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Code of Student Conduct (CSC) Tutorial Lesson 3a Developing Your CSC – Involving the Whole School Community This tutorial has been prepared for the NJ.

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Presentation on theme: "Code of Student Conduct (CSC) Tutorial Lesson 3a Developing Your CSC – Involving the Whole School Community This tutorial has been prepared for the NJ."— Presentation transcript:

1 Code of Student Conduct (CSC) Tutorial Lesson 3a Developing Your CSC – Involving the Whole School Community This tutorial has been prepared for the NJ Department of Education by and was supported in whole by a U.S. Department of Education Partnerships in Character Education Program grant.

2 Lesson 3a, v page 2 “Schools and classrooms are mini-societies governed by moral rules and conventional norms. An important way in which school contributes to children’s social and moral development is how rules and norms are established and enforced (Nucci 2009, p.66).”

3 Lesson 3a, v page 3 Developing a Civil School Climate In Lesson 2 we became acquainted with the purpose and goals of establishing a code of student conduct (CSC). Schools are complex organizations, and the rules of the road that are meant to guide student behavior don’t operate in a vacuum. School rules and consequences explained in a student handbook are only words on paper unless everyone ‘buys into them.’

4 Lesson 3a, v page 4 Developing a Civil School Climate The organizational context for the CSC is the school climate. School climate basically refers to how people feel about their school. The National School Climate Center defines school climate as: “patterns of students’ and parents’ and school personnel’s experience of school life” Notice that this definition is a neutral statement. That is, it pertains to both positive and negative school climate.

5 Lesson 3a, v page 5 Developing a Civil School Climate These patterns are determined by the values and norms of these stakeholders as reflected in their interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures. As presented in the NJDOE regulations, effective CSCs must be designed by local school districts to furnish the backbone of a civil school climate. How do we know a civil school climate when we experience it? According to Dr. Philip Fitch Vincent (2005), when a school has a civil climate “people interact warmly and positively, care about each other, and try to formulate a strong sense of community (p.49).”

6 Lesson 3a, v page 6 Developing a Civil School Climate When we develop a civil school climate we tap into the intrinsic need of all children to feel that they belong, that they have a sense of membership in their classroom, school and community. This sense of belonging is exercised through establishing affective bonds with others. As Ruth Charney points out in Teaching Children to Care: Management in the Responsive Classroom, a key strategy for building this social connection is to identify and practice shared values and norms that support positive school environments. This is a critical strategy for reducing student engagement in uncivil behavior.

7 Lesson 3a, v page 7 Developing a Civil School Climate It is no accident, then, that the first requirement in the NJDOE regulations is that the construction of a CSC must involve all of the key stakeholders and be based on locally determined core ethical values: 6A: Code of student conduct (a) Each district board of education shall adopt, develop and implement a code of student conduct which establishes standards, policies and procedures for positive student development and student behavioral expectations on school grounds, including on a school bus or at school-sponsored functions, and, as appropriate, for conduct away from school grounds, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:

8 Lesson 3a, v page 8 Developing a Civil School Climate 6A: Code of student conduct (cont’d) 1.The code of student conduct shall be based on parent, student and community involvement which represents, where possible, the composition of the schools and community. 2.The code of student conduct shall be based on locally determined and accepted core ethical values adopted by the district board of education. This video clip from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development puts this in an historical context.

9 Lesson 3a, v page 9 Steps in Developing a Code of Student Conduct Planning is not only important, but necessary in developing or revising a district CSC, because the changes you contemplate directly affect everyone in the school community, including parents. The plan should begin with the establishment of core ethical values, but there are steps that are necessary before that process can begin.

10 Lesson 3a, v page 10 Planning to Develop a Code of Student Conduct The following are important steps to consider as you prepare to either develop a new CSC or revise your current CSC.

11 Lesson 3a, v page 11 Planning to Develop a Code of Student Conduct 1.Get backing from the chief school administrator or charter school lead person and the board of education by presenting a solid rationale for the need to revise your CSC, based on the fact that, for example, there is: No relationship between the district mission statement and the current CSC; An outmoded, punitive disciplinary framework that is inconsistent with the district’s mission statement or current research regarding effective methods of behavior change; An insufficient system of remedies and consequences for harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) behaviors and inadequate support for victims of HIB; Inconsistent behavior standards in the schools of the district; Data showing deteriorating student conduct; A lack of information provided to staff, students, and the community on how much is already being done to successfully mold student conduct.

