Cutting unnecessary suspensions in Memphis schools might start with a simple “good morning.”
At least, that’s the hope of Heidi Ramirez, chief academic officer for Shelby County Schools.
Ramirez and her colleagues in Tennessee’s largest district are among the growing number of educators across the nation who have concluded that suspending students frequently comes at too high a cost. A recent decline in suspensions meant that local students spent a total of 65,000 more days in class last year than the year before, Ramirez said. But too many students are still losing valuable learning time and are getting alienated from school because of suspensions. (Read here about suspension trends in Memphis and across Tennessee.)
Some cities, including Miami and Indianapolis, have outright banned suspensions in most cases. Memphis hasn’t gone so far, but Ramirez said the district is working hard to change the tone it sets for students.
“A lot of our high schools have metal detectors, and we ask our students to go through those first thing,” she said. “The concern is that the first thing a child hears is ‘Pull up your pants.’ What if it was, ‘Good morning. Glad you’re here’?
“We’re really trying to shift the orientation from that of control to that of collaboration and positive culture.”
[For more of this story, written by Grace Tatter, go to http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts...warmly/#.WBD4Wi0rKOV]