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 from the viewpoint of “with” rather than “to”, putting the emphasis on relationships, collaborative problem solving and collective responsibility.
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.
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. There is an inherent right of every person to be treated as fully human and to intentionally learn to refuse any less-than-human treatment.
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.
Research has proven that restorative practices:
- Improve school culture and climate for youth and adults
- Ensure all students are engaged and contributing members of the community
- Enrich current pedagogical practices with more strategies for student-centered decision-making
- Improve academic outcomes and close the opportunity gap by creating an inclusive learning environment for all youth
- Significantly reduce absenteeism
- Reduce educational services lost due to in and out of school suspensions and expulsion by keeping students in the classroom and learning
- Work in collaboration with any existing Responsive Classroom/Developmental Design, mindfulness, and personalized learning practices.
Adult learners can enroll in a three-credit graduate course from Southern New Hampshire University or receive professional development hours toward recertification. High school students can create an independent study and receive proficiency-based high school credits for their efforts. Expectations for adult and youth participants remain the same regardless of the source of credit. This professional learning community experience includes:
- 4 full day youth-adult training sessions (in-person, virtual, or hybrid) throughout the 2020-2021 school year, including 1 full day Circle Keeper training
- 6 individual coaching sessions on implementing RP in your setting with an UP for Learning staff member, this can include site visits, modeling, and co-planning
We will sustain a threaded community throughout the year by means of Google classroom, reflecting on relevant readings, resources, and experiences, and sharing field-based experiences.