Transforming School Culture Through Restorative Practices

RESTORATIVE PRACTICES employ a strengths-based approach to form stronger relationships and realize greater equity in education. When implemented holistically, restorative practices help develop a culture where everyone’s voice is heard and valued and relationships become the cornerstone of the community. Restorative practices work by putting the emphasis on relationships, collaborative problem solving and collective responsibility.

Restorative Practices

Restorative practices provide greater balance and strength to the youth-adult partnerships in learning, greater opportunity for building empathy, bridging differences, and strengthening more just, joyful, and sustainable communities. Restorative practices are truly a form of participatory democracy in that they build and heal communities, and serve as a means to work through, resolve, and transform conflicts.

Restorative practices are a paradigm shift, not a program or initiative.

What is the Opportunity?

The central goal of Transforming School Culture Through Restorative Practices is a culture shift to one of equity and shared responsibility. For this shift to occur, youth and adults must be at the table together in authentic partnership.

Often restorative practices are implemented by adults on behalf of students; however, in this program students will sit side-by-side as full partners with adults as they craft, implement and assess their restorative practices action plan over the course of the year.

This year-long professional learning supports middle and high school teams at all phases of implementation and growth. Teams typically consist of 2-4 adults and up to 8 youth partners.

Why do Restorative Practices Matter?

Every member of a school community has a sphere of influence. This sphere contains an interwoven network of relationships which can influence decisions, policy and practices. The outcomes ultimately depend on the strength of the relationships between students, teachers, administrators, families, and community members.

Restorative practices provide greater balance and strength to the youth-adult partnerships in learning, greater opportunity for building empathy, bridging differences, and strengthening more just, joyful, and sustainable communities. Restorative practices are truly a form of participatory democracy in that they build and heal communities, and serve as a means to work through, resolve, and transform conflicts.

Restorative practices is a philosophy, a way of being, not a program or initiative.

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What are people saying about UP?

I’m a lot more confident now because of it. And there are other factors that play into that confidence. But I think it sort of stemmed from being a part of that group. I had never had anything like that before in my life really.
— Former YATST Student
This group, YATST, can make a big change. And if you stay with it, it can make a change in you!
— Student Reflection
I used to be more of a strong leader, telling people what to do. Now that I’ve learned to facilitate, I help other people to work together.
— Blue Mountain Union YATST student

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