Saturday, February 4, 2017

Durham Public Schools adopts Educator's Handbook


Durham Public School (DPS) system is listed among the top ten largest school systems in the state of North Carolina. Durham County Schools currently has more than 32,000 students enrolled in the system, with more than 2200 teachers employed by the district to teach full-time. The school system’s mission is “In collaboration with our community and parents, the mission of Durham Public Schools is to provide all students with an outstanding education that motivates them to reach their full potential and enables them to discover their interests and talents, pursue their goals and dreams, and succeed in college, in the workforce, and as engaged citizens.” The district offers traditional schools,
 magnet programs, year-round calendar schools and small specialty high schools. Durham Public Schools is also one of the top 30 districts in the nation for employing National Board Certified Teachers, and two of district’s high schools were listed in the US News & World Report's Best High Schools list for 2015 (DPS, n.d.). To uphold its mission Durham has implemented a new discipline program to better manage discipline and discipline related data. The name of the new technology is Educator’s Handbook.

Brief History of Discipline in DPS
In 2016, after analyzing racial disparities in suspension rates — and the poorer educational outcomes for suspended students, the Durham Public Schools Board of Education overhauled the student code of conduct for the first time in 10 years, (SORG, 2016). The mission was to decrease districtwide suspensions. Children and teens who are repeatedly suspended from school are less likely to graduate. And dropouts are eight times more likely to go to jail than their peers who complete school, according to criminal justice statistics. The issue of suspensions dramatically affected DPS African-American students, who were 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers in 2016. Even though then, about half of DPS 33,600 students were black, African Americans made up more than three-quarters of short-term suspensions. In contrast, 19 percent of DPS students in 2016 were white but they comprise only 4 percent of that type of suspension, (SORG, 2016). Durham Public School’s efforts to reduce suspensions overall and to bring the rate of suspensions of minority children closer to the rate of suspensions of white children became a districtwide initiative led by Durham Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Bert L’Homme. Although Educator's Handbook is a platform operated and managed by the State of North Carolina, DPS can use the program to track suspensions and monitor districtwide progress made towards lowering nonessential suspensions.

Educator's Handbook Summary
Educator's Handbook is the latest discipline program that Durham County Schools has selected to use to track discipline referrals districtwide. The program is a paperless method of tracking the number of discipline referrals written annual, and for what reasons they were written. The program tracks entry by teacher, administrator, and school. The level of the infractions; if it was a serious infraction or just a minor one, is distinguishable and the program provides detailed reports of what discipline measures were taking by teachers and administrators. Educator's handbook allows senior administrators to require designated actions before writing a specific referral, for example, a teacher may be required to make a parent contact before sending an office referral to administrators. Teaches that classify a referral as minor are opting to address discipline issue themselves, but log their actions to document the infraction. Teachers that designate a referral as an officer referral are requesting that an administrator addresses the infraction. As stated previously, Educator's Handbook offers reports that give administrators at all levels with access to Educator's Handbook data about what is happening within a school. Educator's Handbooks data can be uploaded to PowerSchools. In addition to the reports feature, Educator's Handbook also has an email component that allows teachers and administrators to email parents about school infractions that involve their children. The email feature also serves as the liaison between teacher and administrator, providing updates to teachers about administrator decisions regarding infractions. Formal letters can be printed from the program to mail to parents, to be used for formal notices, and to be used during formal reviews of a child’s discipline record.

Helpful Links for Educators Handbook

How To...
Brief demonstration videos

Detailed user guide

Handouts and slide decks

If you like the infographic, you can learn more at ....Click Here.

DPS. (n.d.). About Durham Public School: Minds on. Retrieved from Durham Public School System:
Educators Handbook. (2016). Retrieved from
School Match. (2017). Durham Public Schools. Retrieved from School Match:
SORG, L. (2016, February 19). Durham revamps school discipline code. Retrieved from The News and Observer:

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