Sci Academy charter, which has the highest test scores of any open-enrollment school in New Orleans, has cut suspensions.
Sci Academy, a New Orleans charter school in a poor, black neighborhood is known for high test scores and college-bound graduates, writes Beth Hawkins in U.S. News. Along with two other schools in the Collegiate Academies network, it used to be known for strict discipline and a high suspension rate. Now the school is transforming discipline — without sacrificing order.
Sci Academy teachers try to prevent confrontations before they happen, writes Hawkins. If that doesn’t work, a student who’s disrupting class or fighting with a classmate is sent to the Positive Redirection Center, which is staffed by two adults.
After students fill out a questionnaire with sections labeled, “Own it,” “Fix it” and “Learn from it,” they get help framing and rehearsing a conversation with the school community member they harmed.
When Sci Academy students stay in the center for more than a couple of hours, they continue their work on a bank of computers that classroom teachers keep current. Center staff can administer exams.
The referring teacher or staffer talks to the student within 24 hours, says Cornelius Dukes, dean of positive redirection. The key question: “What help do you need from me to prevent this from happening again?”
The school uses data to identify “students who need behavioral or emotional support,” writes Hawkins. There are four mental health professionals on campus. Data-crunching also shows “patterns that suggest a teacher needs coaching or a part of the school day needs to be restructured.”