The School of Law and School of Education at Loyola University offer an online certificate in School Discipline Reform for professionals committed to serving their students and their communities by understanding, shaping, and implementing prevention-oriented approaches to school discipline. This part-time program is designed to equip education professionals-superintendents, principals, other school and district-level administrators, school attorneys, discipline deans, school psychologists, school social workers, counselors, and other educators - with the tools and skills to needed to lead comprehensive initiatives to reduce the use of suspensions and expulsions and their adverse impacts on vulnerable students.
Students may also pursue this certificate as part of an online Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) degree in Children’s Law and Policy.
This certificate program equips participants to:
- Understand fundamental legal principles and law that guide school discipline practices;
- Review and analyze school and district-level discipline data and conduct a root cause analysis;
- Develop and conduct a needs assessment related to school discipline in their respective settings;
- Plan, facilitate, and reflect on the effective restorative dialogue and a variety of proactive and responsive circles;
- Apply the principles of restorative practices to address a challenge that their schools or districts are facing;
- Demonstrate knowledge regarding a variety of research-based practices that can be implemented to prevent and respond to behavior within a framework of multi-tiered systems of support (e.g., universal/tier 1; secondary/tier 2 and tertiary/tier 3); and
- Develop an action plan to implement prevention-oriented alternatives to exclusionary school discipline practices in their respective settings.
Students may obtain the online certificate by successfully completing four (4) two-credit hour courses:
- Legal Issues in School Discipline
- System Consultation in School Discipline Reform
- Restorative Justice
- School Discipline Reform: Linking Law, Policy and Practice
Students are required to attend an intensive seminar on Restorative Justice. The retreat offers students the opportunity to network with other professionals and engage in lively discussions and exercises related to the core principles and practices of restorative justice.
Interested in applying? Check out the School Discipline Reform Certificate application requirements.
The faculty in this program bring interdisciplinary expertise in evidence-supported approaches to school discipline at the School of Education and the School of Law. Students benefit from a faculty whose experience spans research, policy and practice related to school discipline in various settings. They are committed to helping students attain a deeper understanding of the complex issues involved in school discipline reform and to develop sound strategies to address them.
Faculty members in this program include:
Dr. Pamela Fenning is a Professor of School Psychology at Loyola University Chicago School of Education and served as the director of the Doctoral School Psychology Program from 2001-2015. She was a principal investigator on an evaluation study of multi-tiered behavior support in six large high schools. Her research and clinical interests focus on multi-tiered academic and behavioral interventions at the high school level, equity in school discipline policy and competency training in school psychology professional preparation programs. She has published widely in the area of school discipline and equity in behavioral approaches in educational settings. She is currently the chair of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Child and Professions Committee and on the NASP Graduate Program Approval Board. She is a licensed clinical and school psychologist in Illinois. Dr. Fenning holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Miranda Johnson is a Clinical Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the director of Loyola’s Education Law and Policy Institute. She teaches experiential learning classes in education law and supervises law students in the representation of parents and students in school discipline and special education cases. She has presented in various settings on prevention-oriented approaches to school discipline and organized training programs for school administrators on school discipline issues. Prior to working at Loyola, she was a staff attorney at Advocates for Children of New York, an organization promoting access to better educational services for New York City school children. She holds a JD from New York University School of Law and a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Before law school, she taught social studies at a residential high school in Colorado and conducted research in Tanzania on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Kathleen Hirsman is faculty at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and teaches courses on education law. She has 25 years’ experience in school law practice, representing and counseling school districts in board governance issues, student issues, special education, labor and personnel matters, collective bargaining, general litigation, and in general corporate advisory capacity. She is currently serving on the school board of Hinsdale Township High District 86. She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Prior to law school, she taught English-as-a-second-language in public schools and at the university level.
Sarah-Bess Dworin is Director of Restoring Community, a holistic culture and climate partner for schools and community-based organizations. Through this work, Dworin supports partners to implement interventions that decrease suspension, increase student engagement, and strengthen relationships throughout the community. As Steering Committee Member of the Transforming School Discipline Collaborative, Sarah-Bess partners with an interdisciplinary team supporting districts throughout Illinois to implement equitable and non-exclusionary discipline practices. She is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago Law School and teaches a course in Restorative Justice for the Certificate in School Discipline Reform.
The former Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Umoja Student Development Corporation, Dworin founded the professional development team and managed the design and production of multiple curricula, including a text supporting In School Disciplinary Interventions and "Umoja Seminar, a 4-year long daily social and emotional learning course for high schools. A former youth outreach worker in Chicago, Ms. Dworin received her MAT from the Teacher's College at Columbia University and taught at Bronx Lab High School in Bronx, NY for 5 years. Other curriculum and youth development publications include "Adolescent War Trauma and the Path Toward Healing in Northern Ireland," 2001, and "Khmer Youth Association Women’s Empowerment Experiential Curriculum," 2011.
Jennifer J. Rose is a nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP). Dr. Rose has provided psychological services for students in diverse settings including traditional k-12 buildings, juvenile corrections, alternative schools, and psychiatric facilities. Dr. Rose completed her internship in New Orleans within the Louisiana School Psychology Internship Consortium (LASPIC). Prior to becoming a school psychologist, Dr. Rose was a classroom teacher in Chicago Public Schools for nine years. As the former Tertiary Research and Evaluation Coordinator for the Illinois Positive Behavior Supports Network (IL-PBIS Network), Dr. Rose consulted with schools to address issues related to school climate and student social-emotional needs, and behavior. During her tenure with IL-PBIS Network, she assisted schools in implementation of universal screening using standardized instruments (e.g., Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, SDQ; and the Systematic Screener for Behavior Disorders, SSBD). Universal screening is an efficient process to help identify students with social-emotional, or behavioral concerns that may benefit from early intervention.
