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2022 Legislative Platform adopted
On October 23 , voting delegates from member school entities across the state came together virtually for the Delegate Assembly meeting to adopt PSBA ’ s 2022 Legislative Platform . The platform serves as PSBA ’ s official record of positions on legislative issues and is the guide for the association ’ s advocacy efforts . School boards have an opportunity to propose changes to the platform once a year , and may draft new proposals , amend existing items or suggest the deletion of a current statement . All proposals submitted by school boards are reviewed by the PSBA Platform Committee ; the committee ’ s recommendations are considered by the Delegate Assembly . The 2022 Legislative Platform is available on PSBA . org under the Advocacy & News tab .
Report outlines restorative justice strategies
Restorative justice , or an alternative form of discipline that focuses on inclusive relationship-building rather than more punitive measures , is one more tool some schools are considering on a path toward equity for all students . A recent report by the Learning Policy Institute outlines some methods for implementing restorative justice practices and emphasizes the positive impact of such practices on students of color , who the report says experience exclusionary discipline more frequently than their white peers .
Here are several suggestions on how to implement restorative justice practices in schools :
ADVOCACY TIP : Know your legislators !
Advocacy is a key part of effective school board service and knowing some personal tidbits about your legislators can help you establish ties with them . Did they attend public school in your district or do they have children who do ? Have they ever served as a school director ? Find out ! Also learn what committees your legislators serve on . This is especially important if they are on a committee that regularly deals with education issues . How did your legislators vote on earlier education issues ? This can help you anticipate where they are likely to stand on upcoming issues and will help you shape your message . See PSBA ’ s Advocacy Guide in the Resources section of myPSBA for more public education advocacy tips .
Incorporate them as one of many strategies for improving school culture . A focus on creating healthy in-school relationships and a positive school culture should be the overall focus , with restorative justice as a part of these efforts .
Utilize a whole-school approach . Use restorative justice practices primarily as a tool to build community and relationships rather than as a reactive approach to disciplinary incidents .
Focus on building staff buy-in and capacity . Restorative methods often require a process of “ unlearning ” and reconsidering the ways discipline has been conducted in the past . Buy-in at the administrative and educator level is key to the success of the implementation . School leaders should serve as models of the change , and professional development for all is a must .
Develop meaningful accountability and data collection systems . Consider what systems should be in place to measure and track the success of restorative justice practices , including disciplinary incidents and school responses . School safety and school climate , which are impacted by implementation , should also be monitored .
Establish district-level infrastructure . Enacting policy that backs restorative practices accelerates the rate of change and increases the likelihood that the district will provide needed supports for implementation . Examples include revision to the student code of conduct and districtwide training .
Center student and community voices . Include and lift up youth voices and input from community organizations in discussions and development of practices around eliminating harsh or punitive discipline in schools .
SPRING ADVOCACY DAY
Mark your calendar for April 25 – Spring Advocacy Day in Harrisburg ! Plan to join with other public education leaders and meet face-to-face with legislators in their offices .
January / February 2022 PSBA Bulletin 5