1 A Report from the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School
3 I was first introduced to restorative practices through a good friend. He could not stop talking about this program that worked with adults and students to change the climate of schools. As I continued to press him for data, he fed me a collection of websites and pages of summary data. The research was promising, but I wanted to know more. I decided to visit the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. My passion has always been urban education. As a former high school teacher, assistant superintendent for research and school reform in Detroit Public Schools, and research director for the Council of the Great City Schools, I have always focused on improving the quality of education in urban schools. Therefore, my review of restorative practices was through an urban lens. When I met Ted Wachtel, president and founder of the IIRP Graduate School, I was pleased to learn that the IIRP Training and Consulting Division was working with challenging urban schools in several cities and was committed to developing a more comprehensive research effort. I agreed to assist the IIRP in that effort and suggested that we start by producing a compilation of existing data. The very recent data provided by West Philadelphia High School constitutes the first case presented in this report. I have always recognized that safe schools are prerequisite to academic rigor. Zero tolerance has been the rule of the land in most schools for some time. But there have not been significant reductions in fights, disruptive behavior or other violent acts in schools as a result of those policies. On the other hand, there is growing evidence that restorative practices, with its roots in restorative justice (from the criminal justice system), can improve the culture and climate of all schools: rural, suburban and urban. Improving School Climate: Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices is composed of excerpts from articles, reports and disciplinary data from individual schools and school districts. These data were collected to provide the reader with a snapshot of findings related to restorative practices. It is important to note that most schools implementing these practices have not conducted formal research studies. Hence, the types of data reported may be different from one school or district to the next and may not have been consistently collected over a set of years. However, taken together and in their own words, it is clear that restorative practices is having a positive effect on the lives of many students and is changing the climate of many schools. The IIRP is committed to providing ongoing data about how these practices are being implemented in a representative sample of schools and school districts. The first portion of this document contains data from six schools in the United States; the second section reports on four international cases. The appendix includes a Scholastic Administrator magazine article about restorative practices in schools and a summary of research from the CSF Buxmont programs for delinquent and at-risk youth where the IIRP first developed its restorative methodology. This is my first attempt at collecting and organizing the data. I am looking forward to working closely with schools and the IIRP as we continue to document our successes. Sharon Lewis Director of Research IIRP Graduate School
4 The emerging new field of study, restorative practices, has the potential to transform our schools and our communities. It includes but goes beyond restorative justice, an innovative criminal justice system response to wrongdoing. Restorative practices, however, are both proactive and reactive, ranging from relationship and community-building activities to effective processes for dealing with disruptive student behavior and violence. When systematically employed on a whole-school basis, restorative practices transform negative school environments by engaging students in taking responsibility for making their own schools better. Restorative practices stands in stark contrast to the prevailing reliance on punishment employed in today s schools. While restorative practices works well in both school and criminal justice settings, the ultimate implementation of restorative practices is demonstrated in our work with Hull, labeled the worst place to live in the UK by the BBC in In Hull, a city of a quarter million, the IIRP is helping to build the world s first restorative city by training over 23,000 people. The unique cross-service implementation model has enabled children, young people, parents, educators, social workers, caregivers, police and youth justice professionals to adopt a unified set of practices that enhance personal well-being, promote appropriate behaviors and, crucially, strengthen acceptance of responsibility. We have included the remarkable outcomes from Hull in this report. I am grateful to all of those who provided us with the data presented in this report, which highlights the remarkable potential of restorative practices to achieve safer, saner schools and communities. Ted Wachtel President IIRP Graduate School
