Articles in the CUBE category

NSBA develops guide for school boards on boasting student success through community partnerships

Cover of "Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success"

Cover of “Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success”

A new guide released today details how school board members can build partnerships to secure a high-quality education, from early learning to graduation, for students in their districts. “Partnerships, Not Pushouts: A Guide for School Board Members on Community Partnerships for Student Success,” demonstrates how school boards can work with other community partners to provide seamless services and engage community members to improve their schools.

Every student who leaves high school without a diploma costs the U.S. hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income over the student’s lifetime. Despite the recent gains in U.S. graduation rates, far too many young people, mainly students of color from educationally and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, are leaving school without a high school diploma or are severely underprepared for college-level work.

“As advocates for equity and excellence in public education, school boards play a key role to build a student-centered environment that addresses the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students in their school district,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association (NSBA). “School board members are local leaders who understand the needs of their students, teachers, and school staff, and this guide shows how to tap into community resources to further enhance and strengthen their community’s schools.”

NSBA led the effort to develop this guide with a group of school board members from NSBA’s National Black Caucus of School Board Members, National Caucus of American Indian/Alaska Native School Board Members, National Hispanic Caucus of School Board Members, and the Council of Urban Boards of Education.

The guide serves as a blueprint for school board members to build a better-coordinated system of supports for children and their families. By partnering with key stakeholders and local service providers, school boards can ensure that all children benefit from a “Personal Opportunity Plan” that guarantees access to out-of-school resources each child needs to succeed in school and in life.

One such example is the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative in Oregon, as featured in the guide. This school community partnership helps create a seamless learning environment. A cohesive collaboration between the school districts, the city, and county, it includes more than 70 schools within the Portland-Multnomah County Area. SUN partnered with various partners such as libraries, parks, local health clinics, churches, and businesses to provide in-school and wraparound support to students and their families. The collaboration is guided by an inter-governmental among between all three entities that outlines that processes in which they will work together in creating a shared vision and common goals to support the schools within the initiative.

NSBA partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education; American Federation of Teachers; Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning; Coalition for Community Schools; National Education Association; Opportunity Action; National Opportunity to Learn Campaign; and Rural School and Community Trust to release the guide.

Alexis Rice|April 22nd, 2014|Categories: CUBE, Curriculum, Dropout Prevention, Reports, School Boards, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Teachers, Urban Schools|

CUBE elects new leadership at NSBA Annual Conference

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has elected new leaders and members to its Steering Committee.

Van Henri White of New York’s Rochester City School District was elected Chair and Harium Martin-Morris of Washington’s Seattle Public Schools was elected Vice Chair. Minnie Forte-Brown of Durham Public Schools in North Carolina, who served as 2013-14 Chair, is now Immediate Past Chair.

“I am humbled to have this opportunity to advocate and organize on behalf of the urban families, students, and staff of this nation,” said White. “While we have made some significant strides forward, we still have a ways to go to ensure that every child has access to a quality public education. The Council of Urban Boards of Education is committed to that end and we will not rest until that goal is realized for every child.”

White is the President of the Board of Education in Rochester City School District and has served on the school board since 2007. He is also an author, civil rights attorney, and founder of the Center for the Study of Civil and Human Rights Laws.  White is an outspoken advocate for improving school safety, boosting graduation rates, decreasing truancy, and addressing the sources of lead poisoning and the impact it can have on children’s brain development. He is the author of Frustration in America, which examines the impact of racism and responsibility of African-American men and boys and Marching Forward by Looking Back: Fifty Years Since the March on Washington.

Martin-Morris, a former classroom teacher, was elected to the Seattle School Board in 2007 and is a member of the school board’s Audit and Finance Committee. He also is the Chair of the Washington State School Directors Association’s Urban Suburban Task Force. Martin-Morris has served on the CUBE Steering Committee of since 2009.

“While the road ahead is long and hard with many turns, I am excited to take on the role as Vice Chair,” said Martin-Morris.  “We truly are in a battle in this country to provide excellence and equity for all students.”

