Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 38

R E STORAT IVE SCHO O L DISC I P LI NE Continued from page 11 but intentional, commitment creates a pro- fessional climate of safety and trust that permeates the entire school community. Whole-School Solution: 4 Pillars of a Restorative School Culture A whole-school approach consists of: Poli- cy, Program, Practices, and Pedagogy. Restorative Policy “When a student falls short of a behav- ioral expectation, we believe the cor- rect response from us is to help them learn and grow from the incident. For this reason, we embrace a restorative approach to student conduct. “When an incident happens that dis- rupts the classroom or school social environment, our policy is to speak with everyone who was involved or impacted, hear their perspective, un- derstand why it happened, determine what people need to resolve the inci- dent (including repair), and co-create an agreement to nurture constructive changes. This includes students, par- ents, faculty, and administration” - From Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork Be- havioral Policy. (2017) 5 Even though schools are implementing restorative practices, their conduct polices often remain sanction-oriented and deficit- focused. Notice that the above statement articulates a positive response to an incident rather than a coercive one. In doing so, it establishes a positive communication norm based on engagement. It’s been my experience that in the desire to embrace restorative practices, school conduct policies are not as specific as they need to be in terms of explaining exactly how incidents are actually processed, and how behavior is held accountable. Parents need this specificity. The more specific the policy is in explaining how the school responds, the less confusion and anxiety parents will have, and the less stressful it will be for school faculty and administrators. A behavioral policy should shine a light on what’s possible. It should promote positive behavioral norms and clear expectations for all community members—not just students. When a policy sets forth positive behaviors and positive responses that the whole com- munity can aspire to, it becomes a teaching reference rather than a code of discipline. When parents, teachers, and staff are as- piring to achieve the same positive norms as students, and responding to incidents among themselves in a restorative manner, students witness and experience coherency, consistency, and continuity. Consistency re- duces confusion and anxiety. 5. Bledsoe, W.A. (2017). “Whole School Restorative Behavioral Policy” Page 36 Winter 2019 CSEE Connections