Delaware ACLU, Charter Schools of New Castle County announce results of 10 year restorative education practices study

by Danica Brendon

The Delaware ACLU has recently released a comprehensive report that highlights a model for inclusive schools, which has been proven to lead to lower suspension rates and positive outcomes for students of color. This study, conducted over a ten-year period, showcases the successful implementation of the Charter School of New Castle’s (CSNC) inclusive school model.

The report, titled “Charter School of New Castle (CSNC): Education Equity Initiative 2021-2023 Model for Creating an Inclusive School Climate”, focuses on three key tracks: practices to achieve an inclusive school environment, increasing student engagement, and creating channels for parent collaboration and engagement.

Since adopting this inclusive school model, CSNC has experienced a significant reduction in suspension rates and has witnessed positive outcomes in various areas such as students’ sense of belonging, personal academic abilities, and perceptions of teachers and school staff. Notably, CSNC has maintained a consistent 2 percent suspension rate, in contrast to statewide figures that range from 15 to 19 percent in charter and public schools, respectively.

One of the important aspects of this model is its approach to discipline. Instead of adhering to a traditional punitive model, which the ACLU argues can be biased and discriminatory towards students of color, CSNC focuses on teaching students how to improve their behavior and reinforces positive actions. This shift in approach helps build relationships between students and teachers, addressing the root cause of any emotional behavior.

The program also aims to train teachers and parents on reinforcing positive behavior and understanding the emotional issues that may disrupt the classroom. Through this comprehensive training, participants learn to identify and address emotional needs, allowing students to better thrive in the educational environment. The program also emphasizes providing out-of-school resources for both parents and students to encourage continued engagement and support.

Additionally, the CSNC model incorporates opportunities for student involvement and leadership development. By allowing students to identify and address issues through service-based learning projects, the program fosters personal growth and rewards good behavior through in-school rewards and long-term incentives such as educational field trips.

The ACLU of Delaware believes that the CSNC model can serve as a blueprint for schools across the state. By expanding the scope of social-emotional learning and restorative practices, schools can adopt more comprehensive behavior management systems that prioritize the emotional well-being of students. Establishing trusting relationships is also crucial for cultivating effective education environments.

On November 2nd, the ACLU of Delaware will present the report, education plan, and action items for districts interested in implementing this inclusive school model during a virtual hearing. This presentation offers an opportunity for schools to learn from CSNC’s success and work towards creating more inclusive and supportive educational environments for all students.

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