6 West Philadelphia High School, widely known as one of Philadelphia s most dangerous and high-risk schools, on the state s Persistently Dangerous Schools list for six years running, is seeing positive results with restorative practices less than one school year into implementation. Administrators at West Philadelphia High School learned about restorative practices in spring 2008 and began implementing the practices immediately, using circles in some classrooms. The school had its first formal restorative practices training in fall From April to December 2008, suspensions decreased by half and recidivism plummeted. The school s administrators credit restorative practices for these improvements. Restorative practices is what you need in an urban environment, because you have students who have so many social concerns, so many things that get in the way of learning. Restorative practices has given us a way to help the kids process the things in the front of their minds that make learning secondary to them. In the classroom, it s about getting to a state where we can work, rather than seeing how much punishment we can heap on a student. The more kids understand that, the more they re willing to own their actions and become productive members of their class. This is different from the model that says, You re going to get a detention and a suspension, whether it s going to help you or not, over and over and over again. Now the kids have the authority to make their own corrections. We didn t really believe that we could get our kids to the point where they could express remorse, sympathy and respect. Now the kids have embraced restorative practices even more than the adults. Saliyah Cruz, principal Before implementing restorative practices, we had a lot of issues of violence, fires, kids misbehaving in class, disrespect. What restorative practices does is change the emotional atmosphere of the school. You can stop guns, but you can t stop them from bringing fists or a poor attitude. A metal detector won t detect that. Russell Gallagher, assistant principal The PFT [Philadelphia Federation of Teachers] should encourage the use of restorative practices and support it in schools. It s not just another new thing on the block. It s a way of life. Marsha A. Walker, teacher and PFT building committee member Restorative practices can work in tough urban schools. It doesn t get any tougher than West Philadelphia High School. Lt. Colonel James Cotton, officer and teacher, Air Force Junior ROTC
7 Violent acts and serious incidents were down 52% in compared to Violent acts and serious incidents were down an additional 40% for (through December 2008). In school year , there were only two fire-alarm pulls and two limited responses (i.e., two very small pieces of paper were set on fire).
9 Pottstown, once a thriving working-class town, fell on hard times when its manufacturing industries dried up. Poverty turned Pottstown into a small town with big-city problems, a circumstance exacerbated by an influx of transplants from urban areas. Pottstown High School was struggling badly, had been placed on academic probation and was in danger of being taken over by the state when Stephen J. Rodriguez became the school s principal in fall Besides poor academic performance, the school was experiencing cultural problems, with students divided into factions and staff disillusioned and at odds. We had a lot of issues: a lack of community spirit, disrespect to teachers, cutting classes, classroom disruption, physical fights, said Rodriguez, adding, The teachers wanted to drop the hammer and punish harder. I thought we needed a schoolwide approach. I wanted everybody to speak the same language and be on the same page. Rodriguez pursued restorative practices implementation vigorously beginning in fall He began by sending an assortment of 10 enthusiastic, neutral and resistant teachers to a restorative conferencing training at the IIRP in Bethlehem. All came back totally energized about the potential for restorative practices at Pottstown. They quickly tried a conference with one of the most hard-core girls in the school, who was in tears within minutes after having the opportunity to tell her story, as well as hear how her behavior affected others. She has been much better behaved since. The entire school staff has now been trained, including teachers, counselors and instructional aides. Every educator is now required to use restorative practices in some way. The school has been removed from academic probation, student test scores and behavior have improved greatly, and staff are united and inspired in their work. There has been a significant reduction in discipline problems, disrespect and fighting, and students are more accountable, said Rodriguez. Teachers used to be afraid to deal with students in the hallways; they felt that students had the advantage there. And students felt that staff were like police. Now, said Rodriguez, There s no more feeling of us versus them. Staff and kids are all one team.
