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Madison Metropolitan School District

Middle School Behavior Education Plan

The Behavior Education Plan (BEP) is driven by the word “education”, and at its core is a teaching and learning plan designed to support every student in their social, emotional, and academic development.

We know behavior education is complex work that happens in classrooms and cafeterias, on buses and playgrounds, and even offices and auditoriums. Whether you are a student, family member, community member, or staff member, we all have a responsibility to embody our beliefs, our expectations, and our commitments.

Two hands covered in paint making a heart

For questions or comments about the Behavior Education Plan please use the Let's Talk button at the bottom of this page to contact us.

We Believe…

  • In authentic relationships and a supportive community that fosters a sense of belonging

  • In a thriving school environment where staff and students are physically and emotionally safe

  • In the importance of student and staff voice in decision making

  • Families and school staff must be collaborative partners in supporting every student

We Expect...

  • Students, staff, and families demonstrate respect to one another and hold high expectations for behavior

  • Students, staff, and families build and sustain ongoing positive and authentic relationships

  • Students, staff, and families contribute to a safe learning environment

We Will...

  • Utilize innovative strategies and supports to create a positive school community where students, staff and families feel safe

  • Provide schools with the necessary resources, professional development and technical assistance to implement the Behavior Education Plan

Guiding Principles

When we decided to take this approach as a District, the Board of Education put in place key Guiding Principles. These principles have not changed and will continue to guide us.

We are grounded in a strong focus on engagement and learning

Whenever possible, we avoid exclusionary practices

We believe in teaching and intervention over consequences and punishment

We support progressive discipline, not “zero tolerance”

We believe that strong school-family partnerships are important

We will use disaggregated data to identify disparities, monitor progress, and drive decisions

We believe that every child, when provided with appropriate support, can learn and succeed

We support proactive problem-solving on behalf of students

Supporting positive student behavior requires a high level of commitment from students, parents, guardians, staff, administrators, and members of the Board of Education. These stakeholder groups have rights and responsibilities that are designed to reflect both the mutual respect and accountability required of all people involved in supporting student behavior. The rights and responsibilities for each group are outlined in the Rights and Responsibilities Guidance.

In 2014, we made a major shift.

Our community was in consensus that our zero tolerance policy for school discipline wasn’t working, that it was having a disproportionate and negative effect on students of color and students with disabilities, and that we needed to do something different.

We took a step into uncharted territory - to embrace a restorative and progressive approach, one that aims to keep students in school and build stronger school communities. We are very proud of our staff for taking this on as it requires such conscious decision making, continual effort to build relationships and trust with students and families, every step of the way.

Through this journey, we’ve learned an incredible amount about this work, about what it requires to do it well and how powerful of an impact this work can have when it is working. This updated Behavior Education Plan captures those lessons learned and will propel our District forward.

More than anything, we’ve learned from our students that building community and relationships is foundational to a safe and supportive school for all.

Goals and Metrics

The goals of the Behavior Education Plan are focused on ensuring every student experiences a thriving school culture and a safe and supportive learning environment, leading to healthy identity development, and a sense of belonging.

These goals align to the vision and goals of the District’s Strategic Framework.

A closeup of a student working on a math problem.

Our priority and focus on addressing racial inequities drives this work and provides the basis for three overarching goals: increase a sense of safety and belonging in school, implement successful systems of support and intervention, and reduce disproportionality in the use of exclusionary practices. Each of these goals and metrics will be disaggregated so that we can hold ourselves accountable for progress.

Goal #1

Increase the number of students, families, and staff who feel safe and a sense of belonging

As measured by:

  • The annual climate survey

Goal #2

Improve the successful development of:

  • Foundational practices and integration into school-wide systems

  • Effective use of intervention

As measured by:

  • Self-assessment data
  • Intervention documentation

Goal #3

Reduce the disproportionality in use of exclusionary practices, including suspensions for African-American students and students with disabilities

As measured by:

  • Suspension data

Foundational Practices and School-Wide Systems

Overview

We believe that social, emotional, and academic development requires four foundational practices

  • Culturally Responsive Teaching

  • Restorative Justice

  • Social Emotional Learning

  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

Graduate Vision

The integration of these practices into school-wide systems and structures takes time, effort, and teaming. Some teams responsible for this collective integration include Teacher Teams, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Teams, Student Services Teams, School-Based Leadership Teams (SBLTs), PBIS or Culture and Climate Teams, and Family and Community Engagement Teams.

To implement these foundational practices, school teams must

  • Foster a collective mindset focused on the inherent worth, skills, and dignity of every student

  • Connect Behavior Education Plan goals with School Improvement Plan goals

  • Pursue and privilege student, staff, and family voice in decisions

  • Commit to consistent teaming with a focus on reflecting and adjusting practices

  • Create and communicate universal expectations for all

  • Transform harm and conflict with opportunities for use of restorative practices

The District will support this work by

  • Leading training opportunities for staff

  • Providing resources to meet the goals of the Behavior Education Plan

  • Continuously building and deepening community partnerships with those who share our values and mindset around supporting students

  • Engaging in creative thinking to support all students with intensive needs

  • Creating professional development opportunities for school teams to collectively analyze and discuss data, share experiences with other teams, and learn from other schools’ implementation practices

On this website we will explain each of these four foundational practices in more detail, and this proactive approach to behavior education is further explained throughout the plan. By using an approach that focuses on universal systems rooted in culturally responsive teaching practices, we can continue to integrate behavior education into everyday school practices. This will provide for safe and productive learning environments that foster belonging and community.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Culturally Responsive Teaching focuses on creating the classroom conditions necessary for teaching advanced cognitive skills to every child. In her book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond explains that culturally responsive teaching requires a “learning partnership” between students and teachers

As culturally responsive teachers, educators are expected to engage in “inside” work that examines their own racial identities. This self-assessment also includes:

  • Examining implicit biases

  • Recognizing needs for Social Emotional Learning

  • Analyzing the impact of actions

This work also requires that we embrace the holistic set of skills and abilities articulated in our Graduate Vision. We want our students to master academic content, build creativity, confidence, cultural competence, gain a strong sense of self and interpersonal skills, and have a growth mindset to help them continually build the skills and abilities to be successful.

