Expulsion/suspension rate plummets at NVUSD

School district one of three in state singled out for praise
2014-02-02T09:00:00Z 2014-02-02T09:05:44Z Expulsion/suspension rate plummets at NVUSDISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
February 02, 2014 9:00 am  • 

The Napa Valley Unified School District is one of three districts statewide that have made notable achievements in their suspension and expulsion rates.

The number of students being suspended or expelled in California declined sharply during the last school year, as more schools and districts put into place measures designed to keep young people in the classroom and learning. Across the state, the total number of expulsions decreased by 12.3 percent, from 9,758 in 2011-12 to 8,562 in 2012-13, according to state education officials. The total number of suspensions, either in school or out of school, dropped 14.1 percent, from 709,596 in 2011-12 to 609,471 in 2012-13.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson named Napa Valley Unified as one of the districts making the greatest progress. The other two districts were the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Vallejo City Unified School District.

“Educators across California work hard to keep students in school and learning,” Torlakson said. “It can be a challenge to find the balance between maintaining a safe learning environment and giving young people the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. But we’re working with schools and districts throughout the state to do exactly that.”

The Napa Valley Unified School District began implementing a districtwide positive behavior intervention and support program four years ago in response to research that showed suspensions do not improve school climate and result in poor outcomes for students. These efforts have resulted in consistent drops in suspensions and expulsions from year to year, according to education officials. This past year, as noted by Torlakson, there was an 18.9 percent drop in suspensions and a 75.5 percent drop in expulsions within Napa Valley Unified.

“NVUSD made a commitment several years ago to overhaul our traditional student code of conduct and implement an effective research-based behavior program,” said Ivan Chaidez, the district’s director of alternative education. “We now have a systematic and sophisticated approach that permits more options in response to behavioral situations. We also have multiple alternative consequences that allow students opportunities to change their behavior and get right back on track so learning can continue.”

Known as “BEST,” the Positive Behavior Interventions and Support system explicitly teaches schoolwide expectations to “Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible.” Students are reinforced for positive behavior and are taught expectations when they make behavioral errors.

Statewide, “student defiance” is an often-reported reason for suspensions. This area also saw the largest declines. There were 259,875 suspensions statewide for defiance in 2012-13, down 81,237, or 23.8 percent, compared with the year before, according to state education officials.

Over the past four years, Napa Valley Unified has seen an 88 percent reduction in expulsions and a 57 percent reduction in suspensions — earning one of the lowest suspension rates in California. At the same time, California Healthy Kids Survey results indicate that local students are feeling safer and more cared for at school.

In a collaborative effort with the Napa County Office of Education, the Napa school district began providing a social/emotional curriculum to all K-5 teachers, which aims to increase empathy, problem solving, emotional management and bullying prevention.

“We are extremely proud that NVUSD’s goal to impact student behavior positively and increase classroom engagement is working and is being recognized statewide and nationally,” said Elena Toscano, assistant superintendent of instruction. “NVUSD has become a model school district for positive behavior interventions and support systems.”

