBS program in accordance with LAUSD's Discipline Foundation Policy (hereafter called "SWPBS Policy"). This report is designed to evaluate that effort by focusing on the progress of schools within the Local District 7 region.