A Guide to Using Restorative Practices In Your School

Restorative Practices In Your School

Students will sometimes need to be redirected and supported in order to change negative behavior patterns. But consequences don’t have to be punitive to be impactful—they can be restorative. Restorative practices focus on improving and repairing relationships between people and communities. They empower students who have been involved in a community breach to take an active role in acknowledging the harm done and developing a resolution to positively move forward.

Restorative work in schools is done best when there is collaboration and support from school administrators, staff, and students. Having everyone see and understand their responsibility to the school community is an important part of the practice. 

→ Read more about moving from punitive to restorative in our School Discipline Guide

Restorative practices can also create opportunities for students to use and develop self-regulation skills (a trauma-healing strategy). The opportunity to repair harm done combined with the skill of being able to reflect and identify situations fosters resilience in students.

5 Outcomes of using Restorative Practice

 Positive and healthy peer-to-peer relationships
 Student agency and self-advocacy
 Engaged students and staff
 Positive relationships between students and staff
 Reduction in referrals and suspensions

These outcomes impact school culture and climate, as well as academic performance. Restorative practices encourage students to be aware of expectations and have a sense of responsibility for themselves and others.

Having tools that encourage a data-driven approach to monitoring student behavior and provide assistance to support administration by tracking interactions, behavior changes and rewards can support your restorative practices. 

A component of any discipline system is having a clear process for addressing harmful behavior. The transparency of asking questions, engaging the school community and offering practical solutions to change future behavior adjusts the school dynamic.

Because consequence triggers are configurable on Kickboard, you can set rosters and automated notifications that react to a negative behavior choice that are restorative. For example, set a trigger that after 5 minor corrective behaviors have been tracked for a student in one day, they are added to a Guidance Counselor Watch List. A check in with the Guidance Counselor allows for restorative support for a student who may need it. 

Focusing on the communication between teachers, administration and students is a critical component to using restorative practices as a part of a consequence system. Restorative work involves all of these people and therefore requires each to communicate about decisions and hold each other accountable to implementing consequences relevant to the behavior. 

Kickboard just launched a Behavior Referrals Management tool to help manage your supportive, trauma-informed, and restorative consequence systems and keep the communication loop open. This dashboard can be used to analyze, reject, assign or take action on a referral and keep all the data in one place.

As schools shift from punitive to positive efforts, managing student behavior data is key. Kickboard provides tools that support administrators and teachers in building positive culture through their interventions and behavior responses.