RESTORATIVE PRACTICES IN SCHOOLS

After several years of hoping, planning and relationship building, LRC has embarked on an exciting three year project to bring restorative principles and practices to schools in Lamoille County. Orleans, Lamoille North, and Lamoille South supervisory unions are sites where trainings and professional development in restorative practices for school administration and staff are happening this fall. Each supervisory union will implement a customized plan based on their own specific needs and goals. At the foundation of each plan lies the shared belief that schools will benefit by moving away from punitive methods, toward restorative practices.

Use of restorative approaches in schools impacts multiple facets of a school community. On the backend, it can offer a more equitable and respectful alternative for dealing with disciplinary infractions. On the front end, and perhaps more importantly, restorative approaches are a strategy to create within schools a culture of connectivity where everyone in the school community feels valued and can thrive, making the need for action on the backend far less likely.

First steps include interactive in-service trainings for all school staff, and developing restorative teams at each school who will support their fellow teachers and staff in utilizing restorative practices and methods, and problem solve around implementation barriers they encounter. As staff and administrators gain confidence in utilizing restorative approaches, they will begin to consistently implement restorative concepts into their interactions with students. As the school year unfolds, parents will be introduced to restorative approaches at parent events at schools.