Positive Approaches to School Discipline

School discipline refers to instruction, rules, policies or practices that are intended to manage student behavior at the classroom and school levels. Positive approaches to school discipline have been promoted as more effective alternatives to harsh (e.g., corporal punishment) and exclusionary discipline (e.g., out of school suspension) which remove students from their regular educational setting or program. Positive approaches emphasize strengthening the capacity of both school staff and students to establish and maintain safe, healthy and supportive school climates to reduce and prevent inappropriate and disruptive student behavior.

Also called:  Supportive School Discipline, Positive School Discipline

  • General Info
  • Strategies & Practices
  • Tools
  • On The Ground
  • Other
General Info: 

Positive Psychology and School Discipline: Positive Is Not Simply the Opposite of Punitive

(2011) George Bear, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Communiqué

This article, written by a professor of school psychology at the University of Delaware and published in the National Association of School Psychologists’ Communiqué, describes the aim and features of positive discipline practices from a positive psychology perspective.

Fact Sheet: Creating Positive School Discipline

Dignity in Schools Campaign

This two-page fact sheet describes basic elements of and presents quick data on two positive approaches to discipline: restorative justice and positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS).

Fair and Effective Discipline for All Students: Best Practice Strategies for Educators

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

This fact sheet discusses the elements and provides examples of positive discipline strategies.

School Connectedness: Improving Students’ Lives                    

Johns Hopkins University

This report focuses on school connectedness, with a special focus on military children. It draws on research and examples from schools across America.

National Leadership Summit on School-Justice Partnerships: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court                  

This is a series of papers from around the country focused on creating strong School and Justice partnerships to help keep kids in school.

Model for Effective Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices

This is an Innovation Brief that describes the experience of Louisiana in decreasing arrest rates and enhancing the use of school and community-based evidence-based programs for addressing delinquent behavior.

Strategies & Practices: 

How Can We Improve School Discipline?

(2010) David Osher, George G. Bear, Jeffrey R. Sprague, Walter Doyle

This article surveys three approaches to improving school discipline practices and student behavior: ecological approaches to classroom management; schoolwide positive behavioral supports; and social and emotional learning. The article examines their epistemological and empirical roots and supporting research, suggesting ways to combine approaches.

Model Code on Education and Dignity

(2012) The Dignity in Schools Campaign

This resource presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The Code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers.

Supportive School Discipline: A Snapshot from Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiatives

(2012) The National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention at Education Development Center (EDC) in partnership with American Institutes for Research (AIR)

This resource explores the topic of positive school discipline, a systemic constellation of programs and practices that promote positive behaviors while preventing negative or risky behaviors. It provides examples of how Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) Initiative sites, through implementing evidence-based programs that promote positive school discipline, address the underlying factors that contribute to school violence, students’ substance abuse and mental health problems, school failure, dropout, and suspension and expulsion

Fair and Effective Discipline for All Students: Best Practice Strategies for Educators

(2002) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

This fact sheet discusses the elements and provides examples of positive discipline strategies.

Tools: 

The How We Can Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators 

FixSchoolDiscipline.org

A step-by-step guide for educators to work together with parents, students and community members to change harsh discipline rules.

The How We Can Fix School Discipline Toolkit for School Community Members

FixSchoolDiscipline.org

A step-by-step guide for educators to work together with parents, students and community members to change harsh discipline rules.

Safe, Supportive and Successful Schools Step by Step

American Institutes for Research

This comprehensive, easy-to-use guide tells educators everything they need to know to achieve an academic environment that is free from emotional stress and violence, and has a positive, nurturing climate in which every student can learn and grow.

PromotePrevent Positive School Discipline Course

EDC

This self-paced online course for school leaders can help guide you to create an environment where students can learn and thrive.

On the Ground: 

Classmates not Cellmates: Effective School Discipline Cuts Crime and Improves Student Success

(2012) Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California

This report illustrates how front-end effort to improve classroom environment in California have been more effective than suspensions and expulsions.