The following strategies support Culturally Responsive Teaching

  1. Set high and clear expectations for all students
  2. Acknowledge all students
  3. Develop self efficacy
  4. Connect to students’ lives
  5. Apply academic press
  6. Address racial and cultural identity

For Students

Middle School is a time to explore who you are. There are more freedoms and challenges at this point in your education than in elementary school. Setting goals, managing high expectations, and stepping into leadership roles are just a few ways teachers and staff will engage you.

For Families & Community

Who we are as a district and who we want to be as educators is built upon this work. Partnering together supports middle schoolers’ transition into the expectations that await them in their high school years.

For Staff

We see each of our students for who they are and who they are becoming. Culturally responsive teaching helps in developing instructional practices that engage all learners in a safe and supportive community. Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain is a valuable resource to help staff develop these practices.

For more information on Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) in MMSD

Check out our MMSD CRT Strategy Guide, contact your school’s Instructional Coach, or the District Professional Learning Team. To learn about how our schools embed culturally responsive teaching into their day-to-day practice, refer to the Implementation Guidance.

Restorative Justice

The Behavior Education Plan is founded on principles of Restorative Justice in Education. At the center of this model is mindset, including the belief that all people are inherently worthy and want to be in strong relationships. Schools are supported with a variety of resources under the Restorative Justice umbrella, including the use of restorative practices.

As a District we work toward the transformation of school cultures so that all members of the learning community, including students, teachers, staff, administrators, families, and community members, feel they belong.

Restorative Practices focus on

  • Building and maintaining healthy relationships to create a caring culture where every member thrives

  • Engaging in repairing harm and transforming conflict

  • Establishing communities of re-entry and support after harm in order to welcome, integrate, and support students after an extended absence or for individualized support to build a more equitable learning environment

In order to do this work, staff and students will learn to teach and reinforce foundational beliefs and core practices. These include building and maintaining just and equitable school communities and cultures, developing strong relationships, and using a “circle process” as both a proactive and responsive strategy to prevent, identify, and repair harm through healthy dialog.

We also believe in empowering, encouraging, and supporting student, family, and staff well- being. We plan to achieve this by offering a variety of opportunities to explore and experience mindfulness-based practices. Mindfulness practices can help us regulate and respond to our challenging and complex realities and are directly linked to Restorative Justice.

For Students

Participating in the circle process is an engaging and empowering way to get involved with Restorative Justice in your school, in fact, your school might have opportunities to be a circle keeper. Talk to your teachers and support staff for more information about how you can get involved.

For Families & Community

Families and community members can get involved with Restorative Justice by participating in school and classroom community building opportunities and can learn more by joining a school’s Family, Youth, and Community Engagement Team, or by partnering with school staff to support students in a Restorative Circle.

For Staff

Trainings are offered in a variety of ways. Check out the MMSD Talent Portal for more.

For more information on Restorative Justice in MMSD

Contact your school’s Student Services team or the District Restorative Justice team. To learn about our schools’ journeys in developing restorative practices, refer to the Implementation Guidance.

Social Emotional Learning

Students are most successful when we attend to both their academic and social emotional learning needs. Student needs differ, so social emotional learning must address a variety of topics. The Social Emotional Learning standards (SELs) guide the topics and are at the center of school-wide and classroom implementation.

Similar to academic standards, the SELs define what students should know and should be able to do and are incorporated into students’ experiences every day. Students learn about building a positive self-identity, managing emotions, and perseverance to name a few expected outcomes. Programs and curricula such as Welcoming Schools, Zones of Regulation and Second Step, and Developmental Designs (once known as Responsive Classroom) anchor this work at the elementary level in MMSD.

Here are a few examples of how these are integrated into learning experiences

Academic and Career Planning (ACP)

  • Students explore four questions: Who am I?, Where do I want to go?, How will I get there?, and Who are we together?

  • These lessons and activities start in 6th grade and extend through high school

Bullying prevention

  • Teaches about different identities and empathy in order to increase understanding and respect for others as a means of preventing bullying behavior

  • Clarifies the difference between bullying and conflict and proactively provides opportunities for students to practice ways to address these behaviors

  • Teaches ways to be an ally and identifies the different roles people play in order to reduce bullying behavior

  • Explains key terms such as “imbalance of power” and “protected class”

Developmental Designs

  • Provides techniques and structures to build classroom community, strengthen relationships, improve and refine student engagement, and develop strategies for self-regulation in the classroom

  • Core practices include Circles of Power and Respect to build community and “Take a Break” to promote self-regulation

For Students

Have you ever needed some time to let your emotions calm down after a stressful situation? Your teacher likely knows some Developmental Designs strategies that can help support you in class. Additionally, you might notice a “SELs” focus next to your learning target to support identity and emotional development.

