Saturday, October 27, 2007

To suspend or not to suspend? That is the question!

What can we do with students that constantly receive office referrals?

The students that always seem to be in the administrators offices are the same students that perform below grade level on standardized tests. These students need to be in the classroom to get the information they need to be successful on those test, otherwise schools fall to the sanctions imposed by NCLB. However, when these students are in class they disrupt so that other students are not able to learn.

When administrators receive office referrals for students they have several options of what to do with the student. The popular choices seem to be OSS (out of school suspension) or ISS (In school suspension). The benefits of ISS include:
1. The student remains at school and is able to have an adult monitor them and ensure they understand the lessons.
2. The students can conference with a counselor or mentor during the day.
3. The student is out of the classroom not disrupting the other students
4. The student is not running the street.

When the student receives OSS:
1. They are not guaranteed getting the assignment, much less receiving help to understand the material.
2. Students are often left unattended at home and get into more trouble on the street.
3. The student is out of the classroom not disrupting the other students.
4. They fall into a cycle of missing school, falling behind in their academics, and not finding success.

Both options remove the student from the classroom where they are preventing other students from learning. But in both scenarios students are forced to learn without the benefit of their classroom teacher.

After deciding what type of punishment to deliver to the student, the administrator must then decide the number of days to put the student out of the class. Most administrators have the luxury of deciding between one and ten days ISS or OSS. Does it really make a difference in the students’ behavior if you remove them from class for one or two days verses five to ten days? Is it more beneficial to bring the parent in for conferences with the student in an attempt to correct the behavior? Finally, at what point do we permanently remove the student from school and suffer the consequences of NCLB?

1 comment:

Marilyn Harris said...

Hi Rich,

ISS seems to be more beneficial for meeting the mandates of NCLB as well as looking out for the student's well being. You mentioned the availability of counselors and mentors. To what degree are these services utilized. Are there Behavior modification plans being implemented for the students who are being repeatedly referred for disruptive behaviors? What kind of inservice are teachers receiving for dealing with disruptive behaviors? The ball needs to start rolling in earlier grades maybe that would help some.