In September 2016, Senate Bill 100 (SB 100) went into effect with the goals of transforming school discipline policies and practices, ending an era of zero tolerance in Illinois, and encouraging schools to find alternatives to suspension and expulsion. More than a year into implementation across our state, we ask ourselves: What has happened in Illinois schools since SB100 passed? What changes have schools made to implement the new law? How do we measure progress? What do we need to better support schools and communities in this transformation process?
On Thursday, March 22nd, 2018, more than 150 dedicated leaders came together for a day of learning about SB100 and continued efforts to improve school discipline for Illinois students. “SB100: Where are We Now?” was a reflective conference that examined the impacts of SB100 on the Illinois education community. This conference included opportunities to:
Gain insight into SB 100 implementation through presentations by researchers, policy experts, and advocates;
Discuss the impact of SB 100 in the day-to-day lives of educators and students; and
Engage in a collective discussion with a variety of stakeholders on how to move forward.
Attendees represented a diverse array of stakeholders: young people, policy experts, school administrators, and researchers, among others. All were part of a unique dialogue that examined the successes and challenges of SB100 and the work that lies ahead.
Rupa Ramadurai, Assistant General Counsel at the Illinois State Board of Education, will provide an overview of state legislation, including SB100, that make up Illinois’ current school discipline reform efforts. This will include ISBE’s approach to address issues of school culture and climate through the state plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). She will also provide a brief update of current legislative efforts connected to school discipline that participants should note.
Dr. Pamela Fenning, Kelsie Reed and Melissa Bravo from Loyola University Chicago’s School Psychology Program will provide insights from their combined quantitative and policy analysis of discipline in Illinois post SB100. Their presentation will include (1) reports on Illinois’ statewide racial disproportionality data in out of school suspensions for the 2016-2017 academic year and (2) preliminary findings of a comparative analysis of Illinois discipline codes of conduct from the year prior to the implementation of SB100 (2015-2016) and the year in which SB100 went into effect (2016-2017).
Exclusionary discipline methods (i.e., out of school suspensions, in school suspensions, expulsions) have proven to be ineffective. Locally and nationally analysis of these data points reveals students of color are disproportionately represented in the data when compared to white students. As a result of SB100 implementation, schools were required to use all behavioral interventions before resorting to long term exclusionary practices. In this brief report, Dr. Dan Koonce, Associate Professor of School Psychology at Governors State University, will provide an analysis of the state of Illinois’ aggregate data the year prior and one year after the adoption of SB100. Results of the analysis show exclusionary discipline methods are still relied upon too heavily and punish children of color over and above their white counterparts.
The presentation from Teach Plus Illinois will feature Ashley McCall, Policy Fellow alum and teacher at César Chávez Multicultural Center in Chicago, and Shannon Levitt, a current Policy Fellow at Crystal Lake Central High School. They will present the results of a statewide survey of teachers on the implementation of SB100.The survey found broad compliance with the law districts, but also highlighted challenges due to inadequate training and and the lack of strategies to replace exclusionary discipline practices. The panelists will conclude with recommendations to improve support and implementation of SB100.
The presentation from Educators for Excellence (E4E)-Chicago will feature Jessica Sullivan-Wilson, E4E-Chicago Outreach Director, and Yazmin White Mitchell, educator at O’Keeffe School of Excellence and E4E-Chicago member. Jessica and Yazmin will introduce E4E’s work in Chicago, discuss the recent teacher-authored policy paper, “Sounding the Alarm: Building the Climate & Culture Our Students Need,” and share context for E4E’s current advocacy work at the local- and state-levels. Jessica and Yazmin will focus on the specific components of the research, recommendations, and advocacy that are most connected to improving the implementation of restorative justice practices in schools across Chicago.
In an effort to address changes in discipline-related school law, Niles West embarked on a mission to provide more equitable alternatives to the traditional punitive methods of student discipline. This presentation will highlight one way in which Niles West has integrated restorative practices through our Peer Reconciliation Committee.
“My teacher is racist!” Racial disparities in discipline are prevalent. Often, conflicts occur because teachers and students lack the opportunity to build trust and understanding in their relationship. The presenter will describe how a voluntary, 50-minute restorative teacher-student mediation promotes social skills and nurtures mutual respect. High school data show restorative mediation as highly effective in reducing disciplinary actions across demographics and improving school climate.
Working with students to change and improve student behavior does not happen overnight. It is a community effort that involves faculty, staff, and collaboration with local organizations. While 98% of students in our district do not experience an out-of-school suspension, what are we doing for the 2% that find themselves with a suspension? We will explore how a philosophy of “Keeping Kids in Class” is accomplished on a daily basis.
Irving Middle School has worked intensely to turn around the culture of suspensions. We have reduced our suspensions from staggering out of school rates by 75% in 3 years. This process started by revising our student code of conduct and involving our community. We will share our process, mindset, and the impact on staff, students, and families. We will tell you about options we use instead of suspension, our bumps in the road, and our next steps.
- The Turn From Zero Tolerance: Implementation of SB100 at the District, Network, and School Levels (CPS Office of Social and Emotional Learning and Curie Metropolitan High School)
This presentation will zoom in from district-wide policy and supports to school- level implementation in the nation's third largest school district, to show the shared vision and necessary practices that will lead to successful implementation. Far from a prescriptive method, the presentation helps to understand how a state law is interpreted as district policy and passed through the various levels of district leadership on down to school-level implementation, while maintaining the original intent of the law. District programs, such as Restorative Practices, as well as a school-level Social Emotional Learning certification process, will be discussed.