For Families & Community

While there are many ways we teach and support social emotional learning, all students will have opportunities to understand community, learn about identity, and practice recognizing and managing emotions both in and out of school. If you have questions about how your school is teaching these concepts, contact your school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) coach.

For Staff

A District-wide plan calls for all staff to be trained in Developmental Designs, along with training in other programs and skills in this area. Trainings are offered throughout the year and more frequently in the summer. See the MMSD Talent Portal for more details.

For more information on Social Emotional Learning in MMSD

Contact your school’s PBIS Coach or and refer to the Implementation Guidance to learn how we are implementing SELs.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports - Universal Systems

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a universal systems framework for all students in MMSD. Every school has a team of dedicated staff who determine universal behavior expectations, plan engaging and interactive lessons, and reinforce feedback and acknowledgements to help improve student performance and school climate. PBIS also incorporates social emotional learning to help equip students with the skills they need to succeed at school and beyond.

This framework ties all of the core practices together into a universal system. The key components include establishing clear expectations, data analysis, effective teaching and modeling, acknowledging behavior, and use of interventions as needed for additional support.

Bottom Triangle Highlighted

Universal Systems for all students

PBIS Systems are supported by

  • A team that meets regularly to monitor data and make adjustments

  • Student voice and choice in establishing classroom and school-wide expectations and incentives

  • Community and parental involvement to get ideas and build partnerships

  • A connection to restorative strategies, social emotional learning, and culturally responsive teaching practices to ensure equity among all students, staff, and families

  • A commitment to the Wellness Policy to build healthy habits, which include discussing appropriate hours of sleep each night, self-regulating screentime, eating right, and ensuring opportunities for daily physical activity

For Students

Your voice matters, and as you explore who you are and what you need to be successful at this level, share your ideas and opinions with your teachers. They can help you get involved in students groups and other clubs that meet your interests and needs.

For Families & Community

Positive systems of support shift in middle schools to highlight student recognition and identity development. PBIS also includes age-appropriate incentives, rewards, and acknowledgement of good decision-making and continuous improvement.

For Staff

Data analysis is a major component of PBIS to help determine how these universal systems are implemented and monitored. SBLT, PBIS teams or Culture and Climate teams should be monitoring these systems, ask your PBIS coach how you can help or learn more.

For more information on PBIS in MMSD

Contact your school’s PBIS coach or District Universal Systems Coaches. To learn about how our schools embed their established universal systems, refer to the Implementation Guidance.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports - Intervention & Strategies

When additional supports are needed, interventions and disciplinary actions should be selected, implemented, and assessed with the goal of helping every student succeed. Students are more likely to excel and less likely to disengage when they feel connected to others in their school and classroom community. A progressive approach to discipline is only effective when authentic relationships are maintained.

Middle Triangle Highlighted

Intervention and strategies for some

Interventions range in intensity and are situational. The table to the right shows that there are often layers to the approach. We believe students need the space to make mistakes, learn from them, and receive support to change their behavior over time.

When a specific student behavior does not change using the lowest identified level of intervention and/or discipline, or the behavior increases in frequency, intensity, or duration, the next level of intervention and/or discipline is used.

* The progressive approach to intervention and discipline does not apply to most expellable offenses.

Intensity
Long-term interventions
Functional Behavior Analysis and paired supports
Short-term, 2 week strategies
Immediate Response
Duration

For Students

Interventions are supports you get when you are experiencing difficulty in school. This difficulty could be with another student, your school work, expectations at school, a staff member, or something from home or the community. The support can come from a variety of people, including teachers, a social worker, a counselor, a psychologist, a nurse, a coach, or Dean of Students, to name a few.

For Families & Community

The more intense the intervention, the more communication you should be having with school-based staff on both the purpose of the intervention and how it is being monitored. The interventions are age appropriate and include everything from reteaching behaviors to depression screeners and mental health supports. Typically, a Student Services staff member will be in contact with you.

For Staff

Student Services Teams meet regularly to review individual plans, assign appropriate interventions and supports, and to monitor progress. This should be done collaboratively with teaching staff, support staff, and administration to ensure there is a clear strategy of support.

For more information on Interventions in MMSD

Contact your student’s teachers, social worker, psychologist, or nurse directly, as they know your student the best. For a District-wide perspective, you can also contact the Department of Student and Staff Support and/or Student Services. To learn about how our schools embed tiered interventions into their supports for students, refer to the Implementation Guidance.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports - Intensive Supports & Alternatives

Our intensive supports for students span many tiers, and are woven into the PBIS framework and foundational systems. Intensive supports may look different depending on the school. For students with disabilities, intensive supports are outlined in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and are more personalized.

Our MMSD Intensive Support Team (IST) is a District-wide support for school teams, and our Building Bridges team directly supports families. Each school provides a continuum of supports to students, which span across many tiers and in some cases extend to alternative learning environments inside or outside of their home school.

top of triangle highlighted

Programs and options for few

District-wide options

  • Mental health supports including individual interventions delivered by Student Services staff and focused social-emotional groups such as the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program (includes universal screening of 6th-grade students). Some schools may also have access to the Behavioral Health in Schools (BHS) program

  • Access to a continuum of individualized Special Education supports that include intensive intervention programs, including NEON, Next Steps, and the School-Based Alternative Program (SBA)

  • RESTORE and REPLAY are additional alternative programs that serve students with and without disabilities

  • Opportunity Youth are supported, in part, by the Office of Youth Re-Engagement (OYR) which oversees emerging alternative programs. There is also transition planning for 5th grade students going into 6th grade and 8th grade students going into 9th grade to ensure supports are in place with transitions to new buildings

For Students

No matter the support you receive, whether in school or in the community, you are a part of MMSD and you are a valued member of your school community. These supports are only meant to last as long as they are needed and to help you develop the skills you need to reach your goals.

