Restorative Practices (RP) at Horizon Community Middle School
At Horizon Community Middle School, restorative practices are used as both a prevention and intervention tool to assist students in building relationships and repairing relationships when harm is caused. Each grade level is assigned a Restorative Practice coach that facilitates conversations between students when conflict arises. Through the restorative process, students have the opportunity to share their perspective, identify who was harmed, own their part, and work collaboratively to create future agreements to prevent further harm. Restorative practices work in conjunction with the discipline system, and our RP Coaches work closely with our deans to best support students, however, RP coaches do not assign consequences for behavior. This allows students the opportunity to take honest responsibility for their part and work collaboratively to repair harm.
Restorative Practice Coaches
• Facilitates formal restorative conversations and facilitate proactive circles
• Support students and teachers through modeling restorative language and debriefing with both teachers and individual students
• Monitor individual student behavior by checking in with students throughout the school day
• Follow-up with students after mediations to ensure the harm was repaired and agreements were honored
• Develop creative interventions for students as part of the restorative resolution
• Inform families, educators, deans, and administrators about incidents in school as needed
Teachers and other HMS Staff
• Facilitate informal restorative conversations
• Co-facilitate and/or lead proactive circles
• Engage in mediations with students, other staff members, and families
• Use restorative dialogue throughout the school building and expect students to do the same
• Maintain a growth mindset that emphasizes improvement over accomplishment and views students’ and staff members’ behavior as amenable to change
• Work to build and repair relationships through the use of restorative language and proactive circles
6th Grade RP Coach
7th Grade RP Coach
8th Grade RP Coach
Restorative practices is a culture of people who have caused harm, acknowledge wrongdoing, take responsibility, repair harm to the extent possible to those whom they have caused harm, and are welcomed back into the community.
~ The Conflict Center of Denver
The Five R’s of Restorative Practices
Strong relationships are key to creating communities and leading a fulfilling life. At the heart of every restorative process is a damaged relationship. The RP process focuses on mending relationships. Once the person who caused harm becomes accountable for their actions and begins to make amends, the relationship can start to heal.
Respect keeps the RP process safe. All involved parties are trusted to show respect for themselves and for others. Deep listening is employed so the focus is on what is being said, instead of our assumptions or the stories we make up that may or may not be true. Even when we disagree with someone’s thinking, we respect their perspective.
In order for restorative justice to be effective, everyone must grapple with their own personal responsibility. We ask that everyone is honest with themselves and searches deeply in their hearts to discover how they might have had a hand in the matter. Even if the harm was unintentional, the person who caused harm needs to take responsibility for their actions. Taking responsibility needs to be a personal choice and cannot be imposed on someone unwillingly.
The person who caused harm is expected to repair the harm that they did to the fullest extent possible, knowing well that not all of the harm can be repaired. It is through working to repair the situation that the person who caused harm is able to regain their self-respect and respect for and from others.
Reintegration encourages collaboration of the community and the person who caused harm rather than turning toward coercion and isolation. This process recognizes the assets the person who caused harm brings to the table and what they have learned through the process. By accepting responsibility and agreeing to repair the harm, the person who caused harm creates space and trust to be reintegrated into the community.
- Building relationships that are central to community
- Addressing misbehavior and harm in ways that strengthen relationships
- Focused on the harm done rather than the rule broken
- Giving voice to the person harmed
- Engaging in collaborative problem solving
- Empowering change and growth
- Fostering responsibility and accountability
- Primarily about forgiveness
- “Having to” or forcing friendship
- A rigid set of rules or steps
- An easy fix
- A guaranteed fix
- Community service
- A replacement for discipline system