An Integrated, School-Wide Approach
The Restorative Justice initiative includes:
- Professional development and coaching support to almost 40 RJ sites throughout the District.
- Implementation of trauma informed restorative practices
- Integration of Positive Behavioral Supports, targeted strategies for equity, and Social Emotional Learning at participating sites.
- Inclusion of parents and families to engage them in school climate and discipline issues.
- Alignment with City of Oakland's 'Oakland Unite' programs including community crisis response & support network, conflict mediation, street outreach, and Juvenile Justice re-entry to schools.
- Engaging youth leadership in restorative practices through the Peer RJ program.
Restorative Justice does not push out existing school initiatives. Promising and evidence-based programs such as Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS), Caring School Community, Responsive Classroom, Second Step, and others. Those initiatives complement restorative practices and all programs can strengthen school communities together.
Restorative Justice builds a school community’s social emotional intelligence, relationships (social capital), and capacity to address challenges together (human capital). It helps create a community where healing is possible. RJ not only strengthens relationships between adults and students; but among adults, and among students as well. In this way, RJ creates a positive, inclusive school culture; enhances teaching and learning; and acts as a preventative measure, as school communities are better equipped to resolve conflicts as they appear, before they escalate into a bigger issue.
It’s also important to note that many teachers manage their classrooms in restorative ways without labeling their methods as such. Learning about restorative practices helps teachers better understand their own methods, provides language to describe their approach, further refines their practices, and makes it easier to share what is working for them with others.
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