RESTORATIVE PRACTICES PROGRAM
WSESD’s Restorative Practices (RP) Program
(Review draft by Mike Szostak 11/23/19)
The overall purpose of the WSESD’s RP Program is to use restorative approaches to help build, and in some cases repair, supportive relationships among students, staff, and the school community as a whole. In doing this work, social justice, including identifying and eliminating discriminatory practices, are primary considerations. To accomplish this, we use various approaches including the following:
- Restorative Conversations: We facilitate an ad-hoc conversation with a student who has become escalated to do some interaction with another student or staff member to help the student calm down, gain composure, and then process what happened. Out of this conversation comes a plan of how to address the issue, both short-term and long-term. Other resources (counselors, administrators, teachers) may be called into the conversation, as needed. The goal of these conversations is to help the students return to their classes, in a productive way, as soon as possible.
- Restorative Justice (RJ) Circles: An RJ circle approach is used when conflicts arise between students or between students and staff, often involving the violation of school rules, including harassment, bullying, fights, threats, vandalism, hurtful language, insubordination, and theft. This circle process is facilitated by either an RJ Coordinator or a trained student, the latter being our preferred method. During this process, the focus is on who was harmed by whatever occurred, how can that harm be repaired, and what can be done to prevent future incidents like this from reoccurring.
- Community-Led Support Circles: Using this approach, a group of adult volunteers from the outside community meet weekly with a student who would benefit from adult mentoring and help in developing critical-thinking skills. The purpose of these restorative circles is to provide the student with trusted listeners and mentors, helping guide the student to available resources and toward making healthy decisions.
Restorative Practices Consulting: The ideal is to have restorative approaches integrated into all classrooms and curricula throughout our district. We provide trainings using our staff and other local trainers to accomplish this. Once trained, we provide ongoing support to teachers and their students in running restorative circles and in developing curricula. We also provide classroom assistance to teachers who are having classroom management challenges related to student behaviors.