Instruction and Learning Experiences

Welcoming Schools

Goal: Students will Feel Welcomed and Safe in School

If we want our students to be successful in school, we need to create welcoming and safe environments for learning.

When a student feels valued, welcomed and safe in school, they are more likely to participate, stay in school and learn. Significant increases in academic outcomes for students furthest from educational justice are possible when trusting educator student relationships exist and social, cultural, emotional, and behavioral needs are met by educators that share an unconditional belief in the potential of every student they serve.

teacher student group

Welcoming & Safe Schools Infographic


Welcoming and Safe Schools Initiatives

Shifting Adult Beliefs and Practices

We address implicit bias, foster the use of restorative practices and challenge systemic racism by providing our educators, administrators, and staff with:

  • Training and materials
  • Direct support to racial equity teams in schools
  • Onsite coaching and consultation

Interrupting Disproportionate Practices in Discipline

We work with our– educators, administrators, and staff to disrupt racist systems and teach and use practices that enable welcoming and safe school environments. We do this by:

  • Analyzing racial inequities in discipline and access to services
  • Shifting to preventive discipline and restorative practices and procedures
  • Applying a racial equity lens to existing policies and practices

Supporting the Whole Child

We are committed to promoting a strength-based and accurate narrative students furthest from educational justice, and normalizing excellence and making sure African American boys and teens have the resources and support they need to reach their fullest potential.

We appreciate and serve the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral strengths and needs of each student by:

  • Ensuring each student is on a pathway to academic excellence through challenging, comprehensive, and engaging curriculum in all content areas
  • Using data to make decisions and services to meet the needs of students
  • Using qualitative and quantitative data to ensure students receive supports matched with their individual needs
  • Finding positive interventions and supports to help each student
  • Partnering with families to establish positive interventions and supports for each student
  • Focusing on care coordination, including access to school-based health clinics, and mental health supports

How We Measure Progress

Teachers sitting around table

For the 2019–20 school year, we are focused on measuring discipline rates. Moving forward, we will continue to monitor our progress using:

  • Student attendance rates
  • Disciplinary data
  • Student culture and climate surveys
  • Equitable access to services

Progress Toward Our Goal

Over the last four years we’ve seen behavior incidents decrease, on average, per year, due to targeted efforts to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

Our continued focus on this work to keep kids in school includes these measures:

  • Shifting educator mindset through training on identifying and interrupting their implicit bias as a root cause for the over-identification of African American boys and teens as disciplinary issues
  • Shifting educator mindset by offering social, emotional, and behavior focused professional development in support of minimizing lost classroom time instructional time for students
  • Analysis of racial inequities in subjective disciplinary practices (i.e. disrespect, disobedience, rulebreaking, etc.)
  • Shifting to preventive discipline and restorative practices and procedures
  • Applying a racial equity lens to existing policies and practices
  • Using school-wide Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS)
  • By providing whole child supports to students through care coordination, school-based health clinics, and mental health supports
  • Integrating social-emotional learning throughout the school day