During the 2015 – 2016 school year, students at Daniell generated 700 discipline referrals. This quantity led the administrative team and counselors to disaggregate the data to search for trends. Upon examining the data, we noticed that students who enrolled during the school year were regularly appearing on the list. We computed that students who enrolled after the beginning of the school year were responsible for almost 23% of all discipline referrals. The administration and counselors had conversations about how to close the gap and reduce the overall number of discipline referrals for the 2016-2017 school year. To reduce the overall office referrals, we initiated a school wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) program to help reduce the number of discipline infractions and increase the amount of positive behaviors; but, we, the counselors, also sought to intervene with this particular subgroup (students enrolling after the first of the school year).
Once we identified our closing the gap initiative – reducing the number of discipline referrals generated by new students, we sought the most effective way to intervene. We opted to base our program on the RTI tiered model; this research based intervention is recognized as a best practice in the Cobb County School District and our department. Our tiered intervention structure was based on previous years’ discipline data and trends. We decided to conduct New Student Orientation (NSO) meetings each month to educate all new enrollees on expectations and procedures at Daniell; this was our Tier 1 intervention. For our Tier 2 intervention, we met with new students who earned a discipline referral, clarified expectations, and answered any questions that the students may have. Those students who continued to earn discipline referrals would have a parent conference focusing on working with the parent to help reinforce expectations and consequences, as well as, gain insight on student motivation; this was our Tier 3 intervention.
In order to identify our new students, we ran enrollment reports at the end of each month to find which students enrolled during that month. We then sent invitations to those students to join us for the NSO meeting and notified their homeroom teachers that the identified students would be participating in an NSO on that particular date. However, to identify students who earned discipline referrals we relied on discipline reports and our administrators. Pre- and Post-Test data (see attached supporting documentation) was collected to measure their knowledge about Daniell expectations and procedures, and questions were included about dress code, discipline procedures, SWAG (our positive behavior reward program), key people in the building, and extracurricular opportunities available. We only collected perception data for the NSO meetings and not for the follow up interventions. We collected discipline referrals for the 2016-2017 school year to measure outcome behavioral data.
We had 100 students participate in the NSO program throughout the 2016-2017 school year. We monitored discipline referrals to for out outcome data. Overall, there was a decrease of 75.7% in the number of referrals received by new enrollees and a decrease of 60.5% in the number of new enrollees with referrals. In 2016 – 2017, we had 15 new enrollees earn a discipline referral, which accounted for a total of 45 referrals. In comparison, in 2015-2016, we had 38 new enrollees earn a discipline referral, accounting for a total of 185 referrals. We met with the 15 students who earned a discipline referral individually, as per our intervention plan. Of the 15, only 8 continued to earn additional referrals; thus, resulting in parent conferences. Perception data (pre- & post-test results) further showed an increased understanding of behavior expectations at Daniell.
The results from our intervention will help guide us in the 2017- 2018 school year as we continue to roll out PBIS initiatives. We have discussed using this format, NSO meetings, to introduce behaviors, expectations, and rules that align to our PBIS program. We will also include students who have re-enrolled at Daniell to re-teach expectations and policies. Because of the increased focus on PBIS at Daniell, we will re-write our lessons to reflect the new verbiage. We have also decided to implement Student Ambassadors who will provide students with a brief tour of the building and show them where their classes are, and these Student Ambassadors will be able to further explain policies and expectations as it relates to being a student.