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Missing class time for any reason has a negative impact on student achievement – especially time missed when a student is suspended or expelled from school. Research shows that these exclusionary discipline practices can also increase both the risk of dropping out and the likelihood of future involvement with the criminal justice system. Ultimately, because of disparities in the use of exclusionary discipline, these policies disproportionately push students of color and students with disabilities out of the education system and into the justice system.


Communities In Schools’ (CIS) 2019 Milliken Dialogues provided a forum for discussion about a necessary shift in our nation’s approach to student behavior. When young people are empowered with the appropriate supports to address the multiple barriers they may face and are provided with the necessary social emotional skills to self-regulate behavior, the need for disciplinary referrals can be reduced. Integrating a focus on social, emotional, and academic development improves the overall climate of a school, allowing teachers to focus on teaching and students to focus on learning.


The next Summit will be on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 9:00AM at CONVENE in Washington, D.C.

Highlights From Milliken Dialogues 2019


7:30 AM - 8:15 AM

Registration and Breakfast

8:30 AM - 8:45 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:45 AM - 9:15 AM

National Conversation on School Discipline

9:25 AM - 9:35 AM

Gallup Poll Reveal

9:35 AM - 10:05 AM

Fireside Chat

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Panel Discussion
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM Wrap Up and Final Thoughts
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM What We Are Made Of Mosaic Exhibit and Networking


Community Matters

Each year in schools across the country, nearly 3 million students are suspended at least once. Approximately half this many students are suspended more than once. This results in an estimated 18 million days of instruction missed due to exclusionary discipline. Why are the numbers so high?

In the early 90’s, schools began adopting zero tolerance policies to keep students and teachers safe from serious student misconduct, such as violent behavior and bringing weapons to school.  While these more serious forms of behavior have actually been on the decline, zero tolerance polices have been applied to a wider-range of misbehaviors, including vandalism, insubordination, and even dress code violations resulting in significant increases in overall student suspensions.
But it is our minority students and students who receive special education services that are disproportionately impacted by these policies and overrepresented in school suspensions. And these disparities begin as early as preschool and continue through high school.
This Community Matters Reports outlines research as well as policy and school practice recommendations that can help address the underlying issues that affect student behavior through an integrated focus on social, emotional and academic development.
It also outlines the efforts of Communities In Schools during the 2017-2018 school year to utilize that integrated model of work to improve the outcomes of students and includes the results of a new Gallup poll on school discipline.

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