September 25th, 2005
















Mark Karadimos

Dean of Students




Table of Contents





Contract Elements


Contract Possibilities


Sample Contract









            The first strategy for managing student behavior rests in the classroom with effective teachers.  They are often best able to identify disturbing behavioral trends with students.  Consequently, they can manage such problems through a myriad of techniques.

            These techniques include quick and extended approaches.  Quick approaches include private conferences, warnings, and detentions.  Extended approaches can include parent-teacher conferences or the use of an administrator’s services.

            Contracts are another tool to be used by educators.  Teachers can institute there own and the details of such an approach can be found within Guide to School Discipline: A Tutorial for Teachers.  It is available at and it contains a sample contract.  However, this document outlines how an administrator may utilize different style of behavioral contract for difficult student cases.

            This document will outline the ‘how’s and ‘why’s behind contracts.  For instance, the use of contracts lends itself to an environment conducive to counseling.  This environment may be useful for prosocial skills training, which is an evolutionary process that helps a student develop skills and link behaviors to consequences.

            Included within this document, one will find specific characteristics of contracts.  The elements of a standard contract are present.  Extended framework upon which the contracts rest are present.  A sample contract is also present.


            The purpose of creating a contract is to:


1)      Get a student to realize there is a problem, i.e. the behavior conflicts with personal growth as well as school growth,

2)      Allow a student to overcome the problem,

3)      Invite a student to connect specific behaviors with specific consequences,

4)      Make a student agree to the terms of the contract with the use of a signature.


            The process is simply a tool for behavior modification set within a counseling environment.  It should lean toward dialogue and be non-threatening and comprehensive.


Contract Elements

            The elements of the contract are as follows.


                                      I.      Outline the full demands placed on all students.  Refer to Student Handbook.

                                   II.      Identify student’s particular problem and flesh it out in detail.  The framework of the contract will rest on this section.

                                 III.      Positive rewards for proper conduct (return of privileges, treats, …)

                                IV.      Outline a list of consequences that correlate in severity for the problem.  This step will detail the severity in which the problem erupts and the frequency of the eruptions.  This section must adhere to the existing discipline code for the school/district.  Therefore, neither irregular consequences nor consequences that are more severe than normal are allowed.

                                  V.      Include a section that states willingness to adhere to above regulations.

                                VI.      Have student, administrator, teachers, and parent(s) (if possible) sign the contract.


Contract Possibilities

            The information below should be incorporated into contracts or at least discussion when developing contracts to maximize their effectiveness.


Anti-Gang Contracts

      In addition to making school safe for all students, have students see the connections between gang involvement and future diminished outcomes after high school.  police statistics have shown 80% of those who become involved in gangs either become maimed, killed, or imprisoned.


Anger Management Contracts

      Students who do not possess internal anger-tempering strategies cannot function in society.  In cases gone uncorrected, students cannot hold jobs for extended periods of time and long-term relationships are difficult to sustain.  Correctional facilities may be required in cases of severe anger mismanagement.


Anti-Graffiti Contracts

      “Taggers,” as they are called, usually possess raw artistic talent.  This talent, channeled correctly, could direct students toward careers in graphic design, drawing, painting, photography, and a number of other creative areas.  The illegal use of public property and others’ personal property, will eventually lead to fines and the loss of trust in a community.


Attendance Contracts

      Students must realize the importance of attending school.  Students who do not attend classes do not gain sufficient information and skill that is necessary for success in subsequent classes and life after high school.



Anti-Drug Contracts

      Offenses range from the use of tobacco and alcohol to controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine.  Some people believe an early exposure to drugs may promote long term addiction in life and the use of harder substances.  Correcting this behavior is very important for the future of these adolescent drug abusers.


Assignment (Homework) Contracts

      This is an area best reserved for teachers.  In the cases of students who are habitually problematic, an administrative contract can be drawn.  These students must be informed of the necessity of doing assignments to enable them to meet the challenges of subsequent classes and life after high school.


Classroom Behavior Contracts

      Students who break classroom rules for minor offenses should work directly with teachers.  However, for repeat offenders who disrupt the educational process for others can be handled through administrative contracts.  Modeling classroom performance after behavior required for work after high school may be an effective strategy for managing this type of problem students.


Sample Contract

              I.      I, __________, fully understand I must adhere to all school policies and procedures.  This also includes all classroom policies and procedures.  My Student Handbook outlines all of the rules to which I must abide.  This contract does not enable me to be excluded from the school rules all students must follow.

           II.      I, __________, am having difficulty controlling my anger.  I routinely get upset at my peers, say inappropriate comments, and sometimes hit them.  This is a problem because I cannot go through life saying these statements and hitting everyone who makes me angry.

         III.      In the event I neither make inappropriate comments nor hit someone for the period of four weeks, I will be given a candy bar.  In the event such positive behavior extends for two months, I will no longer need to have meetings to discuss my behavior.  In the event such positive behavior extends for four months, this contract will automatically expire.

        IV.      If I give in to the anger I feel by saying inappropriate comments, I can be given a detention, temporarily removed from the room, or given a suspension, which depends on the severity of the comments.  If I hit another student, I will be suspended and may possibly be expelled.

          V.      I, __________, do hereby submit to the terms of this contract.  My signature below indicates my willingness to overcome my problem, adhere to all school/classroom rules and procedures, and become a better student as a result.


Student’s Signature


Administrator’s Signature


Guardian’s Signature(s)




Teacher’s Signature(s)




            This document exists to help educators within schools by providing them with the background, guidelines, and specific tools related to contracts.  The goal is to help students reach a heightened sense of awareness with what it is that makes citizens able to succeed in the world.  Consequently, it is to help make them independent, lifelong learners, and content members of society.

            Dialogue between interested parties is encouraged.  Those parties interested in comparing discipline strategies should use the contact information within the title page of this document.



About. (n.d.) Behavior Calendar. Online resource accessed on September 25th, 2005 at:


California Teachers Association. (1999) Behavior Contracts. Online resource accessed on September 25th, 2005 at:


Wright, J. (n.d.) Behavior Contracts.  Online resource accessed on September 25th, 2005 at: