QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools wants to bring its office discipline referral numbers more in line with national trends.
National Positive Behavior Intervention Systems guidelines say school districts ideally have 80 percent or more of its students with zero to one office discipline referral, 5 to 15 percent of students with two to five office discipline referrals and 3 to 5 percent with six or more.
For the 2017-18 school year, QPS overall had 79 percent with zero to one, 11 percent with two to five and 10 percent with six or more -- a slight change from 2016-17, which had 80 percent, 12 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
"The numbers going up in and of themselves are not a huge red flag," PBIS External Coach Tracy Bugh told the Discipline Committee on Monday.
District teachers are encouraged to document not only disciplinary actions, but also interventions used with students, and both count as a referral, so "when we see numbers going up, we don't always take that as a bad thing," Bugh said.
"Percentage-wise, you might go from 8 to 10, but those two points talking actual students, it's a lot more," School Board President Sayeed Ali said. "You hear about having enough resources, being able to do interventions."
At the same time, Bugh said, the number of out-of-school suspensions declined 12 percent districtwide, still short of the 15 percent goal, but he added that the district made progress toward more closely meeting enrollment percentages in race and gender with suspensions while still struggling with higher percentages of them for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches and with individual education plans.
More encouragement comes with having more supports in place this school year for younger students, with social-emotional school administration managers in the K-5 learning communities and a consistent PBIS message along with and student support family liaisons in place in those buildings and at the junior high.
"I'm excited about all the interventions that will be in place, all the support people in place to do a lot more prevention and interaction with kids before it gets to a more serious issue," Bugh said.
Ali sees earlier intervention as "extremely encouraging" as a way to "make a huge difference" down the road for the district and shifting to K-5 learning communities as a "game changer" by reducing the amount of transitions for students.
"We'll track the data to see if we're starting to see success at early levels," Superintendent Roy Webb said.