Restorative Practices







Restorative Practices at Cushing Community School

 

Restorative practices help us address underlying reasons for behaviors and foster compassion and the desire to treat others with care and respect. We are also building students’ skills in repairing relationships and working out problems. 

 

In 2018 as RSU13 prioritized social-emotional learning on a par with academic learning, at Cushing Community School we began our journey to implement Restorative Practices.  Our first step: establishing a Community Circle routine in every classroom 

 

Phase One: Community Circles


 

Over the course of the school year, we observed the power of this routine to help us foster a positive, healthy school climate. Our students embraced the chance to connect and share daily, building positive relationships within their classrooms. The meetings also helped strengthen students’ social and emotional skills in the process.  

 

In the 2019-20 school year, we moved ahead to a new phase: using Restorative Practices to help students address conflicts and solve problems. We want students to be responsible for their actions and learn from their mistakes. Rather than relying on punishments and rewards to influence behavior, restorative practices help us address underlying reasons for behaviors and foster compassion and the desire to treat others with care and respect. We are also building students’ skills in repairing relationships and working out problems. 

 In this video you’ll hear students and staff share about this work and where we are. 

 Phase Two: Resolving Conflicts

 

In November 2019 we hosted a Restorative Practices week, inviting parents into classrooms to join circles and sending activities home.  Here are some of the comments we heard when we asked families what they had learned: . 

 

  • I learned that there’s some really awesome stuff going on...
  • ...how the circles work... Teaches the kids to focus, listen, and discuss with each other.
  • I’m very glad to hear the school is encouraging/reinforcing the import aspect of mindfulness.
  • It helped my child how to breathe and relax during homework.
  • When my child had a hard day at school, we could sit together and discuss how we are feeling and work out the problems of the day.
  • Communication is the key.  Using your words to best help describe how you’re feeling.
  • To take the time to focus on asking a question and to be fully engaged listening to the answer.  To slow down and use active listening skills.

 

Our journey will continue. Please check back for more progress!