Metro Schools gets $250,000 grant to stop discipline disparities

Metro Schools’ progressive and nationally recognized effort to reduce discipline disparities is receiving new funding for the second phase of implementation.

“Although suspensions in Metro Schools are down, we still have work to do,” said Dr. Shawn Joseph, Metro Schools’ director of schools. “We remain committed to addressing the root causes of discipline problems through a holistic, restorative model to help students thrive at school and in life. It’s important that this work continues.”

The PASSAGE program (standing for Positive and Safe Schools Advancing Greater Equity) is a district-community collaboration focused on addressing school discipline disparities, known as the ‘discipline gap,’ and reducing the pattern of higher rates of suspension and expulsion among students of color—primarily Black males. Funding for the initiative’s third year creates an opportunity to develop an evidence-based model that can be replicated in other large urban school districts in the U.S., according to researchers.

“The additional funding validates the work that the steering committee, community members and law enforcement put into the first two years of the PASSAGE initiative,” said Dr. Tony Majors, Metro Schools’ executive officer for support services. “The funding sustains the work of reducing discipline disparities for students while also providing a high level of support and training for students and staff.”

The recently awarded $250,000 grant administered through Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform will:
· Support practices that build teacher capacity and collaboration in Metro Schools in order to examine persistent discipline disparities at the school level
· Implement interventions that create supportive classrooms and school climate in Metro Schools, and
· Develop procedures for collecting and tracking relevant data to measure progress over time in the district

The next phase of PASSAGE in Metro Schools also includes ongoing coalition building among a wide range of stakeholders, including principals, parents, teachers, counselors, law enforcement officers, clergy, juvenile judges, community leaders, researchers and local government officials, as well as training for these groups to critically examine the structures, policies and practices that perpetuate discipline disparities and contribute to negative school climate and culture.

The Oasis Center, will continue to serve as PASSAGE’s core community partner and co-convener with the district.

Read more about the second phase of the PASSAGE program and the full announcement of the grant by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform on their website,