In 2007, Sound Discipline began with an ambitious dream of a group of Positive Discipline facilitators working with schools and families:
What if every classroom could be a community that welcomes all students and offers opportunity for learning life skills in addition to academic rigor?
What if every parent or caregiver had access to the support they needed to become the parent they want to be?
Today, that dream continues to be brought to life through our dedicated team’s work offering tools to help schools and families build respectful relationships. In 2016, we served 32 schools across Washington. We trained over 5,000 educators in trauma-informed practices and Positive Discipline. These educators, in turn, teach 100,000 students; gradually shifting their practices to help young people feel more connected while they learn. By 2021, Sound Discipline will be serving 100 schools in Washington State, helping educators open opportunities for the young people who will be our leaders of the future.
- All people, regardless of age, race, class or culture, are worthy of dignity and respect.
- Misbehaving children are discouraged children.
- Explicit teaching and practice of self-regulation and social-emotional emotional skills must go hand-in-hand with academic rigor for students to become the citizens they are capable of becoming.
- Trauma-informed practices benefit all students and empower educators to be even more effective classroom leaders.
- Current punitive practices and systems work to the detriment of all young people and perpetuate a legacy of oppression and inequity.
- Mutually respectful relationships and solution-focused problem solving empower children, families, schools, and communities to thrive. They foster academic excellence, citizenship, equity, and democracy.
We want to see a day when:
- People feel cared for, respected and empowered in their schools, families and communities.
- Classrooms are places where young people are learning the skills needed to reach their potential and to thrive in a global society.
- Schools are places where mistakes are opportunities for learning and race bias around discipline is undone.
- Families are comfortable asking for help and have a broad network of local resources that cross race, class and culture.
Continuing to learn and grow
We’ve learned a lot along the way from educators, parents, colleagues and our evaluators. Our program now incorporates these learnings:
- For a system to be socially just it must be culturally responsive.
- Many of the students who have challenging behavior have experienced toxic stress in their lives. Teaching brain science and trauma-informed practices to educators improves their effectiveness as classroom leaders.
- Following discipline data in schools has multiple benefits. It empowers educators to see patterns of behavior. It offers an opportunity to reflect on positive changes that have been made. Following data can also help identify pieces missing in the discipline systems that a school is using.
- Students and their teachers alike need opportunities to practice their new skills on a regular basis. Regular class meetings teach much more than problem solving. They are an opportunity to practice social skills and build a community that is helpful not hurtful.
- The work requires a paradigm shift away from punishment toward a restorative model. Shifting the culture of schools takes time.
School leaders need support and training to guide their staff through the paradigm shift.