For Families & Community

Intensive supports are designed for students who might need support beyond what their home school can offer and often involves collaboration between families, schools, and people from outside the school (either District or community) in order to effectively problem solve ways to meet the unique needs of the student.

For Staff

Collaboration with school-based Student Services professionals is key to providing intensive support. Reach out to Student Services staff to put plans in place.

For more information on Programs and Options in MMSD

Refer to the Implementation Guidance for information on current alternative programming (including program overviews and application processes) and services offered through IST.

Progressive Discipline Approach

Overview of the Progressive Discipline Approach

Even when schools have fully implemented the foundational practices, including interventions and supports, we know students will make mistakes. The Behavior Education Plan is intended to help turn mistakes into authentic learning experiences and to pair appropriate consequences with additional support. The Behavior Response Grid, further down this page, provides staff and administrators with guidance in making decisions about how to respond to student behavior. The Behavior Education Plan identifies 5 levels of possible responses to student behavior. Each behavior is assigned to one or more of these Response Levels. Staff and administrators may use only the Response Levels identified for each behavior. Further, an intervention must be put in place before progressing to the next Response Level for a repeat of the same behavior.

Level 1

  • Classroom managed
  • Is not a record that appears in Infinite Campus
  • Classroom intervention before progressing to Level 2

Level 2

  • Classroom or Support Staff managed
  • May result in a removal from class
  • May result in an In School Suspension (ISS) for up to 1 day

Level 3

  • Support Staff managed
  • Assistant Principal or Principal may assign a designee
  • Will result in 1-3 days of Out of School Suspension (OSS), unless Alternatives to Suspension applies (see "Alternatives to Suspension" accordion below)

Level 4

  • Support Staff managed
  • Assistant Principal or Principal may assign a designee
  • Will result in 3 days of Out-of-School Suspension for 6th grade students
  • Will result in 4-5 days of Out-of-School Suspension for 7th and 8th grade students

Level 5

  • Support staff managed
  • Assistant Principal or Principal lead the investigation
  • School will consult with Coordinator of Progressive Discipline
  • Will result in a 5 day Out of School Suspension (OSS) and recommendation for expulsion

Response Level 1 is used when behaviors are supported within the classroom by staff assigned to that classroom.

Response Level 2 is used when the mobile response system is involved in supporting the student. Support requires an additional staff member and might be provided in the classroom, outside the classroom, or in another environment. Behaviors assigned to Response Levels 1 and 2 do not need to be responded to at level 1 prior to being responded to at level 2.

In situations at Response Levels 3 and 4 or when behaviors are repeated, it is important for Student Services staff to be involved in looking more deeply at the student’s needs to determine the most effective intervention. In these situations there may be a referral to the school’s problem-solving team, the Student Support and Intervention Team (SSIT).

For example, if a student is being disruptive and the teacher successfully supports the student in the classroom to change their behavior, the behavior is responded to at level 1. If a student is being disruptive and the behavior requires additional support from a Support Staff, the behavior is responded to at level 2. For behaviors that are assigned Response Levels 2 and 3, the behavior must first be responded to at level 2 prior to that behavior being responded to at level 3.

Progressive responses are confined to the current school year. This means at the beginning of each new school year, the lowest assigned Response Level for a first occurrence of the behavior within the school year should be used for every student. See the Implementation Guidance for more information on support staff structures and mobile response systems.

Progressive Discipline Flowchart

Progressive Discipline Flowchart - find full description on page

Overview of Suspension, Expulsion, and Other Procedures

In-School Suspension (ISS)

In-School Suspension (ISS) is a disciplinary response in which a student is removed from the classroom environment and assigned to work in a different location within the school building for up to one day. A temporary removal made as part of a system of support (for example, “TAB Out”, Take A Break, regulation room, or time needed to regulate per student’s Behavior Support Plan) is NOT an ISS.

What are the key components of ISS?

  • School work: alternate academic programming/instruction in another supervised environment within the school setting

  • Students with Disabilities must have:
    1) access to school work,
    2) receipt of special education services, and
    3) an environment with at least one student without a disability (then ISS is not considered a removal)

  • Repair/reflection: the student reflects on the incident that occurred and collaboratively develops a plan with adults to repair harm, restore relationships, and/or support social and emotional growth of oneself and the school community

  • Behavior support: if the student needs behavior support, that is also provided

Out of School Suspension (OSS)

During an Out of School Suspension (OSS) the student is not allowed to attend regular classes or other extracurricular activities associated with the school. Prior to any OSS, students must have the opportunity to share their version of the incident. If a student is suspended, parents/guardians must be notified promptly of the suspension, by phone if possible. They will also be given written notice of the suspension, which is Board Policy. The OSS process includes a right to appeal the suspension, referenced in the "Concerns and Appeals" accordion below.

Readmit Conference

Following any Out of School Suspension, a Readmit Conference with the school will be scheduled; parents and students will be invited to participate, and school staff will facilitate the conference. The purpose of the Readmit Conference is to provide an opportunity for the student to reconnect with the school community in a positive way and to address any unresolved issues related to the suspension so the student can successfully move forward having learned from the experience.