11 Relatively affluent Newtown Middle School first learned about restorative practices in 2003 when then assistant principal Richard Hollahan received a training flier from the IIRP s SaferSanerSchools program. He was intrigued by the potential of restorative practices to deal with the school s frequent fliers students who were repeatedly sent to his office for fighting, disrespect to teachers and other behavioral issues. Hollahan s first IIRP restorative practices training was in how to facilitate a restorative conference (which brings together victims, offenders and their supporters to repair the harm of wrongdoing or crime), a process he felt was too complex to use all the time in school. He was especially intrigued by the restorative questions, which are used to respond to challenging behavior and to help those harmed by others actions, and he began using them with students right away. Restorative practices changed the way I view discipline, said Hollahan. As an assistant principal my task was to assign blame and levy a penalty. That didn t sit well anymore. The goal is for students not to repeat misbehavior. Now I see my task as helping them, and it s done through building relationships. Newtown s staff was trained in 2006, after Hollahan had begun spreading restorative practices throughout his building. Restorative practices has changed the feeling and culture here. Now it s like a family setting. Everyone asks for help and helps others. This has come about through a conscious effort on our part to build community. Discipline problems have all but disappeared. Out of 900 kids we suspended only five this year. We used to have two days a week of detention, now we have only one. This has been a financial boon, said Hollahan. It s a shame not to do this. It s the right thing to do. Our school is no different than any other. Kids are far more likely to behave due to relationships than out of fear. And that s the same at school as it is at home. Newtown is now participating in the IIRP s Training of Trainers program, which helps selected school staff train new staff in restorative practices. More schools in the Council Rock School District are implementing restorative practices, and others in the Newtown area are paying attention as well. The police department has a Youth Aid Panel [for first-time offenders], but all they were doing was handing out punishments, said Hollahan. They visited the school and were blown away by the restorative process, and they ve started implementing it, too.
14 Palisades High School was the first International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) SaferSanerSchools pilot school. Restorative practices was introduced in the school year. David Piperato, former Palisades H.S. principal, said that before the program was introduced, as in many public schools throughout the U.S., the level of caring and respect among many students had declined. Restorative practices, he said, created a more positive relationship between staff and students. In fall 1998, the school launched a new program, the Academy, for students who didn t feel connected to school and were struggling with behavior or academics. Said Piperato, We had addressed the content of the program, not relationships between teachers and students. Consequently, the program was a disaster. Rebelling against the lack of structure, unmotivated kids roamed the building, their behavior rude and belligerent. Teachers turned on each other, frustrated and upset. The IIRP taught the Academy staff to employ the continuum of restorative practices, starting with affective statements and questions sharing and eliciting emotions to help students understand that they were as responsible for the success of the Academy, as well as to and for each other, as the teachers were. The teachers learned how to use circles, interventions, one-on-ones and group meetings with students. They introduced check-in and check-out circles at the beginning and end of each class for students to set goals and expectations together. The strategies quickly started to show results with Academy students, even those no one had been able to reach before. The administration decided to phase in restorative practices in the rest of the school over a three-year period. All teachers were encouraged to use restorative practices in the classroom. Data gathered by the school indicate a clear decrease in discipline problems. Restorative practices had a positive effect on academic performance as well. Said Piperato, You cannot separate behavior from academics. When students feel good and safe and have solid relationships with teachers, their academic performance improves. Restorative practices also helped establish a culture of collaboration among staff members, where teachers discuss students behavior, rather than their personalities, and brainstorm as a group about how to handle it. Said Academy teacher John Venner, You never talked to another teacher about how they talked to kids. It was their own damn business in their own classroom. Now we find it very acceptable to hold each other accountable.
