Background and History – Dr. Rosemarie Allen, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Metropolitan State University of Denver


  •   Please see electronic version of the presentation provided for details on substance presented

Takeaways & Discussion

  • General surprise and dismay at some of the statistics regarding the disproportionate and frequency of use of suspensions and expulsions in early learning settings, including the higher infant toddler rates
  •   Desire for more data, especially on the circumstances around suspensions expulsions (family life, child welfare, ethnicity of the teacher, etc.)
  •  How can the racial inequities, especially when systemic, be addressed?


  • Dr. Allen agreed to forward child care studies

Policy Overview –Joellen Kralik, Policy Associate, National Conference of State Legislatures


  • Please see electronic version of the presentation provided for details on substance presented

Takeaways & Discussion

  •  Interest in how other states have approached the data piece
  • States have primarily focused on preschool, kindergarten, 1st ,and 2nd grade with less action taken to address the issue in child care settings

 Facilitated Group Discussion

 Creating Gracious Space

 We want to create an intentional and comfortable space for discussion at these meetings.

 Who else should be at the table?

  • Need to broaden stakeholder base to include those directly affected and those that will be implementing the changes
  • Students
  • Parents
  • Educators
  • Providers

 What values can we agree upon?

  • Make the space very open and honest to find solutions
  • State your position but be willing to shift.
  • No gunny sacking (making decisions or gossiping outside of the group).
  • Have the courage to state your position.
  • Lay out your assumption.
  • Develop understanding.
  • Listen well.
  • Create safe space
  • You can disagree.
  • Respect each other.
  • Commit that we can do better.
  • Understand our intentions.
  • Look for solutions.
  • Develop common understanding.
  • Become solution oriented.
  • Develop comprehensive set of solutions.
  • Be aware of the need to integrate existing resources.
  • Bring in and share your knowledge.
  • This needs to be student centered.

 Additional outcomes desired as a result of stakeholder meetings

  • Invite stakeholders that represent the implementation piece of the recommendations.
  • Think about evening meetings.
  • Use your networks to invite people.
  • Develop resources for developmentally appropriate discipline practices.
  • What tools do providers and educators need? In addition to provider and educator feedback on proposed policies.
  • Seek out funding for policy recommendations
  • Design listening session(s) or survey

Potential Topics for Future Meetings

  • What specific factors caused the decline in Colorado suspensions and expulsions? Invite someone to discuss this more in detail.  What specific programs were developed to cause the decline?
  • Invite other states that have passed legislation to address the Colorado stakeholders.  What is working?  What can we learn from them?
  • Develop overview of comprehensive initiatives that are addressing the problem and how we can connect with those initiatives, especially in the mental health field.
  • Bring in speakers to discuss best practices that are being implemented.
  • Discuss the City of Denver’s capacity to implement initiatives.
  • How are rural areas doing? What can they share, both good programs and challenges they face?
  • What are community providers doing?
  • Look at and discuss Padres & Jovenes Unidos research? Southwest Denver report and reports on discipline practices in every district in Colorado - no ECE data is included, but includes kindergarten and up.
  • What are the mental health experts saying about this, including the Office of Early Childhood?
  • Invite you and parents that have worked together to address the issue and share stories. What have they learned?
  • Presentation of parent, student and citizen rights
  • Invite Denver Public Schools and other large school districts.
  • What are the programs, practices and resources available for schools interested in developing programs?
  • Presentation of examining classroom cultures, including developmentally disabled. How can we talk more about classroom culture overall?
  • What are alternatives to removal and what support are needed? Does our system have the capacity to provide such supports?
  • What data is missing and how can we get it? 



Supporting Children’s Social-Emotional Development: What Works – Phil Strain, Ph.D., Director, PELE Center/Professor, Ed. Psych & Early Childhood SPED, University of Colorado Denver


  •  Please see electronic version of the presentation provided for details on substance presented

Takeaways and Discussion

  • Interest in understanding more about what resources are available, what funding sources may be available to pay for them, and how our state might think about ways to allocate or share resources
  •   Discussed importance of supporting evidence-based practices as alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices

Supporting Children’s Social-Emotional Development: Other States – Jim Freeman, Founder & Executive Director, The Grassroots Action Support Team


  • Please see electronic version of the handout provided for details on substance presented