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. Mashed Potatoes
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    Mashed Potatoes - February 02, 2014 9:12 am
    Nothing altruistic here. Schools are paid for ADA, so kicking a kid out reduces their income and less money to teachers pay and salaries...so just look the other way instead of enforcing discipline reduces expulsions. Just like allowing every Fairfield and Vallejo kid into our schools, especially AM CAN schools which are at capacity with out of area kids..it increases ADA and teacher pay.
  2. ConservativeNapa
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    ConservativeNapa - February 02, 2014 2:36 pm
    Kids get away with almost anything these days. These are just more liberal falsehoods.
    People with common sense know this is garbage.
  3. Plokij
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    Plokij - February 02, 2014 9:09 pm
    You're both right. The classic 'detention' system has been pretty much done away with. Behavior isn't any better, they just don't get in 'trouble.' Of course detentions and suspensions/expulsions will go down if you don't give detentions or suspensions/expulsions. It's the switch from punitive discipline to restorative. Instead of a detention a kid might, for example, have to write an apology letter.
  4. Mashed Potatoes
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    Mashed Potatoes - February 03, 2014 8:52 am
    I see the State Office of Education is comparing Napa schools with Vallejo and LA, the two worst in Calif. seems to match the dismal test scores of Napa kids below state average.
  5. alucawanza
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    alucawanza - February 03, 2014 9:52 am
    So..if the expulsion and suspension rate went up what would you have to say? You must know that some kids love to be suspended. They get to stay home. They don't complete the work that is sent home with them. They are out on the streets. It wouldn't matter what the statistics are. Some just can't see the positive.
  6. Plokij
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    Plokij - February 03, 2014 1:56 pm
    Alucawanza- I agree with you on suspensions/expulsions. I don't think kids should be sent home. Although for most kids, it IS punishment. All their friends are at school and they're not. Kids used to get 'in trouble' at home for being sent home. But you're right. They should be sent to in-house instead of suspended. Expulsion is another matter...
  7. Sanoli
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    Sanoli - February 04, 2014 8:50 am
    These are completely false numbers. The only reason that the rates are going down is because students are allowed to harass, bully, make sexually explicit remarks to other students, curse at their teachers, steal and cut class. all that happens is that they get a detention. There are no real consequences for poor behavior any longer. Parents automatically back up their students misdoings even when their is photographic evidence. Teachers are told to handle things in class when they should be dealt with by administration. Ill behaved students are allowed to disrupt the learning of every other student in class with no recourse. The only thing that matters is that the numbers look good to outsiders.
  8. phattjrh
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    phattjrh - February 04, 2014 6:56 pm
    Its all about the money per day per child. That's why they fine parents now for the child being absent more than 15 days in a year. I have a 5th grader and two years ago a boy told him on the playground and was heard by others " I will kill you, drag your dead body to your house and make your parents watch me cut your heart out with a knife" This child received absolutely no at all. In my day there would have been an expulsion for sure. What these administrators don't understand is that by allowing these kids to act this way they are only causing more destructive behavior down the line. The real problem this causes is the lack of accountability by the students and the parents that are raising them. Discipline starts at home and these days parents just don't care enough or have not the backbone it takes to raise respectful children well disciplined kids. The state has screwed us all with the funds that they don't supply for our kids educations.
  9. phattjrh
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    phattjrh - February 04, 2014 6:57 pm
    How about they fully fund the schools and make the prisons fund their budgets with box tops and fundraisers...
  10. phattjrh
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    phattjrh - February 04, 2014 6:59 pm
    Why cant it be more like community service. Picking up trash and cleaning toilets. Those type of things would prob make the kids think twice before behaving that way again..
  11. Mashed Potatoes
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    Mashed Potatoes - February 04, 2014 8:44 pm
    Wouldn't if be nice if teachers would come on these blogs and tell us the truth and buck the BS perpetrated by the Teachers union dominated education system. But no, teachers go to college to become independent free thinkers then join the CTA and their every action ad comment is then dominated by fear of the teacher union reprisals. Teachers are not members of this community when they fail to tell the truth about the failures in our schools from an insider point of view.
  12. phattjrh
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    phattjrh - February 05, 2014 7:32 am
    My sons 5th grade teacher sent me here to reply because she figured she would lose her job if she posted the truth she sees.. That's the calif we live in.
  13. Plokij
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    Plokij - February 06, 2014 2:53 pm
    Well, that would make common sense but not economical sense. It is absolutely pitiful.
  14. Plokij
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    Plokij - February 06, 2014 2:55 pm
    I am a teacher... I still prefer to remain anonymous; not from the Union or District heads, but more from my immediate higher ups.
    It's just too bad that everyone agrees with us but it's about the numbers and money so everyone smiles through clenched teeth.
    They can't have students picking up trash or cleaning toilets because it would be considered humiliation, there's child labor issues, and the custodians need job security...
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