12 Lesson 3a, v page 12 2.Set the stage early for the involvement of parents, community representatives, students and staff in different phases of the process. 3.Form a district level project team and make sure that your team factors in adequate representation from and support for building principals throughout the process. 4.Establish core ethical values as the basis for the CSC, reinforced by an unwavering commitment to use these values as the reference point for decisions along the development and implementation pathway. For example, if respect is a core value, does your policy structure only deal with respect as a virtue expected of students, or is it an explicit expectation of staff behavior as well? Planning to Develop a Code of Student Conduct

13 Lesson 3a, v page 13 5.Make sure to include student behavioral expectations as well as to indicate the district’s curricular and co-curricular methods of instruction aimed at social-emotional skill development and support for a pro-social school climate. For example: Conduct an inventory of the social and life-skill development programs currently being used throughout the district’s schools. Are they articulated across grade levels so that learning is scaffolded and skills are reinforced? Are programs uncoordinated and include skill presentations that may confuse or bore students? Are lessons presented in an ineffective manner? Planning to Develop a Code of Student Conduct

14 Lesson 3a, v page 14 6.Provide feedback to all of the stakeholders involved as resolution is reached at critical steps in the project plan. For example: Keep PTA/PTO as well as board members apprised of progress being made by including their members in the CSC revision process and updating them through school district communications such as newsletters or a special section of the district website. 7.Communicate the CSC clearly through student handbooks translated, if possible, into the primary languages spoken at home. 8.Provide for a positive presentation to the school board prior to their consideration for formal adoption of a new or revised CSC, using support from stakeholders involved in its development. Planning to Develop a Code of Student Conduct

15 Lesson 3a, v page 15 9.Include a provision for annually updating the CSC, based on feedback from school staff, students and other stakeholders. 10.Delineate the roles and responsibilities of each staff number in the implementation of the CSC, and provide training annually on the CSC (N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.7). Planning to Develop a Code of Student Conduct

16 Lesson 3a, v page 16 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread The Sourcebook contrasts the core ethical values with values preferences. For example, depending on how the question is posed, when students are asked what they value they may say something like, ‘ getting a new iPod ’ or ‘ doing what I want to on the weekends. ’ These may represent values seen as important to them, but they represent lifestyle preferences, not core ethical values.

17 Lesson 3a, v page 17 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread The process we used with the pilot districts to establish core values was liberally adapted from that recommended by the Character Education Partnership and defined in their Eleven Principles Sourcebook (every New Jersey school district received a copy of the Sourcebook provided by the NJ Center for Character Education in the school year). The Sourcebook defines values and core ethical values as follows: “A Value – A belief about what is good that transcends a specific situation and that guides judgment and decision making (Rokeach, 1993). In order for a value to be a ‘core ethical value’ it must be of central importance in the life of the individual and life of the community (Likona, 2002).”

18 Lesson 3a, v page 18 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread The necessary characteristics of values that make them core ethical values are defined in the Sourcebook as follows: Universal Moral and ethical in nature Supportive of our democracy and democratic way of life Affirming and supportive of every individual Important to relationships Important to decision making Significant, rather than trivial

19 Lesson 3a, v page 19 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread Engaging the school community in the process of defining core ethical values During the pilot project, each district used a slightly different strategy to involve the school community in the establishment of their core values. Let ’ s look at the process that two of our pilot districts used to plan and organize their CSC development project.

20 Lesson 3a, v page 20 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread Montvale used a process consistent with the outline in the Sourcebook, with a large representative group of school staff, a parent/community group and 8 th grade students in their health classes, to arrive at a consensus regarding their core ethical values. Here is the first step of the core values activity they used with each group: Identifying Important Core Ethical Values Activity.Identifying Important Core Ethical Values Activity If your district does not have the required board-approved core ethical values, or needs to review them, we strongly recommend using a process like this to generate consensus.

21 Lesson 3a, v page 21 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread The second step in defining core ethical values: Here is the process used to define the value in behavioral terms.

22 Lesson 3a, v page 22 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread In the process of reviewing her district ’ s core ethical values, the Superintendent, Dr. Susan King, decided that the district ’ s Mission Statement needed to be revised to reflect the core values as well. This is the form that the Mission Statement and core ethical values took when presented to the board of education for approval: This is the form that the Mission Statement and core ethical values took when presented to the board of education for approval:

23 Lesson 3a, v page 23 Establishing and Using Core Ethical Values – The Unifying Thread The Cherry Hill School District is a large district with 19 schools and more than 11,000 students. Here is how Mona Noyes, the district ’ s character education coordinator, describes their approach to identifying and defining core ethical values.Here is how Mona Noyes, the district ’ s character education coordinator, describes their approach to identifying and defining core ethical values. To see the way Cherry Hill presents its core values in the context of its program, view this PowerPoint presentation.


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