Chicago Public Schools announced in a press release today that the number of in-school arrests related to the most serious infractions was reduced by nearly 25 percent during the 2011-2012 school year compared to the previous year. Arrests related to all infractions were reduced by 23.6 percent. The total number of the most serious infractions went down by 15.1 percent while the number of all infractions went down by 13.6 percent.
CPS CEO Barbary Byrd-Bennett said the results can be linked back to new holistic approaches the district took during the school year.
“Our mission relies on creating safe and warm environments for CPS students to support their academic success,” said Byrd-Bennett. “CPS has made significant progress in reducing arrests and all school-based incidents by improving the culture of our schools and building positive relationships among students and staff. We are encouraged about this progress and will continue to support our school leaders and staff in the great work they are doing for our children.”
In addition to the holistic approaches taken during the past school year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel directed Byrd-Bannett to have all CPS principals review their existing school emergency management plans this past weekend. Emanuel said he hopes to reinforce the importance that all procedures are in place to support students and maintain their safety.
The new holistic approach was part of a partnership with it’s Offices of Safety and Security (OSS) and Youth Developments and Positive Behavior Supports (YDPBS). Through the new approach, schools began taking proactive action to prevent negative behavior before it could develop into more serious incidents. CPS schools were provided with tools and training to help develop student’s social and emotional skills to help create more positive school environments.
Some of the strategises that were taken within the holistic approach included:
- Schools were provided with tools and training to develop students’ social and emotional skills along with other positive behavior management systems, in order to drive positive school climates. Over 300 schools have been trained to date on positive behavioral and classroom systems that include strategies such asproactively defining, teaching, and modeling expectations for behavior.
- Schools were encouraged to move toward in-school supports for student misconduct in order to minimize the instruction time students miss for behavioral reasons.
- School wide positive behavior management systems were promoted to all schools to provide teachers with tools to more effectively respond to student behavior, including evidence-based behavioral interventionstrategiesinclude peer juries, peace circles, focused mentoring andcounseling.
- This past summer, all security officers were trained in a new approach that focuses on conflict resolution and other de-escalation techniques.
- Student interventions were conducted with the goal of identifying and addressing the root causes of conflicts.
- Safe Passage Initiatives were maintained in selected schools to support students as they traveled to and from school.
The CPS district also worked with community organiztions to improve the Student Code of Conduct and promote behavioral supports and disciplinary consequences that would hopefully keep students in the classroom. So far, CPS has seen the following results:
- The total number of out of school suspensions have decreased by 7 percent as of November 30, 2012, when compared with November 30, 2011
- The total number of out-of-school suspension days have decreased by 21 percent over the same time period.