You hear it all the time in schools: detention, suspension, “silent” lunch, lost recess, and the list goes on. We are conditioned to think that this is the only way to handle school discipline, but is it the right way? 

According to the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, “Punitive discipline does not improve student behavior or academic achievement. Students who have been suspended are significantly more likely to drop out of school and become involved in the juvenile justice system than their peers.” 

The Academy currently utilizes the Teaching Family Model for day-to-day classroom management within the school setting, and it has led to a significant increase in positive behaviors displayed by students at school. Students learn how to display skills such as following directions, accepting “no” for an answer, staying on task, and participating. This structure correlates with privileges in the home, which increases the school to home partnership and connection. 

However, sometimes behaviors can escalate which impede the learning of other classmates. When this happens, The Academy strives to issue consequences that are relevant and related to the behavior. The Academy is in the process of designing modules associated with specific behaviors in order to provide a structured teaching opportunity when a concern arises. Each module will include a teaching component, suggestions for replacement behaviors, and a task associated with it. 

The Academy is moving to correlated consequences that make sense to the behavior being exhibited. We value teaching the skills of how to work through undesired behaviors, so that students have the emotional regulation skills they need to succeed once they leave our program,” said Caitlin Cornett, Classroom Supervisor.

This revamp will also include incorporating restorative practices within the school setting. Sometimes, just like in our own families, hurt and harm can be caused within school communities. When this occurs, a restorative meeting would be issued in order for all parties to get together, discuss what harm was caused, and how each party felt during the incident. Restorative practices allow for students to restore psychological safety and feel seen and heard prior to re-entering the classroom. Other restorative practices may include service projects, re-entry circles, apology notes, etc. The goal is to reflect, restore, and reenter. 

“We’re really just trying to keep our kids in school. They’ve missed out on so much with COVID and sometimes prior placements, it just doesn’t make sense to take away something that our students have a right to. We want them here, and we want them to feel that,” says Katherine Kelly, Academic Director. 

By removing punitive approaches to classroom management, we seek to foster a greater sense of belonging and a positive learning environment for students. The Academy is on a journey of rethinking the “traditional” methods of classroom discipline and focusing on teaching the skills students need in order to be successful beyond life at Compass Rose Academy.


By Katherine Kelly, Compass Rose Academy Academic Director