OVERVIEW OF RESTORATIVE PRACTICES
To support the whole child and close the opportunity gap, creating equitable spaces and promoting positive school culture and community are essential. Restorative practices do this through creating safe and trusted relationships - both individual and community-wide. Through the use of restorative practices, schools proactively plan and respond to community needs in a less punitive way. It is critical to remember that a Restorative climate and culture is the foundation upon which we can build healthy relationships, engage in community building, and then offer alternative community practices when harm occurs. The work of RP is 80% preventative and 20% responsive.
Restorative Practices include alternatives to punitive discipline policies, which have disproportionately affected certain groups of students, including students of color and Special Education students. The discrepancies we see in discipline action based on student identity show not only a structural issue within systems of punitive discipline, but a lack of equitable practices and positive culture in schools for all students. Restorative Practices offer us an alternative to exclusionary methods, such as classroom removal, suspension, and expulsion, which are not only unsuccessful at positively changing student behavior or learning achievement, but instead demonstrate negative effects on a student’s personal and academic achievement.
But the true work of restorative practices goes beyond offering alternatives to exclusionary practices - it provides the foundation for shaping a positive culture in schools that will serve all students better. While the history of punitive discipline is interwoven with the shift towards a restorative mindset, restorative practices are not a discipline system and should not be used as such. But, it does offer a way to hold communities accountable and to address harm.
THE ROLE OF THE DISTRICT RP TEAM
Within DPS, Restorative Practices (RP) implementation began with a district-wide approach to reach as many schools and staff as possible. This approach helped for a universal understanding of the importance of RP and the beginning of fundamental skill building to assist in the full implementation.
The goal of the DPS Central Office Restorative Practices team is to build upon the work of RP in the district to support growth, implementation, and consistency of RP work across schools and teams. This vision aligns to DPS’s vision that ‘Every Child Succeeds’ through supporting Whole Child strategies that provide all students the opportunity to achieve the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing citizens in our diverse society.
The Restorative Practices team is excited to share an online training series that will serve as the Restorative Practice 101 training for DPS. The series is hosted in Schoology and credit will be automatically entered into Learning Space. For additional information on the training series, check out the flier.
CONNECTING FOR SUPPORT
Connect with the District RP team for support in your school’s implementation of Restorative climate and culture.
Director, Student Equity and Opportunity
Manager of Trauma Informed and Restorative Practices
District RP Coordinator