A recent WRVO public radio news report, “Syracuse school district has new discipline guidelines” shares news about the progress that the Syracuse, New York public schools have made toward creating more restorative, less punitive disciplinary measures. In collaboration with Engaging Schools’ Schoolwide Discipline and Student Support program, the district convened a 50-member task force that worked with Engaging Schools staff over the course of seven months to create a new code of conduct. Larry Dieringer, executive director of Engaging Schools, says, “The Syracuse Code of Conduct, Character and Support goes far beyond establishing a set of policies, procedures, rules, and consequences. It lays the foundation for establishing a restorative and supportive culture in Syracuse.”
Syracuse City School District partnered with Engaging Schools to address concerns about inequitable disciplinary practices, for which the district was under investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office.
As Syracuse.com reports, the Syracuse School Board approved the new code of conduct on September 9. The code of conduct provides guidelines to support the district to make several significant shifts, including:
→ A greater emphasis on accountable and restorative interventions that will support students to improve their behavior and experience greater success at school
→ A greater emphasis on promotion of positive social behaviors and prevention of discipline problems
→ Differentiated responses to discipline problems for students in grades pre-Kindergarten–5 and students in grades 6-12
→ More precise descriptions of behavior concerns and violations aligned to levels of specific interventions and consequences
→ More limited use of out-of-school suspension, in-school suspension, and removal of students from the classroom
As Syracuse operationalizes the code of conduct in schools and classrooms, Engaging Schools’ collaboration continues with leadership and staff training.