Expulsion

Response Level 5 conduct will result in a student being recommended for expulsion from school unless prohibited by the IDEA and/or state law. The District’s legal authority for expelling a student and the steps to be followed are explained in Board Policy 4045 (Expulsion). All recommendations for expulsion will be reviewed by the Coordinator of Progressive Discipline (or their designee) who, in consultation with the Chief of Schools – Operations (or their designee) and Executive Director of Student Services (or their designee), will determine whether or not to approve moving forward with the expulsion process.

In circumstances where a student’s conduct falls into Response Level 3 or 4 AND causes a serious physical injury (defined in Glossary of Terms) to another person, the Principal or program administrator may seek permission from the Coordinator of Progression Discipline to initiate a recommendation for expulsion.

Surrender for Safety

Surrender for safety acknowledges that students make mistakes and may unintentionally bring inappropriate items to school. Students are expected to learn from these mistakes. If a student voluntarily surrenders possession of a weapon or other inappropriate item to a school or alternative program staff member before being asked about the item or being discovered to be in possession and before anyone has been threatened with and/or harmed by the weapon or other inappropriate item in their possession, they will not be subject to the disciplinary consequences set forth above.

Athletic Code

Because participation in MMSD athletic programs is a privilege and not a right, the Athletic Code provides additional expectations, consequences, and interventions in place for our student athletes.

Mandatory Reporting of Threats of School Violence

While we believe in limiting the role of police in addressing school behavior issues, Wisconsin Act 143 mandates the reporting of serious threats of school violence. All school staff are considered mandatory reporters and must immediately contact law enforcement if they believe there is a serious threat of school violence. Training is mandatory to ensure staff understand their obligation to report any threat of school violence and anything that poses a serious and imminent risk to the health or safety of a school community. For more information on Wisconsin Act 143, please visit https://www.doj.state.wi.us/office-school-safety/act-143

Alternatives to Suspension

While fidelity to the progressive discipline approach is critical, schools are also encouraged to explore alternative ways to solve problems and address behavior challenges without further decreasing students’ time outside the learning environment. Schools must develop an Alternatives to Suspension plan detailing the process and approach used in response to specific behaviors to offer students the opportunity to replace suspension.

6th to 8th Grade

  • Alternatives to Suspension replaces what was earlier termed a “Zero Day” option, meaning all Level 3 behaviors will result in an Out of School Suspension (OSS) from one to three days for grades 6-8, unless an Alternatives to Suspension plan is in place and is used to replace the suspension

  • Alternatives to Suspension are important for behaviors that commonly progress from Level 2 (In-School Suspension) to Level 3 (Out of School Suspension)

Alternatives to Suspension are offered for the following behaviors

  • Taunting, baiting, and encouraging fights

  • Repeated disruption of instruction

Before these behaviors progress to OSS, the student should first be offered Alternatives to Suspension

School-based teams are encouraged to establish Alternatives to Suspension for the following behaviors

  • Swearing at staff

  • Drug violations

  • Excessive physical aggression

  • Making, transmitting, or distributing, including posting to the internet, any recording of physical contact, whether or not the participants considered it “play fighting.”

  • Incidental contact, including the use of an object, with a staff member of the MMSD or any adult who is legitimately exercising authority at the school or during any school activity.

  • Any other behaviors

Schools must submit an Alternatives to Suspension plan to the Coordinator of Progressive Discipline for approval and communicate the plan with students, staff, and families.

To learn more about each school’s Alternatives to Suspension, contact a building administrator. For District information, contact the Coordinator of Progressive Discipline.

Alternatives to Suspension

Student Opts In

  • Communicate with family and staff

Determine intervention

  • School implements Alternatives to Suspension plan

Document and monitor

  • Refer to Implementation Guidance for more details

Student Opts Out

  • Communicate with family and staff

Assign a consequence

  • Refer to accordion "Overview of the Progressive Discipline Approach" above for consequence options

Readmit conference

  • Follow readmission guidance

Rights, Due Process, and Jurisdiction

Protections for Students with a Disability

Nothing in the Behavior Education Plan replaces or substitutes any student rights as guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) or Wisconsin State law. Students with a disability will always be entitled to the rights and protections afforded to them by state and federal law and shall not be removed from the learning environments unless doing so is in accordance with the law. A detailed summary of the rights and protections guaranteed for students with a disability can be found in the Behavior Education Plan Special Education Guidance Document.

Collaboration is key

Typically, staff, students, and families should have collaborative discussions when disciplinary responses are used for behaviors. Any time there is a behavior that requires a response under the Behavior Education Plan, the school, student, and parent/guardian should work together to address the behavior and plan for the future. The behavior should result in an authentic learning experience.

Due Process

In general, “due process” includes a clear explanation of the behavior that occurred, an explanation of why
it violates the Behavior Education Plan, and a chance for the student to be heard. Depending on the level of response used for a behavior (addressed in class, addressed by support staff, an In-School Suspension (ISS), an Out of School Suspension (OSS), or an expulsion), the level of “due process” required will change. Here are some additional clarifications:

  • Prior to any Out of School Suspension (OSS), students must have the opportunity to share their version of the incident. If a student is suspended, parents/guardians must be notified promptly of the suspension, by phone if possible. They will also be given written notice of the suspension, which is Board Policy.

  • Students have the right to have a parent/guardian present when school staff interview them about potential Level 4 or 5 incidents. The purpose of the interview is for the student to share their version of events.

  • Level 5 behaviors require a mandatory recommendation for expulsion require a much more detailed process. That process is explained in Board Policy 4045.

