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HISD disciplinary data

Last week, I noted some differences of fact between HISD Superintendent Terry Grier and HFT President Gayle Fallon over the cost and use of alternate school CEP, which Grier wants to dump. Fallon left a comment in that post, and followed it up in a reply to an email I sent her with some spreadsheets detailing how many referrals to CEP there have been in the past three years. I’ve uploaded them all to Google Docs and placed them in this folder for your perusal. They’re broken down by HISD Trustee district and school. A couple of observations:

– Over the three years listed, the number of students referred to CEP was less than four percent of the total disciplinary incidents. Based on that, it’s hard to say that students are being over-referred. Suspensions, in school and out of school, were the vast majority of the punishments.

– The flip side of that the relatively small number of students sent to CEP makes it an appealing target for cost cutting. By my calculation, an average of 3234 students per year were referred to CEP. HISD paid CEP $22 million last year, which works out to $6802 per student. By comparison, Fort Bend ISD was allocated $4871 per student by the state; Tomball ISD got $5783. Especially given that not all CEP referrals are for the full school year, it’s not unreasonable to think there may be a cheaper way to do this.

– One thing you see as you pore through all this data is that in both absolute and per student terms, there are far more incidents and CEP referrals from the middle schools than from the high schools. Hair Balls made this observation as well, noting that many of them are “overage” middle schoolers. I presume that one reason for the decline in high school referrals is simply because many of these troublemaking middle schoolers have dropped out or gotten entangled in the criminal justice system instead. One wonders if there’s a viable strategy to reduce the number of middle school offenders. That would pay dividends if it could be done.

– I’m going to explore some of these questions in more detail in the coming days, as I have an interview with Fallon lined up and am working on getting one with Grier. If there’s anything you think I should ask, please leave a comment.

UPDATE: For reasons not clear to me, the files themselves are not visible in the folder. So here are the direct links to the files themselves:

Eastman, District 1

Galloway, District 2

Rodriguez, District 3

Harris, District 4

Lunceford, District 5

Meyers, District 6

Moore, District 7

Davila, District 8

Marshall, District 9

Sorry for the confusion.

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6 Comments

  1. K Allen says:

    It would be interesting to know if the school district or campus administrators are utilizing this same data to specifically target problem behaviors. The viable strategy to reduce referrals lies in the data. Middle schools and their feeder elementary schools should be reviewing their trend data for risk & protective factors regularly and finding the areas ripe for intervention. Then address the norms, perceptions, and conditions that are the underlying causes for the behaviors. It’s labor intensive but not expensive (much cheaper than “direct” prevention services) and sustainable over the long term. In the substance abuse prevention world, we call this environmental prevention. http://captus.samhsa.gov/southwest/resources/documents/envchangetheory.pdf

  2. Mandy says:

    I tried clicking on your hyperlink for googledocs, but I’m getting an error page. I would really like to view the data, so could you check the link? please.

  3. Mandy – Sorry about that. The link has been fixed.

  4. Mandy says:

    Sorry to be a bother, the link works but there isn’t anything in the folder.

  5. Martha Griffin says:

    Maybe this has already been said, but it’s certainly my understanding that CEP can only take a maximum number of students, so once that number has been reached, a campus cannot refer anyone else to there until a spot opens. Do we know what that max capacity is, and if it is typically full or not?

  6. Cindy says:

    In response to the comment posted by K Allen, campus administrators and teachers are continually utilizing this same type of data, and are specifically targeting problem behaviors. Students who are referred to CEP typically must go through an intervention process at the school level (usually though IAT – the Intervention Assistance Team), all of which must be scrupulously documented in the first place in order for the referral to even go through to CEP. However, classroom and school-level interventions can only go so far when the underlying causes of the behaviors typically lie within the student’s home and local community. And, furthermore, most of this documentation will not actually result in a successful CEP placement if the placement is requested in the second half of the year when CEP is full.