Practice Wisdom (And EBP) About Restorative Practices in K-12: A SSWN LiveChat Transcript
Restorative Practices (RP) are seemingly everywhere in K-12 schools today, and it’s easily one of the topics I’m most asked about when I’m talking with school teams. Today, we’re sharing in this article a hybrid of evidence-informed practice and our own collective practice wisdom about what we’re learning about doing to implement RP in schools.gathered from our weekly SSWNetwork LiveChat and some interesting research we found. First, the research: we’re excited to share an updated literature review on Restorative Justice (RJ) conducted by the education group WestEd (described on their site as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency — works with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.” ) We link here to a Research Brief (RB) by yours truly, building on the important work being done by Loyola SMHAPP students like Kenya Butts & Patrick Wolf who are seeking to implement RJ in their schools as part of their SMHAPP school-change projects. You can find the link to the original RB article here and I’m attaching a pdf of the Research Brief and original open-access WestEd article at the end of the LiveChat transcript for you to have and to download and share.
But now to the main event: here is the transcript of another great LiveChat we had over at our sister site SSWNetwork, led this time by Loyola SMHAPP students Kenya Butts and Patrick Wolf with lots of great input from an expert on SSW and restorative practices from Turkey, Professor Ozan Selcuk.
Quick note: the Loyola SMHAPP is a 15-credit, 2-year, 99% online certificate program that is seeking applicants for the Fall 2020 cohort. More info is here and applications are due on or before August 1st. We’ve also posted some additional restorative practices content earlier this week, including an article co-created by me and the 4th cohort of the SMHAPP certificate.
Michael Kelly09:01 amToday’s topic: Restorative Practices in K-12 schools: evidence for effectiveness and implementation challenges
Patrick Wolf09:01 amI think Mighty is a strong word to use for me but I appreciate the props
Michael Kelly09:02 am?So I know that this group (mostly) knows each other, but for posterity’s sake, let’s do introductions. Say your name, school level you work in, and maybe something you want to know/discuss about RJ/RP.
Patrick Wolf09:03 amNot quite sure how to start this so perhaps I’ll just jump into asking people whatIgnore that
Michael Kelly09:05 amAs people are prepping their intros, here’s the agenda for today: discussing some questions we’ve brainstormed re: RJ/RP, reviewing the Research Brief I did on SSWN https://schoolsocialwork.net/is-restorative-justice-effec…
Lisa Baker09:05 amLisa Baker, middle school, high school and I want a better understanding of what RJ/RP looks like in the school setting
Michael Kelly09:05 amand discussing possible next steps on how to best implement RJ/RP.
Patrick Wolf09:05 amI am Pat Wolf, I work in a large suburban highschool 30ish miles southwest of Chicago. I have been doing schools now for 15 years, mostly in the alternative setting and went to grad school way before RJ, tiers etc so I am playing catch up. RJ seems fascinating and am interested in how I can help bring parts of it to my school
Michael Kelly09:05 amThanks Lisa for getting us started–Sheri are you with us from CO today?
Michael Kelly09:07 amScott, and what is RJ/RP looking like where you are in U-46?So one thing that we need to do to get things started is to look at RJ/RP definitions.
Michael Kelly09:08 amHow is Restorative Justice (RJ) Defined?
• Emphasis on repairing harm done to others in schools vs. discipline assigning blame and punishment
• Focus on building relationships within the school via peace circles, & restorative conferences
• Increasingly a priority being placed on infusing “restorative practices” into all parts of the school
• Still…authors acknowledge that there is no one settled definition for RJ and write in their introduction:
We use the term “restorative justice” (“RJ”) broadly to capture what the literature describes using a variety of terms such as “restorative practices,” “restorative approaches,” and similar language. (p. 1)
Michael Kelly09:09 amAnd as this excerpt from the SSWN RB I did based on the article that Kenya and Pat posted, you can see that-surprise, surprise!-yet another intervention in K-12 that doesn’t have 1 settled definition.So let’s take a moment to look that chunk I just posted over and share any further thoughts/impressions/questions you might have about it.
Lisa Baker09:11 amWhat exactly does a peace/talking circle look like? What is the point of them?Are they done regularly or when an incident occurs?
Michael Kelly09:12 amGood questions, Lisa. Other folks (and hi Jennifer, welcome to the LiveChat–introduce yourself when you have a chance)
Jennifer Clark09:13 amGood morning everyone. I work in Chicago Public Schools
Michael Kelly09:14 amI know that Kenya is struggling with her wifi and hopefully she’ll be able to join us…in the meantime, Pat what can you share with Lisa about Peace/Talking Circles?
Jennifer Clark09:14 amCurrently, I have about 10 yrs with CPS. I work in a high school right now.
Patrick Wolf09:15 amI am trying to locate an explanation of what the resorative conferences looked like in a study I am reading and going to do an infographic on that was done to reflect what was done in the Minneapolis school system. I’ll be right with you, can’t find what I am looking for
Michael Kelly09:15 amNo worries Pat–owing to how variable RJ/RP is in practice, there are a lot of different ways I’ve seen Peace Circles done.
