99% of the 2,500+ Garfield High School students are Hispanic. And after implementing PBIS for two years, suspensions decreased from over 500 down to 1. Amazing! The Fix School Discipline blog highlights an interview with the schools’ administrators. Here are a few very interesting quotes.

Principal Jose Huerta:

Suspensions and expulsions don’t deter bad behavior, what we’re doing does because students don’t want to deal with all the adults who will become involved in their lives when they step out of line. A student who misbehaves is going to have to meet with Ms. Mellado, Mr. Orellano, his or her parent, maybe visit a counselor, and maybe talk to me. They don’t want to do that.

 Assistant Principal Ramiro Rubalcaba:

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 those students and staff who needed the most help.

Dean of Students Aurora Mellado:

Unlike in the traditional model where the Dean just suspends when a referral for discipline comes to them, I look at attendance, grades, and everything because a student doesn’t just start acting up out of the blue; there are triggers and signs.  Additionally, any punishment we give, like a detention for using a racial slur, is an educational opportunity.  In that case, we would have a teacher teach and facilitate a discussion about why slurs are harmful and unacceptable at our school during the time that the student is in detention.  So, the detention is a time for reflection and discussion and to talk through the problem.

View the Student Discipline Reform video currently on their home webpage.

I encourage you to check out the blog and other success stories. Here in Arizona, I posted success stories from local schools along with their data from a recent PBIS Achievement Award ceremony. Lots to celebrate and be proud of!