17 Restorative practices was introduced at Palisades Middle School (PALMS) in fall Previously the school climate was discourteous and disrespectful and altercations were common. PALMS principal Edward Baumgartner said, We were suspending 200 students a school year for everything from disrespect to not making up gym. All staff were trained in restorative practices, including support staff. Restorative practices is used in classrooms in the form of circles, where students and staff share information and problems. In discipline situations, students write in their personal journals, kept in the student office, about what happened and suggest how to take care of it. The entire continuum of restorative practices is also employed, from affective statements and questions to formal restorative conferences. The school has seen a statistically significant decrease in the amount of problems that occur each day. Data gathered by PALMS indicate a substantial drop from school year to in discipline problems and incidents of fighting. Restorative practices has also had a positive effect on academic performance, said Baumgartner. I ve gotten more out of my students with this approach than I did with a more rigid approach to discipline problems. When you solve problems with them rather than coming down from on high they buy into it much better. Fran Ostrosky, longtime PALMS teacher and president of the Palisades Education Association (teachers union) I used to get in a lot of trouble, but teachers talk to students and help you make the right decisions here. In homeroom we sit in a circle and talk about anything that needs to be brought up. Eighth-grade girl I used to be one of these black and white, law and order guys. Kids had to be held accountable and the only way to do that was to kick them out of school to show the other kids that you re the boss. That doesn t work. I didn t solve problems; I just postponed them until they got to high school. Restorative practices works. We now fix and solve problems. Edward Baumgartner, principal
19 Springfield Township is in the first ring of suburbs around Philadelphia. The school district receives many urban transfer students and has a mobile student body. The administration believes the students are more street smart than traditional suburban students. Joseph Roy became principal of Springfield Township High School in January The entire Springfield faculty was introduced to restorative practices in fall Data gathered by the school since restorative practices was introduced indicate decreases in discipline problems, disrespect and defiance. The challenge at Springfield, said Roy, has been to integrate students from different systems into the culture of the school, rather than let the culture of the school shift toward the disruptive and unruly. Roy said that restorative practices had definitely helped that concern. Usually kids will catch onto OK, this is how we behave at this school, this is what the expectations are and this is the culture and they get on board, he said. Prior to restorative practices, students were kicked out of class and sent to a time-out room. Sometimes they d get there, sometimes they wouldn t, said Roy. If they got there they just hung out. There was no follow-up. Now during in-school suspensions, assistant principal Michael Kell gives each student a list of questions to think about: What happened? Who do you think has been affected by your actions? What can you do to repair the harm? He discusses the questions with the student and often brings in the teacher involved to talk about how everyone feels and help mend relationships. Kell also facilitates formal restorative conferences when serious problems arise, as does guidance counselor Kevin McGeehan. Staff employ a restorative approach in everyday interactions with students. When I see a kid acting up in the hallway, instead of dragging him into the discipline office, I ll pull him over, one-on-one, and try to understand where he s coming from, said McGeehan. Teachers use check-in and check-out circles with both classroom management and academic issues to create the culture that says, We talk about stuff as a group and we help each other out, said Roy. He considers restorative practices to be part of culture building, including treating kids with respect and having a team of teachers and parents identify the school s core values. It s all part of restorative practices. Said Roy, When you get to the point where it s informal but constant, that s where you want to be.
22 In the summer of 2004, the Kawartha Pine Ridge (KPR) District School Board began restorative practices implementation. Starting with a successful restorative practices pilot program in four elementary and secondary schools, the senior board administration proceeded with a major effort to develop the restorative practices framework across 95 elementary and secondary schools as a systemic approach. Kawartha Pine Ridge was the first major school board in North America to follow this path. From fall 2006 to June 2008, each KPR school underwent a full day in-service to familiarize all staff with restorative practices; each held in-school assemblies with all students, as well as parent workshops. There are numerous examples of how restorative practices has positively changed the interactions between students and teachers: children meeting in impromptu restorative circles, thousands of informal restorative interventions, over 60 formal restorative