Scope of the Plan and Jurisdiction

The Behavior Education Plan applies to all schools, educational programs, and placements within MMSD. It does not apply to programs offered by MSCR. Consequences may be imposed for behaviors that occur while the student is at school during school hours and immediately before and after school; participating in any school- sponsored or supervised activity, including athletic events and field trips; under the direct supervision of a District employee or volunteer; or while using District-provided transportation (e.g. yellow buses). Consequences may apply to behavior that occur outside the school day and off school property only if that conduct endangers the property, health or safety of others at school or under the supervision of a school authority or endangers the property, health or safety of any employee or school board member of the District. This may include behaviors that involve social media that endanger the health and safety of those in the school.

Concerns and Appeals

Our genuine hope is that teachers, principals, and District staff can all work collaboratively with students and families to resolve any concerns. The process for addressing concerns is as follows:

  • Families should first contact the teacher for any classroom concerns, or the principal for any unresolved classroom concerns and/or for school-wide concerns

  • For any concerns not resolved at the school level or for any appeals, families should contact the Associate Superintendents’ Office for assistance

MMSD is committed to responding to parent and family concerns in the most efficient, effective, and respectful way.

For more information, see the MMSD guidlines for responding to concerns and complaints at madison.k12.wi.us/contact-us/request-for-assistance

Request for Assistance Flowchart - find full description on page

Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Progression

In an effort to simplify understanding, this category is broken into possession, purchase, and distribution. The progression of incidents from warnings to expulsion with paired interventions and consequences is shown below.

INTERVENTION:

IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. 2-week monitored strategies, Behavior analysis, Long-term supports

Support, redirection, warning

Possession and or being under the influence of:

  • Tobacco
  • An electronic smoking device*, including but not limited to devices commonly referred to as “vaping” devices.
  • Beverages containing alcohol or less than 1 gram of marijuana

The following should minimally happen as a result of support or redirection in an incident: School staff contacts family and provides corrective feedback to student

In-school suspension

Possession and or being under the influence of:

  • Tobacco
  • An electronic smoking device*, including but not limited to devices commonly referred to as “vaping” devices.
  • Beverages containing alcohol or less than 1 gram of marijuana

The following should minimally happen as a result of an in-school suspension: School staff contacts family, gives the student due process, and creates a plan for repair and reflection

Out of school suspension

  • REPEATED possession of alcohol OR less than 1 gram of marijuana
  • Possession of more than 1 gram of marijuana or other drugs
  • Distribution of alcohol or cold and cough medications
  • 1st offense of purchasing drugs

The following should minimally happen as a result of an out of school suspension: School staff contacts family, gives the student due process, and schedules a meeting for readmission from suspension

Expulsion

  • Distributing Drugs
  • 2nd offense of purchasing drug
  • REPEATED use or possession of any drug other than marijuana

The following should minimally happen as a result of an expulsion recommendation: Administrator contacts family, gives the student due process, and contacts Coordinator for Progressive Discipline.

Physical Aggression Progression

INTERVENTION:

IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. 2-week monitored strategies, Behavior analysis, Long-term supports

Support, redirection, warning

  • Hitting, slapping, pushing, tripping, shoving, kicking, spitting or any other inappropriate physical act of aggression (this includes play fighting)

The following should minimally happen as a result of support or redirection in an incident: School staff contacts family and provides corrective feedback to student

In-school suspension

  • REPEATED Hitting, slapping, pushing, tripping, shoving, kicking, spitting or any other inappropriate physical act of aggression (this includes play fighting)

The following should minimally happen as a result of an in-school suspension: School staff contacts family, gives the student due process, and creates a plan for repair and reflection

Out of school suspension

  • 1st & 2nd offense of excessive physical aggression (formally fight/physical attacks)
  • 1st & 2nd offense Incidental contact, including the use of an object, with a staff member of the MMSD or any adult who is legitimately exercising authority at the school or during any school activity.
  • REPEATED Hitting, slapping, pushing, tripping, shoving, kicking, spitting or any other inappropriate physical act of aggression (this includes play fighting) when an intervention has been tried

The following should minimally happen as a result of an out of school suspension: School staff contacts family, gives the student due process, and schedules a meeting for readmission from suspension

Placement change to alternative program

  • 3rd offense of excessive physical aggression

The following should minimally happen as a result of a potential alternative placement: Administrator contacts family, gives the student due process, and contacts Coordinator for Progressive Discipline

Expulsion

  • Any physical aggression that results in serious injury, School Administrator may seek permission to recommend for expulsion - see the "Glossary of Terms" accordion below for definition of serious injury
  • 1st offense Physical attack, including the use of an object, against a staff member of the MMSD or any adult who is legitimately exercising authority at the school or during any school activity.

The following should minimally happen as a result of an expulsion recommendation: Administrator contacts family, gives the student due process, and contacts Coordinator for Progressive Discipline.

Title IX - Sexual Harassment & Sexual Behaviors

The Madison Metropolitan School District will provide a safe, supportive and welcoming learning environment, free from sexual harassment and non-consensual sexual misconduct, for all of its students and staff. The District’s Non-discrimination policies #4620 and #8012A prohibits any form of sexual harassment and sex discrimination in our schools and administrative buildings.

Sexual harassment is defined in Title IX as any unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, AND objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the District’s education program or activity. Title IX also defines sexual harassment as quid pro quo harassment, conditioning any educational opportunity or benefit on the granting of sexual favors, and any form of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

Initiate a complaint

A student who feels he/she/they is/are being or has been sexually harassed by another student or staff member should immediately contact their teacher or other school staff to make an informal report or to file a formal Title IX complaint.

