Restorative Practices in the Public Schools of Brookline
Dear Brookline Families and Staff,
As part of a careful review of the district’s Code of Conduct/Discipline Policy, the Public Schools of Brookline is embarking upon a multi-year effort to implement restorative practices throughout our schools. Restorative practices prioritize healthy relationships and promote positive discipline in schools by creating safe learning environments through community building and repairing harm. These practices have been shown to reduce, prevent and improve harmful behavior; repair harm and restore positive relationships; resolve conflict by facilitating reflection and understanding of our impact on others; and hold individuals and groups responsible for their choices.
We have started this important work this year, and the process is off to a strong start. This first year will focus primarily on foundational education to ensure that we establish a common understanding about what restorative justice means, and how to incorporate restorative practices into our day-to-day interactions between adults and young people. We will build on this foundation in the coming years with more specific school-based professional learning.
To this end principals, high school deans, and many central office administrators attended a training in July, followed by a second training in August which was attended by many vice principals and high school educators. This month we currently have two trainings scheduled: one for all the school counseling staff and the other for vice principals and educators from across our schools.
While our first year emphasis is on the foundational education of restorative practices and is designed to build connections and relationships, Brookline High School opted to be an early adopter site. Other schools, as well, have already begun sending their staff to training. The principals and staff that attended the July and August trainings have started using the skills learned to begin the important work of solidifying relationships among adults and are applying them in practice in various ways including faculty meetings and teacher team meetings.
Generous funding from the Brookline Education Foundation is allowing us to accelerate the number of training opportunities and provide specific additional support to the large number of staff at Brookline High School. Additionally, BEF funding is allowing us to retain key consulting support from the Suffolk University Center for Restorative Justice to help ensure a thoughtful and sustainable rollout.
In addition to the trainings, the district has scheduled community information sessions that will be co-facilitated by staff from the Suffolk University Center for Restorative Justice. These sessions are open to all district staff, families, students, and the public so that many stakeholders have a chance to learn about restorative justice. One session is scheduled at each school building from 6:00 to 7:30pm, along with two additional sessions that will be held at Town Hall and the Public Library. Please feel free to attend any session; you are not limited to attending the session at your school.
The complete schedule of these meetings is below. The start time for each meeting is 6:00pm.
|Wednesday, 10/24/18||Town Hall, School Committee Room|
|Tuesday, 11/6/18||Driscoll School|
|Tuesday, 11/13/18||Baker School|
|Tuesday, 11/20/18||Brookline Main Library, Hunneman Hall|
|Tuesday, 12/4/18||Lincoln School|
|Wednesday, 12/5/18||BEEP at Town Hall, Room 103|
|Wednesday, 12/12/18||Lawrence School|
|Tuesday, 1/15/19||Coolidge Corner School|
|Tuesday, 1/22/19||Heath School|
|Tuesday, 1/29/19||Runkle School|
|Tuesday, 2/5/19||Pierce School|
|Wednesday, 2/6/19||Brookline High School|
We look forward to fully implementing restorative practices in the school district in the coming years, and reaping the benefits of this comprehensive and healthy approach to student conduct and discipline.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Maria Letasz, Director of Guidance and Clinical Services (maria_Letasz@psbma.org or 617-730-2460) or Gabe McCormick, Director of Professional Development (Gabe_McCormick@psbma.org or 617-730-2354).
Andrew J. Bott