Dr. Rose believes that the provision of academic equity for minority and low-income student is a powerful demonstration of social justice. Her efforts in this area are focused on consulting with public schools to assist in the engagement and empowerment of families of color; the implementation of interventions to help reduce the disproportionate application of exclusionary discipline for students of color and students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Dr. Rose’s has also co-authored several articles on educational equity including, The Overrepresentation of African American Students in Exclusionary Discipline: The Role of School Policy. She has also delivered numerous presentations on the topics of equity and disproportionality.
Dr. Rose earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology and her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. She received a M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning from DePaul University and a B.S. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.
What are the application deadlines?
The online program begins two times each year:
Application Deadline: July 1, 2020
Term Begins: Early September
Term Ends: Mid December
Application Deadline: December 15th of each year (for application and all supporting materials)
Term Begins: Early January
Term Ends: Mid April
What are the application requirements?
- Online Application
- Statement of Purpose indicating professional and/or personal reasons for pursuing this certificate
- Current Resume
- Transcripts from all universities or colleges attended, showing that you have completed a degree at the bachelor's level or higher with a 2.5 grade point average.
- Neither GRE nor the LSAT is required for admission
No application fee is required.
What is the timeframe for completion of the program?
This program is designed to be completed in one year on a part-time basis by taking two 2-credit courses each semester, starting in the fall and concluding in the spring. If students begin the program in the spring semester, they will complete the program in three semesters. Students would start by taking one two-credit course, Restorative Justice, in the spring semester, and then taking two two-credit courses the following fall semester, and completing the two-credit capstone course the following spring semester. Students can also take the certificate over two years or, with permission, extend the certificate beyond the two years. The certificate program is flexibly structured to accommodate the busy lives of working professionals.
Does Loyola provide financial assistance?
Yes. Students enrolled in the certificate for a minimum of four credits per semester are eligible for federal loan programs. Contact Loyola’s Financial Aid Office for more information.
Does Loyola offer any other type of scholarships for this certificate?
Yes. Loyola offers a tuition scholarship to students attending this program in a cohort. More information is available on the Tuition and Fees page.
I would like to seek funding from my school or district for this program. What are the ways in which this program would benefit my school or district?
Because this program is designed to be applied in nature, schools and districts would benefit from the participation of administrators, teachers, discipline deans, school-based mental health professionals and staff in this program in the following ways:
- Participants will learn about relevant laws, policies and procedures that govern school discipline in their buildings and complete an applied project to analyze and review relevant policies, such as school board disciplinary policies, Codes of Conduct/student handbooks, and memoranda of understanding between schools and law enforcement agencies.
- Program participants will receive support to gather, analyze and summarize school and district disciplinary data in the aggregate and disaggregated by relevant categories.
- Participants will receiving training and guidance to develop and implement a needs assessment on school discipline in the fall semester.
- Based on the findings of the needs assessment, participants will develop a 3-5 year action plan for reforming school discipline practices in their schools and buildings and will lay the framework for implementation of this plan as part of their certificate coursework.
- Participants will receive training on restorative practices and will then be supported to apply restorative principles and practices in their own school or district setting.
- Participants will learn about research-supported practices in school discipline that they can bring back to their schools or districts.
- Participants will interact with colleagues from around the country and learn more about tools, practices and structures to reform school discipline that are being used in other schools and districts from professionals who have leadership roles related to school discipline.
Additional benefits for participants from Illinois:
- The certificate curriculum will align with state laws on discipline, including:
- The school discipline reform legislation referred to as SB 100 (Public Act 99-0456) and
- the school discipline data reporting requirements and the potential need for schools and districts with high rates of out-of-school suspensions, expulsions and disciplinary transfers to alternative school placements to develop a corrective action plan as set forth in 105 ILCS 5/2-3.162.
Is the program accredited?
Loyola University Chicago is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools while Loyola University Chicago School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. The School of Education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools* (NCA) and the School Psychology PhD program and Ed.S. program is accredited/approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), respectively.
What can I expect from the online course experience?
Courses are taught by full-time faculty members at Loyola as well as leading practitioners, each experts in their fields. Each course is organized to teach key substantive areas and practical skills. All courses are offered online through Loyola’s learning management system and consist of reading assignments, recorded lectures, quizzes or exams, discussion board assignments, writing assignments, and live classes. Course materials are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Online learning is flexible, convenient, and geared toward each student's own schedule and needs. And distance learning is student-centered. Students have regular contact with faculty and other students through e-mails, chat rooms, discussion forums, and instant messaging. Assignments are turned in and returned with in-depth feedback to the student's home page within days. Finally, online education is grounded in adult learning theory, making it an excellent learning medium for busy professionals.
Can I transfer credits from other schools?
Due to the unique nature of the certificate program, transfer credits will not be accepted.
Can the credits be applied to any other degree?
The credits can be applied toward the online Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) in Children’s Law and Policy offered by Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships
The School of Education and Loyola's Financial Aid Office are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their education at Loyola affordable. You can learn more on the Financial Assistance page.