The following school board members also were elected this year to serve on CUBE’s 16-member Steering Committee:

  • Bruce Alexander (incumbent) of Ohio’s Akron Public Schools;
  • Willetta Milam (incumbent) of Ohio’s Cleveland Municipal School District;
  • Nandi Seko of the U.S. Virgin Island’s Board of Education;
  • JulieMarie Shepherd of Colorado’s Aurora Public Schools;
  • Patsy Taylor of Texas’s Fort Bend Independent School District.

“The leaders of the Council of Urban Boards of Education have strong experience in advancing urban education, and we are proud of their deep commitment to aiding the work of urban school boards so that all students can succeed,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of NSBA.

CUBE supports urban school boards and fosters effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards associations, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

“Every American citizen should have the opportunity to be a part of the American dream,” said Ruth Veales, the head of this year’s CUBE Nominating Committee and a school board member from Oklahoma City Public Schools. “To achieve this dream, it is imperative that we empower every school with the proper tools to give their students the quality education that they so deserve. The Council of Urban Boards of Education’s new Steering Committee consists of dedicated urban school board leaders throughout our great nation who will aid in our work of ensuring that all students get a quality education, so that they too can be included in the American dream.”

For more information on CUBE, please visit www.nsba.org/cube.

Joetta Sack-Min|April 10th, 2014|Categories: Board governance, CUBE, Leadership, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , , |

National survey of high schools shows wide discipline disparities

 

A comprehensive survey of more than 72,000 K-12 schools serving 85 percent of the country has found that nearly one out of every five black male students received at least one out-of-school suspension during the 2009-10 school year — a rate three and a half times that of their peers.

The report, released this week by the Discipline Disparities Collaborative, headquartered at Indiana University, added more data to support the $200 million, five-year “My Brother’s Keeper” project, which was announced by President Obama last month to address the multiple problems facing young black men. At the same time, it highlighted what a number of forward-thinking schools and school districts across the country are doing to reduce the number of students they suspend and expel.

“When you suspend a student, what you’re basically saying is, ‘You’re not entitled to receive instruction,’” said Ramiro Rubalcaba, principal of Azuza High School northeast of Los Angeles, who spoke Thursday at news conference on the report.

Years ago, when he was a high school administrator in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Rubalcaba was a self-described “skeptic” of disciplinary alternatives who once suspended 600 students in one year. But over several years at LAUSD’s Garfield High School and now at Azuza, Rubalcaba has helped change disciplinary policies, resulting in a sharp drop in the number of out-of-school suspensions. Last school year at Azusa High School, for example, there were more than 70-out-of-school suspensions: So far this school year there have been three.

“Schools have the power to change these rates of suspension and expulsion,” said Russell Skiba, director of Indiana University’s Equity Project, of which the collaborative is a part. He and other experts emphasized that the higher suspension rate of black students – as well as Hispanics, disabled students, Native American students, and LGBT students – is not because of higher rates of infractions by these groups. “The research simply does not support this belief,” he said.

NSBA is taking a leading role in the effort to reform school disciplinary procedures and reduce out-of-school suspensions. Last March NSBA  and its Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) — along with its Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native caucuses — issued Addressing the Out of School Suspension Crisis: A Policy Guide for School Board Members.

“School boards must take the lead in ensuring that out-of-school suspension is used as a last resort in addressing violations of school codes of conduct,” NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel, said in the report. He also noted that school boards were already in the forefront of addressing these issues.

The collaborative’s report made several points about school discipline reform. The first is that improving schooling overall does not necessarily lead to a reduction in disciplinary disparities. Indeed, as Dan Losen, director UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies said at the news conference releasing the report, “You can’t close the achievement gap unless you close the discipline gap.”

NSBA’s National Black Caucus of School Board Members hosted a webinar in November 2013 titled Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline. On April 7, at NSBA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans, the caucus will also be hosting a breakout session titled We Can Do Better: Reforming School Discipline and Accountability. The session will highlight the work of Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Schools and the Broward County Public Schools in Florida.

