Two new bills have passed here in New Mexico that has school districts looking into integrating restorative practices in their school:
The Attendance for Success Act
States across the nation are trending towards PREVENTION and INTERVENTION, as the way to address chronic absenteeism in schools.
Schools will now need to establish an early warning system for identifying at-risk students and employ an attendance plan that focuses on:
a. keeping the student in an educational setting
b. prohibits out of school suspensions or expulsions as a means of discipline.
c. provides additional educational opportunities and intervention efforts to students struggling with attendance
Districts will have to report data at each reporting period, and at the end of the school year to the Department of Education
Section 8: Procedures
Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year: If a public school has five percent (or more) of students with a chronic absence rate during the prior school year, they'll need to develop an attendance improvement plan for those students.
*Those improvement plans will need to be submitted to the department as part of the public school's educational plan for student access.
Section 11: Progressive Interventions For Absent, Chronically Absent, and Excessively Absent Students
Students identified as in need of early intervention will be assigned an attendance team, who will establish specific intervention plans that include weekly monitoring, a contract for attendance, non-punitive consequences and appropriate specialized supports to help the student address the underlying causes of excessive absenteeism.
*In terms of people power, The Public Education Department (PED) will need personnel to review and approve attendance improvement plans. Addressing the personnel requirement may mean hiring additional staff or shifting work portfolios to meet PED’s needs. There will be a need for additional contracts with various vendors to provide professional development regarding best practices and data.
The Safe Schools for All Act
New Mexico schools are taking stand towards bullying that also trends towards more progressive methods with the new Safe Schools For All Act. By January 1st, 2020 each school board or governing body will have to adopt bullying prevention policies that:
Prevent instances of bullying and cyberbullying on its property, at school events and on school sponsored transportation.
statement prohibiting retaliation against those who report or witness bullying,
Set forth statements prohibiting bullying including a list of consequences, exclusive of suspension orexpulsion, designed to correct bullying behavior and prevent further occurrences.
and protect the target of the bullying,
5) Set forth procedures for reporting bullying and for reporting instances of retaliation for reporting an act of bullying. Reports may be made orally, in the preferred language of the reporter, anonymously, and by parents in written form. The content of the bullying prevention policies is at the discretion of the school board or governing council, except for the required policy features listed on the following pages.
These prevention policies must include consequences designed to stop bullying and cyberbullying and should be developmentally appropriate. The consequences for bullying and cyberbullying may NOT include suspension or expulsion. The falls undet the definition of Progressive Discipline.
Progressive discipline means disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion from school that is designed to correct and address the basic causes of a student's specific misbehavior while
retaining the student in class or in school, or restorative school practices to repair the harm done to relationships and other students from the student's misbehavior, and may include:
(1) meeting with the student and the student's parents;
(2) reflective activities, such as requiring the student to write an essay about the student's
(4) anger management;
(5) health counseling or intervention;
(6) mental health counseling and intervention;
(7) participation in skill-building and conflict resolution activities;
(8) community service; and
(9) in-school detention or suspension, which is for a constructive purpose and which may
take place during lunchtime, recess, after school or during weekends.
How can PTE Help You
Both of these bills will require a shift for schools, from the classroom level to the district level. Integrating restorative practices at every level have been shown to decrease abseentism, dropout rates and suspensions, and increase test scores and graduation rates.
Peace Through Education can help you quickly analyze your school for opportunities for improvement in prevention plans, provide detailed training to educators and administrators, and help you implement prevention plans to address the shift created by both of these two housebills.
Peace Through Education can also provide facilitation, mediation and other intervention support for your students, and training on how to address bullying and other violence in your school.
Your plan will need to be in place by the start of the 2020 school year, so get in touch today to begin the process.