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CPS' Positive School Culture & Safety

Positive School Culture — A Supportive Approach to Student Discipline

The goal of the Cincinnati Public Schools' Student Support Guide — Code of Conduct is to ensure all students' right to an education in a safe, civil and caring environment. It is based on laws, regulations and Board policies that create access to education for all students while protecting the due process rights of the individual. 

Read the full Student Support Guide/Code of Conduct  2021-22

The Code of Conduct also recognizes that schools are public places that must balance individual rights with civic obligations and responsibilities that benefit all students and families. 

CPS' Code of Conduct provides clear guidelines for what behavior is expected from students, as seen in each building's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Plan. The Plans are a proactive approach designed to prevent behavioral problems before they occur with the goal of teaching students desired behaviors for common areas, classrooms and large group settings, by acknowledging good behavior instead of only punishing inappropriate behavior. 

CPS' administration utilizes culturally responsive and trauma informed approaches when addressing disciplinary infractions. Such an atmosphere has been proven to decrease discipline problems, promote equity and increase academic achievement. 

Due to the health and safety guidelines in place for COVID-19, Cincinnati Public Schools has temporarily closed the off-site Alternative to Suspension (A2S) and Alternative to Expulsion (A2E) programs. As such, Principals will utilize a menu of consequences based on the category of the infraction, including alternative and restorative disciplinary consequences inside the school buildings, including, but not limited to, Alternative Learning Centers (ALC). Removal from school will be a consequence of last resort. Out-of-school suspension and expulsion are allowable, commensurate with Ohio law. 

A school practicing Positive School Culture can be recognized by the mutual respect shown among all staff and students, aimed at creating a school that maximizes learning and minimizes problem behavior.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) 

The building blocks of the Positive School Culture Plan are Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a data-driven, prevention-focused approach for meeting the behavioral needs of all students. This PBIS framework is part of CPS' Multi Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), a proven step-by-step process that uses both prevention and intervention techniques to meet the needs of the whole child.

MTSS tiers help schools to organize levels of supports based on intensity so that students receive the instruction, support, and interventions they need. As such, student identities are not based on tier levels. Instead, individuals are identified as students in need of support.

Tier 1 — Schoolwide 

The largest tier provides strong, universal behavioral supports and instruction to all students. This leads to behavioral success for 80-90 percent of students in each building. Each CPS school has a PBIS Team, which includes administration, teachers, mental health professionals, and others who monitor PBIS the administration, teachers, mental health professionals, and others, to create schoolwide expectations guided by the Code of Conduct. Tier 1 emphasizes teaching and acknowledging appropriate student behavior.

Tier 2 — Targeted 

This middle tier provides additional support and strategies for helping students who continue to struggle despite receiving schoolwide instruction. Typically, about 5 to 10 percent of students per building would benefit from these more targeted supports. Tier 2 supports usually include small-group learning opportunities that review and reteach appropriate social and developmental skills. One of the most commonly implemented strategies at Tier 2 is a daily check-in with a trusted adult at school, for encouragement and reinforcement of expected behavior. 

Tier 3 — Intensive 

This smallest, but most intensive, tier, is ideally needed by about 1 to 5 percent of students per building. Tier 3 strategies are designed to meet the needs of individual students. This could include a referral to school-based mental health partners and more formal assessments to determine students' needs.

Restorative Practices


Cincinnati Public Schools takes a positive approach to discipline that creates a learning environment where students are held accountable for their actions and words but also coached to make improvements in their behavior. Restorative Practices are specific strategies that consist of positive interventions to improve behavior, particularly for Category I and Category II offenses. (See Code of Conduct, starting page 19). In addition to encouraging improved behavior, Restorative Practices promote: 

  • Self-accountability and reflection of misbehavior 
  • Conflict resolution among students and between students and adults 
  • Development of better, more effective teacher and student relationships 
  • Reduction of poor behavior 

Restorative Practices are research-based strategies that require training to properly implement and work best when the adults and students are willing to engage in repairing relationships. 


Reducing the racial outcomes in how we address student behaviors is a primary goal in building restorative communities. Historically, exclusionary practices have disproportionately impacted students of color. Black students are more likely to be suspended, expelled, and arrested than their White peers, even for the same behavior. 

Consistent with Board Policy 2255 Equity and Excellence in Education and 2256 Anti-Racism, Cincinnati Public Schools is committed to reducing the number of removals of students of color. CPS will eliminate racist discipline practices and policies by acknowledging and dismantling systemic structures that contribute to any form of racism or racist outcomes that disproportionately affect our students of color. We will achieve this by implementing the following policies and practices: 

  1. School teams will routinely examine disaggregated discipline and attendance data. 
  2. Staff will participate in cultural competency and restorative practices training. 
  3. The district will continue to work with the community to reduce unnecessary referrals to juvenile court, increase diversionary programming, and avoid creating juvenile records for students.

Reporting Incidents of Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment

Under Ohio Revised Code 3313.666(B)(11) and CPS Board Policy No. 5517.01, CPS provides a summary semiannually of all reported incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying, to the extent permitted by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Bullying Report — January 2017
Reported Incidents of Bullying — 2016-2017

February 2018 Report for Fall 2017

Bullying Report — Fall 2017
Reported Incidents of Bullying — First Semester 2017

July 2018 Report for Spring 2018

Bullying Report — Spring 2018

July 2019 Report for Spring 2019

Bullying Report — Spring 2019

February 2019 Report for Fall 2018

Bullying Report — Fall 2018
Reported Incidents of Bullying — First Semester 2018

February 2020 Report for Fall 2019

Bullying Report  — First Semester 2019

May 2020 Report for Spring 2020

Bullying Report  — Second Semester 2020

January 2021 Report for Fall 2020

Bullying Report  — First Semester 2020

June 2021 Report for Spring 2021

Bullying Report  — Second Semester 2021

January 2022 Report for Fall 2021

Bullying Report — First Semester 2021

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