Restorative Practices Strengthen Relationships, Build School Community

IMG_0350A restorative approach to discipline championed by school systems across the nation is being spread throughout the Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS). The Center for Restorative Approaches (CRA) is working with JPPSS staff to train educators on restorative practices.

“The goal of restorative practices is to look at discipline in a different way,” said JPPSS School Climate Transformation Grant Project Director Erin Valls. “Instead of focusing on the punishment, restorative practices focuses on the action and the harm that was done. It gives students a way of being held accountable, but at the same time, repairing any harm that was done and being welcomed back into the school community.”

A few high school in JPPSS were the first to receive high level training and support from CRA. Through the School Climate Transformation Grant, JPPSS has been able to expand the program to middle schools. A recent series of workshops were held for educators at the JPPSS Administration Building (see pictures below).

“The bottom line is it strengthens relationships and creates a sense of community,” said Valls.

The Center for Restorative Approaches was founded in 2008 as an initiative of Neighborhood Housing Services. In 2013 CRA moved to the fiscal sponsorship of the GoodWork Network. The organization helps people uncover their natural ability to respond to destructive behavior in constructive ways. CRA provides communities with training, tools, and processes to build relationships and that allow for those most impacted by conflict to develop their own solutions and ways of repairing harm.