Lawrence Hardy|March 14th, 2014|Categories: CUBE, Discipline, Dropout Prevention, Educational Research, High Schools, School Reform, School Security, Uncategorized, Urban Schools|Tags: , |

‘Freedom Writers’ author gives board members a glimpse into her classroom

Erin Gruwell said she’s an ordinary person.

That may be so, but this “ordinary person” brought the crowd to tears as the final speaker of NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.

Gruwell gave urban board members attending the meeting a glimpse into her classroom and the work she was able to accomplish with 150 California poor and disadvantaged high school students who had been written off by basically everyone.

Gruwell told the story of her classroom and those students in her book, The Freedom Writers Diary, which was made into a movie released in 2007 called “Freedom Writers.”

When the students proved to be difficult for the new teacher to reach, she began to reconsider how college prepared her for her profession. “I was taught to teach to a test. Every kid walked in to my class and said, ‘don’t teach to a test, teach to me.’ Every kid has a different story.”

She was further discouraged by her principal, who told her that she was teaching the lowest performing students in the district. When he told her he hoped they dropped out before they took the year’s standardized tests, she thought, “Where are these kids going to go? They are not invisible and they can’t just disappear.”

Gruwell looked over her English syllabus and chose a few books that she thought would resonate with these students, including the Odyssey and Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl.

Her students began writing their own stories, triggering the events chronicled in the book and the movie. “Each kid said they were tired of being poor, tired of being called dumb,” Gruwell said. “Each kid knew what it felt like to be hungry. To try to turn on lights and the electricity has been shut off. To dread Christmas or a birthday. Each kid regardless of where they lived knew what it felt like was to be poor.”

Gruwell showed a scene from the movie where a young man reads from his diary about being homeless and finding a home in Gruwell’s class – a scene that brought many in the audience to tears.

“Home is what a lot of your kids don’t have,” said Gruwell. “I hope that when you go back to your communities, those classrooms and schools will become their homes. We have to be families. We might not be the biological parents, but we must fight for them. We have to give them hope, to take risks, fall, and get back up again.”

 

Kathleen Vail|October 5th, 2013|Categories: CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, Homeless People, Urban Schools|Tags: , |

School leaders: Tell your story and ‘saddle up’

We have a story to tell, Reginald Felton, assistant executive director for Congressional Relations for NSBA, told urban school board members gathered this week to attend NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting ends Saturday.

Felton, a keynote speaker on Friday, urged board members to tell their story of public school success. “We are in crisis,” he said. “We are under more attack than in the past. Every bad example that can be publicized is publicized. Communities would rather believe our urban schools provide no opportunities for advancement, but we know that’s not true. We have a story to tell. We can’t back off telling that story if we want to get out of crisis.”

He discussed the importance of school board members getting involved in the political process – including advocating for public education to their state and federal representatives. This is crucial now when federal government “believes that it can tell us at every level what needs to be done to succeed. We say, you can establish the ultimate goal, but you’ve got to let us work for our kids,” he said. “We need to have the flexibility but we need to tell our story. Some in Washington believe we don’t have a story to tell. Except for the one on the 6 o’clock news.”

Felton told the audience: Having a strong relationship with members of Congress promotes value of public education and enhances member accountability.

CUBE Steering Committee Chair Minnie Forte-Brown also spoke at the conference on Friday. She talked about the temptation as a board member to “get tired” – feel exhaustion in the face of what seems like insurmountable obstacles, especially the societal difficulties that many students face.

It’s this temptation to give up on the system, she said, that drives parents and communities to try charter schools or support vouchers.

However, she said, board members must fight this temptation. “On this day, these decisions that damage our schools will not tempt me to be tired. We will be fired up and take this back, energized and ready to fight,” she said.

Forte-Brown, a member of North Carolina’s Durham School Board, closed by encouraging her fellow board members. “Nobody said it was going to easy. School board leadership is not for sissies,” she said. “You have been chosen. I want you to saddle up and let’s go.”