conferences over the school year to address harm, school staff meeting in facilitated restorative circles to deal with conflict, the restorative questions posted throughout schools as a way to guide and influence language and thinking. All indications are that a paradigm shift is occurring, as school administrators, teachers, students and parents across the board move from addressing harm in a punitive way to thinking of restorative solutions. Restorative practices is also supporting a paradigm shift for dealing with suspended and expelled students. Instead of dealing with problem student behavior by getting rid of the student, the goal is to reintegrate the suspended or expelled student as well as to effectively deal with others who are negatively affected by the incident, including the larger school community. What we are doing here in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is cutting-edge and setting a trend in the manner that inappropriate behavior is handled. This is achieved in a manner that facilitates repair of harm (victims, schools, others), builds empathy, promotes student accountability, responsibility and reintegration, and sees misbehavior as an opportunity for learning, not punishment. Probably one of the greatest impacts of this initiative is when teachers and students utilize this approach in the classroom. Not only do many fewer issues come to the office, but the classroom environment is healthier and students are more productive. Bruce Schenk, director of IIRP Canada
25 From 2004 to 2009, the Keewatin-Patricia District Public School Board has transformed the no tolerance disciplinary approach to a restorative practices approach. As a result, suspensions have declined significantly every year. Using a non-punitive series of strategies, where administrators and teachers engage and support students, suspensions have fallen from 1,850 involving 892 students in to 501 involving 330 students last year. Based on the accumulated data to date this year, they estimate the number of suspensions will fall below 500 this year for the first time this decade. The restorative practices direction was taken after a local trustee-led initiative in 2004, which questioned the effectiveness of suspensions to correct student behavior. We were ahead of our time, reflected Al Wray, the Safe and Supportive Schools coordinator. Our findings were that with repeat offenders unless you dealt with the root causes you weren t going to change things. We re finding that by supporting students who are participating in inappropriate behavior, we re reducing the number of suspensions, Wray said. We re finding a lot of that support involves the families. They re thanking us for that support because it s making the students successful at home as well as at school. To implement the program in classrooms, the board has allotted $150,000 to training and materials to create a culture of restorative practices, entrenching the language and philosophy of the practice into the curriculum. Evergreen Public School will be one of two pilot schools to lead the board in its implementation. Wray described a situation where youth had tagged the Kenora Skate Park with graffiti. The school held a meeting with them and other young people who had built the park to explain how their actions had damaged a source of community pride. Wray said the offending youth had never considered how their actions affected others. Instead of a suspension, the students wrote apologies, paid financial restitution and performed community service hours. Asked Wray, What would suspension have done?
27 Bessels Leigh School is a residential school for boys with emotional and behavioral difficulties, ages 11 to 16. Established in 1964, Bessels Leigh School formerly served mostly pupils at the milder end of the behavioral spectrum. The school s previous philosophy traditional, structured and authoritarian generally served both staff and students well. But the school s client group began to change around 1994, due to the national political agenda, local government finances and a move to place the majority of youth in mainstream education. The school s former disciplinary system failed to meet the new challenges and actually contributed to the increasing problems. Some of the newer, more difficult clientele challenged the use of detentions to punish behavioral infractions. Staff was determined to carry out the punishments, and physical confrontations ensued. The sense of community eroded. Staff-pupil relationships changed to an us and them situation, and vandalism and antisocial behavior increased dramatically. Staff suffered rising levels of stress, and staff absenteeism and turnover increased. In 2005 the staff of the school and the residential unit received the IIRP s Introduction to Restorative Practices training. Subsequently both staffs received training in restorative circles. The boys, with the staff s help, established norms rules for running circles and for acceptable and safe behavior. Circles are now embedded in the school culture. The boys have made the circle process their own. The school began holding classroom circles each morning in addition to the residential-based evening circles. The staff also holds circles for themselves at least every two weeks. The domestic and secretarial staffs were also trained in restorative practices, as some were being very abrasive with the boys. These staff members now join the other staff in their regular circle meetings. Besides reintroducing a sense of community, restorative practices has greatly reduced property damage. There used to be a serious problem with boys breaking windows; one week over 1,000 was spent on windows. It had become the norm get angry, break a window. Restorative practices virtually put an end to this. Restorative practices has had a very real, positive impact on our school. The change is clear to the staff and to the boys. Restorative practices has empowered staff to take control of situations, raise issues, question behavior and examine their relationships with the boys and with each other. John Boulton, principal, Bessels Leigh School
