Restorative Practices at Decatur Classical School

Restorative Practices are ways of pro-actively developing relationships and community, as well as repairing community when harm is done. After conflict or harm, Restorative Practices provide a way of thinking about, talking about, and responding to issues and problems by involving all participants to discuss their feelings and opinions, identify what happened, describe how it affected everyone, and find solutions to make things better.
Rather than a separate program, Restorative Practices at Decatur are underlying mindsets, practices, and simply “how we do business” in schools. When successfully integrated throughout the school culture and climate, Restorative Practices create safe and productive learning spaces where students develop social and emotional skills and strong relationships with peers and adults.

How do we integrate Restorative Practices at Decatur?

Restorative Mindset: This mindset describes how a person understands community and one’s role in the community. Healthy relationships and trust are at the center in order to take care of each other and repair any harm that may be done. 
Restorative Language: Restorative language encourages positive interaction. Restorative language uses “I” statements to remain nonjudgmental, gives the speaker positive feedback through empathetic listening, and encourages him/her to speak using restorative questions.
Talking Circles: A classroom talking circle ritual and structure creates a safe and equitable space for people to communicate and connect with one another. 
Restorative Conversations: These “chats” may be formal or informal structured one-on-one discussions that use restorative questions, “I” statements, and empathetic listening to guide someone through reflection, problem solving, and repairing harm.  Restorative Conversations help identify root causes and place responsibility on the harmdoer to understand the impact of his/her behavior and take steps to make things better. 

Restorative Practices and Student Discipline

Restorative Practices are a system that focuses on the ways to repair any harm that happens as a result of a conflict, and provides pathways to address healing within a community. 
Restorative Practices and Student Code of Conduct work together with restorative conversations and logical consequences. 
Logical consequences/discipline is private and will only be shared with the student and family who is receiving it. 

How can I implement relationship building into my home life? 

Mirroring the language at school is one of the easiest ways to integrate the values of Restorative Practices in your home life. When a conflict arises, we ask the following questions to help guide our conversation to a collaborative resolution: 
1. What happened and why? 
2. What were you feeling/thinking when it happened? 
3. Who was harmed and how were they harmed? 
4. What can we do to make things right?  

Questions? Ask! 

Erin Cole | Restorative Practitioner 
Chelsea Branch | Restorative Practitioner