Restorative Services: Bringing a Framework for Improved School Culture to Public Schools
From the article by Lynn Welden in the Restorative Practices E-Forum for 21 September 2010:
A new program is bringing restorative practices to schools. Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont) — which operate day-treatment schools, foster homes and supervision programs for at-risk youth in eastern Pennsylvania, USA, and are model programs of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School — recently launched the Restorative Services program. Developed in response to a growing need on the part of public schools to deal with at-risk students on site, the Restorative Services program was introduced in fall 2009.
In the past, young people with behavioral, emotional and substance-abuse issues have been placed by school districts or local courts in alternative schools and community-based programs. But school districts in Pennsylvania, like those in many areas of the U.S. and other countries as well, have been under pressure lately to work with troubled students within their schools instead of sending them away.
...The Bethlehem Area School District in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA,
engaged CSF Buxmont’s Restorative Services program during spring 2010.
Restorative Services facilitator Elizabeth Smull provided expertise in
restorative practices for six hours a week in three emotional support
classes, two at Liberty High School and one at Freedom High School. At
the end of six weeks, Smull could point to encouraging results and
positive feedback from the students and three teachers involved.
“The whole experience was really fantastic,” said Jennifer Curti, a
science teacher at Freedom High School. “Using restorative practices,
and circles especially, gave us a structure and forum for discussions in
my class. We engaged in some really heartfelt conversations during this
time. I found myself sharing things about myself with my students, and
that established a new level of trust and cooperation between us. They
felt respected and empowered,” added Curti. “My classroom dynamic
changed for the better and provided more time for teaching.”
Read the full article.