Code of Conduct Review Continues: First Meeting of Stakeholder Committee Members
As part of Pittsford School District’s current annual comprehensive review of its Code of Conduct policy and document, a recently formed committee of PCSD stakeholders held its first meeting on August 5, 2019, to review the steps taken during Phase I of the review process and to begin work towards next steps for Phase II and III. The committee is comprised of representatives of stakeholder groups who hold a natural interest in the Code of Conduct, including PCSD administrators, staff, students, community partners, and PTSA parents/guardians. The goal of the committee is to offer short-term revisions and longer-term recommendations to the Board of Education, with a focus on building the Code of Conduct’s policies around racial issues, inclusive culture and climate, restorative practices, discipline processes, vaping and alcohol investigations.
During Phase I, which began last school year, changes were initiated and new language was added outlining the connection of the Code of Conduct to the District’s commitment to Social Emotional Learning and to employing restorative practices. These additions align with the Mission, Vision and Values of PCSD. Other work completed during Phase I included a review of the Code of Conduct by Superintendent Pero’s Student Advisory Council and the beginning of the development of anti-slur language to be incorporated into the Code of Conduct and other policies.
Phase II, which is taking place this summer, will include a more expansive review of the Code of Conduct. The goal of this work is to develop updates to the Code of Conduct, with more guidance for students, staff and parents/guardians. Ongoing updates will be posted on the District’s web news home page and the Code of Conduct page, and will be shared via PCSD’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. The Code of Conduct is approved annually by the Board of Education, even as work continues.
Phase III will take place throughout the 2019-20 school year and will involve a deeper and more comprehensive review of the Code of Conduct as well as benchmarking like districts and a more detailed look at language and guidance to address high priority issues. Phase III will also result in training and communication plans. During this phase, final recommendations will be presented to the Board of Education for review and approval.
The District has engaged two partner agencies to support the committee’s work on the Code of Conduct review: Partners in Restorative Initiatives and The Children’s Institute (PIRI). These partners bring valuable expertise in restorative practices and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to the review process. They will facilitate community circles at committee meetings and assist the Director of Student Services with facilitation and document development.
Each meeting will use community building (restorative) approaches to discuss and facilitate activities to move toward concrete objectives. The meetings will open and close with a circle, and meetings will take a strengths/asset-based perspective and provide opportunities to focus on what is working as well as potential growth areas.
During the half-day August 5, 2019, committee meeting, members:
- Reviewed the purpose and goals of the group
- Shared personal perspectives and hopes for the outcome of their work
- Developed group norms and guidelines
- Reviewed past Code of Conduct work
- Participated in learning related to recent racial issues, SEL and restorative mindset/practices to ensure common language and definitions
- Participated in learning related to existing Code of Conduct and NYSED requirements
- Discussed priorities for short-term and long-term work
- Reviewed processes recently used in other districts as models
There are three half-day meetings yet to take place this summer. Draft recommendations will be presented to the Superintendent and Board of Education in the fall. Progress notes and updates will be shared on the District website following each meeting.