Taking Restorative Practices School-wide: Insights from Three Schools in Denver

A report of the Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership

A report of the Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership

Anyon, Y. (2016). Taking restorative practices school-wide: Insights from three schools in Denver. Denver, CO: Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership.

Through interviews and focus groups with staff members at three Denver schools that have successfully implemented restorative practices (RP), four essential strategies for taking this approach school-wide were identified: strong principal vision and commitment to RP; explicit efforts to generate staff buy-in to this conflict resolution approach; continuous and intensive professional development opportunities; and, the allocation of school funds for a full-time coordinator of RP at the site. Additional approaches that supported school-wide implementation of RP are described in the full report.

The Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership is a coalition of racial justice, education, labor and community groups working to ensure widespread and high-quality implementation of restorative practices in Denver Public Schools and beyond.Restorative practices are alternatives to punitive school disciplinary policies that have proven ineffective and racially discriminatory. Using approaches such as dialogues, peace circles, conferencing, and peer-led mediation, restorative practices get to the root cause of student behavior. Educators also say restorative practices identify issues too minor to be addressed with harsh school disciplinary responses—suspensions, police tickets, removal from class and isolation from other students—and create plans for students to both learn from and make amends for mistakes. When fully implemented, restorative practices improve school climate, increase academic achievement and reduce racial disparities in school discipline.

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