HYDRA Program

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ISS/Suspension/Zero Tolerance Alternative Program


FACTS: (Data from Department of Education & Civil Rights Data Collection)

  • Latino students are twice as likely to get suspended from school than white students.
  • Black students are four times as likely to get suspended from school than white students.
  • If a student’s has been suspended once by the time they reach 9th grade, they are twice as likely to drop out.
  • In districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.
  • 70 percent of the students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black.

These statistics do not implicate school administrators and teachers as perpetrators of racism or biased, but it does demand that two hard questions be asked. Why is this happening and what can we do about it?

PROPOSAL: HYDRA (Helping Youth Develop Resilience & Anti-Fragility) is a multi-leveled approach to decreasing those above statistics in your school.

Level 1: All Staff Training on Relationship and Social Capital Building Research (John Hattie; Visible Learning) shows that a student that feels like they belong and participate in their education, is a student that will work and perform for their teachers. Community and belonging is a culture that is created and earned, not assumed. By training all school staff on how to build relationships, identify biases, identify privilege, identify micro-aggressions, etc. with students and how to allow students to be a stakeholder in their education, the statistics above can be drastically reduced. Training: Advent would provide a one day professional development and ongoing support for all school staff. Trained Advent staff would be willing to be “on-call” to work with teachers/staff on how to work with at-risk students.

Level 2: Community Decisions/Accountability Committee on ISS/Suspensions By using an in school community effort in making these decisions, schools can eliminate the heat of the moment decision making that takes place during a normal ISS/Suspension decision. Since students are valued and respected, administrators and teachers should take time to count the cost of suspension. This committee would be called together before a decision is made, and it would consist of teachers, admin, counselors. The teacher and admin that first handled the request would not be a part of the decision making process. A ISS/Suspension review committee would meet once a semester to review suspensions and process the students outcomes after the suspension, as well as the validity of the suspension. This committee would be made up of community stakeholders as well as in school staff. No names would be used in these meetings, per FERPA. Yet gender and ethnicity would be accounted for.

Level 3: ISS/Suspension Re-Entry In School Suspension (ISS) normally consists of 8 hours of a student sitting at a desk, by themselves, with no interaction from a teacher besides the requests to do their work and not to talk. This mimics a prison setting, which perpetuates the school to prison pipeline for at-risk students. This valuable time could be used to not lecture, but work relationally with these suspended students on modifying their behavior, as well as giving them alternatives to their behavior.

TRAINING: Why waste 8 hours? A trained ISS E.A. would be much more valuable to that student. Advent would provide training through the HYDRA program. Outside school suspension, when warranted, consists of a student sitting at home doing nothing. Free time away from school for an at-risk youth, why wouldn’t they want to repeat their behaviors so they can get more out of school free time? Would you rather that student be in attendance on campus?

TRAINING: If a out of school suspension is warranted, a student on re-entry back to school should be in ISS HYDRA for an entire day to discuss their actions, and to make a plan of action for themselves on how they can improve.

Interested in having HYDRA at your school? Contact us @ 214-727-4203 or ryanmurphy@auyd.org


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