Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 17

Highlight: Azusa Unified School District Azuza Unified School District (AUSD) is located in Azusa, about 25 miles north of Los Angeles. Over the past few years, Superintendent Linda Kaminski and the Board have been actively shifting AUSD’s focus away from punishment toward prevention. Using opportunities provided by the Local Control Funding Formula, AUSD engaged parents, piloted a program for high needs students, created an advisory group for foster youth that included foster parents and youth, and began rolling out School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS). Additionally, AUSD committed in its LCAP to phase out “willful defiance” as a ground for suspension and expulsion over the next three years. Additionally, the District focused on increasing attendance this year by doing home visits to understand and address problems. Azusa High School is located in AUSD and serves 1399 student,. 90% of which are Latino students, 5% are white, 2% are Filipino, 1% each are Asian and African American and less than 1% each are Native American and Multiracial. In 2012-2013, the school had 89 suspended students and 189 total suspensions. In 2013-2014, the first year of SWPBIS implementation, Azusa High issued 3 suspensions to 3 students. So far this year, it has issued just one. Additionally, graduation rates are up to 95% from 84% before implementation. In addition, the attendance rate has improved from about 95% to 97%. How did you begin the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports? Board member Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez: On the Board, we had been pushing to lower suspensions but mostly by making it a requirement for principals to change practices. Principals would then tell teachers and send kids back to the classrooms. Then the Board was getting calls from teachers saying that principals were not supporting them. We received many calls from teachers here at Azusa High. We don’t get those calls any more from teachers complaining about not being supported. That is a testament to Principal Rubalcaba and full implementation of SWPBIS. Principal Ramiro Rubalcaba (Mr. R): When I got here, we set up a SWPBIS committee of students, parents, teachers, administrators, a security person and a counselor, and classified staff, to identify positive ways of supporting our students and improving the school climate and culture. Based on our audit of practices that were in place, we eliminated tardy sweeps, which just kept kids out of class, and wrote a progressive discipline policy with the input of community members, teachers, staff, parents and students. The PBIS committee received training from Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and came back to revise its behavioral purpose and school-wide expectations. The training cost about $15,000. Kimberly Dahm, English Teacher: Before we started implementing PBIS on campus, you would walk through campus and there wasn’t this safe, high school vibe. If you said, “Hello,” to students they would sort of look at you weird. People weren’t friendly to each other. I was fairly positive but as we work on implementation I see places that I can grow. We used to wait for terrible things to happen and then dole out consequences. I love PBIS because we are teaching behaviors t