Home News Center Children's Policy and Law Intiative Launches Positive School Discipline Institute

Children's Policy and Law Intiative Launches Positive School Discipline Institute

January 30, 2018

The Children’s Policy and Law Initiative of Indiana (CPLI) is a longstanding state advocacy member of NJJN. They have successfully pushed for policy reforms to the school to prison pipeline on the state and local level. For instance, in 2015 CPLI helped pass key legislation to collect disaggregated discipline data, which also included a provision to provide grants to schools for professional development training on alternative discipline.

As an outgrowth of their legislative policy work, CPLI created the Positive School Discipline Institute (PSDI) in late 2017 to meet the need for model trainings on alternative discipline. The end result is PSDI, a year-long training initiative that uses state and local resources to help school personnel reform disciplinary practices and promote student academic success in Indiana.

CPLI President JauNae Hanger says, “it became clear that not only was school discipline reform needed on a policy level, but that there was a lack of training resources for teachers and administrators to implement reformative and culturally responsive disciplinary practices in their schools.”

PSDI training focuses on implicit bias, culturally responsive practices, adolescent development, restorative justice, mental health, and de-escalation tactics. The program also uses a national best-practices model, The Trauma Informed School, as a guide. The model is based on the experiences of Jim Sporleder, formerly the principal of an alternative high school in Washington State. During the 2010-2011 school year, Sporleder dramatically increased graduation rates and reduced suspensions at his school by implementing a trauma-informed approach to school discipline, as depicted in the documentary Paper Tigers.

Workshops are tailored by role, with separate training for administrators, teachers, and school security personnel. The innovative approach creates a cross-disciplinary team that has the tools to jump-start a major paradigm shift in disciplinary practices. Teams take what they’ve learned back to their schools, and with the help of coaches, involve the whole school community in the creation of a comprehensive disciplinary plan tailored to the needs of their school.

Currently 17 Indianapolis-area schools are enrolled in the PSDI program, which has the potential to affect almost 300 educators and 75,000 students.

Learn more about the institute here.

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