Wednesday, July 28, 2004

CPS rethinks suspensions

Students won't be just kicked out and ignored, district says

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Public Schools is hoping to dramatically reduce the district's rate of expulsions and suspensions through new and expanded alternative education programs for students who would otherwise be kicked out of school.

High rates of disciplinary actions caused CPS students to miss thousands of school days last year alone. But district officials, who announced the changes Tuesday, say the new programs will help keep troubled students in school by allowing them to receive education and behavior counseling in an alternative setting.

The programs will be implemented this school year.

The district also hopes to change the behavioral culture in schools by having teachers and students emphasize positive behavior, respect for others and responsibility instead of simply addressing bad behavior.

"From a parent's perspective, the idea is to keep kids engaged and handle behavior problems constructively," said Carolyn Turner, executive director of Cincinnati Parents for Public Schools, an advocacy group.

Raising academic achievement is crucial in Cincinnati Public School District, which the state has labeled in "academic emergency" - the lowest of five rankings for student performance.

Superintendent Alton Frailey has said repeatedly that suspending and expelling students with no alternative education does not help them to achieve.

A special report on school discipline published in the Enquirer in February found that CPS' expulsion rate for 2002-03 was the highest of all Ohio's public school districts. The district expelled students 645 times and issued 13,200 suspensions.

Officials hope to reduce those numbers by placing students who would otherwise be suspended or expelled in the alternative-education programs. Under the old system, children who were suspended or expelled would be sent home - often with no schoolwork - for up to 10 days for suspension or up to 80 days for an expulsion.

The alternative programs for grades 4-8 will be housed in a former school building on Rhode Island Avenue. Grades 9-12 will be housed in an empty school building on Baltimore Avenue.

The alternative programs will take the place of Project Succeed, a school for troubled students. Project Succeed was not an option for children who were candidates for suspension or expulsion.

"Within each school setting, if the culture is such that children feel valued and appreciated, behavior will improve," said Rosa Blackwell, deputy superintendent.



Weiser: Are they chanting 'Jerry' or 'Kerry'?
Kerry portrayed as a hero
Text of Sen. Edward Kennedy's speech
Son of goat herder addresses Dems
Text of the keynote address by Barack Obama
Kucinich delegates weigh their choice
Even reruns beat politics
Convention notebook
Gannett News Service convention coverage
Enquirer's election section

Languishing on the riverfront
Bengals lawsuit provokes outrage
Disabled man mistreated by E-check staff
Gay-rights supporters file for repeal
AllOut mag debuts Aug. 19
WLWT editor fired over insert
Van shooting victim in critical condition
Drug dealer to battle sentence
Drake halts TV ads paid by levy
UC targets potential lung cancer gene for treatment
Medicare to cut cancer docs' pay
Deters cleared, aides guilty
Lawsuit: Goering botched estate
Local news briefs

I-471 study to include new ramps at each end
School may test athletes for drug use
Nick sticks to home front
Creditors continue to file against Florence's baseball team
Claims alleging sex abuse rise to 19
Kids learn to manage their money at camp
Grieving mother urges speed limit
Smoking-ban trial set for bingo hall

CPS rethinks suspensions
Greeks give lessons

Neighbors news digest

Summer charity helps children, elderly cool off

Arthur Church was Democratic activist, lawyer
Ralph Clark headed Cincinnati Bar Assn.