At Englewood Schools, positive school culture and climate is fostered through three areas of focus: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Restorative Practices, and Trauma Informed Practices. Learn how Restorative Practices fit into Englewood Schools’ commitment to building strong school culture.
In Englewood Schools, Restorative Practices is a philosophy and thoughtful approach to building positive relationships and school communities. It's about teaching students to understand the power and influence they have within their community of peers and that each person has a voice that is respected. This helps to build a respectful school culture.
Through Restorative Practices, students build key life skills such as empathy, responsibility and the ability to solve problems. As is the case with PBIS, Restorative Practices can look different at each school. All schools are engaging in community building circles. Circle time is an effective way of building relationships by encouraging students to share with each other and to learn from and about each other. Some schools take the circle work to more advanced levels. For example, some of our schools are doing academic circles where students have an opportunity to share their knowledge with each other. Some are using them as resolution circles to help students solve concerns in the classroom. Another example is that students can voice their ideas about classroom norms and agreements and come together to agree on what those should be and why.
Restorative Practices teaches our students to be stewards for their peers and community. It teaches them to be leaders in their classrooms and schools and to learn about the power of their voice. Restorative Practices help our students to grow into thoughtful, empowered and confident people in our community.
An important component of Restorative Practices is teaching students to resolve problems, make amends when they behave inappropriately or harm someone, and to re-establish healthy relationships. One of the ways students learn to do this is by using affective statements. Affective statements help to shape constructive conversations by asking: what happened? Who has been harmed and how can we right the harm? It's about allowing our students to learn from their mistakes. It's also about helping our students voice how they can correct the harm to those involved. Lastly, it's about the consequences fitting the actions. Through Restorative Practices, our educators are more thoughtful about how conflicts and consequences can be learning lessons for students.
The use of Restorative Practices helps to reduce bullying and improve student behavior. Below are examples of Restorative Practices you may see taking place at our schools:
Two fourth-grade students in the cafeteria created a mess with their food due to their behavior at lunch. After speaking with both students and the staff in the cafeteria it was agreed upon the students would stay after their lunch for 15 minutes for one week and help clean the cafeteria before going back to class.
Repairing the Harm & Building Stronger Relationships
Three 9th grade students arrived to their science class late multiple times and when they did get to class they were consistently disrupting the class. The teacher had a restorative conversation with them and they all agreed the students would be responsible for helping the teacher in various ways after class. This gave the students an opportunity to repair the harm done to the learning environment while also giving the teacher an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with the students due to the conversations taking place while they were working together.
Respecting One Another & Resolving Conflict
Four 6th grade girls between two of our schools were having difficulty with each other, and this was affecting them in class as well as after school with threats being made outside of the school day. A staff member from each school trained in Restorative Practices held a larger "restorative circle" with all girls as well as a parent support for each girl. Everyone had the opportunity to speak about their concerns, and an agreement was made between all of the girls involved. Both staff members at each school did regular check-ins with the girls for the next month. No other issues came up following this RP conversation/circle.