SDHS is now in year three of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program implementation, which now includes a Code of Conduct, a Sequential Discipline Plan, and a Merit/Demerit system. Students are expected to be: Respectful, Responsible and Ready to learn. Students who are assigned demerits serve a traditional 25 minute detention, but students that receive a merit are entered into a weekly drawing to win a prize. The program has received thousands of dollars in donated prizes to reward students for positive behavior. Parents of students that are assigned merits and/or demerits receive an email.
In the “Dining with the Dean” program, students are placed in the Dean’s mentor program if they have a significant amount of discipline issues. After six weeks of excellent behavior, the Dean purchases lunch for the student. The mentoring helps the student to build relationships and to connect with the school. Periodically, the Dean and a campus supervisor visit classrooms after first period has started. If all students were on time, the whole class is rewarded with candy. PBIS focuses on rewarding students for positive behavior instead of emphasizing attention for negative behavior.
SDHS is the first school in the District to implement Restorative Justice. This practice has been used in lieu of suspensions in cases of fighting, profanity and defiance. Approximately 50 students and most of their families have participated in successful Restorative Justice Meetings. To date, the school has not had any repeat offenders after participation in the restorative process.
“Our goal in discipline is to cultivate positive behavior,” Principal Michael Kelly said. “We believe that using restorative practices gives us the opportunity to teach students real life skills to own their mistakes, accept responsibility, restore the relationship(s) and change behavior.”
Since the implementation of PBIS, the school’s suspension rates have dropped by 51% since 2012-13, giving them the lowest suspension rate of all of the secondary schools in the District. The school has had no in-house suspensions so far this school year. “We have a great deal to celebrate!” Kelly concluded.
Photo X: Brittany Smith of San Dimas High School receives a Merit for positive behavior in line with the school’s Code of Conduct. The Code is one tool in the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports system.