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Policies and Practices Planning

It takes a commitment from schools, school leaders, and often district leaders to investigate and implement the most appropriate and effective strategies that support student success and engagement. Each school district and school is unique, and therefore there are no step-by-step guides as to how to change policies, however, there are resources that can help you and your school district take the first steps to ensure the change and implementation of policies that promote student graduation and prevent disengagement that leads to dropouts.

The Colorado Department of Education provides the Practices Assessment Template. This is a comprehensive activity that guides school and district level administration through a series of questions related to current policies and practices in the school or district. The activity is designed to bring to uncover policies and practices that may be unintentionally pushing kids out. Sample policies and suggestions will be provided upon completion of the school/district Practices Assessment.

What is a “Practices Assessment”?

A Practices Assessment is required by statute 22-14-106. In short, it is an evaluation of *policies, practices, programs, services, and attitudes, school culture and climate that intentionally or unintentionally support or hinder the success of students in their ability to get through school from school culminating with a high school diploma. Specifically, “the practices assessment, at minimum, shall address:

  1. Attendance and truancy reporting enforcement policies and definitions;
  2. Risk factors and remedies applicable to students who are failing one or more courses, have experienced traumatic life events, or have lost academic interest or motivation and to students whose presence or actions are perceived to be detrimental to other students;
  3. Interaction with the juvenile justice system in enforcing compulsory school attendance;
  4. Interaction with the juvenile justice system in:
    1. Assisting in administering juvenile diversion programs and coordinating supports for all students transitioning out of the juvenile justices system to aid in the continuation of the students education, especially those students involved in the juvenile justice system as a result of school-related violations of the local education providers code of conduct or crimes committed on school property; and;
    2. Coordinating with juvenile probation officers regarding school related conditions of probation;
  5. Coordination with child welfare services, including but not limited to county departments of social services, facility schools, and other youth services providers;
  6. Grading Policies
  7. Policies for grade repetition and remediation;
  8. Course completion requirements and policies; and
  9. Policies and practices relating to:
    1. The use of career and academic plans;
    2. Addressing ethnicity, language, and cultural barriers between students home and school;
    3. English language acquisition;
    4. Student acquisition of behavioral, social and emotional skills;
    5. Students health care needs;
    6. Alternative and flexible education options
    7. Family involvement and support services
    8. Expanded learning opportunity programs
    9. Staff development in implementing evidence based strategies;
    10. Innovations to address barriers to school engagement and success;
    11. Outreach services to re-engage students who drop out of school; and
  10. Review and analysis of data regarding dropout rates, graduation rates, school completion rates, truancy rates, the number of students who are habitually truant, suspension rates and expulsion rates.”

Upon completion, “the practices assessment shall be transmitted to the department for publication on the internet.” [22-14-106 (4)]

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