What is “Systems Change”?

Systems change is a shift in institutional culture, policy, process and procedure within an individual organization or across organizations that eliminate barriers and disparities to a particular needed population. The SCSCP will address how the school system, juvenile justice system, local media and the community each play a role in how we engage our YMBOC and explore how the implementation of school discipline, youth court referrals and media portrayal can unintentionally contribute to disparate and disproportionate outcomes.

Why does Sunflower County need this project?

Sunflower County is currently number two in the State for youth court referrals. Of the 224 youth referred to the juvenile justice system in 2014, 212 were children of color. Nationally, young male students of color are three times more likely to be subjected to school discipline and referred to the youth court system. This is not the result of students of color acting out more; rather, how adults respond to student behavior. Suspensions and expulsions take students out of the classroom. Each time a student is placed outside of the educational setting, it is more likely that he will repeat a grade. Any student that repeats a grade is more likely to be a drop out. Repeated contact with the juvenile justice system increases an adolescent’s chance of being a part of the criminal justice system.

How do I play a part in this project?

All of us have a vested interest in ensuring our community and the people in it succeed. You can help ensure the success of the SCSCP by:

  • Serving on the steering committee to learn about innovative, evidenced-based models of success and decide which models or what component of models can work in Sunflower County;
  • Encouraging community involvement, reviewing policies, making positive and fairrecommendations to systems;
  • Participating in focus groups and encouraging community involvement;
  • Having an open mind and making a commitment to the intended goals of the project; and,
  • Sharing your opinion about the current process and how we can do better.

Who benefits?

  • 4,200 students and 300 teachers and administrators in the consolidated school system by connecting the systems that impact school environment, thereby enhancing
  • Law enforcement and juvenile justice systems by developing alternatives that support positive interactions with YMBOC, thereby, reducing the number of youth court referrals.
  • Sunflower County community as a whole by developing and encouraging students to be better educated and productive contributors to the local economy.
  • Other school districts by having a tested and proven model that can be tailored to teach individual community’s needs.


Join the Conversation

Use #SCSystemsChange to join the conversation around authentic systems change!