Thanks for Mitzi Moore for passing on the article about a pilot restorative discipline program (the first in Texas!), now in its second year. The Ed White Middle School (just off Walzem Rd.) has had a 84% drop in off-campus suspensions since the program was implemented last year. Marilyn Armour, a professor at UT Austin’s School of Social Work and director of the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue said:
The main goal is to create a different kind of school climate. When a student misbehaves, instead of saying ‘go to the office,’ it’s about stopping and engaging with that student in a meaningful way. It is time-consuming, but it’s about investing in the creation of a different kind of climate that pays dividends when times get tough.
All the sixth grade teachers received training over the summer. The district explained the process:
Restorative circles are one key method teachers are implementing at Ed White. Led by an adult facilitator, a restorative circle brings together the students in conflict in a setting that emphasizes mutual respect, deep listening and the search for a consensus-based solution. The solution agreed upon is then written in a binding document that all circle participants sign and promise to uphold.
You can read the entire article here. Wouldn’t it be GREAT to see more of this in San Antonio?