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Disciplinary Equity: School/District Resources

Topics: Use Engaging Instruction | Implement a Behavior Framework | Collect, Use Disaggregated Data | Develop Policies with Accountability for Disciplinary Equity | Teach Strategies for Neutralizing Implicit Bias in Discipline Decisions

Use Engaging Instruction

Comprehensive Integrated 3-tiered model of prevention (ci3t)
This robust resource provides user friendly tutorials and free tools located under the professional learning tab. In addition to providing information regarding behavior-specific practices, strategies related to academics are also included. These strategies include active supervision, instructional choice, instructional feedback, opportunities to respond, precorrection, repeated readings, self-monitoring, and self-regulated strategies development for writing.

Classroom Practices Observation Tool
This tool allows educators to observe and assess effective classroom management structures and routines. Features of the tool include physical arrangement, active supervision, encouragement of appropriate behaviors, providing a continuum of responses to inappropriate behavior, as well as engagement and opportunities to respond. Educators may choose to use this tool as peers in the observation process or seek the support of an administrator to offer feedback and recommendations.

Engaging Instruction to Enhance Equity in Education
This technical brief is based on the 5-point multicomponent approach to reduce disproportionality from the National PBIS Center. This brief elaborates on point one, regarding academic instruction, by defining key principles of evidence-based instructional practices. The instructional practices reviewed include Using explicit instruction, Building and priming background knowledge, Increasing opportunities to respond, and Providing performance feedback. Educators may choose to use this tool to enhance their current practice, in an effort to reduce behavioral challenges in the classroom setting.

Lessons for Social Emotional Learning
This website offers SEL options through an equity lens. Specific items include: 6 minute SEL lessons, racial equity cards, and digital notebooks.

Addressing the Root Causes of Disparities in School Discipline
This guide provides tools to assess and systematically address disparities in discipline practices. It describes how to carry out a descriptive analysis of disparities in school discipline and how to conduct a root cause analysis to systematically address school based factors that contribute to disparities.

Implement a Behavior Framework

PDE SEL Best Practices Resources
These pages provide a resource guide of best practices in Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, curricula, and supplemental materials. Best practices on choosing SEL programs involve (1) choose a diverse team to provide input to ensure commitment and a broad scope of understanding of the needs, (2) have the team consider key questions including "Is this curriculum worth of more careful review?" and do the program characteristics match individual program needs and assets of the district/school, (3) promote buy-in and implementation fidelity.

PBIS Tiered Framework
A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a data-driven, problem-solving framework to improve outcomes for all students. MTSS relies on a continuum of evidence-based practices matched to student needs. PBIS is an example of MTSS centered on social behavior. MTSS emerged as a framework from the work conducted in public health emphasizing three tiers of prevention. Schools apply this model as a way to align to academic, behavioral, social, and emotional supports to improve education for all students. It's important to remember these tiers refer to levels of support students receive, not to students themselves. Students receive Tier 2 supports, they are not Tier 2 students. Pennsylvania-specific information regarding PBIS may be found through the Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support (PaPBS) Network

CASEL: Equity and SEL
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) provided a curated list of resources on equity as it relates to social and emotional learning. This list was developed with input from several experts in the field. CASEL believes SEL instruction and opportunities are essential to an effective and sound education for all children and youth regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, and/or other cultural differences.

Advancing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a Lever for Equity and Excellence
As school systems across the country wrestle with persistent inequities in students' opportunities and outcomes, advancing high-quality, systemic social and emotional learning (SEL) in ways that support school districts and stakeholders in their larger efforts toward educational equity and excellence must be on the forefront. While SEL alone will not solve longstanding and deep-seated inequities in the education system or the broader society, SEL has the potential to cultivate knowledge, beliefs, practices, and relationships. Educators may consider using this resource to evaluate their current methods of providing SEL in their settings and how equitable those practices are being delivered.

Supporting and Responding to Behavior
This document includes an interactive map of classroom PBIS strategies, a self-assessment, examples of critical practices in elementary and secondary settings, non-examples of critical practices, descriptions of supporting evidence, links to resources, scenarios that illustrate implementation, and other guidelines for implementation.

Collect, Use Disaggregated Data

Using Data (and Data Systems) to Address Discipline Disproportionality (SCTG Webinar)
A recorded, 60-minute, introductory-level webinar reviewing the different types of data necessary for identifying equity issues within your school, highlighting important nuances inherent in many data systems, and providing tools and strategies for taking the next step towards more equitable outcomes.

Equity in School Discipline: Enhancing Commitment through Teacher Training
This brief, 4-minute video, provides an overview of the process for using specific data to enhance commitment to address equity. Dr. Kent McIntosh from the University of Oregon offers relevant information around equitable disciplinary practices.

Using Outcome Data to Implement Multi-tiered Behavior Support (PBIS) in High Schools
This Practice Brief from the National PBIS Center describes four core types of data needed by high school PBIS Leadership Teams. These data can be used to problem-solve at the (a) whole school, (b) at-risk group, or (c) individual student levels. It is encouraged that each school team review the data currently available in their school for effective decision-making and consider possible revisions to their information systems, as appropriate or if needed.

