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Restorative Practices

Restorative practices are collaborative approaches to building relationships and repairing harm. The process is really about connection, or 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 supports:

  • Building healthy relationships.
  • Repairing harm when it has impacted a community.
  • Reintegrating those who need to be welcomed back into 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.

The Jeffco Public Schools Restorative Practices team focuses on a proactive approach to building a positive and welcoming community with all students. Ideally, when we build strong and supportive cultures of belonging in schools, the need for responsive discipline practices decreases. 

Proactive practices can include things like community-building circles and greeting students at the door. A restorative practice can be any practice that upholds one of the “5 Rs”:

  • Relationships
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Repair
  • Reintegration

Jeffco’s vision for restorative practices implementation is that every student, staff member and community member, regardless of 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

Restorative practices are put in place in response to an incident of harm. When an incident occurs, the restorative practices approach asks questions and seeks resolution and learning through the discipline process This approach seeks to build lagging skills and relationship repair  while considering how to reintegrate individuals back into the community.

When discipline is approached restoratively, we can hold students accountable with logical consequences and continue to strengthen relationships with them. Discipline is done with, rather than to, the student by maintaining high expectations for how they treat each other 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 for an intentional process that gives each incident the individual attention it deserves. The team can listen to student perspectives and, as adults, model taking responsibility for actions. In this “sweet spot” of discipline, team members are far more likely to walk away from a disciplinary conversation feeling like we know students better and have a concrete action plan vs. feeling frustrated.

Restorative Practices at Home

Restorative practices focus on having positive relationships. When students make a mistake or poor choices, they are asked to take responsibility for their behavior and repair the harm. . At the heart of restorative practices is the belief that we are all in this together.

At home, this can include taking responsibility for keeping spaces clean or for the choices a child makes, having positive relationships with family and friends and being respectful of those around us. Restorative practices support children in learning how to create healthy relationships and how to resolve conflicts.

Circles to connect as a family

Helping your child when they are upset

When a family member is upset or overwhelmed, it is usually very hard for them to listen.  This is especially true when they feel like they are being lectured at. To help them calm down move forward, consider using restorative conversations.

Affective Questions

To be used in 1:1 conversations to better understand behavior

Questions to avoid lectures?

Phase 1: Unwind

Validate Feelings

Are you alright?

How are you feeling right now?

What do you need now?

What will make it better?

How can I help?

Phase 2: Rewind

Perspective Building

What happened?

What led up to this?

What were you thinking at the time?

Phase 3: Wind Up

Repair Moving forward

How did you feel when that happened?

How can we make sure this doesn't happen again?

What do you need to see happen now?

What can you do in similar situations?

Graphic that displays text of affective questions that are on page.

Contact Us

Family Response Service Team (FRST)

The Family Response Service Team is the main point of contact for Jeffco families who need help connecting to school and district resources.