Restorative Schools

We want our youth to fulfill their potential. Whether in classrooms or in disciplinary proceedings, schools can apply restorative practices to strengthen school community with inclusive accountability, reversing trends of at-risk youth experiencing additional trauma and the criminal legal system. Building on ancient principles of accountability through relationship, we can help students — and ourselves as educators — bring out the best in each other.

Schools face multiple demands to equip students for their future. Now recognition of the roles played by trauma, mental health, technology-driven isolation, and cultural divisions require today’s schools to intentionally model community and build social and emotional intelligence on top of their academic goals.

The evidence is mounting that zero-tolerance discipline strategies are counter-productive. Removing young people from their learning environments undermines their ability to learn, navigate challenging social and emotional situations, complete their education and succeed in their adult life. Safety and success require connection and trust.

Restorative Practices are an inclusive and empowering approach to building community and addressing harm caused when youth (and adults) act out. As a range of tools for enhancing interpersonal and group accountability, the practices have had proven results improving student performance and school climate while reducing exclusionary discipline and truancy.

Fist Bump - Dialogue on Race

The goals of Restorative Schools:

  • Increase student social and academic fulfillment and success
  • Develop an inclusive school climate that intentionally builds community and addresses harm together
  • Reduce or enhance suspensions and expulsions and especially law enforcement and juvenile court referrals where more effective alternatives are available
  • Enhance accountability based on enhanced relationship, rather than isolation and shame
  • Assess the unique strengths and challenges of each district and school to understand how restorative practices might be most effectively applied
  • Identify how institutional structures in the school and beyond that inhibit and promote restorative practices and transformative justice

Advoz is available to support schools developing restorative practices:

  • Assessing school climate and culture for restorative principles and practices 
  • Examining policy and practices in disciplinary process
  • Building classroom and school community and relationships with challenging students
  • Addressing harm caused by students with restorative responses
  • Equipping students to join and lead their own restorative practices

Take the next step

Experience Advoz’s introductory training in Conflict, Communication and Culture

Contact Chris Fitz at chris@advoz.org or call (717) 397-2404.