Connnecticut charter school group gears up to lower suspension rate

Monday, July 8, 2013

Six-year-old Christopher Tate is fidgeting in his chair and looking around — but not at the teacher — when Brandon Clark, a behavior interventionist, sidles up to him at Achievement First Bridgeport Academy.

Squatting beside Chris, Clark gently redirects his attention to his work and his teacher.

This is how behavior issues are often handled at the public charter elementary school, which has cut its rate of out-of-school suspensions by 64 percent in a single year and has never had in-school suspensions.

It's also the kind of transformation that Achievement First leaders hope to make in their other schools.

The charter school organization, which has 10 schools in Connecticut, has come under scrutiny with the recent release of state reports that show that most of its schools have among the highest suspension and expulsion rates in the state, even for children in kindergarten and first grade.

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