Derekh Eretz and Progressive Discipline

DEREKH ERETZ and PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE  

The school has policies that guide our expectations and practices for how students, staff, parents/guardians and community members treat one another.

 

1. Derekh Eretz, Code of Conduct. The practice of Derekh Eretz, which means “The Conduct of the Land,” guides our approach to good conduct.

As members of The Toronto Heschel School community, we hold ourselves to the standards of The Derekh Eretz Code of Conduct  when we are in school, off school property, on-line, during and out of school hours. Together, we foster a safe, nurturing and inclusive community.  See Code here: https://torontoheschel.org/forms-docs/derekh-eretz

In addition to the Derekh Eretz Code of Conduct other policies guide specific areas of conduct in the school.  These include:

  1. Bullying Policy
  2. Computer Use Policy
  3. Dress Code Policy
  4. Virtual Learning Code of Counduct

Encouraging and Practicing Derekh Eretz in a Pro-Social Environment 

The school advocates and uses positive methods for teaching and practicing the habits and specific behaviours required by the Derekh Eretz code of conduct.  These include:

  1. Positive feedback to reinforce positive actions,
  2. Middat Hashavua program, that links specific Derekh Eretz practices to the weekly Torah portion,
  3. Pro-social learning skills developed as part of integrated curricular units
  4. Structured class meetings such as Civics classes in which practices of respectful dialogue and action are taught and practiced.

 

2. Progressive Discipline 

When a student behaves in a way contrary to the Derekh Eretz Code of conduct or other policies, expectations and practices of the school, the school employs a Progressive Discipline approach.

Progressive discipline utilizes a continuum of interventions, supports, and consequences to address inappropriate student conduct and to build upon strategies that promote positive behaviours. When inappropriate conduct occurs, disciplinary measures are applied within a framework that is preventive, corrective, and supportive rather than solely punitive. In this respect, one of the key procedures used is a Tikkun Process based on principles of restorative justice.  In all cases, the degree and type of discipline is in proportion to the severity of the behaviour, and takes into account the previous disciplinary history of the student and other relevant factors including age, special education needs, family circumstances, and the individual needs of the student.

Progressive Discipline may entail any the following interventions, at the discretion of the school:

  • Discussion with a teacher, learning specialists, educational support staff, Division Director or Principal/Head of School
  • Attendance, performance, and/or conduct/behaviour contracts
  • Breaks outside of the classroom to self-regulate
  • Reflection Sheet
  • Parental contact and involvement
  • Loss of privilege to participate in specified school activities
  • Peer mediation
  • Individual or group discussions
  • Tikkun process
  • Restitution for damage or stolen property
  • Community service or other restorative practices
  • In school suspension
  • Temporary out of school suspension
  • Permanent expulsion from the school

 

3. School-Family Partnership 

Consistency among expectations goes a long way in helping children experience school positively and successfully.  Parents are asked to review the school’s Derekh Eretz Code of Conduct to ensure that they are able to discuss it and support it with their children.

From time to time families may be asked to dialogue with the school on matters concerning Derekh Eretz and Progressive Discipline.   Outcomes are best when families engage with the school with respect, trust, and confidence in the observations of school professionals.  School professionals may seek parental input and home-school coordination as part of the progressive discipline process.   If the progressive discipline strategies of the school are unable to address a matter of student conduct, next steps are generated which may include requests to parents to provide assessments, consultations and/or external supports such as occupational therapists, behaviour therapists, and child-psychologists.

 

4. Procedures:

The Toronto Heschel School will promote positive conduct and utilize progressive discipline by: 

  1. Communicating the provisions of The Derekh Eretz Code of Conduct, progrssive discipline approach, and other policies related to school conduct to all board members, staff, parents, and students of The Toronto Heschel School.
  2. Establishing a supportive learning environment by reinforcing the provisions of the Derekh Eretz Code of Conduct through proactive and positive educational methods and curriculum.
  3. Providing professional development to faculty on how to effectively reinforce the Derekh Eretz Code of conduct and how to apply progressive discipline procedures.
  4. Using the progressive discipline approach to take  appropriate action to address, in a consistent way, behaviours that are contrary to the school Derekh Eretz code of conduct (c).
  5. Implementing and developing a range of interventions, supports and consequences that are clear and developmentally appropriate and include learning opportunities for students to reinforce positive behaviours and help students make good choices.
  6. Using the most appropriate method to respond to a student’s behaviour  providing for progressively more serious consequences for repeated or more serious inappropriate behaviour; consequences may include short-term suspension, long-term suspension, or expulsion may be the required response;
  7. Developing a process for building on existing partnership or developing new partnership with experts, community agencies and local police services that support students and their families.
  8. Providing opportunities for dialogue with parents/guardians related to student conduct.
  9. Ensuring that mitigating factors are considered when implementing progressive discipline; factors include: the previous disciplinary history of the student, age, identified learning and/or social emotional needs, family circumstances, and other mitigating factors.
  10. Providing opportunities for students to improve the school climate, for example through community service, or by assuming leadership roles (e.g., peer mediation, mentorship, recess buddies, );
  11. Conducting annual reviews through the Safety and Security Committee of the Progressive Discipline Policy to ensure that the approach to discipline effectively supports implementation of the Derekh Eretz Code of Conduct.  (k)  Establishing performance indicators for monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating the effectiveness of this and related operational procedures;

 

5. Suspensions and Expulsions:

Prior to suspending a student or referring a student for expulsion, an administrator will conduct an investigation and consider mitigating and other factors and document the process used.

Before taking the step of permanent expulsion, the Principal/HOS will present the matter to the Board of Directors and request that an ad hoc sub- committee be especially constituted. The Principal/HOS will then seek ratification of the decision to expel by that sub-committee. If the decision to expel is ratified, the parent of the child involved may appeal to the Co-Chairs of the Board for reconsideration. The decision of the Co-Chairs of the Board will be final.

Derekh Eretz and Progressive Discipline