When Pam Mustain arrived at Kaiser Elementary School nine years ago, the experienced principal had a discipline problem.
“My first year at Kaiser, I probably had five suspensions a month, at least, and now I might have 10 for a whole year,” Mustain said. “We truly believe we need to keep their little tails in school. They need to be here with us.”
The transformation at Mustain's school is partially because of her unique approach to discipline, which includes a committee of teachers to deal out punishment for the occasional misbehavior.
Mustain attributes the other part of the transformation to a teacher training program known as Great Expectations.
Across the Oklahoma City School District, data shows that the 28 schools using Great Expectations training saw a significant reduction in the number of suspensions and discipline referrals when comparing the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.
The 26 schools that weren't using Great Expectations had an increase in the number of suspensions and discipline problems.
Oklahoma City School District Superintendent Karl Springer said the district is in the process of rolling out Great Expectations at the remaining schools.
The program emphasizes mutual respect between teachers and students and eight behavior expectations, such as using good manners, being virtuous and valuing, cheering, helping, recognizing and encouraging one another.