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Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices is a collaborative approach to building relationships and repairing harm. The process is really about connection - but what is connection?

Connection is knowing that you are heard and seen, and that you matter.

Based on the core belief that "we are all connected," the broad spectrum of Restorative Practices support:

  • building healthy relationships
  • repairing harm when it has impacted a community
  • reintegrating those who need to be welcomed back into our school communities

When we feel connected, we are less likely to intentionally cause harm to one another and more likely to be kind, respectful, supportive, and collaborative. These conditions are essential for both belonging and learning.

Responsive Practices

Restorative Practices are put in place in response to an incident of harm. When an incident occurs, we ask questions and seek resolution. We seek relationship repair and we consider how to reintegrate individuals back into our community.

Restorative Practice is usually a guided, face-to-face conversation between the parties involved in an incident. These meetings are usually referred to as a "circle" or a "conference". Trained Restorative Practice Liasons guide the conversation with thought-provoking, affective, and validating questions and statements.

A restorative practice can be any practice that upholds one of the 5 R’s:

  • Relationships
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Repair
  • Reintegration

In Jeffco, our vision for Restorative Practices implementation is that every student, staff, and community member, regardless of their race, class, gender, ability, or any other aspect of their identity, feels connected and cared for so that they can engage in authentic learning and growth.

Restorative Discipline

When we approach discipline restoratively, we can both hold students accountable with logical consequences and continue to strengthen our relationships with them. We do discipline with the student by maintaining high expectations for how we treat one another while also providing a high level of support as they work to change their behavior.

This restorative approach to teaching and reteaching behavior also allows us to slow down and give each incident the individual attention it deserves. We can listen to our student’s perspective and, as adults, model taking responsibility when we have messed up. In this “sweet spot” of discipline, we are far more likely to walk away from a disciplinary conversation feeling like we know our students better and have a concrete action plan versus feeling frustrated. 

Restorative Practices at Home

The restorative mindset is founded in relationships and, while relationships are sometimes more difficult to build and sustain while social distancing, those connections are still inherently necessary to creating welcoming communities and facilitating deeper learning. Even if we cannot be physically present or pass around a talking piece, there are plenty of opportunities to create meaningful connections and to address behavior in a way that supports learning.

Restorative Practices at HOME
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