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How Do You Discipline A Student Who's 400 Miles Away?

from Nichole Schweitzer
Principal of Wisconsin Connections Academy The unique nuances of disciplining a student who might be four or even 400 miles away can be challenging. Much like the concept of "preventive medicine," here, too, the key to success can be found in the work done prior to the event. Once you have a rapport with a student, it’s much easier to effect discipline. It’s also immeasurably easier to deal with a parent with whom you’ve built a relationship. In many cases, you might have to work with the parent before you can reach the student. For instance, I recently had to educate one of my parents on plagiarism. Once the parent fully understood the rules regarding plagiarism, we could then focus on the student to address the situation with him/her. I also find it helpful to go back to the district policies to frame any next steps in the discipline process. Between referring to the district guidelines, using my own judgment, having a relationship with the students/parents, and remembering the unique context of a virtual school, my teachers and I can usually find a workable solution.