Kenya Butts09:16 amI’m here
Michael Kelly09:16 amIn some schools, it’s just a part of daily/weekly practice in schools, where students can bring up issues and discuss them.In other schools, it’s more connected to specific incidents that happen between students. Sometimes the person leading the circle has been a peer, and others are led by trained adults.
Jennifer Clark09:17 amHey so peace circles are a form of restorative justice. I scrolled up early to see what I missed and spoke a bit about it earlier.
Kenya Butts09:17 amCan you all see my posts?
Patrick Wolf09:18 amIn the Minneapolis schools they do the following which I think is phenomenal. It also helps the “offender” learn about the impact if their behavior which I feel is psychologically powerful. Read below….
Michael Kelly09:18 amI think we have another new person that just joined us–Ozan can you say hello and tell the group about your work? Welcome!
Ozan Selcuk09:18 amHello everyone
Jennifer Clark09:18 amMaybe a better word is model and I personally feel the purpose is to engage students in hearing the other person’s point of view without blame.
Jennifer Clark09:19 amGm Ozan
Patrick Wolf09:20 amRestorative intervention practices bring together the victim, offender, and
other involved community members to repair harm and restore order after an 8 incident has occurred.18 Family group conferencing (FGC) is one such practice. In a family group conference, stakeholders meet for a dialogue facilitated by a trained third party mediator. At this meeting the victim may share their story and feelings with the offender and the offender may share more about their circumstances leading up to the incident, accept responsibility for their actions, and make a formal apology.13 Along with input from teachers, family, and administration, a plan is created to address the needs of the victim and stakeholders and allow the offender to repair the harm they have caused and mend damaged relationships.s perhaps the strongest model for educating offenders about the harm their
behavior causes to others.I like the concept of family group conferencing
Ozan Selcuk09:20 amThank you. I am Dr. Ozan from Turkey. My dissertation was on school sw and restorative justice. I questioned traditional school discipline.
Lisa Baker09:20 amHi, Ozam/Jennifer
Ozan Selcuk09:21 amit is evening here btw
Jennifer Clark09:21 amI believe the model works if done with fidelity and included in a school’s culture and climate.
Michael Kelly09:21 amSo now that we have the group together…let’s start with a few questions that I’ve worked up with Kenya & Pat:Does your school use restorative justice practices and if they do which ones do they use?
Patrick Wolf09:22 amWell thanks for staying awake for us Ozan?
Ozan Selcuk09:23 amRestorative justice is a best alternative for school discipline. School discipline is based on punishment in Turkey. Peace circles, peer mediation, family group conferences are means of focusing on the broken relationshipsit is relationship based approach
Michael Kelly09:23 amSo let’s get answers to that first question: like many things in schools, we see people doing “parts” of a model like RJ but what are you seeing happen where you are, and in your district?
Patrick Wolf09:24 amOur school does a re-entry meeting following a suspension for certain situations say a fight or verbal altercation but it is based solely on the one student and then we do a conflict resolution afterwards where it is the two students and does not involve the families which while difficult could be additionally helpful
Ozan Selcuk09:24 amin punitive justice, the first question is what happened and who did it? And what is the punishment?
Jennifer Clark09:25 amMy school does not use restorative justice and it’s needed. I have done a peace circle amongst my students. When I’ve tried to lead a restorative conversation (including staff) it always turn negative. My staff needs to be trained. Thankfully that’s coming soon. We had a while ago peer jury. Anyone familiar?
Patrick Wolf09:25 amWe have moved away from just consequences in that if the offense is not egregious we will do a conflict resolution or bring students to the counselor or SWer first
Ozan Selcuk09:25 amin restorative justice. We ask what happened to relationship? Who is affected? What can be done to restore?
Patrick Wolf09:26 amExplain your understanding Jennifer of peer jury and what that looked like
Penny Williams-Wolford09:26 amHi I just joined
Jennifer Clark09:26 amIn my school the deans should lead and include whatever person is needed to be apart of that conversation is involved
Michael Kelly09:27 amFrom Kenya Peace circles:
At my previous school we wold hold peace circles to resolve peer conflict. We would have two students lead the circle and each party would go around and say what the issue was. The students leading it would tell the other students how the circle would go. For example you have use the other students name when addressing each other. The student leader would interject at appropriate times to help guide the conversation between the students.
Patrick Wolf09:27 amInformally I have in my conflict resolutions asked how we can resore or mend and it is always a healthy challenge for them
Jennifer Clark09:28 amI was informed by a former teacher that students would bring issues there having to a council of students (jury) to hear and decide on what should happen in a situation. I’m sure there’s more to it but I am not that knowledgeable
Patrick Wolf09:28 amLove the idea of using peers. How is the selection of peers done and what type of training
Jennifer Clark09:28 amdoes anyone else know about peer jury
Lisa Baker09:28 amMy school does not use RJ per se, after an altercation, there is a mediation between the parties where everyone is encouraged to discuss and there is a piece in our therapeutic referral process where an apology is made, but that isn’t it and it is not really restorative
Jennifer Clark09:29 amThats a good question
Patrick Wolf09:30 amYour process sounds similar to ours Lisa and I agree it’s not really restorative. It is more about just not getting into further conflict which while helpful, is not really doing much learning.Sounds like Kenya does but she is having wifi issues….
