Survey Results Released on 450 School Administrators’ Perspectives: Behavior Management, Mentoring Rated Top Ways to Improve School Discipline

Across the country, school leaders are working with state and local governments to improve their approaches to school discipline so they can provide safe, nurturing environments to students while keeping kids in school and out of the juvenile justice system. Today, as part of its School Discipline Consensus Project, the CSG Justice Center is releasing the results of a survey that provides insights into how school administrators are prioritizing the issues of student discipline and positive school climates in their districts.

The survey was conducted in partnership with the AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and resulted in more than 450 school administrators sharing their thoughts about how to improve their districts’ approach to school discipline. Among the findings were the following:

  • Survey respondents rated behavior management plans, mentoring, and in-school suspensions as the most effective alternatives to out-of-school suspension and expulsion in improving student behavior and school climate.
  • Survey respondents reported that Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), consistency management, and cooperative discipline are the most effective prevention strategies for improving school climate and reducing the need for disciplinary action.
  • The two challenges to successfully implementing alternatives to out-of-school suspensions/expulsions and comprehensive prevention strategies that were repeatedly cited were staff time demands and limited resources.
  • Fifty-six percent of survey respondents indicated that their district recently revised their student code of conduct. The most common change made was instituting a graduated system of responses to misbehavior.
  • Almost all (96 percent) of the survey respondents who indicated that their district has a school-based officer in at least one of their middle or high schools reported that these officers had a positive effect on the school environment.

“As superintendents and principals work to improve school climate and enhance the learning environment for students, addressing school discipline policies and practices are critical levers for meaningful change,” said AASA Executive Director and former superintendent, Dan Domenech.

To view a summary of the findings and the questionnaire, visit The issues related to school climate, disciplinary policies, officers in schools, and alternatives to out-of-school suspension and expulsion are among the many topics that will also be addressed in the upcoming school discipline consensus project report. 

The consensus project is administered by the CSG Justice Center in coordination with the Supportive School Discipline Initiative launched jointly by the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Secretary of Education in July 2011. The project is supported by a public-private partnership that includes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, NoVo Foundation, The California Endowment, and The Atlantic Philanthropies.

For more information on the School Discipline Consensus Project, visit

Please forward this email to colleagues interested in receiving updates on the school discipline consensus project; they can sign up at and indicate an interest in “youth” issues.

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