[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The RJ Council does not endorse, support or otherwise recommend any particular training, trainer, curriculum or methodology.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]School leaders are encouraged to engage the support of experienced practitioners, trainers and consultants who abide by the Restorative Justice Facilitator Code of Conduct and Standards of Training and Practice ( http://www.staging-rjcolorado.kinsta.cloud/restorative-justice/colorado-standards-of-practice ) when developing a plan and implementing Restorative Practices in Schools. A list of practitioners and trainers can be found on the State of Colorado Restorative Practices website: http://www.staging-rjcolorado.kinsta.cloud/.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Engaging Restorative Practices in Schools requires full leadership commitment to what is often a culture shift. Planning for the changes using Implementation Science is recommended in CO. (http://nirn.fpg.unc.edu/learn-implementation/implementation-science-defined ) Professional development time and communities of practice within a school building to ensure adherence to the principles and best practices are essential to successful implementation of Restorative Practices in Schools. It is recommended that schools and/or districts identify key strategies and data to measure change over time. It is important to assess the readiness of the school before embarking on the full implementation of Restorative Practices. For a comprehensive guide and useful tools see the Minnesota Department of Education website. http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/dse/safe/clim/prac/index.htm[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]While there is a difference between punitive and restorative approaches, implementing a restorative framework does not mean upending an already existing discipline matrix. Rather, Restorative Practices works to support school discipline matrixes by providing new skills to engage with students and staff, integrating with already existing evidence-based practices such as PBIS, MTSS and SEL, building classroom management skills, and allowing for supportive approaches to low to mid-level conflicts such as class disruption, gossip, pulling fire alarms, etc. In cases of higher-level conflicts such as fights and bringing weapons, Restorative Practices assists in bringing the community together before, during, after, or in lieu of suspension or expulsion to discuss harm and impact. Restorative Practices create an opportunity for the student(s) who caused harm, to repair the relationships and for everyone to reintegrate back into the right relationship. As with all evidence-based school supports, Restorative Practices works through utilizing multi-tiered responses and adapting to the needs of students, staff, and community.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Restorative Practices are an avenue towards more equitable culture and discipline. Every school is unique and will face its own challenges with equity. These various forms of diversity could include: levels of poverty and wealth, English Language Learners, ethnic make-up, community views towards education and discipline, and specific community challenges that spill into school culture. Through integration of Restorative Practices in School, students and staff can discuss the impacts and challenges of community issues, how they affect school culture, and how, as a community, they can work to be more equitable in handling these issues from individual behaviors to school-wide discipline.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Stages of Implementation
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Whether implementing Restorative Practices at the district, building, or classroom level, the climate will not change from punitive to restorative overnight. Having a framework for implementation, in which Restorative Practices are implemented in stages, helps ensure fidelity to best practices and build capacity for long-lasting change. While stages of implementation will be unique to each site, they might include:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
- Building awareness about Restorative Practices in Schools within the
- Developing a team of people with the desire to initiate Restorative Practices to be responsible for implementation so that the cultural shift does not rely on any one person.
- Ensuring the core group is trained and
- Integrating Restorative Practices with existing framework/programs in the classroom, school and/or
- Developing an organic system for consistent use of Restorative Practices at the Pro- Active level and ways to refer students to Responsive Restorative Practices
- Training additional staff to implement Restorative Practices in the
- Training students and families to lead restorative
- Supporting Communities of Practice within the work day and school
- Sharing data and stories of success and
- Adapting to the needs of the school culture and and climate.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]While implementation stages will be sequential, as suggested by Implementation Science, stages will build upon one another. Early stages may often need to be revisited as the work moves forward.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Avenues of communication
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Over time, those who have been trained in Restorative Practices (eg. implementation team) will identify appropriate staff members, students and others in the school to be trained as well. The capacity to have more trained practitioners over time leads to a gradual school wide implementation and culture shift. The opportunity for all school individuals to communicate with one another, as well as the larger school community, is of great importance to the success of implementation.
In order to establish those avenues of communication the Restorative Practices facilitator(s) and leadership should:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
- Train all staff on the philosophy of Restorative Practices, identify internal and external reasons for implementation, what types of Restorative Practices the school is interested in, provide training for staff to implement multiple approaches to Restorative Practices, and clarify the initial teacher/staff role, ie. to participate in conversations when asked.
- Meet in communities of practice and share their experience, debrief and problem solve the process so it is culturally appropriate for the school, identify key people to participate in training, and ensure consistency and fidelity of processes.
- Make sure that roles are established for implementation, including but not limited to:
- Teacher/educator implementers
- Implementation team
- Data collectors
- All School Staff
- Share successes with staff frequently in order to learn from one another and generate buy-in.
- Share data and note changes on an annual basis as the culture shifts are occurring.
- Create a two-way avenue for educators and the implementation team to communicate successes and challenges in order to identify early interventions for educators struggling with implementation, to generate buy-in from staff, and to dispel myths around Restorative Practices.
Planning for Sustainability
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Throughout implementation of Restorative Practices the implementation team should prioritize how to make them part of a permanent culture shift rather than a fleeting program. In order to establish a sustainable restorative culture, the team responsible for implementation should:
- Ensure readiness for the shift by assessing value alignment and buy-in.
- Include Restorative Practices formally in all policies and procedures, including codes of discipline and student
- Create forms to support the system–referral forms, means to collect data, surveys.
- Hire new staff members based on a restorative
- Train and coach staff in RP, partnering with an outside resource if necessary, and ensure training and coaching is intensive and
In order to ensure this restorative mindset outlasts the tenure of any one person, it is critical to generate allies among staff, students, families, the district, community and partnering organizations to ensure there is a force to advocate for Restorative Practices in the future.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The following are standards for evaluation for any individual, classroom, school, school community, and/or district implementing Restorative Practices in schools.
- Set goals for Restorative Practices implementation which are in alignment with the values and principles of Restorative Practices and the realities of the school
- Creation of system and process for collection of process, outcome and program assessment data. Examples of types of data may include:
- Satisfaction of participants in the processes
- Feedback survey of participants in Restorative Practices trainings
- Climate surveys of staff, students and/or parents
- Attendance/academic/discipline data
- Demographics of student participation
- Frequency and context of the use of Restorative Practices
- Use relevant data to regularly assess progress toward
- Create and maintain a process for revisiting and adjusting goals as needed based on needs of community and assessment of program/process/outcomes.
- Acknowledgement of and communication to stakeholders that the process of implementation does not happen overnight. Research in implementation science shows that a full implementation of a culture shift can take between 2-5 years.
(Chamberlain, Brown,& Saldana, 2011; Fixsen et al., 2001; Panzano & Roth, 2006).