Student discipline at Kennedy begins with relationship building. Our teachers seek to know their students academically, socially and emotionally and connect with them as they grow and change in these areas. Our core values of respect, responsibility, results serve as our common contract for how we will treat one another in the building.
At times, the contract may be broken as students interact with others or deal with all of the forces at play on an adolescent during this time of tremendous growth and change. If students behave in ways that do not align with our core values, we strive to support that student as he/she realizes the error of his/her actions and give fair, appropriate consequences for those actions.
In 2003, in a safety survey given to all of our student body, students told us that they would feel safer and happier in the building if:
- we could ensure that all students were treated in the same manner regarding behavior;
- that all adults in the building held the same standards for dealing with misbehavior.
Finally, they told us that they wanted to know what would happen to students who misbehaved. In short, they wanted to know that the adults in the building had followed through and given consequences for misbehavior. They said that if we did these things, they would be more likely to trust us and to report potentially dangerous behavior to us. Subsequent years' safety surveys have indicated that students are reporting issues to adults more reliably and frequently.
The tool created in response to student requests and ideas about safety is the school-wide behavior rubric. Expectations and consequences are clearly laid out and evenly enforced across the building. This tool, created collaboratively by students, teachers, and then reviewed by families, is a community document. It is reviewed yearly for effectiveness and fairness.
The rubric is only one part of the discipline system; without relationship building, our cores values, and rewarding positive behaviors across the building, the rubric becomes less effective. We constantly seek to use the rubric in the context of the other components of our discipline program.