As part of using discipline data in decision making, Office Discipline Referral (ODR) data can be used as a screener to identify students in your building who could benefit from targeted behavioral supports in addition to what is offered at the universal level.1,2 Using ODR data as a screening measure in October is a technique we call The October Catch.

Consider your data from last year: If you knew by the end of October you could have identified half of the students who ended the year with 6 or more referrals, wouldn’t you? The number of ODRs students receive by the end of October is a highly accurate predictor of their cumulative ODR trajectory through the remainder of the year. Research shows 50% of students who received 6 or more total ODRs during the course of the year already received 2 or more ODRs by the end of October; 79% had 2 or more ODRs by the end of December.3 See Figure 1.

You may already have processes in place to refer students for additional supports: teacher referral, even ODR counts. This research suggests you have the ability, right now, to identify and refer some students well before they have the time to accumulate​ 4, 5, 6 or more referrals. As you generate the SWIS Referrals by Student report this October, pay close attention to the students in your building with 2 or more referrals. Consider what you know about each student. Look at additional screening data available to you. Talk about what targeted supports you have available in your building and which students would benefit from enrollment. 

Again in November and December, generate the Referrals by Student report. This time, check to see if there are new students with more than 2 referrals. Remember, 79% of students who ended the year with 6 or more referrals had at least 2 referrals by the end of December. Be sure you also check in on the students you referred for targeted supports; how has their referral trajectory changed or not? If your school has a Check-In Check-Out program, were any students enrolled in October and have data in your CICO-SWIS account? If not already, consider tracking these students in CICO-SWIS to better use their point data in decision making.

As a team, you have multiple resources informing your decision-making process. Use the ODR data you've collected as a piece of puzzle to predict earlier which of your students would benefit from additional supports.

1. Tobin, T. J., Sugai, G., & Colvin, G. (1996). Patterns in middle school discipline records. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 4, 82-94 
2. Tobin, T. J., & Sugai, G. M. (1999) Using sixth-grade school records to predict school violence, chronic discipline problems, and high school outcomes. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 7, 40-53 
3. McIntosh, K., Frank, J. L., & Spaulding, S. A. (2010). Establishing research-based trajectories of office discipline referrals for individual student. School Psychology Review, 39, 380-394.​​​​​​​​​​​​​