Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




school discipline, compassionate systems, transformative learning theory, student behaviour, equity, decolonization


Punitive and exclusionary discipline practices cause harm to elementary aged students weakening their connection to school. Such practices are reactive in nature and fail to understand the needs of students who demonstrate challenging behaviour. This organizational improvement plan provides a framework to reimagine school discipline through a lens of equity, wellbeing, and decolonization. It is an invitation to look under the surface to better understand students who struggle with behaviour in elementary classrooms. The school discussed is a large, suburban public school in British Columbia serving students in kindergarten through to grade seven. A conceptual change model, the transformative wheel, is applied to the problem of practice blending the work of transformative learning theory, compassionate systems leadership, and Indigenous ways of knowing. The change model and suggested strategies align with the BC Teaching Standards and BC Mental Health in Schools Strategy. Three solutions are presented, each built around the development of a school-based learning team or professional learning community and an established vision for change. The solutions include building professional capacity, embracing Indigenous wisdom, and recognizing systemic inequities to improve practice. The chosen solution blends professional development and Indigenous knowledge to create a community of care built on the premise that all children belong, and that school communities benefit when students with challenging behaviour are wrapped in love and support and pulled closer rather than pushed away.

Keywords: School discipline, transformative learning theory, compassionate systems, student behaviour, equity, decolonization