29 Hull, UK, led by the Hull Centre for Restorative Practices (HCRP) and the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), is endeavoring to become a restorative city. The goal is for everyone who works with children and youth in Hull, one of England s most economically and socially deprived cities, to employ restorative practices. Nigel Richardson, Hull s director of Children and Young People s Services, is leading the initiative. Participants are committed to implementing an explicit means of managing relationships and building social connection and responsibility while providing a means to repair harm when relationships break down. First Hull pilot school: Before restorative practices, Collingwood Primary School was given Ofsted s (Britain s Office for Standards in Education) lowest ranking: Needing Special Measures. Within two years of implementing restorative practices, it achieved Ofsted s highest ranking: Outstanding. From spring 2007 to July 2008, Collingwood s exclusions (expulsions) decreased 98 percent and punctuality improved 87 percent. Second Hull pilot school: Restorative practices brought about enormous changes at Endeavour High School. The recent Ofsted report described Endeavour as a school where respect and safety are the norm and problems get sorted out. Restorative practices has produced positive results at nine schools (the two above plus seven Phase 2 schools) in Riverside, Hull s most economically deprived neighborhood. Head teachers (principals) work to identify and support children experiencing the greatest difficulties in behavior, attendance and achievement. Circles are held with these children, their family members and key staff for everyone to discuss how they feel about the problems and what to do. Involving family members has proved beneficial to everyone. In December 2008, Hull police agreed to use restorative processes for first-time minor offenses before any judicial process is invoked. Inspector Iain Dixon said that all 170 Hull police officers have received a one-day introduction to restorative practices training and 65 have been trained to facilitate restorative conferences (which bring together victims, offenders and their supporters to repair the harm of wrongdoing or crime). Restorative practices is mostly being used in neighborhood conflicts thus far. Restorative practices is proving highly successful in Hull s Children and Young People s Services Safeguarding and Development (CYPSSD) area, which includes fostering, adoption, residential and field work. Silvia Madrid, looked after children partnership and development officer, said that all Hull CYPSSD practitioners, including those who work with disabled children, are being trained in restorative practices. The practices have greatly reduced children s criminal records and police involvement in Hull children s homes. Circles are also used for children s home staff issues.
33 Excerpt For more on from school an safety, article go originally published in Scholastic Administrator, Nov/Dec 2008 Excerpt to scholastic.com/administrator from an article originally published in Scholastic Administrator, Nov/Dec 2008 Reading, writing, and social skills. Tenth graders in Helen Bowers s class at Pottstown High School in Pennsylvania convene once a week for a restorative circle to discuss class issues. SCHOOL SAFETY The Talk-It-Out Solution How can you promote safety? Try getting rid of the metal detectors. BY CARALEE ADAMS v1p1108admin_p indd 37 PHOTOS: RONNIE ANDREN mony in the classroom and, surprisingly, they re increasingly holistic. There aren t enough bars, metal detectors, or police to make a school safe if there is a culture of violence in a school, says Ted Wachtel, founder of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (iirp) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. You need to strike at the heart of the culture. 36 v1p1108admin_p indd 36 parties assemble in a c ent their sides and wo issue and restore their r emphasis is on repairing 10/15/08 12:57:13 AM How it works When a discipline prob principal of the affluen of seventh and eighth g