 

Kathleen Vail|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Conferences and Events, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, Federal Advocacy, Public Advocacy, School Boards, Urban Schools|

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools receives NSBA’s 2013 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence

Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, with Charlotte-Mecklenburg school leaders

Minnie Forte-Brown, Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education, with leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is the 2013 recipient of the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has increased student test scores, hit a new high in the graduation rate, and the school board has raised its standing with the public by engaging the community in strategic decisions that will influence the school system’s future.

“School leaders for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are truly meeting the challenge to increase student success and achievement in a diverse and large school district,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The National School Boards Association is pleased to honor the Board of Education for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with the Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence for all their accomplishments.”

The announcement was made during the Saturday luncheon at the CUBE Annual Conference being held this weekend in San Antonio. The CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Sodexo, which has graciously underwritten the awards ceremony.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is a 141,000-student school system, the nation’s 18th largest. Since 2008, student test scores have risen on most measures, with scores for third through eighth graders on state end-of-grade exams rising by 15 percentage points or more in English and math. In science, proficiency rates are up by 34 points.
Some of the biggest gains have been among minority and economically disadvantaged students—a welcome reward for the innovative and aggressive efforts that the school board and superintendent have put into closing the racial and economic achievement gap. Another sign of their progress is the 81 percent high school graduation rate, which has risen 15 points over the past five years.

“We are very honored to receive this award on behalf of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,” said Mary T. McCray, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Board chairperson. “All of us on the Board are dedicated to improving the education and the lives of our students. This award recognizes the hard work we’ve done as a Board, and as a district, to achieve that mission and we are grateful to the Council of Urban Boards of Education for this recognition.”
This is the 10th annual CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence and the first time a North Carolina school district has received the award.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was selected by an independent judging panel based on materials submitted by the school district, independent follow-up research, and information provided by the district’s state school boards association.

The judges selected the winner based on the following four criteria: Excellence in school board governance; building civic capacity; closing the achievement gap—equity in education; and demonstrated success of academic excellence.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has done an exceptional job at developing a strategic plan with community involvement and has focused on implementing that plan to continuously improve student achievement,” said Dr. Ed Dunlap, Jr. Executive Director of the North Carolina School Boards Association. “By receiving the Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will serve as a successful governance model for excellence in our state and for urban school districts across the country.”

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is NSBA’s program supporting urban school boards and fostering effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards association, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

For more information on CUBE, the award, and past winners, please visit www.nsba.org/cube.

Alexis Rice|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, Leadership, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

Former Baltimore City school board leader honored with 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

2013 Mays Award

Jerrelle Francois receives the 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has honored Jerrelle Francois, a former board of education member from Maryland’s Baltimore City Public Schools, with the 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award.

Francois, who has more than a half century of service in education, received the award October 5 at the 2013 CUBE Annual Conference in San Antonio. The 2013 Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is supported by NSBA’s corporate partner, Sodexo, which has graciously underwritten the awards ceremony.

“The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award honors school board leaders who work tirelessly to improve urban education,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Jerrelle Francois’s leadership has made a difference in the education of thousands of students who have attended Baltimore City Public Schools. We appreciate her dedication to the students, the school board, and the community.”

Baltimore City Public Schools has 85,000 students, 10,000 employees, and 195 schools.

Francois was appointed to the Baltimore school board in 2004 and served until 2013. One of Francois’s proudest accomplishments was her work with the school board on developing a new 10-year strategic plan which launched an aggressive reform effort to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college, career training, and life success in the 21st century. The Baltimore City school district received the 2010 CUBE Annual Award for Urban Education Excellence.

During her board tenure, Francois was a champion for promoting improved communications with parents and the community. Francois was instrumental in establishing the school system’s Office of Partnerships, Communications, and Community Engagement.

“I am honored to receive the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award and proud of my nine years of school board service to Baltimore City Public Schools,” said Jerrelle Francois. “I know how important school board members are in shaping the direction of a successful school system that is advancing student achievement for all students.”

