Northern Lights: Success in Student Achievement and School Discipline

April 28, 2004

Parents and the public say they're concerned about discipline in the schools, but zero tolerance policies that suspend or expel youth can be counterproductive and perpetuate achievement gaps. Instead, Northern Elementary School used old-fashioned disciplinary techniques, core values, committed teachers and leaders, and child and family support programs to dramatically raise achievement levels and reduce suspensions. During the 1999-2000 school year, only 15 percent of the students were reading at grade level. With school reforms, that number steadily increased to 81 percent in 2003.