Code of Good Conduct
IWA PELE (Code of Good Conduct)
The Sankofa Freedom Academy is housed in a building to be proud of, however a building does not make a school, it is the people at Sankofa that make the school a wonderful place to be. The goal of the administration and faculty is to help each scholar achieve success both in his/her studies and in his/her growth and development as a person. This means that we always expect our scholars to operate in the “Sankofa Freedom Way”.
Each scholar has responsibilities toward reaching these goals. To help clarify these responsibilities, the following Code of Conduct is offered:
1.All scholars shall be responsible for their learning experiences, including responsiveness to lessons and completion of assignments.
2.Respect for adults, fellow scholars, school regulations and property, and personal belongings shall be observed.
3.All scholars are expected to be cooperative, polite and demonstrate fair play while in school and attending school-related activities.
4.Self-control and good citizenship are expected from all scholars (see Maatic Development).
5.Proper and appropriate language shall be used at all times.
6.Appropriate grooming and personal appearance is the responsibility of the scholar and parent (as it applies to younger scholars). Outdoor and play clothing are not to be worn in school.
7.All scholars are expected to be prepared for class and arrive on time according to the schedules set by the school.
8.Good table manners and appropriate cafeteria behavior are expected of all scholars.
9.All scholars are requested to walk (not run) while in the school building and on their way to and from the school playground.
10.Absolute obedience for fire drills and other emergencies is required of all scholars.
11.All scholars are expected to keep the school building and grounds clean and neat. Dispose of waste papers and trash in the proper receptacles.
12.All scholars are expected to observe acceptable audience behavior while participating in large group activities both on campus as well as during field trips.
13.All scholars are to follow routine lines of communication. Scholars’ concerns should be directed to the person (teacher or aide) who is on duty or responsible for the group or activity. If a teacher or aide is not available, report concerns to the office.
14.Dress and grooming are important factors in determining children’s attitudes toward school. A child, who comes to school neat and clean and dressed comfortably, but in good taste, helps to set a good school climate.
15.Scholars are not permitted to use cell phones, beepers or other such electronic devices during school. Cell phones should be turned off during school hours but may be used once the scholar has left campus for the day. Scholars are not allowed to bring toys or electronic games to school. Failure to obey this rule may result in disciplinary action and/or confiscating the item.
MA’ATIC DEVELOPMENT/RESTORATIVE DISCIPLINE
Ma’atic Development (MD) utilizes an African-centered approach to discipline to address the socialization challenges in various school communities. The primary mission of MD is to formally initiate youth into discovering and overstanding the importance of who they are, why they are here and the purpose and meaning for their existence. Secondly, MD seeks to connect this discovery and overstanding to positive life sustaining and community building attitudes and behaviors by grounding participants in the African principles of Ma’at and Nguzo Nane. MD operates on the premise that “Kinship Love” is the motivating force of the universe. Simply said, Kinship Love speaks to Belonging, i.e. having a sense of connectedness (Kinship) with family, community and school and Concern for Others (Love), particularly those one feels connected to. Kinship Love is the foundation of Iwa Pele/Good Character.
Therefore, it is essential to make youth and their families feel they belong, to make them feel that no matter how it is at home or wherever they reside, it feels good to come here. “Our” school will be a place where youth and their family are loved, respected, valued and listened to and where they will be expected to love, respect, value and listen to others. Here, youth and their family will have another “family” and be part of a “community”. Everyone in the community is expected to embrace and practice Iwa Pele (Good Character) and Kinship Love.
Although many schools choose to use punishment as their primary approach to discipline, the tone of Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School’s MD environment is one of introspection, cooperation and restoration. At Sankofa it has been our experience that when an existing relationship is out of balance/harmony, something must be done to restore it. Therefore, scholars are assigned to MD in an effort to re-center themselves through self reflection in a spirit of cooperation with the MD staff. There, they are engaged in academic, cultural and holistic socialization interventions, focusing on character, culture and community/citizenship. This process is accomplished by allowing participants to learn how values influence and determine their thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, speech and spirit: to look at “ourstory” in order to see how the past helps to shape and maintain the present; to learn how to use other value systems (e.g. Ma’at and Nguzo Nane) that will address the quality of their life; to use the creative arts (visual, music, drama, movement, etc.) as methods of expressions; and, finally, to explore and utilize communication and relationship building skills in an effort to improve communication and foster righteous relationships.
Scholars who accumulate behavior/discipline violations are subject to increasingly progressive interventions. These interventions may include:
•Recentering (Saturday, after school and other scheduled times)
•Mandatory Parent Conference
•Ma’atic Development (MD) (In School Suspension)
•Out of School Suspension
•Scholar Disciplinary Review Committee (SDRC) Hearing
•Behavior Contract & Probation
•Pillars of Peace/Mediation Center
Recentering/MD is a place and time where and when scholars are asked to look inside to restore balance and/or order. More often than not, when scholars are disciplined, they are perceived as being out of order/balance with their community/environment. For example, profanity, not following adult instruction, or verbal fighting/sparring would be examples of behaviors that may result in Recentering/MD. The greatest challenge for scholars and teachers once a scholar has been through Recentering/MD is to restore the teacher/scholar relationship. The MD team is committed to assisting facilitators and teachers in that process. Nonetheless, in order for the process to work, all parties have to be willing to be a part of the restoration process. Since each person is different, the approach and strategy used to restore the relationship will often be unique to the specific person and situation.
A Mandatory Parent Conference (MPC) is scheduled to inform parents of our need to provide increased interventions and supports for their children and to discuss our collective efforts to make that happen. When these conferences are scheduled, scholars will not be allowed to return to NMTCS without a parent/guardian. After review and when appropriate, scholars may receive a Behavior Contract and be placed on probation.
Pillars of Peace: One of the most effective components of MD is the Pillars of Peace. Pillars of Peace is an adult and scholar driven conflict resolution process that provides school community members with a way to resolve disagreements in an atmosphere that is non-coercive, neutral and nonjudgmental. Through the Pillars of Peace process, trained staff and scholars are available for mentoring and mediation in difficult or challenging life situations that may involve fighting (verbal and physical), unresolved conflicts, instigating, teasing, verbal harassment, various forms of intimidation, etc. These mediations often result in attitude management and/or conflict resolutions that improve relationships and individual life skill approaches. Mediations provide scholars and staff additional opportunities to practice the Nguzo Nane i.e. Unity, Self Determination/Teamwork, Cooperative Economics/Sharing, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. The measurable outcomes include fewer suspensions, particularly for fighting (verbal and physical) and an increase in the number of mediations/positive interventions. Peace!
Sankofa Umoja Code Enforcement: In order to insure a safe school environment, parents, scholars, and staff have been asked to sign a contract indicating that a fight will result in either parental withdrawal of the scholar or expulsion from the Sankofa community. In addition excessive or repeated (10 or more) disciplinary write-ups will result in the commencement of expulsion proceedings.