Responsibility-Based Self-Control begins when intentions align with responsibility. At UAGC, we use a progressive intervention model to empower student ownership of behavior.

Ours is a system [designed] to help kids know what they’re not allowed to do in class and allow them to have the opportunity to correct themselves without getting into trouble. So they go up it starting with... reminders (either from a teacher or student) which helps them see that what they’re doing isn’t productive and they need to get back to to work. If they don’t listen to the help, they then have to have a behavior reflection. This allows them to have a chance to correct themselves. If they don’t, they’ll eventually have a conference with the teacher to go over their behavior and if they still don’t listen then it’s a call home [and a principal referral]. I like this system since it gives us the freedom to correct ourselves and see the errors without us getting in trouble.
— Emidia W., Class of 2021


At the start of every school year, all students are introduced to the Citywide Behavioral Expectations book during the Social Norms Talk.

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The Blue Book

The Discipline Code, or the Citywide Behavioral Expectations to Support Student Learning:

- Is age-specific with one set for grades K-5 and another for grades 6-12.

- Explains the standards for behavior in the New York City public schools

- Describes supports, interventions, and disciplinary measures that schools can use when students misbehave

- Explains how you can appeal decisions

- Includes the Student’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

During the Social Norms Talk and with the support of their teachers, the dean, the restorative justice coordinator and administration, students share which behaviors tend to get in their way in the classroom, and identify what supports they would appreciate from their peers and/ or UAGC faculty in order to help them re-enter the culture of learning.

The result of this effort is the Ladder of Self Regulation.

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The Ladder of Self Regulation

Created with the input of students during the Social Norms Talk at the start of every school year, students fulfill their responsibilities as learners in the context of the collaborative classroom. Rather than removing students from the classroom when they have difficulty fulfilling these responsibilities, students have multiple opportunities to self-regulate as teachers and other students use the "ladder," created by and for students, to remind anyone (including teachers!) of their responsibility.

Our system is based on the premise that students must be afforded as many opportunities as possible to practice the social norms, and that it is the joint responsibility of the individual and the community to support those who are struggling to adhere to the outlined norms.

It is developmentally appropriate for children to engage in behaviors that contradict their intentions and undermine their goals.

It is the role of the community supporting its members to adhere to the established boundaries (the agreed-upon social norms) by using clearly defined Systems of Support with fidelity.

Doing so is a matter of equity and empowerment.

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The Promise Card

Where students develop a growth mindset and learn the power of the Change Narrative: “who I was is not who I will be. I can change.”

This protocol is facilitated by a group of students who have been trained in theories of mind and development in the Keepers of the Culture class.

The classroom ladder of intervention [reminders from peers, moving a seat, behavior reflection] helps us as well - it helps us learn how to take responsibility in the classroom for our own behavior.
— Fradaliza Valdez, Class of 2016