CPS' Positive School Culture Plan
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.
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 quality, 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 to 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 for 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, 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 in 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.