Takeaways and Discussion

  • Interest in how other states and municipalities have defined suspensions and expulsions in policy

Facilitated Group Discussion

1.         What potential solutions (and what about them specifically) to these issues excite or intrigue you?

·          Colorado has resources and evidence-based practices that can work as solutions to these issues, including the Pyramid Model

·          Disseminating resources and evidence-based strategies more broadly and/or creating ways to share resources throughout the state

·         Providing incentives to support evidence-based practices

·          Getting more resources and training/coaching to teachers and providers on evidence-based practices

·          Providing training for teachers and providers on implicit bias and resources to help educators and systems become more culturally and gender responsive

·          Including training on evidence-based practices and implicit bias in pre-service training programs

·         Providing credentialing opportunities for teachers and providers

·         Focusing on preventive strategies and practices

·         Ensuring that practitioners understand these issues

·         Providing wraparound services and services coordination for children and families

·         Working to improve teacher-family relationships and engage families in these issues

·         Talking about these issues as universal for all children and families

·         Developing a policy solution to limit exclusionary discipline

·         Designing a policy solution to include supports for training and coaching of teachers and providers

·         Better data on suspensions and expulsions in Colorado

·          Providing mental health and well-being supports for teachers and providers

·          Developing common language among providers and teachers

·         Highlighting settings with best practices and success

2.  What concerns you about potential solutions?

  • Lack of adequate funding and difficulty prioritizing many financial needs in the education system
  • The need for a cultural shift in school settings and wanting to preserve exclusionary discipline as a tool
  • Financial strain on families and teachers/providers makes it more difficult to have time to build teacher-family relationships
  • The need to align different tools and resources and overlap in initiatives
  •  Lack of understanding of developmentally appropriate behaviors in children
  •  Whether existing resources adequately address implicit bias or are culturally responsive
  •  Overcoming the challenges of implicit bias
  • Whether we can identify and address the true root cause of these issues
  • How to break down silos across sectors and agencies at the state level
  • The need for site level leadership to deploy implementation of solutions
  •  Desire to address these issues at a local level only
  • Disbelief in what the data show is occurring
  • That legislation will not be an effective solution, that we need supports to help change practices
  • Desire to legislate based on the exception
  • Concerns about labeling or identifying children’s behaviors
  • Timeframe needed to implement solutions
  • How to disseminate resources and training to all types of settings

3.       What would it take to bring solutions to these issues to Colorado and/or spread them more broadly throughout the state?

  • Coordinated efforts and integration across sectors, systems and agencies – birth to early childhood to K-12
  •  Utilization of Early Childhood Councils and/or community leadership committees
  •  A centralized place for resources, such as the Office of Early Childhooh
  •  Shared learning opportunities, including opportunities to learn from others’ experiences
  • Committed leadership and buy-in in all learning settings
  •  Clear definitions of suspension and expulsion and common language, shared messaging
  •  Increased awareness of the issues, including parental awareness
  •  Focus on areas of the state with the largest issues rather than a statewide solution
  •   Funding
  •  Incentives and/or sanctions based on implementation of evidence-based practices
  • Conversations about implicit/explicit biases
  • Need for age differentiation in practices
  •  Accurate and accessible data on the use of suspensions and expulsions
  • Good policy to help drive solutions
  • Include alternative solutions in policy change

4.       What would get in the way of implementing these solutions?

  • Classroom ratios that don’t allow teachers/providers to meet needs of all students, including students with disabilities
  • Silos that exist in our current system
  •  Desire for local control
  •  Lack of coordination among key stakeholders, and organizations working in isolation rather than collaboratively
  •  Inadequate funding, lack of resources for implementation
  • Lack of buy-in
  • Impact of external factors that cause adult stress such as cost of living, housing, wages, traumatic experiences on teachers/providers and families
  • Not addressing existing beliefs, perceptions and biase
  •  Lack of common language and definitions of suspension and expulsion
  •  Policy change that takes a tool away and does not provide alternative solutions


Solutions Dialogue

1.       Change intervention strategies from current age limit to “birth to 8.

2.       Put evidence based practices in all grades.

3.       Treat Early Childhood teacher like professionals.

4.       Develop a continuum of practices from ECE to all schools.

5.       Provide assistance from birth forward.

6.       Mental health should be included as a benefit by Medicaid that also includes prevention.  May require a change in federal policy.

