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Friday, May 13, 2011

FCPS Superintendent to Propose Ways to Implement Recommended Changes to Discipline Process

After listening to input from the Fairfax County School Board, principals, and members of the community, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Jack Dale will present specific measures to implement his ten recommendations for changes to the student discipline process at a School Board work session on Monday, May 16.  The specific measures, which emphasize both support for students and families and intervention, fall into four areas: communication, instructional support, hearings office, and data collection and monitoring.
  
“We have listened carefully to input from our parents, principals, and staff members and, as a result, have developed a comprehensive plan for implementing immediate changes as well as building a foundation for ongoing review and refinement of our work with students,” said Dale.

A major focus of improving communication is ensuring better understanding—by parents, students, and school staff members—of the expectations for student behavior, and consequences for misbehavior, as outlined in the Student Responsibilities and Rights handbook.  One of the proposed measures includes providing age-appropriate guides and videos for students.  In addition, workshops will be presented for School Board members, principals, and other staff members to ensure consistency of discipline procedures and understanding of available student supports.

Instructional support changes include assigning a case manager to any student who is out of school on suspension longer than 10 days to ensure that each student stays current with his or her academic assignments.  Assistance will be provided to students, both online and through contact with teachers.  Another change will address first-time substance abuse violations.  Students will attend an alcohol and drug program while on suspension and receive academic support and time to work on assignments.  In addition, suspended students will be screened to determine if there are emotional issues that need to be addressed, with support provided by the school social worker, school psychologist, or counselor, if necessary.

 The FCPS Hearings Office will make audio recordings of hearings which parents may listen to, parent notifications will be expedited following a student’s hearing, and parents will be asked to complete an exit survey. 

FCPS will continue to collect and analyze information on student behavior, the disciplinary consequences, and their impact on student success, including the academic performance and behavior of students who return to their home schools or attend other regular schools or alternative schools in an effort to maximize successful outcomes for students.

The estimated additional costs for these changes is $457,000.  For more details on this plan and other FCPS student discipline information, visit http://www.fcps.edu/news/discipline.htm.  

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Note:  For more information, contact the FCPS Department of Communications and Community Outreach at 571-423-1200.