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NEWS FLASH!!!  New money is available from the State to train districts how to improve the school culture for students and staff.  Follow this link:



Contact school board and administration and urge them to follow through without delay!!!



How We Treat One Another


Our children, preschool through grade 12, spend many hours of their lives in classrooms.  What is this like for them?  What is it like for their teachers and other school employees?  


The physical surroundings , the social/emotional atmosphere and the nature of their academic activities are all part of "school climate."  It is the quality of life they experience at school.  This is also called "school culture."


There are School Climate surveys for students and staff feedback -- what are the actual learning and working conditions of our children and their teachers, as seen through their own eyes




School culture/climate is not good intentions written into school district documents such as LEAP and LCAP, to be read and approved by the County, State, or local Board of Trustees and parents.  It is what truly takes place in classrooms and throughout school campuses day after day.


As public education stakeholders, we need to observe very carefully the reality vs. the words.  Are students and staff safe, happy, engaged in productive learning activity?  Is genuine respect for one another visibly demonstrated?  Are different viewpoints welcomed and suggestions for improvement invited?  


Is the social-emotional environment as important as student test scores?  Are teachers supported in trying better ways to differentiate learning for their students, or are they fearful of administrative rebuke?



"School culture is the behind-the-scenes context that reflects the values, beliefs, norms, traditions, and rituals that build up over time as people in a school work together—administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members. It influences not only the actions of the school population, but also its motivations and spirit."  (ENDAPT) 


ENDAPT Website (College of William & Mary)


National School Climate Center


CA Department of Ed




"Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. "  (CASEL)


CASEL Home page


Edutopia home page


Ripple Ellects Program




Restorative justice is a way of seeing crime as more than breaking the law – it also causes harm to people, relationships, and the community. So a just response must address those harms as well. If they are willing, the best way to do this is for the parties themselves to meet to discuss the harms and how to about bring resolution."  (Restorative Justice Online)


Principals of Restorative Justice:


International Institute or Restorative Practices


Center for Restorative Process   (This is about Oakland Schools)


Fresno Pacific University Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies Restorative Justice Project

Balances and Restorative Justice for Juveniles: A Framework for Juvenile Justice in the 21st Century

Restorative Justice Online



When will genuine "Restorative Justice" practices actually be implemented in our school district?

*Teachers, parents, students need to be involved in planning

*All staff needs training (use of "circles" etc.)

*Effective programs (Ripple Effects, etc.) need to be in place

Are newspaper articles giving a false impression that the district  is effectively and authentically using Restorative Practices when in fact teachers and parents do not yet really understand this concept and these processes are not yet truly in place?


RESOURCES ON PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports):

PBIS is a team based, systematic approach in teaching behavioral expectations throughout the school. It ieaches the behaviors, reinforces and recognizes students who are able to model these behaviors and has systems in place to support students who have a difficult time or may present with more challenging behaviors.


PBIS homepage


PBIS Information system


TIered Intervention at high school level:


PBIS:  Is this system effective for students and their families?  Is it helpful for school staff -- effective and time-efficient?  How can it be improved in its implementation?




A "Prevention Intervention Specialist" was hired this year to help coordinate services to families and school staff.  Is her job description adequate to the needs, and are her services being effectively used?


Question:  What actual behavior counseling is available to students at school?  How many staff members are fully qualified/credentialed for this work?


Kings County Social Services:



Some RSUSD schools post these on their school website page, others do not.  Copies should have been given to every student and family.  Look under the heading of "Discipline" to find school rules and the behavior expected of students.



AB 420 (Ch. 660) prohibits the expulsion of any student for disruption or willful defiance. It also prohibits the suspension of students in grades K-3 for either of these reasons. Although districts retain the authority to suspend students in grades 4-12 for disruption or willful defiance, state law allows suspension to be used only when other means of correction have failed to bring about proper conduct in the student.


Even before the passage of AB 420, school board policies BP/AR 5144.1 - Suspension and Expulsion/ Due Process had been revised to eliminate or limit the use of disruption or willful defiance as a ground for suspension/expulsion.  Alternative means of discipline that might be used to correct student behavior are addressed in BP/AR 5144 - Discipline  


RSUSD Discipline Policy 5144


Letter from Supt. Torlakson


Question:  Are disruptive students being kept in classrooms and making it difficult for other students to learn?  Since alternative measures (restorative justice, counseling) are not yet authentically in place, are adminstrators refusing to provide assistance to teachers and students?  Are they bullying teachers into keeping students in the classroom, just to make the suspension/expulsion data look better?




Reef-Sunset formerly had two Community Day Schools, one for Primary (elementary) grades, and one for middle/high school.


Community day schools are schools for students who have been expelled from school or who have had problems with attendance or behavior. These academic programs provide individual attention to student learning modalities and abilities.


"Community day school programs also focus on the development of pro-social skills and student self-esteem and resiliency. Community day schools are intended to have low student-teacher ratios. Students benefit from learning support services that include school counselors and psychologists, academic and vocational counselors, and pupil discipline personnel. Students also receive collaborative services from county offices of education, law enforcement, probation, and human services agency personnel who work with at-risk youth."


Supt. East closed the Primary Community Day School.




Adolescence is a time in life when children begin to define their own identity. Many seek out new peer groups as a means of gaining acceptance. Gangs can meet this need. Gangs can provide things children may not get at home or elsewhere — not just acceptance, but structure, money, food, activities, companionship, and even love. Kids don’t run toward gangs, they are running away from something else and find gangs. We can help prevent gang involvement by ensuring that students' needs are met in some other way. 


Gangs and Youth


Keep Schools Safe


National Institute of Justice


Parent Brochure











Staff & Administration




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