Other students, staff, or parents/legal guardians who suspect sexual harassment/sex discrimination is taking place at school or a school-sponsored and/or school-supervised activity, may also file a formal Title IX complaint or make an informal report to school staff.

All school staff who have actual knowledge of sexual harassment will promptly contact the District’s Title IX Coordinator upon receiving reports of sexual harassment/sex discrimination.

Supportive measures

When the District receives a report of Title IX sexual harassment/sex discrimination, even if a formal complaint is not filed, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the targeted student to discuss the availability of supportive measures and the student’s wishes with regard to the supportive measures.

Supportive measures are designed to address the needs of the targeted student and restore or preserve equal access to education. However, these supports are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, and do not unreasonably burden the other party.

Examples of supportive measures are:

  • Counseling,
  • Adjusting class schedules,
  • No-contact orders,
  • Increased adult support, and
  • Increased school security and monitoring of certain areas such as hallways, cafeteria, classrooms, etc.

Informal resolution or formal investigation

The District will promptly investigate all Title IX formal complaints and ensure that every allegation is investigated impartially.

The District will also take steps to protect targeted students and reporting parties from retaliation and ensure all parties are treated fairly throughout the investigation.

The District will also take steps to prevent any reoccurrence of sexual harassment and sex discrimination and remedy any discriminatory effects on the targeted students and others, as necessary and appropriate.

Students may voluntarily decide to engage in the informal resolution process (e.g. mediation, etc.)

*The informal resolution process may not be used if/when an employee is alleged to have sexually harassed a student

Written determination

At the conclusion of the investigation, a decision-maker will determine whether the student alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment / sex discrimination violated the District’s Title IX policy and the BEP.

The District will not impose any disciplinary responses or sanctions until the conclusion of the Title IX grievance process.

Once the process is complete and it is determined that a student at any grade level has engaged in sexual harassment or sex discrimination in violation of the District’s Title IX policy, at school or within the District’s jurisdiction, the District will apply appropriate consequences consistent with the decision-maker’s determination.

*Please note: the decision-maker’s determination / consequences supersede the BEP and may not reflect the consequences on the behavior response grid

For students in grades K-12, Title IX sexual harassment/sex discrimination disciplinary responses may include, but are not limited to:

  • Out-of-school suspension and/or recommendation for expulsion.
  • Administrative transfer to another class or school as permitted by law
  • Referral to counseling and/or other supports
  • Training or other education of student regarding the impact of their conduct on others

Additional supports

Individualized, supportive services aimed to meet the needs of the targeted student without burdening the other party shall be implemented. The focus is on healing and safety of the targeted student.

4th and 5th grade students are subjected to both in- and out of school suspension for 1 to 3 days, depending on the level of behavior. 4K through 3rd grade may be subjected to suspension. The school administrator must consult with District personnel before finalizing a suspension decision for students in grades 4K through 3rd grade.

Behavior Response Grid

To learn more about each school’s Alternatives to Suspension, contact a building administrator. For District information, contact the Coordinator of Progressive Discipline.

Alternatives to Suspension

RESPONSE LEVEL 1

  • Classroom Intervention

RESPONSE LEVEL 2

  • Support Staff Intervention
  • Up to 1 day of In-School-Suspension

RESPONSE LEVEL 3

  • Administrative Intervention and Discipline
  • 1 to 3 days of Out of School Suspension

RESPONSE LEVEL 4

  • Intensive Administrative Intervention and Discipline
  • 3 days of Out of School Suspension for 6th graders4 to 5 days of Out of School Suspension for 7th and 8th graders

RESPONSE LEVEL 5

  • Intensive Administrative Intervention and Discipline With Potential Long-Term Removal from School Mandatory Out of School Suspension and Recommendation for Expulsion

Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Possession and/or being under the influence of...          
...any tobacco product.        
... an electronic smoking device, including but not limited to devices commonly referred to as “vaping” devices.        
...any beverage containing alcohol.    
...marijuana (including possession of any marijuana paraphernalia). Possession of less than or equal to one (1) gram.    
...marijuana. Only includes possession of more than or equal to one (1) gram.      
...any drug other than marijuana (including possession of any other drug paraphernalia). Possession of more than one (1) gram.      
Purchasing marijuana and/or any drugs other than marijuana.      
Distributing...          
...a beverage containing alcohol or over-the-counter cough and cold medicine, including “Triple C” and medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM).      
...a drug or drugs, including marijuana, to another student.        

Disruptive and Uncooperative Behaviors

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Behavior that disrupts instruction and the learning of other students In the classroom. See the Glossary of Terms for a definition of “disruption”.    
Taunting, baiting, inciting and/or encouraging a fight, a disruption, or other violation of school rules, including failure to disperse from a fight or disruption when directed by adults.    
Volatile Acts – Disorderly, violent, or threatening conduct of a serious nature that significantly disrupts school, a school-sponsored activity, or a school-supervised activity held off school premises.      
Intentionally kicking, throwing, or releasing an object (including a snowball) that has a potential to cause a disruption, injury or property damage and/or the object makes physical contact with another student or peer when the act of throwing or releasing the object is not part of a supervised activity.    
Trespassing      
Leaving class without permission.      
Being in the hallway without permission and not returning to class when directed by school staff.      
Circumventing school safety protocols, including opening secured exterior doors to permit access to another person.    
Cheating, including cheating as a part of a group of three or more students.      
Any serious misconduct not otherwise addressed within this Plan that directly or indirectly jeopardizes the health, safety or property of a school, the school district, school personnel, other students, one’s self, or other individuals who are present or acting within the school’s jurisdiction.      

