First Presenter's Institution

School District 49 (Colorado)

Second Presenter's Institution

School District 49 (Colorado)

Third Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fourth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Fifth Presenter's Institution

N/A

Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

The proposal relates to Heart; social and emotional skills, because it focuses on proactively building a cultural framework using the full spectrum of restorative practices (e.g., mitigation, restorative discipline, and restorative justice) to empower the student's voice and build self-efficacy before the student is in crisis, which is contrasted by the singular reactive focus of engaging with students only after they are in crisis and relying on restorative justice as the only option for community reintegration. The proposal also relates to Hands; safety and violence prevention, because it focuses on developing a culture that cultivates the character required to resist bullying, create safe spaces, and manage behavior. It fosters an environment where teachers, students, administrators, resource officers, and parents can build community and resolve conflict using affective statements, restorative circles, and family conferencing.

Brief Program Description

As a reaction to school violence, zero-tolerance became the rule in many school districts. The latter practice silenced student voices and institutionalized the overrepresentation of minority students in discipline situations. An over-reliance on punishment has not significantly changed behavior; therefore, it is time to explore proactively using restorative practices to allow students to value the reasons behind rules instead of simply complying to avoid punishment.

Summary

Adopting a restorative approach is an important opportunity that has the power to catapult a student beyond the bounds of their perceived cultural or socioeconomic limitations. However, for this idea to be effective, school districts must foster a mindset that restorative practices should be for every student. If restorative practices are only for the “bad students”, then they become stigmatized. When school districts adopt restorative justice without the proactive elements of restorative practices it could reinforce negative characterizations. Restorative justice is an important component of conduct and discipline. However, adopting restorative practices incorporates restorative justice with into a family of proactive interventions. Mitigation is working with students under non-stressful or routine circumstances to promote dialogue and build relationships. Restorative discipline ensures that accountability in policy is aligned to create a fair process. Then, restorative justice can addresses students who have experienced bad situations using a restorative approach for reintegration into the instructional environment. The goal of this three-phase approach is to cultivate students who value the reasons behind the rules over simply complying to avoid punishment; allowing them understand that experiencing “bad situations” do not make them “bad people”. The practical application of the three-phase approach addresses the expected outcome of discipline. If the goal is to hold students highly accountable and respect and caring are low, then the institution is doing things “TO” students. If the goal is to “NOT” hold students accountable and respect and caring are low, then the institution is neglecting students. If goal is to care “FOR” students and accountability is low, then the institution is creating dependency and entitlement. All of the above goals lead to fixed mindset, which creates many obstacles to becoming resilient. If the goal is to work “WITH” students by holding them highly accountable (expectations) while ensuring that caring and respect are also high (support), then the social-emotional environment fosters the culture necessary to help students avoid discipline situations. The presenters will discuss how cultural perceptions can be shaped using a framework that gives the student a voice and fosters a transparent environment of accountability, caring, and respect.

Evidence

Restorative practices (RP) have national and international data to support its effectiveness. The Rand Institute is currently studying the implementation in school districts in Maine and Pennsylvania. Here is an excerpt from a study that highlights the RP body of evidence:

G. McCluskey et al in Educational Review (excerpt)

Restorative practice originally developed as restorative justice, an approach to crime that focussed on repairing harm and giving a voice to ‘‘victims’’ (Bazemore and Umbreit 2001; Barton 2000; Marshall 1998; Fattah and Peters 1998; Barnett 1977). RP in education differs from restorative justice in that the latter involves professionals working exclusively with young people who offend. In RP in education, the whole school community, all school staff, pupils and sometimes parents, can be involved (Hopkins 2004). Restorative Justice in the school setting views misconduct not as school-rule-breaking, and therefore as a violation of the institution, but as a violation against people and relationships in the school and wider community. (Cameron and Thorsborne 2001, 183) In many countries, it has developed through the use of restorative conferencing; a structured approach to restoring relationships when there has been harm, that involves offenders, victims and key others in a process designed to resolve difficulties and repair relationships (Morrison 2007). The largest independent evaluation of restorative justice in schools in the UK to date, commissioned by the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales, reported on a pilot initiative in which youth offending teams worked with 26 schools in England and Wales (Bitel 2005). The aims of the initiative were to reduce offending, bullying and victimisation and to improve attendance, largely through restorative conferencing. Mirroring findings elsewhere (Blood 2005; Chmelynski 2005; Drewery 2004), there was found to be little impact on some outcome measures such as exclusion and no significant improvement in pupil attitudes except in the small number of schools where a whole school approach had been adopted. However, the researchers concluded that restorative justice in schools, while ‘‘not a panacea… [could] if implemented correctly…improve the school environment, enhance learning and encourage young people to become more responsible and empathetic’’ (Bitel 2005, 13).

This excerpt highlights the depth and scope of support for the continually expanding body of evidence, which supports restorative practices. The process of identifying harm caused by a student, addressing the harmed party, and figuring out how to make things right is a factor in building empathy and decreasing recidivism, which creates the environment necessary to reintegrate students into their school's community.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Louis Fletcher is the Director of Culture and Services of Falcon School District 49 in Peyton, Colorado. The Director of Culture and Services is responsible for developing and implementing district-wide education, outreach and training initiatives to promote and sustain a culture of inclusion, equity and respect.

Peter Hilts began serving as the Chief Education Officer of Falcon School District 49 in July of 2013 after ten years in significant leadership roles at The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs. Peter specializes in facilitating major initiatives such as innovation initiatives, organizational reform and strategic planning for schools and districts.

Keyword Descriptors

Restorative, Discipline, Social-emotional, Reintegration, Conduct, Accountability, Respect, Caring, Transparency, Fairness

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-6-2017 3:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2017 4:15 PM

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Mar 6th, 3:00 PM Mar 6th, 4:15 PM

Beyond Black and White: Infusing Restorative Practices into Student Discipline

Verelst

As a reaction to school violence, zero-tolerance became the rule in many school districts. The latter practice silenced student voices and institutionalized the overrepresentation of minority students in discipline situations. An over-reliance on punishment has not significantly changed behavior; therefore, it is time to explore proactively using restorative practices to allow students to value the reasons behind rules instead of simply complying to avoid punishment.