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You need emphasis issue school grams they and are to to more is restore build on safety repairing dramatically a a healthy their relationships. the school harm, affected climate rather The than in in cooperation Honing less likely social overcomes to do skills. negative In hostility. a safe things school, because Trying to strike restorative the heart practices of the culture. emphasis hopes by Nov/Dec 2008 punishment, of of fending on repairing off he violence continues. the harm, and We improving the academic mistaken punishing performance. notion the offender although that the only way to rather have cooperation they have overcomes a relationship hostility. with teachers One safer schools initiative making its than and staff, says Bob Costello, Nov/Dec director 2008 of way across the nation is the implementation of restorative practices. Rather bility fering, At the on but on core the that students of doesn t restorative work. themselves practices rath- is Training is recommended for everyone accountability change Restorative behavior is practices part is to of inflict the places process pain responsi- and too. suf- training and consulting for Nov/Dec iirp Problems in Pottstown than meting out punishments, restorative the er er than belief relying that people on zero will make tolerance positive and because Below. support Four years staffers ago, principal often interact practices employs a talk-it-out approach changes authoritarian Get the when support those control in staff positions from involved above. of authority a When a collaborative do things a school with response decides them, to to rather to try wrongdoing, the than restor- and practices not a schoolwide. lot of organizational power, It It uses with Stephen students Rodriguez with very made little restorative supervision to foster dialogue between aggrieved students. Students are taught basic social them. which ative People practices is is intended accept approach, to decisions to be be supportive, iirp more suggests readily demeaning. training if they all have professional While input, some Wachtel and may support explains. feel it s staff too into conferences the concept between for it small to become groups organic of not says Top Costello. right. Teacher-led It s important restorative that they buy skills to problem-solve and lower the tension in schools. One premise of the strategy is that kids feel safe when there is rary it s tomizing effective change, it to a and the more its needs its impact lasting of the is solution is proven. school. is The to The program encourages collective touchy-feely, in While a one-day punishment introductory Wachtel may maintains workshop, spur a tempo- that cus- in students the school, solve he privacy adds. disputes. cooperation instead of hostility; another Kids help goal In In in kids is 1977, the to see build hall. Wachtel how A a their few culture and actions classrooms his where wife, impact used kids Susan, others practices; it is now schoolwide. it both less and likely public how to they do school can negative learn teachers, things to control founded because neg- Talking ies teacher it out. Jeff Bowers s Delaney restorative takes an issue are Below right. Ninth-grade social stud- responsibility in which students help create and enforce the rules. The hope is that kids who feel valued and connected at school are less likely to act out. ative to they Community impulses, have a relationship maintains Service Wachtel. Foundation, with teachers Kids a a restorative circle is that can with last a from student ten to minutes the hallway, to a half rather eventually they will say to one hour. another, Many administrators around the country don t sister and staff, think organization says of teachers Bob to Costello, to as the human International director beings. of than confronting him in class. We don t act like that, says Costello. are investing in restorative practices programs to build a healthy school climate in or work hurt, Training evolved they is recommended into gain strategies some empathy for they everyone named and Dramatic results When Institute training they and for hear Restorative consulting a person for Practices. was iirp. frightened Their hopes of fending off violence and improving academic performance. by restorative with punishment, students justice with he very continues. movement. little supervision We But have it it ed mainly in public secondary schools, they restorative because are more support practices, dramatically staffers a a spin-off often affected interact of of than the Restorative practices are being implement- Restorative practices places responsibility on the students themselves rath- change its says its SaferSanerSchools Costello. behavior It s is important to inflict program pain that and they that suf- buy tai- safety, says John Baille, training and con- the wasn t and mistaken not until a lot 1999 notion of that organizational that the the iirp only developed way power, to prompted by a mandate to improve school er than relying on zero tolerance and fering, lored into the the but concept restorative that doesn t for it practices work. to become concept organic to to sulting coordinator for iirp. authoritarian control from above. It uses a in a school the school, setting. he adds. Just a few months into using the program, West Philadelphia High School is a collaborative response to wrongdoing, Get Newtown The the program support Middle encourages staff School involved Newtown, collective which is intended to be supportive, not When Pennsylvania, responsibility a school in is decides is which one school to students try that the help adopted restor- create and restorative practices enforce practices approach, the rules. model, The iirp hope suggests and is it it that has violence, fires, kids misbehaving in class, seeing results. We had a lot of issues of demeaning. While some may feel it s too ative the touchy-feely, Wachtel maintains that training seen eventually drastic professional they changes will say in and in to behavior. support one another, staff Over Reading disrespect, comprehension. says Russell