Dear MPS Community,
In September 2020, the Board of School Directors passed a resolution directing the Administration to report progress and updates on discipline disproportionality on a monthly basis at the Parent And Community Engagment (PACE) committee meeting.
This work is aligned with the Five Priorities for Success with the vision of creating a positive school climate for all students. Schools utilize proactive strategies to support students and engage with alternatives to suspension when appropriate. Throughout the district, this data is utilized to strategize the best use of the resources at hand, servicing all schools with Tier 1 supports and focusing on those demonstrating a need for additional supports.
For the 2022-2023 school year, the Discipline Action Plan asligns coaching support, best practice, messaging, professional development and student voice to best support students and school staff members based on need. Specifically, across the district we will have the following understanding:
- Creating a positive school climate and reducing disciplinary actions starts day one with focused action steps at the beginning of teh school year and consistently maintained throughout the year.
- Alignment of work within the Attendance Improvement Plan to positively change school culture and climate for all students.
- Professional development and coaching for school leaders, school teams, and individual staff members is required.
- Monthly highlight of best practice within the Culture, Climate, and Alternatives to Suspension Toolkit with professional development and coaching.
- Alignment and collaboration of district climate resources and messaging to support the most vulnerable schools, based on regular data review.
- Monthly data mining to continually identify schools and students of focus to ensure supports are aligned and focused on need
The following four focus areas will ensure district culture, climate and discipline are prioritized throughout the district.
Providing Proactive Supports and Interventions
Strengthening Student, Staff and Community Collaboration
- Student Discipline Committees, focus groups, and other methods to collect student voice
- Quarterly Community Conversations
- Develop feedback response system
- Recruit community organizations to volunteer in schools
Reconceptualizing the Role of School Leaders within Discipline
- Further implementation of alternatives to suspension and behavior interventions
- Utilizing restorative discipline
- Engagement with professional development and coaching and disciplinary process
- Engagement of Regional Leadership and school leaders with monthly data evaluation
Developing Staff Integration of Courageous Conversations about Race
- Facilitating Courageous Conversations about Race Explorations, LEADS, and DELT
- Providing district and school level book cohorts
- Addressing bias within vulnerable decision points
A 30-60-90 day plan has developed through October 31, 2022. At that time through the Plan, Do, Study, Act model an updated 30-60-90 day plan will be created to support school and district climate and culture.
All traditional middle and high schools have a Student Discipline Committee that meets twice per month to discuss student recommendations regarding school climate and culture. Annually there are also two Student Leadership Summits in which these discussions are highlighted across the district.
From the 2021-2022 school year, the major themes of these conversations included:
- School spirit and extra-curricular activities
- Continued community building
- Academic engagement
- Access to mental health supports
- Student leadership opportunities
Courageous Conversations about Race
In our vision of addressing discipline disproportionality, Milwaukee Public Schools is partnering with Coureageous Conversations about Race to build racial equity throughout the district. Courageous Conversation is utilzing the Four Agreements, Six Conditions and Compass in order to engage, sustain, and deepen intra-racial and inter-racial dialogue about race, and is an essential foundation for examining and addressing institutionalized culture and structures that promote racial disparities.
Through this collaboration, all MPS staff members are attending their one-day seminar Courageous Conversations about Race Exploration in which participants learn about the tools within the framework including the Four Agreements, Six Conditions and Compass. Participants engage in whole group and small group discussions on a variety of topics utilizing these tools. A district team has partnered with mentors at Courageous Conversations about Race and have become certified practitioners and facilitators, licensed to conduct these seminars within the district. Additionally the district has created a District Equity Leadership Team with membership from a variety of district departments meeting monthly to continue to build racial equity and embed these tools and conversations throughout the district.