Lisa Lyle demystified the disciplinary process for parents that attended the Head of School Hot Topics session this week. The goal of these sessions is frequent engagement with parents to share information and discuss school priorities and address any questions or concerns.
The discussion began with age-appropriate disciplinary processes in the Lower and Middle Schools. The focus in the Lower School is to ensure the child learns from their mistake and to take responsibility for that mistake, while upholding classroom expectations of respect and responsibility. Patterns of behavior are watched closely, and parents partner with teachers to work with more persistent and significant issues.
In the Middle School, the stakes do get a little higher as the child matures and is starting to prepare for life in Upper School. The approach continues to focus on growth for students as they learn to navigate the expectations. Students have a Code of Conduct which upholds our Honor Code. Students are presented with those expectations and sign the Honor Code as a way of validating their commitment to the community. If infringements occur, an investigation takes place and disciplinary actions may result.
Much of the discussion time centered around the Upper School, where we have the greatest number of issues driven by larger class sizes and pressure to succeed in the college application process. Lisa Lyle explained the process for academic dishonesty cases in the Upper School, which typically involve the Student Honor Council. The Honor Council is a student-elected, student-run, and student-owned body in charge of promoting honor in all aspects of student life at MICDS. The Council is made up of two heads elected by the entire student body and two representatives elected by each class. In cases of academic dishonesty (including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and lying), the Student Honor Council is empowered to oversee the investigatory and adjudication process and to make a recommendation of consequences to the Upper School Disciplinary Committee. The Upper School Disciplinary Committee, in consultation with the Head of School, reviews the Student Honor Council’s recommendation and renders the disciplinary consequences.
Disciplinary concerns that do not involve academic dishonesty or are not suited for peer settlement are investigated and adjudicated directly by the Disciplinary Committee, which is comprised of the Head of Upper School, the Deans, and additional members of the Upper School faculty and staff as appropriate. Examples of the types of concerns that would be handled directly by the Disciplinary Committee include vandalism, violations of School policies or the Mission Statement or other misconduct that threaten the well-being of the community and the School. If expulsion is under consideration, the Head of School re-adjudicates the case, reviews materials, conducts interviews as needed and reaches a decision regarding the recommendation from the Upper School Disciplinary Committee.
Please make note of future Head of School Hot Topics sessions. Join us in the Presentation Room at both 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the following dates for engaging discussions and answers to your questions. Topics for the first few discussions were suggested by the Parents Association Executive Committee, and there will always be time for Q&A.
Monday, November 6
What does “How to Raise an Adult” tell us about what the School should be doing?
Tuesday, January 9
School Finances 101
Tuesday, February 6
Data Sharing on Character – Aggregate on what our students are telling us in surveys
Monday, April 23
Topic still to be determined, potentially circling back to a previously planned topic – The Faculty Evaluation and Professional Growth Process
Wednesday, May 16
Topic still to be determined