Gallagher, Safer schools assistant principal a sharper at focus the low-income, on on academics. racially it s effective and its impact is proven. in a We a three-year one-day don t act introductory period, like that, the says workshop, detention Costello. customizing rate means In 1977, Wachtel and his wife, Susan, Talking dropped it it out to percent the needs Bowers s and of restorative suspensions the school. The circle are diverse urban school. We want the kids both public school teachers, founded goal can down Dramatic is to last from build percent. results a culture ten minutes Administrators where kids to a half hour. credit are to take ownership. We think restorative the What Community Service makes Foundation, for a safe a less the Restorative likely approach practices do with negative are making being things implemented mainly have by by building a in relationship public a a sense secondary of with of community. teachers schools, Since West Philadelphia High adopted the because school practices will do that. sister organization school? to the Security International guards they safer Institute for Restorative patrolling Practices. the hallways? Their and prompted When staff, says restorative by a mandate Bob Costello, practices to improve director were school insti- of restorative practices last spring, suspen- work evolved into Metal strategies detectors? they named Zero- training tuted, safety, we says and started John consulting Baille, to to have for training a iirp. a cultural and shift consions are down 50 percent and recidivism restorative tolerance policies? practices, The a spin-off answer of may the be be sulting Training the way coordinator is we recommended treated for iirp. kids for and everyone adults. 38 has plummeted, says Gallagher. You restorative none of of the justice above: Educators movement. are But search- it because People Just a began support few months to to staffers treat into each often using other interact the with program, of students of civility, West Philadelphia with says very Richard little High supervision Hollahan, School is Often the victim in an incident is timid. a a have to give students a voice, he says. wasn t ing for until new 1999 solutions that the to to iirp achieving developed har- with lot its mony SaferSanerSchools in in the classroom program and, surprisingly, that tailored they re restorative increasingly practices holistic. concept There to says of violence, of seventh Costello. fires, and It s kids eighth important misbehaving graders. that they in class, buy say, That hurt me, it empowers the stu- and principal seeing not results. a of lot of the of We affluent organizational had suburban a lot of issues power, school of But when they are given the chance to v1p1108admin_p indd 38 a school aren t enough setting. bars, metal detectors, or or into disrespect, the concept says for Russell it to become Gallagher, organic assistant the principal school, it it works he at adds. the low-income, racially aggressor. What restorative practices dent and includes accountability for the police Newtown make Middle a a school School safe in Newtown, if if there is is a a in How Pennsylvania, culture of of violence is one in school in a a school, that adopted says Ted When diverse The program a a urban discipline school. encourages problem We want arises, collective the all all kids the does is change the emotional atmosphere the Wachtel, restorative founder practices of of the model, International and it has responsibility parties to take ownership. assemble in which in in We a a students circle. think They restorative help present practices and their enforce will sides do the and that. rules. work The to to hope resolve is that the stop guns, but you can t stop them from cre- of the school, says Gallagher. You can seen Institute drastic for changes Restorative in behavior. Practices Over (iirp) Reading comprehension. Safer schools ate a in three-year in Bethlehem, period, Pennsylvania. the detention You rate need means a sharper focus on academics. eventually issue Since and West restore they Philadelphia will their say relationships. to High one another, adopted The Honing bringing social fists or skills. a poor In In attitude. a safe school, A metal dropped to to strike 82 at at percent the heart and of of suspensions the culture. are We emphasis restorative don t act is is practices on on like repairing that, last says the spring, Costello. harm, suspen- rather cooperation detector won t overcomes detect that. hostility. down 59 percent. Administrators credit the approach with making the school Dramatic 38 results Nov/Dec 2008 safer by building a sense of community. Restorative practices are being implemented mainly in public secondary schools, When restorative practices were instituted, we started to have a cultural shift prompted by a mandate to improve school in the way we treated kids and adults. safety, says John Baille, training and consulting coordinator for iirp. has plummeted, says Gallagher. sions are down 50 percent and recidivism v1p1108admin_p indd 38 People began to treat each other with a You sions are do has plumm have to giv Often the v But when say, That h dent and in aggressor. does is cha of the scho stop guns, bringing fi detector w Help the But resto social ski school sa Responsi sizes coo ity, empa in 1981 by Children, in Turner riculum u tices to en in the cla Help them But restor
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