Judge Corpening on Classroom Strategies and Professional Development

As part of the expert blog series, Judge Corpening has responded to additional questions from readers and visitors to the Supportive School Discipline website regarding the School Discipline and Juvenile Justice reform efforts in North Carolina. 

Question form Reader: What are some of the specific classroom strategies for teachers? Was/is there a need for teacher professional development around these strategies? 

A change in policy of this magnitude requires a re-examination of techniques that have been used in the classroom, and the development of new tools.  To some extent, we have to learn to teach behavior, as well as math, science, and English.  Professional development will be an ongoing process as we implement our procedures, and analyze the results.

            My friend Judy Stubblefield, a behavioral specialist with the New Hanover County Schools, describes this better than I can.  “The idea that we can teach behavior is beginning to grow, through the implementation of PBIS-Positive Behavior Interventions and Support.  When students arrive at the school house, there are a vast array of tools to assess their learning deficits for math and reading.  After the results of those deficits or assets are obtained, teaching content is built around those findings.  Sadly, that approach is not always applied to behavior.  The traditional approach to addressing social skills and behavioral deficits has been to punish first.  There is a glaring need for an intentional and universal application of assessing behavioral functionality for all students.  PBIS is based on the premise that we can teach behaviors just as we teach math and reading.  I often refer to it as the “airport” experience, we have all had to learn new behaviors to travel in recent years.”

            We have scheduled training in restorative practices and are looking for other opportunities for training.  This will be an ongoing challenge for us because training opportunities for teachers during the school year are limited given scheduling limitations imposed by the North Carolina General Assembly.  We are early in our implementation process, and are committed to find a way to enhance existing skills and develop new strategies.

To view Judge Corpening's expert blog series in its entirety click here: NCSSD Blog Interview with Judge J. H. Corpening: Inter-Agency Governance Agreements and Addressing The School-to-Prison Pipeline