Positive Interventions Helping Improve Student Behavior

Student behavior is improving in Chesterfield County Public Schools, according to data from the Virginia Discipline Crime and Violence Report provided at the Sept. 13 School Board meeting.

The number of incidents involving students has decreased from 25,215 during the 2013-14 school year to 7,174 during the 2015-16 school year. In addition, the number of students involved in incidents decreased from 21,965 during the 2013-14 school year to 5,790 during the 2015-16 school year.

“The work our teachers and staff members have done to provide strategies and interventions to enhance positive behaviors has resulted in nearly a 70 percent reduction in the number of students involved in student discipline-related consequences,” Superintendent James Lane noted. “This is an extraordinary effort that is helping keep more students in school. And as we know, students who miss school tend to fall behind with their academics.”

The school division has expanded its work with the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program, providing additional strategies to help children solve potential conflicts. In addition, the school division has expanded bully-prevention programs at the elementary school level and the restorative justice program at the secondary level.

In addition, the number of incidents referred to law enforcement has dropped substantially as well. The total number of students referred to law enforcement during the 2015-16 school year was 366. That is down by more than 50 percent from the 2013-14 total of 775.

“In an era of conversation related to school-to-prison pipeline, Chesterfield County Public Schools continues to lead the way in partnering with the local police department to implement alternatives to arrest and removal from class,” School Board Chair Dianne H. Smith said. “As a Board, we are committed to continuing to focus on solutions like teaching core values, focusing on digital citizenship and other methods to affect student actions.”

The number of incidents involving weapons decreased by 31 percent between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.  Assaults against students and staff members decreased as well.

“Creating and sustaining a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment remains one of our top priorities,” Dr. Lane said. “Children cannot learn if they do not feel safe; adults are not as effective if they do not feel safe either. We will continue to work to enhance student learning through classrooms that are free from distraction and disruption.”

The complete School Board report can be found here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1M687LmM41H8iEVivPPV0WYIlU4g78xjf3gh9xHXFzAw/edit#slide=id.p16.