In order to cultivate our healthy learning community of thoughtful, connected and accountable individuals, we will embrace Restorative Practice philosophy, procedures, and language. ~Woodland Park Secondary Schools Restorative Practices Vision Statement
Beginning in 2016, Woodland Park Secondary Schools began implementing Restorative Practices to build community within schools and classrooms.
Restorative Practices is an intentional way to communicate with students that incorporates student voices in everyday interactions to build community. Restorative Practices (RP) operates on the premise that humans are happier and more productive when persons in positions of authority do things “with” them rather than “to” them or “for” them. In the school setting, this helps us to foster connected and accountable individuals by creating the opportunity for students to have a voice and share their unique perspectives.
RP is used both proactively and responsively.
Woodland Park Secondary Schools use Circles proactively to build connection in the school community, address classroom issues as they arise and deliver content, including social-emotional curriculum. Circles are used to welcome new learners to our community, to say goodbye to members of the community who may be leaving and establish classroom expectations.
Conference circles are used responsively when mistakes are made. Conferences bring people together to address the situation, explore the impact, take accountability and identify solutions using the following restorative questions:
What are the effects?
What can you take responsibility for?
What are our solutions?
This allows students to own their part in the situation and explore what needs to be done to repair relationships or “fix” it with the community. People move on with solutions and the knowledge their voices were heard.
When we work to create a community of interconnected learners where all students have a place and a voice in the classroom, all students benefit. We are teaching lifelong skills of problem-solving, responsibility, ownership and what it takes to participate in a healthy community!
Feedback from participants in Woodland Park Secondary Schools RP Processes:
“It was a powerful process designed so that each participant was an active listener as well as having an equal chance to be heard”
“I believe this process provided closure for those involved in the incident. It allows the impacted to move forward in a healthy way.”
“I feel like we can be friends again without a problem and I feel like I could do this again and trust to solve this or something else.”
Please reach out if you have questions or would like to receive training to be a part of Restorative Practices at WPSD!
Restorative Practices Coordinator