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Communities for Just Schools Fund Newsletter: July 2015

Resource type: News

Communities for Just Schools Fund | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

The Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF) is a new national donor collaborative that supports constituency-led organizing efforts to create positive and supportive school climates, which affirm and foster the success of all students. Building upon the groundbreaking initiatives of the Just and Fair Schools Fund, the Communities for Just Schools Fund is relaunching that body of work and expanding its efforts to support locally-based groups and campaigns, active at the local, state, and national levels, which provide momentum for meaningful school climate and school discipline reform.

California Lawmakers Commit $10M for Positive School Climate
California schools have gained a major win for positive school climate as lawmakers just committed $10 million in the state budget to provide a multi-tiered system of supports that includes training for educators on restorative justice, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and resources that promote positive discipline. The funding is a response to the Statewide Special Education Task Force report, which provides recommendations for both policy and practice. Several CJSF members have supported groups that have been at the forefront of this work, such as CJSF ally, Public Counsel, as well as the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. CJSF grantee partners will continue to monitor implementation of the funding to ensure this statewide effort reaches communities.
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Partner Spotlights

AQE Report Reveals Suspensions Drop in Buffalo Schools, But Disparities Continue

CJSF grantee partner,Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), The Advancement Project, Citizen Action of New York and the Public Policy and Education Fund released anew report, Restoring Justice In Buffalo Public Schools: Safe And Supportive Quality Education For All, showing that suspensions in Buffalo City Schools are down as a result of the new code of conduct. However, the majority of students that are suspended continue to be black or Latino.
Read the press release
Download the report

CJSF Grantee Partners Urge Investment in “Phase I” Recommendations
CJSF grantee partners, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee,Teachers Unite, and Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC), and CJSF ally Dignity in Schools Campaign – New York (DSC-NY) continue to urge Mayor de Blasio’s School Climate Leadership Team, which just released recommendations for increased school climate resources and staff training, to prioritize funding and implementation of these “Phase I” reforms.
Read the press release

Power U Celebrates Restorative Justice in Miami-Dade County Public Schools
CJSF grantee partner, Power U Center for Social Change (Power U), celebrates a victory for restorative justice. After a decade of organizing and advocacy, Power U will see restorative justice implemented in two of Miami-Dade County’s public schools. The School District released a Request for Proposals, “Restorative Justice Practice Pilot Program Services,”
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See the full RFP (search for bid number RFP15-004-MT)

Shaping the National Conversation

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, 6/23/15–CJSF grantee partner, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos, ispushing to get schools to stop releasing high school disciplinary records to colleges as part of the college admissions process, whichhas a disparate impact on students of color.
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Mother Jones, July/August 2015 Issue –”What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?Negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse. But a new approach really works.”
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Buffalo News, 7/8/15 – Advocacy groups like CJSF grantee partner, Alliance for Quality Education, and othercommunity and public school advocacy groups highlighted a decline in suspensions among the Buffalo school district’s students before a School Board meeting.
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Chalkbeat Indiana, 7/10/15 – Indiana hasnewstate guidelines for collecting data aboutschool discipline, including two new categories of offenses, that could help shed more light on why schools are suspending and expelling students, especially the disproportionately high rate for black students.
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TheChronicleof Social Change, 7/14/15 – Fresno County is one of 32 California counties that came together in December 2013 to find ways to keep kids in school and out of court at the first Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court conference.
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Mother Jones, 7/14/15–According to news outlets and data gathered by advocacy groups, in the past five years about 28 students have been extremely injured, and in one instance shot to death, by school resource officers.
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Tampa Bay Times, 7/15/15–From the number of zero-tolerance offenses to the amount of time children are held out of school, Hillsborough County students can expect noticeable changes in discipline this fall.
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Huffington Post, 7/15/15–Throughout the past decade, Denver Public Schools has arose as a national leader in its efforts to end the school-to-prison pipeline, which experts say funnels children into the nation’s prisons through zero-tolerance guidelines that criminalize student misconduct.
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The Seattle Times, 7/20/15–Oakland education leaders visit Seattle Public Schools to share their strategy, including four main initiatives, to reduce suspensions in the Oakland Unified School District by a dramatic 47 percent since 2012.
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Tampa BayTimes, 7/21/15–In Tampa, Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt has joined the campaign to keep students in school and out of prison, — an opportunity for her attorneys to educate students and educators on the Criminal Justice System and to advocate for students.
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Resources You Can Use

NCD’s Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities Report
The National Council on Disability (NCD) released its report, Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities, that focus on ways to improve existing special education delivery and enforcement systems to better meet the needs of students with disabilities. Studies show that up to 85 percent of youth in juvenile detention facilities have disabilities that make them eligible for special education services, yet only 37 percent receive these services while in school. A disproportionate percentage of these detained youth are youth of color. 
Download report here


Race and Discipline: Differential and Unequal – Action Kit #2
CJSF grantee partner, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos, recently released its report, Race and Discipline: Differential and Unequal – Action Kit #2, that includes data and statistics on racial disparities in Colorado school discipline, as well as several concrete ways to take action.
Download toolkit here


Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2014 Report
This report is the seventeenth in a series of annual publications produced jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences (IES), in the U.S. Department of Education, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the U.S. Department of Justice. This report presents the most recent data available on school crime and student safety. The indicators in this report are based on information drawn from a variety of data sources, including national surveys of students, teachers, principals, and postsecondary institutions. 
Download the report here

The Communities for Just Schools Fund is housed at the New Venture Fund and currently includes support and participation from: Arcus Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Cricket Island Foundation, Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, Hyams Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and anonymous donors.

Just and Fair Schools Fund is an Atlantic grantee.

Related Resources


Children & Youth, School Discipline Reform

Global Impact:

United States


Just and Fair Schools Fund