7.       Review current systems for efficacy and efficiency.

8.       Develop interventions that address the whole child via a holistic approach that includes family.

9.       Children under the age of 8 should not be removed from school.

10.   Mandate culturally responsive training on an ongoing basis to include developmental strategies and across all systems.

11.   Remove criminalistics element while dealing with children.  Develop Restorative Justice Practices.

12.   Develop community accountability circles.

13.   Develop collaborations with a variety organizations and distribute a list of services provided to all schools.

14.   Develop asset-based training in ECE that will eventually result in credentials for teachers.

15.   Develop Professional Development Practices that include reflection.

16.   Examine and restructure Colorado funding priorities.

17.   Revisit Affirmative Action as a tool to develop parity.

18.   Demonstrate how Restorative Justice saves money as an efficient intervention model.

19.   Create Legislation that promotes community engagement/conversations/action.

20.   Integrate “inclusion” as a value into current systems.

21.   Push for stronger family leave policy.

22.   Develop “wrap around” services that include community and family.

23.   Push for more funds into poor neighborhoods.


 Colorado Department of Education Presentation

1.      Legislative action needed to add private school data.

2.      Disciplinary action by race—will check.

3.      Soft disciplinary actions—depends on how district codes, don’t have specific category to report

4.      How schools are held accountable?

a.      Available to the public

b.      Only report what is required by state

5.      Not authorized to collect additional data (outside of what is required.)  E. g. Antecedent Behavior

6.      Do you have data by race/gender?

a.      # of incidents

b.      # of students

7.      Do we know behavioral trends—Only collect the

a.      # of incidents

b.      # of students

 Parent Presentation

1.      How do we look at parent engagement? The weight is on the system. The problem is not the parent/student/community.  Power of parents to change system. K-12 system different from pre-school.

2.      Can we expand to K-3 instead of K-2

3.      Parent education—picking up a child is a removal.

a.      Question—do you have the authority to remove my child?

4.      How do we support teachers to shift his/her perspective about social/emotional issues?  New York is an example.  Padres puts in restorative justice practices for older kids.  Want to find age appropriate practice.

5.      Must address implicit bias.  Suspension/expulsion went down but proportionality went up. System never designed for Black/Brown students.  How do we get past the fear of removing suspension/expulsion from policy?

a.      Free online solutions. May not need official note.


Presentación del Departamento de Educación de Colorado

1.      Acción legislativa es necesaria para coleccionar información de escuelas privadas.

2.      Acciones disciplinarias por raza -checaran

3.      Acciones disciplinarias no oficiales -depende de cómo el distrito lo identifica, no tienen categorías específicas para reportar

4.      ¿Cómo hacemos responsables a las escuelas?

a.      Disponibles al publico

b.      Solamente reportan lo que es requerido por el estado

5.      No son autorizados para coleccionar información adicional (fuera de lo que es requerido) p.ej. comportamiento antecedente

6.      Tienen información por raza/ genero?

a.      # de incidentes

b.      # de estudiantes

7.      Saben de tendencias de comportamiento -solo coleccionan

a.      # de incidentes

b.      # de estudiantes

Presentación de Padres

1.      ¿Cómo vemos a participación de los padres? El peso está en el sistema. El problema no es el padre/ estudiante/ comunidad. El poder de los padres a cambiar el sistema. El sistema de K-12 es diferente de prescolar.

2.      ¿Podemos expandir a K-3 en vez de K-2?

3.      Educación de los padres -recoger a un hijo es una suspensión

a.      Pregunta - ¿tienen la autoridad de remover a mi hijo?

4.      Como apoyamos a maestros para que cambien sus perspectivos de problemas sociales/ emocionales? Nueva York es un ejemplo. Padres pone prácticas de justicia restaurativa para niños más mayores. Queremos encontrar practicas apropiadas.

5.      Debemos abordar el prejuicio implícito. Suspensiones/ expulsiones bajaron, pero proporcionalmente subieron. Sistema no está diseñado para niños de color. ¿Cómo sobrepasamos el miedo de remover las suspensiones y expulsiones de la póliza?

a.      Soluciones en línea gratis. Quizá no necesitemos una nota oficial.