The following is from an article in the Allentown Morning Call about some positive trends associated with Bethlehem School District high schools' implementation of IIRP's SaferSanerSchools Whole School Change Program.

Liberty High School - Bethlehem, PALiberty High School photo from Easton Express-TimesSuspensions, fights, bullying and other forms of poor student behavior dropped at Freedom and Liberty high schools during the 2011-12 school year, documents show.

The improved discipline picture is a reversal of 2009-10 and 2010-11 when infractions went up in the Bethlehem Area School District's two high schools as part of a districtwide increase of 36 percent.

Compared with the 2010-11 school year, suspensions dropped 20 percent to 978 in 2011-12. The number of students suspended three times or more went down 43 percent to 493 at the two high schools over the same time frame, according to the Code of Conduct report, which separates offenses into three levels of severity.


The decline in Code of Conduct violations coincided with the implementation of a new outreach and character-development program known as restorative practices at the two high schools last school year.

The restorative practices philosophy attempts to make personal connections between staff and students. It also aims to get student offenders to understand how their actions affect victims to prevent them from doing it again.


[Superintendent Joseph] Roy, speaking on Wednesday, said [director of student services Dean] Donaher purposely played down the link between the discipline drop and the start of restorative practices at Monday's meeting "because we didn't want to overstate it."

But Roy said adding restorative practices was the only different program the high schools put in 2011-12.

Roy said he saw similar discipline declines when the restorative practices philosophy was adopted at two different districts where he served as high school principal.

"When you focus on helping kids realize the impact of their behavior, as opposed to just getting punished, you see improvement in behavior over time," he said.

Read the full article via Bethlehem school discipline infractions decline -

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