On May 9th, the RCSD Board of Education will adopt its 2019-20 budget.  Click here to send a message telling the board to continue funding Positive School Climate

Featured Report: Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline

How much progress has been made on school discipline and climate since the original 2014 report? What interventions and policy changes were most effective, and which need modification? What work remains unfinished?
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Expand and Deepen Restorative Practices Districtwide. Suspensions will not be permanently eliminated without a viable alternative. Building strong relationships among the school community and forms of accountability rooted in empathy (Restorative Practices) are those alternatives. Staffing for the Roc Restorative Team, who provide vital training, coaching and hands-on support, must be maintained at a minimum, and a multi-year plan should be developed to adopt and deepen restorative practices districtwide, including building level staff capacity and a Board resolution declaring RCSD a Restorative District.
Ban Suspensions for K-12. Given what we know about the damaging effects of suspensions on academics, and how important it is for a child to be reading by 3rd grade, there should be a ban on suspensions for K-2 students. Suspensions are an ineffective discipline tool, academically damaging, and developmentally inappropriate for young children during a period of rapid brain development.
Limit Long-Term Suspensions to 20 Days. Given what we know about the damaging effects of suspensions on academics, and how important it is for a child to be reading by 3rd grade, there should be a ban on suspensions for K-2 students. Suspensions are an ineffective discipline tool, academically damaging, and developmentally inappropriate for young children during a period of rapid brain development
Robust Data Sharing Agreement. The Roc3D Dashboard launched by RCSD this school year is a commendable step towards transparency. However, extensive quarterly reports should still be made public and discussed by the Board of Education and district leadership team. In addition, a robust data sharing agreement should be made with Roc the Future, so that outside experts are able to dive deeper into the data and partner with the district leadership team on strategies for improvement.
Adopt the School Climate Advisory Committee Recommendations. This report highlights a few key recommendations based on data from RCSD and interviews with members of the school community. This is not an exhaustive list. Members of the School Climate Advisory Committee have already developed an extensive list of recommendations that should be faithfully adopted.
The new code of conduct has a clearly defined discipline matrix. The matrix addresses a common concern among parents and staff that discipline is administered inconsistently. Training all staff on the new code of conduct and faithfully implementing the matrix will create consistency and provide detailed guidelines for handling common situations. Also, using the discipline matrix will reduce racial disparities in suspensions and promote alternatives to exclusionary discipline.

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Evidence-Based Strategies to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse and neglect constitute a threat to the health and well-being of our most vulnerable population: children.
According to the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, during fiscal year 2015, over 683,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in the United States and 1,680 children died as a result of abuse and neglect.1 This data only encompasses Child Protective Services (CPS) reports and is likely to underreport the prevalence of abuse.

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In the News

Essay Appearing in D&C on October 13, 2018 – We’re Better Off With Raise The Age Law

On October 1, the future of our community’s teens became brighter. That was the day Monroe County began implementation of New York State’s Raise the Age law. The legislation passed in April 2017 requires that 16- and 17-year-old youth be treated as juveniles in the criminal justice system. The initial implementation is for 16-year-olds; the change will happen for 17-year-old youth beginning next October. In Monroe County over 700 youth ages 16 and 17 are arrested every year. Until October 1, some of those youth had been sent to state prison where they lived with adult inmates. Unsurprisingly, research shows that upon release, those youth were more likely than peers managed through the juvenile justice system to commit violent crimes and end up back in prison. In adult prisons, they experience violence and trauma that change their life. Youth in adult prisons are twice as likely to report being beaten by staff than children placed in youth facilities. They face the highest risk of sexual assault of all inmate populations, and they are 36 times more likely to commit suicide in an adult facility than in a juvenile facility. Raise the Age requires challenging shifts in funding and practice in large systems that touch the lives of at-risk youth, particularly law enforcement, courts, probation, and detention. However, our community will unquestionably be better off for these changes: Research shows that young people in the youth justice system are 34 percent less likely to be re-arrested for violent and other crimes than youth retained in the adult justice system. Approximately 80 percent of youth released from adult prisons reoffend, often... read more

Dinolfo’s Budget: Too Good to Be True?

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo makes some very important investments in her 2018 budget proposal. The plan includes roughly $3 million to add 30 Child Protective Services caseworkers, restores $1.7 million for services that have been proven to reduce child abuse and neglect, and boosts child day-care funding by $1.6 million. These are the very investments that community members, children’s advocates, and County Legislature Democrats have been asking for, in some cases for several years.

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