In response to the 2/7/2011 post, “What are You in Charge of,” a LYS Principal writes: I saw Dr. Jenkins operation frequently last year, as I used to work in that district. It is a smooth operation. John gets a lot of criticism for his unapologetic use of the LYS discipline approach, but after viewing it first hand, I adopted most of the same strategies. A little history, I was a turnaround principal (as I am still) in the early days of the Texas High School Restructuring Project (which was run by Cain). I learned first hand that AU schools also have PBMAS data problems involving discretionary placements to ISS and DAEP. Here’s a rock solid correlation: Take the kids out of the instructional setting, and they don’t learn. Amazing. Here are a few things to consider, and I know some of this is crazy talk: 1. We are not in the punishment business, we are in the learning business. Discipline should be a learning tool, not a punishment tool. Don’t worry, after school there will be plenty of people standing in line to punish your kids. 2. I very seldom use a discipline technique that removes a kid from the instructional setting. I will discuss the exceptions below. Yes, you too can have a school with virtually no kids in ISS. If you need to see one, come to my school. Use detentions and time outs for redirection. 3. Most behavioral problems are due to parental dis-engagement. Re-engage the parents. If they don’t want to re-engage, push on the parent. Call the parent and ask to see them in person, right away. If right away is not possible, the next morning will do. For first time minor offenders a phone call may be in order, but for any repeat offender, a phone conference simply won’t do. Inconvenience the parent. After all, it is the parent’s job to raise the child, not yours. Don’t let the parent dodge their responsibility. Parent won’t come for a conference? Try these options: suspend the child pending a parent conference (I don’t like this one, but I have used it), take the child to the parent’s work place and let the parent deal with the child (I did this once; it was highly effective), use your SRO for leverage: “do you prefer a ticket or a conference, because we are out of options?” Re-engaging parents is time consuming. You are looking at 30 minutes for each conference. It only takes 5 seconds to place the child in ISS, and the problem is out of sight, out of mind. Using these techniques I found that less than 1% of parents were unwilling to re-engage with their child. Some of these parents got tired of our calls and demands and moved their children to other schools, which suits me just fine. I should mention that most parents love this approach. Parents don’t want their child in ISS and most are willing to take off work to re-engage their child. I should also mention that many teachers initially don’t like the approach. As administrators we have conditioned our teachers that referrals will result in a multiple day break from the child in question. I mean, running a school without ISS? That is truly crazy talk. SC Response At one time, four of the top ten young Texas urban school leaders (FT, JJ, JM and MS) were in this district. Unfortunately, the district didn’t know what to do with them, so all but Dr. Jenkins scattered with the wind. Oh, what could have been. Some more history, LYS discipline programs and philosophy were born in the research and work that Dr. Jim Davis and I led in Harris County in the late 1990’s early 2000’s. Here is what we learned:1. The more a student gets in trouble, the more he suffers academically. 2. The more the student is removed from class, the less chance he has to pass the state accountability test.3. Remove the student from the campus, and he is all but a guaranteed drop out. The answer:1. Create systems that prevent students from getting in trouble.2. Minimize the time students are away from the classroom.3. Work every day to put the Off Campus Discipline Program out of business (by chocking off the supply of students). E. Don Brown in Dallas and Robert Brezina in Houston understood this way before the rest of us did (who’s surprised). Brown never had an ISS program on his large high school campus (Brown quote: ISS is a self-fulfilling prophesy). Brezina put his best staff at his DAEP’s (that’s where you find the greatest need). Finally, no matter what, you have to eliminate out of school suspensions. This is the dumbest discipline intervention ever created. When I send you home, I have ceded control of the situation to a parent who by all objective data (child exhibiting anti-social behavior) has no control over the situation. I have to assume that I am the only one who has the will and the tools to teach the student how to be successful in social interactions (notice, the absence of the word punishment). So if the child gets in trouble, I’m working with him. The more serious the trouble, the more time he gets and the more focused the intervention. Just know that every student you quit on, from a statistical standpoint, is a guaranteed failure. Things do not get better down the discipline continuum. Stop the slide before it starts. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…Follow Sean Cain at NationComing Soon! – “The Fundamental Five: The Formula for Quality Instruction” www.TheFundamentalFive.comPlan to attend the LYS presentations the summer at TASSP, TASB and TEPSA.