Whole-school restorative approaches build healthy school climates by creating space for people to understand one another and develop relationships; when things go wrong, restorative approaches create space to address needs, repair relationships, and heal.
Restorative practices provide meaningful opportunities for social engagement that foster empathy and mutual responsibility for the well-being of individuals and the community. Proactive practices intentionally build trust and understanding within the community to ensure a healthy supportive climate and environment. When things go wrong, restorative practices engage those affected and create space so that individuals and communities can effectively identify, understand, and address harms and needs—this facilitates healing.
In 2018, LNSU began its partnership with Lamoille Restorative Center to bring restorative approaches to the district. Successful implementation of a whole-school restorative approach includes the development of a restorative mindset, is woven into a school's DEI program, and is supported by the MTSS framework.
The tabs below will provide a brief explanation of the restorative mindset and a restorative approach within the MTSS framework.
"The Circle is a structured dialogue process that nurtures connections and empathy, while honoring the uniqueness of each participant." - Kay Pranis
“Circles deliberately delay dialogue about sensitive issues until the group has done some work on building relationships” - Pranis and Boyes-Watson;
The circle process is divided into four equal parts based on the framework of the Medicine Wheel. These parts must operate in balance. This means that the circle should spend as much time on “Getting Acquainted” and “Building Relationships” as is spent on “Addressing Issues” and “Developing Action Plans”.
In a school setting, getting acquainted and relationship building can happen over time and in a variety of ways. With this said, all circles should be designed with the intention to allow people to get re-acquainted and strengthen their relationships before jumping into the issues.
LNSU partners with Lamoille Restorative Center to implement, train, and support the district in the adoption of a whole-school restorative approach.