September 27, 2018 - In This Issue:

We hope the start of school this year has been energizing! We have many updates for you and a spotlight on encouraging research results regarding restorative practices. 
Best wishes, 
Lucy Patton
Engage! Newsletter Editor

Rolling out a new kind of code of conduct
A team of educators at the Wheatland-Chili (NY) Central School District worked over the summer to create lessons to introduce their students to the district's new Code of Character, Conduct, and Support, developed with the help of Engaging Schools. At the end of August, all staff met to learn about the full scope of the Code.  
The Code is rooted in equity, character development, and citizenship with a focus on the development of social and emotional skills. Superintendent Deborah Leh said recently, "The start of school this year felt totally different from other years. We're focusing on what we want our students to do, not what they shouldn't do."  
                                                                                Photo: Wheatland-Chili Central School District
Updates from our productive summer  
  • We conducted institutes on social and emotional learning in four New York City schools. The institutes prepared teachers to create more engaging classrooms by using a range of instructional practices to teach SEL competencies.
  • We provided three days of support to a school in Burien, WA that is designing and implementing an advisory program. This stemmed from a year-long, district-wide focus on middle and high school advisory.
  • We held an institute in Pittsfield, MA to guide the district as it begins to recreate its code of conduct with a goal of helping schools promote positive social behavior and prevent discipline problems.
  • We worked with leaders at New Britain (CT) High School preparing to launch major changes to improve their school culture and climate and better engage students. We co-led professional learning sessions for the entire staff at the beginning of the school year, sharing many new strategies and practices. A New Britain teacher recently remarked, "This is my 29th year, and I believe that this one has started off with the best planning and prep, bar none. Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious!"
  • A team of staff members made major progress on the manuscript for our upcoming publication, Engaged Classrooms: Supporting Academic Success for Every Adolescent.
  • We recently published a new blog post, We Need to Grapple with Bias if We Want to Eliminate Disproportional Discipline.
Thank you to the NoVo Foundation  
Engaging Schools is deeply grateful to the NoVo Foundation for awarding us a generous, three-year, general operating support grant. The funds will enable us to make a significant contribution to advancing social and emotional learning, especially in middle and high schools.  

The Promise of Restorative Practices to Transform Teacher-Student Relationships and Achieve Equity in School Discipline
A study from Rutgers University, The Promise of Restorative Practices to Transform Teacher-Student Relationships and Achieve Equity in School Discipline, found that teachers who used restorative practices had more positive relationships with their diverse students. Students perceived them as more respectful and the teachers issued fewer exclusionary discipline referrals compared with those who used few or no restorative practices. In addition, the findings demonstrated some initial promise of well-implemented restorative practices for narrowing the racial discipline gap. The study found that teachers who used restorative practices issued fewer discipline referrals to Latino and African American students compared with those who didn't.

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Engaging Schools is a nonprofit organization that collaborates with middle and high school educators to create schoolwide communities of learning that integrate academics with social and emotional development. We provide professional learning and publications for instructional practice, classroom management, discipline and student support, postsecondary readiness, and advisory programs - all grounded in the values of equity, community, and democracy. The result: engaging schools where each and every student succeeds and makes positive contributions in school, work, and life.  

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