Failure to respect materials, property of others

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Failure to respect materials, property, and stealing from others (including, but not limited to, stealing and/or damage to cell phones, other electronic devices and credit cards/debit cards).      

Firearms/Weapons

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Possession of...          
...a toy weapon where the toy weapon is not used to threaten, intimidate, harm, or cause a disruption.      
...a toy weapon where the toy weapon is used to threaten, intimidate, or harm another person or to cause a disruption.      
...a weapon, other than a firearm or other gun.      
...and actual, attempted, or threatened use of a weapon, other than a firearm or other gun, toward another person or to cause a disruption.        
...a firearm, as defined by 18 USC 921 of the federal code (e.g., handgun, rifle, shotgun, starter pistol, etc.) See also, possession of bomb or other explosive device.        
...a gun of any kind, other than a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, operable or inoperable. Examples include, but are not limited to, BB guns, pellet guns, flare guns, and air rifles.        

Fires/Explosives/Flammables

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Setting a fire, or attempting to set a fire.      
False Alarms - Activating the school’s fire and/or other alarm systems, reporting a fire when no fire exists, or making a false alarm call to 911.      
Possession of fireworks, a smoke bomb, munitions, pepper spray/gas, MACE, tear gas, stink bomb, or any inherently dangerous substance/ object, or any illegal device, illegal product, or illegal material that is not specifically covered elsewhere within the Behavior Education Plan.      
Possession of a bomb or other explosive device not covered elsewhere in the Behavior Education Plan.        
Attempting to or actually using a firework, smoke bomb, pepper spray/gas, MACE, tear gas, or stink bomb.      
Making a bomb threat or threatening to set off an explosive device without actual possession of the bomb or explosive device.        

Forgery

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Writing the name of another person to be represented as a writing or original signature of that other person or altering any written record or document (such as dates, times, passes, and permits) without permission.    

Gambling

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Playing any game of chance or skill for money or any item of value.      

Inappropriate clothing

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Dress Code Violation. See Dress Code accordion down this page.      

Inappropriate language and/or expression

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Verbal, written, and non-verbal threats, or written or verbal put downs toward another person where there is no reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.    
Swearing, cursing or making obscene gestures, use of racial slurs, or protected class references directed toward another student.      
Swearing, cursing, or making obscene gestures, use of racial slurs, or protected class references directed toward a staff member.      
Serious threats, including but not limited to threats made over social media, to threaten someone or to cause a disruption.      

Inappropriate physical contact (non-sexual)

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Hitting, slapping, pushing, grabbing, tripping, shoving, kicking, spitting, or any other inappropriate physical act of aggression by one student direct- ed at another student that does not rise to the level of excessive physical aggression (includes actions considered “play fighting”).      

Excessive physical aggression (fighting or a physical attack against a student).

Note: Self-defense is described as an action taken to restrain or block an attack by another person or to shield oneself from being hit by another person. Responsive action, such as hitting a person back, is not self-defense and may be considered excessive physical aggression.

Note: When a student engages in 3 acts of excessive physical aggression, the student may be suspended pursuant to the Response Levels in the Behavior Education Plan and may be placed in an alternative setting for 45 or 90 days not to exceed one semester.

     
Incidental contact, including the use of an object, with a staff member of the MMSD or any adult who is legitimately exercising authority at the school or during any school activity.      
Physical attack, including the use of an object, against a staff member of the MMSD or any adult who is legitimately exercising authority at the school or during any school activity.        

Inappropriate touching, exposure, and/or sexual contact

Serious misconduct related to sexual activities, sexual harassment, sex discrimination on the basis of ones sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression including but not limited to non-consensual touching, masturbation, sexting, obscene gestures

Response levels are subject to the Title IX process and may result in a disciplinary action not otherwise prescribed in this chart.

Refer to Title IX guidelines before determining discipline.

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Non-consensual bodily contact.      
Consensual Sexual Activity – engaging in sexual intercourse, including oral sex and/or penetration.      
Physically displaying one’s buttocks, breasts, or genitals.      
Removing or attempting to remove the clothing of another person in a manner that exposes or could expose undergarments or private body parts (e.g. pantsing).      
Engaging in non-consensual sexual contact, including but not limited to intercourse, touching genitals, oral sex, penetration.        

Sexual, explicit, obscene, or lewd materials

Response levels are subject to the Title IX process and may result in a disciplinary action not otherwise prescribed in this chart.

Refer to Title IX guidelines before determining discipline.

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Possessing pornographic material or observing pornographic material.      
Possessing, making, transmitting, or disclosing any image of any student, minor, staff member, parent, school volunteer, or other adult with supervisory authority in a nude or partially nude state, regardless of consent.      

Inappropriate use of technology

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Inappropriate use of district-provided information technology.
See Board Policy 3721.
 

Recordings/images of another person

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Making, transmitting, or distributing, including posting to the internet, any recording of physical contact, whether or not the participants considered it “play fighting”.      
Making, transmitting or distributing any recording that has not been approved or authorized by the school of the voice or image of any other student, staff member or other person without the consent of the person(s) so recorded.      

Use of unauthorized items

  Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Use of any non-educationally required device, electronic or otherwise, that detracts from and/or disrupts learning of oneself, or others is prohibited.    

Additional Resources