Over the years, Francois has experienced the challenges of public education from all angles—as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, university instructor, and most recently as an education consultant at Learn It Systems.

“Jerrelle Francois’s school board service demonstrates outstanding leadership and a strong vision for improving education for students in Baltimore,” said Frances Hughes Glendening, Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. “Baltimore City Public Schools is a true urban district success story, proving that solid leadership at the board level results in advancing student achievement.”

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award is given to individuals who demonstrate a long-standing commitment to the educational needs of urban schoolchildren through school board service. Benjamin Elijah Mays, whom the award honors, was a teacher, minister, author, and civil rights activist who served as president of Morehouse College and the Atlanta school board from 1970 to 1981.

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is NSBA’s program supporting urban school boards and fostering effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards association, while addressing challenges in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion.

For more information about CUBE and the Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, please visit www.nsba.org/cube.

Alexis Rice|October 5th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013, School Boards, State School Boards Associations, Urban Schools|Tags: , , , |

Robert Slavin tells urban board members the secret to ‘Success’

At what point in your life have you done things well because you’ve been threatened, Robert Slavin asked. The researcher and longtime school reform proponent posed the question to point out the fallacy behind the belief that school reform can come about by threatening teachers and principals. “People do things because they feel excited and motivated,” he told a crowd of urban school board members gathered this week to attend NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting will be held through Saturday.

Slavin, the director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, was a keynote speaker at today’s general session. Slavin spoke to audience of board members about how his program, Success For All, can work in urban schools. Success for All is a whole-school reform strategy that features research-proven tools, cooperative learning to engage students, and collaborative leadership for continuous improvement.

While Slavin advocated for reforms at the school and classroom levels, he warned that you can’t change the district by changing individual schools or teachers.

“Why do we see this great school and how do we make that the norm rather than the exception?” he asked. “The answer has to be to create a system that expects schools of that kind.”

Slavin suggested that school reform that works should spread to other schools in the district, using constant professional development as a tool to create systemic change. “Create a place where people want to work and are dedicated to helping other schools to achieve, too,” he said.

On Thursday, board members got to see Slavin’s program in action when they visited Pershing Elementary School in San Antonio School District. Pershing, a Title 1 school in downtown San Antonio, earned a state academic achievement award for increasing its reading scores as the result of Success for All.

NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas Gentzel spoke to attendees at today’s general session about the “active assault on public education from those who would let each child fend for herself or himself.”

Gentzel outlined how NSBA’s focus on legislative, legal, and public advocacy is about strengthening public education which “helps us become a strong democracy.”

 

Kathleen Vail|October 4th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, CUBE, CUBE Annual Conference2013|

Council of Urban Boards of Education selects 2013-2014 steering committee

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) has elected its Chair, Vice Chair, and new members to its Steering Committee.

School board members Minnie Forte-Brown, of North Carolina’s Durham Public Schools, and Van Henri White, of New York’s Rochester City School District, will begin a one-year term as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. They began their service in these leadership roles in October 2012.

Forte-Brown is currently the Vice Chair of Durham Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education and has served on the board since 2004 and was the Chair from 2006-2012. Under her leadership, the DPS Board of Education participated in Reform Governance in Action training, a two-year program of the Center for Reform of School Systems. Forte-Brown is committed to engaging students, parents and the community. Forte-Brown was appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue to the North Carolina Council of the Status of Women and the Gang Advisory Task Force. She is the co-founder of the East Durham Children’s Initiative and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina School Boards Association and National School Boards Action Center.

White is the Vice President of the Board of Education in Rochester City School District and has served on the school board since 2007. He is also an author, civil rights attorney, and founder of the Center for the Study of Civil and Human Rights Laws. White is an outspoken advocate for improving school safety, graduation rates, decreasing truancy rates, and attacking the problem of lead poisoning. He is the author of Frustration in America, which examines the impact of racism and responsibility of African American men and boys and Marching Forward by Looking Back: Fifty Years Since the March on Washington.

