Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 24

attendance, graduation, and college preparedness. Initially, staff and faculty were resistant to the ideas proposed by InnerCity Struggle but gradually came to agree that Garfield needed to change. With the great leadership of Principal Huerta, the school staff worked with parents and community to develop a plan to improve the school and that included the small learning community model and meaningful implementation of positive behavior interventions and supports. Principal Jose Huerta, Assistant Principal Rose Anne Ruiz, former Dean of Students Aurora Mellado, former Social Worker Gelber Orellano, PSW When and how did you implement a positive behavior intervention and support model at Garfield? Former Assistant Principal Ramiro Rubalcaba (Rubalcaba): In 2007, LAUSD passed a policy requiring PBIS as the alternatives to suspension and expulsion framework. At that time, we had been issuing over 600 suspensions per year. During the spring of the 2008 – 2009 school year, Principal Jose Huerta, selected me t o be assistant principal and work with discipline, and I came back to Garfield from other assignments. We were mandated to go to training. We were hesitant at first but once we got there and took the training, we saw that there was really something to PBIS. Additionally, I took a road trip around LAUSD and visited other schools 22 How we can fix school discipline implementing PBIS. We decided that we were going to eliminate suspensions of all kinds for the rest of that school year and explained to staff that we were no longer going to suspend students. Instead, we fully implemented School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS). In 2009-2010, we implemented a computer based referral system. We became a data-centered school. Teachers had been referring students for insignificant things, and we couldn’t track all the data: who sent which student for what? Many times, students would just tear up the referral. We trained the teachers during the summer of 2009 on the online referral system and gave them a clear understanding of what we would be doing with the referrals and that we would be assisting the students or staff who needed the most help. We put a progressive discipline policy in writing. In this policy, we made it clear that safety and discipline were everyone’s responsibility. Before a teacher could send a student to the office, there were a list of interventions that needed to be completed. That year, there were 150 suspensions for the entire 20092010 school year. Additionally, we got students involved in governance. We had them make motivational posters about the school rules and present them at assemblies. Assistant Principal Rose Anne Ruiz (Ruiz): We incorporated the three SWPBIS rules – Be Safe, Responsible and Respectful - into our three Expected Schoolwide Learning Results (ESLRs) that we had always used: Persons of Character, Communicators, and Critical Thinkers. How has the climate of your school changed since implementation? Principal Jose Huerta (Huerta): Ten years ago, this used to be a school where students would get jumped into gangs in the restroom. We had a severe gang problem, which was apparent from all of the tagging (graffiti) on campus. There were also drug problems on campus. It was a chaotic environment, inside and out. We’ve come a very long way and have really shifted the culture. Our main focus