Learning, Achieving, Succeeding!
May 29, 2024
Valley Stream Central High School District

Learning, Achieving, Succeeding!

May 29, 2024

Restorative Practices

What are Restorative Practices?
Restorative practices offer a holistic approach to fostering a positive and inclusive school culture, promoting social and emotional growth, and addressing conflicts and harm in a constructive manner.

Why do we need Restorative Practices in Valley Stream?

  1. Building Relationships: Restorative practices emphasize building and maintaining positive relationships among students, teachers, and staff. Strong relationships create a sense of belonging and trust, which are essential for a healthy school environment.
  2. Conflict Resolution: Schools often encounter conflicts between students or between students and teachers. Restorative practices provide effective methods for resolving conflicts in a constructive manner, focusing on repairing harm and restoring relationships.
  3. Promoting Accountability: Restorative practices encourage accountability by holding individuals responsible for their actions. Individuals are encouraged to take ownership of their behavior and its impact on others, fostering a sense of responsibility and empathy.
  4. Addressing Harm: When harm occurs within the school community, whether it’s bullying, harassment, or other forms of misconduct, restorative practices offer a framework for addressing the harm done and repairing relationships. This can help prevent further escalation of conflicts and promote healing for those involved.
  5. Reducing Discipline Disparities: Traditional disciplinary approaches often disproportionately affect certain groups of students, such as those from marginalized backgrounds. Restorative practices aim to reduce these disparities by promoting fairness, equity, and inclusivity in addressing behavioral issues.
  6. Improving School Climate: Restorative practices contribute to a positive school climate by fostering a culture of respect, empathy, and collaboration. When students feel valued and supported, they are more likely to engage in learning and contribute positively to the school community.
  7. Teaching Social and Emotional Skills: Restorative practices provide opportunities for students to develop social and emotional skills such as empathy, communication, and conflict resolution. These skills are essential for success both in school and in life beyond the classroom.

Research 2023: 265,000 Students
Darling-Hammond & Gregory, Measuring restorative practices to support implementation in K – 12 schools

1. Students who had consistent exposure to Restorative Practice also had marked improvements in academic achievement and declines in negative behavior.

2.Schools that increased their utilization of Restorative Practice saw improvements in school climate, aggregate schoolwide GPA, as well as reductions in students’ misbehavior, mental health challenges, and substance use.

3. Increased Sense of Belonging correlates to stronger social emotional skills and mental health.

 

Social-Emotional Growth and Reduced Recidivism  

The more schools embrace the concept that disciplinary accountability and social emotional growth are not mutually exclusive, the greater opportunity there is to help young people learn from their mistakes and reduce recidivism. This is especially important because both federal and state law requires that suspension be imposed for some incidents. Providing appropriate support services to students during their suspension and when they return to school maximizes their ability to meet social/behavioral and academic standards within the school community. The goal at all grade levels should be to prepare students to return from suspension with increased pro-social attitudes, strategies, and skills that foster resiliency and reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Just as important is the continuation of supportive services when the student returns to school. Support services may include any of the range of supports and interventions or a combination of services to best meet the needs of the individual student. Further, as part of the return from suspension process, many schools use one or more restorative practices to help both the student and the school community move forward from the incident that required the suspension.  (page 40 in link below from NYSED) GuideToSystemicWholeSchoolImplementationFINAL.pdf (nysed.gov)   

Our Impact in Words

Testimonials from program participants.

“The most valuable part of the experience was feeling heard and valued and realizing that we can make this possible for each of our students as well.  From the outgoing individual the more reserved shy student, and from the overachiever to the struggling student, everyone has the opportunity to share their voice and be recognized.  It also drove home that we are in the position to make such a difference in our students’ lives.”

“Seeing community building and the trust it builds in action as a model for our classrooms.”

“Realizing that everyone’s actions have a deeper reason than you may recognize from the surface.  Getting to the root that caused that action could have a greater impact and potentially change a behavior for the better.”

 

First Newsletter