How Policies and Practices Impact Students
School practices and policies can unintentionally contribute to pushing students out of school. Modifying policies and practices on discipline, attendance, grading, school climate, relationships and behavior can increase student success and retention. Effective school policies and procedures that are flexible and accommodating can lead to both improved outcomes for students and improved graduation rates for schools.
What Action Can Be Taken?
Establishing and implementing policies to ensure that all students have the environment, instruction and guidance needed to engage in their education and attain their goals.
To affect change, district and school leaders may take these steps:
- Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of existing district/school policies and practices related to attendance, behavior, and course grading at the elementary, middle school and high school level;
- Analyze course completion interventions, course remediation and credit recovery opportunities for students who have fallen behind in their classwork, are failing a course and/or are missing credits to graduate;
- Build consensus among school leaders and faculties on the need for research-based practices (e.g., teacher teaming, project learning, different types of grading systems, opportunities to make up missed work) that will help to prevent negative student outcomes through reducing absences, suspensions, and course failures.
To help struggling students, district and school leaders can implement these specific policies and practices:
- Provide school-wide bullying prevention programs to improve school climate and promote an overall positive school culture.
- Provide counseling and support for students struggling with substance abuse.
- Support teachers with options to assist students that have not met course requirements versus failing the student.
- Advocate for afterschool, weekend, or summer programs to provide additional opportunities that help students enhance their academic skills, increase their engagement, and find their own path toward graduation.