African American Students Benefit as Suspensions Drop

posted Feb 3, 2011, 8:41 AM by Cheryle Kennelly
Burr Oak Elementary School, Calumet PSD 132, has had a 67.5% decrease in out-of-school suspensions (OSS) from 2006-07 to 2008-09. In particular, the reduction was evident for the percentage of African American (AA) students receiving OSS, a percentage that fell from 16.8% of AA students in 2006-07, to 6% in 2008-09. The level of disproportionality also decreased as AA students, who make up 76-81% of the total enrollment, accounted for 97.4% of the OSS in 2006-07, 90.1% in 2007-08 and 84% in 2008-09. The school principal, Carole R. Collins Ayanlaja, encourages a restorative justice approach, along with high rates of student acknowledgment, and contact with parents to reiterate school-wide expectations and prevent OSS. Team members also attribute the reductions in OSS to enhanced Tier 2 systems and the active involvement of parent volunteers.  This positive trend has continued, with zero OSS during the first quarter of the 2009-10 school year.