Revisions to the Behavioral Learning Guides Approved by School Board
Huntsville City Schools has revised its Behavioral Learning Guides (“BLG”) based on feedback from teachers, principals, students, their families, and the community. The Board will hear a presentation about these at the July 28th meeting, but for information about what to expect, see the list below:
- For 2016-17, there were two long documents called the Elementary BLG and the Secondary BLG. This year, there are three smaller documents: the BLG; the Elementary Matrix; and the Secondary Matrix.
- The BLG is the instruction manual for the Elementary and Secondary Matrices, which are described below. Unlike last year, the BLG applies to both Elementary and Secondary students.
- The BLG contains fewer large paragraphs describing its discipline strategies. Instead, it has more tables, charts, and graphics to describe HCS’ Positive School Climate initiatives, like Restorative Practices.
The BLG contains instructions for new disciplinary consequences and procedures:
- Restorative Panel Meetings – a new, District-level consequence that gives students and their families a chance to participate in meetings with school and District administrators to discuss the student’s serious misbehavior. For secondary students, this is a last step before expulsion.
- Resetting – Teachers and administrators can “reset” a student’s progressive discipline when the student goes a defined period of time without misbehaving.
- Expulsion Lengths – Expulsions are now for fewer days, but each time a student’s behavior results in an expulsion, the length of the expulsion will increase.
- The Elementary and Secondary Matrices contain expected and prohibited student behaviors as well as the Response Levels for addressing those behaviors. The Response Levels correspond to different categories of consequences and supports that increase in intensity as the Response Level gets higher.
- Based on the feedback we received, the Matrices contain a number of formatting changes:
- The instructions for how to use the Matrix have been cut down considerably.
- The “Recommended Responses” column has been removed to make it easier to read.
- HCS will create hardcopy Matrices for each teacher.
- Where possible, the misbehaviors have been shortened to make them easier to understand.
- Based on the feedback we received, these misbehaviors in the Matrices have also been revised:
- Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol and drugs now warrants the highest Response Level available (Level 3 for Elementary and Level 4 for Secondary), but it is also paired with the new Restorative Panel Meeting support.
- Threatening another student with weapon violence, even over social media, has been added.
- Principals have more discretion when responding to: fights; students attacking other students; and students harming staff. The new Restorative Panel Meeting has been added as a support.
- Threats and harassment based on a student’s race, ethnicity, religion, sex or other identifying characteristic may warrant the highest response levels.
- Guidance has been added about what constitutes a “toy” gun.
- Guidance has been added to help schools respond to a student’s failure to be in class.
- Guidance has been added to help schools respond to a student’s profanity directed at school staff.