The following school board members were elected this year to serve on CUBE’s 16-member Steering Committee:

Ericka Ellis-Stewart of North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools;
Verjeana Jacobs of Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools;
Dr. Christina Saavedra of Texas’s Brownsville Independent School District;
David Stone of Maryland’s Baltimore City Public Schools;
Caroll Turpin of Michigan’s Pontiac School District; and
Ruth Veales of Oklahoma’s Oklahoma City Public Schools.

“CUBE’s new Steering Committee members bring years of experience in urban education and are strongly committed to aiding the work of urban school boards to advance student achievement,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director.

CUBE, an organization guided by Steering Committee members, represents a diverse group of urban school board members dedicated to the needs of children in urban centers. CUBE represents nearly 100 urban school districts in 35 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The districts that comprise CUBE educate nearly 7.5 million students in over 12,000 schools, with a collective budget of approximately $99 billion. CUBE helps urban school boards find solutions to challenges at the local level and helps them to strengthen their policymaking effectiveness.

“As Chairman of CUBE’s Nominating Committee, I am pleased to have a democratic process that allows urban school board members to be a part of CUBE’s leadership,” said Lock P. Beachum, Sr., the head of this year’s Nominating Committee and Past Chair of CUBE. “CUBE will continue to be a leader in urban education to advocate for excellence and equity in public education.”

Alexis Rice|April 16th, 2013|Categories: CUBE, NSBA Annual Conference 2013, Urban Schools|Tags: , , |

School boards given guidance to avoid excessive out-of-school suspensions

Suspension Guide

Access the complete guide, "Addressing the Out-of-School Suspension Crisis: A Policy Guide for School Board Members”

A new report shows how school boards are creating discipline policies to avoid excessive out-of-school suspensions, which disproportionately affect minority students, that disrupt student learning and engagement.

The report, “Addressing the Out-of-School Suspension Crisis: A Policy Guide for School Board Members,”  was released today during the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Annual Conference in San Diego. The report was written by NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education, National Black Caucus of School Board Members, National Caucus of American Indian/Alaska Native School Board Members, and National Hispanic Caucus of School Board Members along with National Opportunity to Learn Campaign.

Using examples of successful student discipline policies created by school boards, this policy guide will help school board members build policies that support learning and safe environments. The guide also shows how out-of-school suspensions have a negative impact on student achievement and can predict a students’ likelihood of dropping out. In particular, the guide points to research findings that highlight the troubling racial disparities in school suspension and expulsion nationwide.

“Discipline should not deprive a student of an education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “While all students are affected by overly harsh policies, it is well documented that minority students are being disproportionately affected by suspensions and expulsions. These measures should only be used when the safety of other students and staff are threatened.”

In the 2009-2010 school year, more than 3.3 million K-12 students were estimated to have lost time in their classrooms because of an out-of-school suspension, according to The

Civil Rights Project at UCLA. National suspension rates show that 17 percent, or 1 out of every 6 African-American students enrolled in K-12 were suspended at least once–much higher than the 1 in 13 (8 percent) risk for Native Americans; 1 in 13 (7 percent) for Latinos; 1 in 20 (5 percent) for whites; or the 1 in 50 (2 percent) for Asian Americans. Students with disabilities are also disproportionately affected.

School board members can increase learning time and decrease out-of-school time by focusing  on student learning and behavioral needs, professional development for teachers and administrators, and parental and community engagement. Many school boards have policies that offer alternatives to suspension, including proactive strategies to de-escalate tensions and address school climate. For instance, the Baltimore City Public Schools introduced a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program to help improve student behavior. School personnel participate in ongoing PBIS training.

“Across the country school boards are succeeding in finding alternatives to out-of-school suspension that promote student growth,” said Gentzel. “This policy guide provides school board members with ideas, models, and processes that school boards nationwide are using to keep students in school through positive school discipline reform models.”

Alexis Rice|April 13th, 2013|Categories: CUBE, NSBA Annual Conference 2013, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Teachers, Urban Schools|Tags: , |
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