Focused Classroom Coaching and Widespread Racial Equity in School Discipline

Do the effects of a coaching program found to reduce the racial discipline gap in a teacher’s single classroom generalize to the teacher’s other classrooms?

Nationwide, suspension rates of Black students are more than two times higher than those of other racial and ethnic groups, and Black students are over-represented in school disciplinary sanctions. Disciplinary action and school suspension negatively impact a student’s behavioral outcomes and odds of high school graduation. The investigators will test whether My Teaching Partner-Secondary (MTP-S), a teacher professional development program shown to reduce racial discipline gaps, is an effective strategy for leveraging widespread and sustained change in classroom disciplinary practices. In prior work, the team found that the coaching program significantly reduced MTP-S teachers’ use of discipline referrals with Black students in the focal classrooms for which they received intensive and sustained training. MTP-S teachers’ reflections on their experiences were videotaped and used by the coaches to work with teachers on particular aspects of their practice. The investigators will now collect student discipline records for all the teachers’ students in 1) focal classrooms during both intervention years, 2) in non-coached classrooms during both intervention years, and 3) in all classrooms in the post-intervention year. They will then examine the number of teachers’ referrals and their reasons for issuing the referral, and also test whether there are differences in the intervention’s effectiveness by teacher race.

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