Guiding Principles and Best Practices in School Discipline to Support Students’ Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Needs
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools
In March of 2023, the U.S. Department of Education released Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates for students and school staff, featuring specific recommendations for evidence-based practices that allow students to learn, grow, and be successful. To enhance state and local implementation of these guiding principles, a collaborative of technical assistance centers serving the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools developed a series of four fact sheets. The series describes best practices and approaches to help support and respond to students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs, including practices designed to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline in schools. Each fact sheet is tailored to a specific audience at the school or district level: school and district leaders, student support teams, educators and school-based staff, and families. The fact sheets also feature resources to help support stakeholders in this important work.
Creating and Sustaining Discipline Policies That Support Students’ Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Well-Being and Success: Strategies for School and District Leaders
This fact sheet discusses approaches to create effective, evidence-based school discipline policies with a focus on responsive rather than punishment-based discipline practices. The fact sheet includes steps and resources to help school administrators and leaders examine the rationale driving existing discipline policies and to include students and community members in the conversation to develop revised approaches.
Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Well-Being and Success: Strategies for Student and Teacher Support Teams
This fact sheet highlights the important role student support teams (SSTs) can play in developing and enacting effective supports for students and ensuring that teachers also have the skills and support needed. It describes key elements for creating high-quality SSTs, identifying students who need additional support, and implementing Tier 2 (Targeted) and Tier 3 (Intensive) practices and procedures.
Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Well-Being and Success: Strategies for Educators and School-Based Staff
This fact sheet discusses actions educators and school-based staff can take to support and respond to students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs in classrooms or other instructional settings. It highlights several key evidence-based practices staff can implement to make immediate, impactful changes and provides supporting tools and resources.
Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Well-Being and Success: Strategies for Schools to Enhance Relationships With Families
This fact sheet illustrates ways to improve communication and collaboration between schools and families to support students’ needs. Strategies described include engaging families in decision-making processes around student supports, discipline, and school climate; providing family engagement training to all district and school leaders and educators; and establishing family engagement councils.
Other Supporting Resources
The U.S. Department of Education also recommends the following resources for more information on topics related to creating positive and safe learning environments.
U.S. Department of Education School Climate and Student Discipline Resources
This Web page provides resources to assist stakeholders in addressing students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs; understanding and complying with Federal laws (including those that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability); and promoting welcoming, safe schools.
Dear Colleague Letter Calling for End to Corporal Punishment in Schools and Guiding Principles on School Discipline
On March 24, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a Dear Colleague Letter to governors, chief state school officers, and school district and school leaders urging them to end corporal punishment practices in schools. Secretary Cardona advocated replacing corporal punishment with evidence-based practices, such as multi-tiered systems of support, that create safe and healthy school environments.
Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates
This resource describes five guiding principles as well as suggested actions schools and school districts can take to create inclusive, safe, supportive, and fair learning environments. It also lists additional Federal resources that can support these efforts.
Webinar Miniseries on Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Academic Well-Being and Success
This miniseries, part of the Lessons from the Field Webinar Series, is designed to enhance state and local implementation of the Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn in environments that are safe, inclusive, supportive, and fair. It will include five events aligned with the Guiding Principles and recently released fact sheets:
- Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates
August 9, 2023
- Strategies for School and District Leaders
August 23, 2023
- Strategies for Schools to Enhance Relationships with Families
September 20, 2023
- Strategies for Educators and School-Based Staff
October 4, 2023
- Strategies for Student and Teacher Support Teams
October 18, 2023
For more information, and to register, please visit https://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/miniseries-supporting-students-social-emotional-behavioral-and-academic-well-being-and-success.