Using Discipline Data within SWPBIS to Identify and Address Disproportionality: A Guide for School Teams
The purpose of this guide is to provide a reference for SWPBIS school teams in the use of discipline data (e.g., office discipline referrals, suspensions) in the area of racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline. The guide will describe a framework and steps for identifying levels of disproportionality, analyzing data to determine solutions, and monitoring the effectiveness of action plans in addressing disproportionality.

Miseducation: ProPublica -- Is There Racial Inequality at Your School?
Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts.

Develop Policies with Accountability for Disciplinary Equity

Pennsylvania School Discipline Laws and Regulations
This compilation presents school discipline-related laws and regulations for U.S. states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, and, where available, links to education agency websites or resources related to school discipline and student conduct. The discipline laws and regulations presented in this compilation have been categorized by type of specific discipline issue covered, according to an organizational framework developed by the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE).

Key Elements of Policies to Address Discipline Disproportionality: A Guide for District and School Teams
The purpose of this guide is to provide resources for districts and schools in developing policies and procedures to reduce racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline. The guide describes examples of key elements for policy and their application in schools. It also provides a process and tool for assessing aspects of policies to enhance equitable discipline.

School Climate and Discipline
"Administrators, educators, students, parents and community members can find on this site tools, data and resources to: (1) Increase their awareness of the prevalence, impact, and legal implications of suspension and expulsion; (2) Find basic information and resources on effective alternatives; and (3) Join a national conversation on how to effectively create positive school climates."

Restorative Practices
Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision making. The use of restorative practices helps to reduce crime, violence and bullying, improve human behavior, strengthen civil society, provide effective leadership, restore relationships, and repair harm.

Council for Exceptional Children, Council for Children with Behavior Disorders - Behavior Disorders: Definitions, Characteristics & Related Information
This article describes and defines different behavior disorders often seen in schools. Characteristics of these disorders are also provided. Educators may choose to use this resource to support their knowledge base around understanding how to approach students who present with these unique qualities.

A 5-Point Intervention Approach for Enhancing Equity in School Discipline
The results of decades of research consistently show that students of color, particularly African American students (and even more so for African American boys and those with disabilities), are at significantly increased risk for receiving exclusionary discipline practices, including office discipline referrals and suspensions. The authors describe a 5-point multicomponent approach to reduce disproportionality in schools.

Defining Disproportionate Discipline
The Pyramid Equity Project supports early childhood educators in reducing disproportionality in discipline. The resource is designed in a way to develop understanding of common measures used to detect disproportionality. These include the metrics of risk indices and risk ratios. Example calculations are provided for the user to consider how to apply in their setting.

Analyzing Student-Level Discipline Data
Every public school and district is required to report disciplinary data at the aggregate level to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (2014) recommends that districts examine those data and review their disciplinary policies to determine the extent to which exclusionary disciplinary actions are being used and whether they are being administered disproportionately to subgroups of students, such as racial/ethnic minority students or students with disabilities. This report, conducted in collaboration with the Urban School Improvement Alliance, provides information on how to conduct such an examination and explores differences in student academic outcomes across the types of disciplinary actions that students receive. It serves as a blueprint to assist districts with designing and carrying out their own analyses and engaging with external researchers who are doing the same.

Policy Brief: SEL & Racial Equity
The Committee for Children offers considerations for linking Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and Racial Equity. In this brief, policy areas are identified to promote racial equity in K–12 education along with analysis of how SEL is implicated: (1) Promote Culturally Responsive Teaching (2) Implement Anti-Racist Education and Black Studies (3) Incorporate Trauma-Informed Approaches to Education (4) Reform School Safety and Discipline Practices & (5) Diversify and Support the Educator Workforce.

Teach Strategies for Neutralizing Implicit Bias in Discipline Decisions

How the Best Bosses Interrupt Bias on Their Teams
This resource provides concrete steps for leaders on how to interrupt bias in the workplace. Educational leaders, who are often charged with effecting change in their systems, will encounter bias related incidents. The process of interrupting bias allows leaders to consider how to empower their employees to function in brave spaces and develop strong teams, who support upholding those spaces for those who are typically marginalized.

Checking Yourself for Bias in the Classroom
Teaching Tolerance ( offered this resource from a practicing teacher to describe the importance of recognizing and addressing personal biases. In the teacher's classroom, she provides an example of student behavior and her internal dialogue to determine if her bias is responsible for her decisions in whether or not to move to disciplinary action. Educators may use this resource to hear real-world examples of manifested bias in classrooms.

5 Keys to Challenging Implicit Bias
This brief article details ways educators can challenge implicit bias in their roles with colleagues and students. The author, Shane Safir, offers to "challenge implicit biases by identifying your own, teaching colleagues about them, observing gap-closing teachers, stopping 'tone policing,' and tuning into such biases at your school." Reflective questions are also posed to the reader to consider as they begin the process of understanding how bias shows up in school settings.