Identifying the Impact of Alternative-to-Suspension Programs on Student Achievement and Discipline in a Large Urban School District

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Out-of-school suspension is commonly used as a disciplinary action in high schools; however, alternative-to-suspension programs are increasingly being used in hopes to improve student behavior without applying punitive damages. The literature review describes how discipline has transformed multiple times in the United States and around the world. It shows how disciple has shifted from the use of corporal punishment to expulsions and suspensions and now the newest transformation is the use of restorative justice. This study examined the impact of alternative-to-suspension programs used in three high schools and their effectiveness in improving students' academics and in building a positive school climate. The partner schools in this study have incorporated multiple alternatives to suspension programs (e.g., Positive Behavior Support in School, Panorama, and an Afterschool Social and Emotional Learning program) to increase trust and respect between students and staff while anticipating a decrease in suspensions and an increase in student performance. This is a quantitative study that uses archived data. This study measured suspension, attendance, and graduation rates for the 2015–2016 school year to the 2018–2019 school year and assessed whether there were significant differences in the rates across three high schools in the northeast. This study determined that there are some effects to the use of alternative-to-suspension programs. The study concludes that (1) one of the three high schools suspension rates were impacted after the implementation of the alternative-to-suspension program, (2) the graduation rate was positively impacted after the implementation of the programs, (3) Only one of the three schools attendance rates was impacted, negatively, after the implementation of the programs.

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  • 02/23/2024
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