Macomb Jr. High implementing new behavior management initiative

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 4:42 PM CST
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MACOMB (WGEM) - Traditionally, misbehaving in school might land a student in the principal’s office, detention or even a suspension.

Macomb Jr. High School is implementing a new “restorative approach” as an effort to better manage student behavior.

Part of the approach includes structured days, where students remain in school and are able to go back to their regularly scheduled classes after they have taken responsibility and remedied what they’ve done wrong.

Vice Principal Brett Burton said the new initiative helped decrease out-of-school suspensions by 67% this school year.

“We thought this was a way to build relationships where instead of saying we’re excluding you from the environment, which sends them a message that ‘we don’t want you here,’ instead what we’re doing is saying ‘no, we’re bringing you in and we’re targeting specifically the accountability that’s going to help you be successful,’” Burton said.

Part of the structured days include accountability projects and respect agreements, which Burton said helps the student understand the effects their actions have on others.

If needed, students also experience a trip to the school counselor.

“I bring them in, talk with them, reflect on things that maybe they could do differently in the future, things that have landed them there in trouble and how they might respond in a more proactive, positive way,” Jr. High Guidance Counselor Angie Schauble said.

By keeping the student in school, Schauble said it also allows the student to stay on track academically, compared to a traditional suspension where they might fall behind.

“Sometimes it’s overwhelming if you’re out for three days, even as adults, to come back and tread water to pick up on all the things that you’ve missed,” Schauble said.

Burton said the new initiative stemmed from low scores on a student to teacher trust, and teacher to administration trust climate survey that took place last school year.

While he said structured days don’t replace traditional consequences, teachers will soon receive training on restorative practices in the classroom.

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