Building Bridges: An Alternative to School Susension

Building Bridges: An Alternative to School Susension

Out of school suspension is costing schools MILLIONS of lost income and revenue. It is the number one problem in today’s education. Out of school suspension does not teach a child accountability and it also takes them out of a learning environment, many times with enormous negative consequences. Recurrence and arrest rates on school campuses are rising. The suspended students get behind in their schoolwork, typically are home alone because their parents are working, playing video games or watching television or get involved in more dangerous activities.

“Building Bridges: An Alternative to School Suspension” by author and revered social worker Michelle Rappaport has been working with children in all levels of education for over 25 years. She began to see patterns among the kids in her school that were suspended. She questioned, “What did the out-of-school suspension experience teach these kids?” Rappaport developed the “Building Bridges” program as a creative alternative to out of school suspension that focuses on correcting thinking errors, restorative justice, cognitive behavioral principles and providing therapeutic interventions as a way to improve school behavior and as a result raise productivity and school attendance.

Additionally, the children do not get behind in their schoolwork as they are directed to do their schoolwork while participating in the “Building Bridges” program. Many times getting additional help in a subject that needs attention. The “Building Bridges” program saves schools MILLIONS of dollars and keeps our kids on the right track.

The Building Bridges program will not fix everything nor will changes that do occur necessarily be immediate or apparent. But Building Bridges is taking a step in the right direction. It is movement that will lead to students learning the skills to take responsibility for their actions; taking ownership for their choices; and the beginning of learning some alternatives and strategies to make better decisions in the future. Listen to Michelle share her story and a little about the Building Bridges program, http://youtu.be/F2NoJdEBwPw

An outside evaluation of the Building Bridges program by researchers at Loyola University Chicago School of Education is currently underway. Preliminary findings are that students with serious emotional issues who participated in the Building Bridges program following a major discipline referral went a statistically significantly longer period of time (e.g. number of school days) before having another recurrence compared to those that did not participate in the Building Bridges program (Engler, L; Rappaport, M; Hernadez, C; Jabines, February, 2014)

In “Building Bridges: An Alternative to School Suspension” Rappaport shares with schools a complete program providing a step-by-step plan to keep kids in school, help them learn to make better choices, and saves schools MILLIONS on lost revenue. Rappaport outlines 50 common scenarios that schools encounter. If there is a scenario that is not covered, she will develop a scenario that focuses on a specific problem for any school. Rappaport has begun traveling the country educating schools, districts and administrators on how to implement the “Building Bridges” program. She is available to come to any school in any market to help schools save millions and keep our kids on the right path.

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