Restorative Practices are more than just a set of practices, but also a philosophy or mindset that involves all stakeholders being mindful of the importance that building relationships, culture-building, healthy communication, connectedness, and how cultivating a sense of belonging and significance in our students, staff, and families can have a transformative impact on those we serve. Implementing restorative practices calls for a paradigm shift-a change in the head and in the heart of how we simply do business.
Implementing all aspects of the district’s culture octagon through a restorative lens will support schools in proactive efforts to create sustainable, inclusive school-wide culture that best meet the needs of our students. The Restorative Practices district team is available to collaborate with schools in their efforts to implement restorative practices, to include, assessing readiness, creating implementation plans, providing tailored professional development, serving as thought partners to incorporate restorative practices into existing leadership team work, providing ongoing coaching, walkthroughs, and ensuring these practices maximize efforts to create and sustain a strong school culture in each and every school and classroom.
Our district has moved away from solely implementing punitive, zero tolerance approaches to discipline. It is inevitable that on occasion a conflict will arise requiring reactive discipline, yet an alternative, restorative response to harm may be warranted. The Restorative Practices team can also support schools with devising restorative alternatives to traditional, punitive forms of discipline that continue to create divide. These practices have been proven to reduce suspension and recidivism, while increasing attendance, relationships, and students’ and families’ feelings of connectedness to school, thus improving overall school culture and climate.