Patrick Wolf09:31 amHow about you Ozan… do you have anything like a peer jury in Turkey?
Michael Kelly09:31 amFrom Kenya on peer juries: We also had a peer jury. We would use peer jury for students who received 3 hour detentions. The students would sit with their peers and go over the incident that occurred. They specifically saw students who had an issue with the teacher i.e. the behavior harmed the relationship between the student and the teacher, usually insubordination was the issue. The students would then be given a task to repair the harm. Often times it was an apology letter or helping the teacher with something to help with rebuilding that relationship.
Ozan Selcuk09:31 amPeer jury is based on the idea of reminding the offender of his/her responsibilities and accountability of his/her behavior
Lisa Baker09:31 [email protected], I would love something more preventative. @Ozan what you said “We ask what happened to relationship? Who is affected? What can be done to restore?” is awesome! Does it actually work that way?
Jennifer Clark09:33 amSo I was able to google about the peer jury program. To add to Kenya the program is student lead and these kids are train to analyze the facts of a situation and make decisions as to what happens next. Typically the peer jury works with the deans/disciplinary office. I agree it’s a great way of holding kids accountable.
Patrick Wolf09:33 amI like that Ozan and sounds like what Kenya’s school does. THe peer part is so critical. Often coming from this 50 year old white guy it ihas less resonance
Lisa Baker09:33 amFrom what I understand accountability/taking responsibility for actions is a big part of RJ, but in my experience, it is very difficult for students to do so. Any advice on how to help them with that?
Michael Kelly09:33 amMore from Kenya: Students had to apply to be apart of the team that led the peace circles. They were usually upper classmen. They did a training and everything. I can’t remember the criteria but there was some in order for them to participate
Jennifer Clark09:33 amYes I’ve seen it done that way
Jennifer Clark09:34 amIn CPS we work with an organization called Alternatives. The program was implemented at Senn high school.
Patrick Wolf09:35 amInteresting. I am going to look into Alternatives and see what other types of agencies maybe have experience with that. In my neck of the woods resources like that are often far apart
Jennifer Clark09:36 amI didn’t finish Senn was the 1st hs to try the initiative before it was rolled out to other schools. I believe there could have been 3 or 4 other schools across are district piloting at the same time.If you give me a minute I can probably give you a name
Ozan Selcuk09:36 amIn Turkey, RJ is not officially implemented. That is why I m working on this. To offer a model for schools. The relationship btw students and the faculty is sth like “sit still and listen to your teacher”. I am talking about students at-risk or offender students
Patrick Wolf09:36 amTake your time
Patrick Wolf09:37 amSo it is currently being rolled out @ Jennifer. Excited to see how that works
Ozan Selcuk09:37 amIn Turkey, it is project based.
Jennifer Clark09:37 amWell that was a while ago. CPS offers trainings all the time now
Ozan Selcuk09:37 amBoth school social work and the RJ are project-based
Jennifer Clark09:38 amchristine agaiby is her name.
Michael Kelly09:38 amThis is great stuff–loving the chat! I want to move in a minute to 2 more questions that we brainstormed:
Michael Kelly09:39 am1) How have you seen RJ/RP impact academic performance and engagement? and 2) have you seen RJ/RP make any impact on the “school-to-prison” pipeline racial disproportionality we see re: school discipline?
Patrick Wolf09:39 amAs it is an interest of mine Jennifer and all… What if any academic benefits are being seen as a result of RJ? Our article seemed to indicate there has been some benefits but the results are a little mixed.
Jennifer Clark09:40 amTeachers have been asking and they will always ask me to model so I do the problem is it becomes an isolated process and in our school the deans should take the lead
Kenya Butts09:40 amAt the previous school I worked at it was how everything was done so the teachers bought it. I think if these practices are done consistently then eventually they will by in when they see it working
Patrick Wolf09:40 amAgreed, teachers are ultra busy-therefore administration needs to set priorities vs “piling on” more
Jennifer Clark09:40 amI’m struggling getting my admin to see that we need to move on this with a sense of urgency the teachers are on board
Michael Kelly09:41 amLisa posted: From what I understand accountability/taking responsibility for actions is a big part of RJ, but in my experience, it is very difficult for students to do so. Any advice on how to help them with that? Kenya wrote: @Lisa I think that’s part of the challenge. We can’t make anyone feel any kind of way even though we want the students to feel some type of remorse for the behavior (Not saying you feel that way) But it is definitely something that I hear all the time. But I do think that if we are doing things consistently then it will work eventually. And of course adding other interventions are helpful as well because it is clear that our babies need some additional type of love.
Michael Kelly09:42 amKenya to Penny’s comment: At the previous school I worked at it was how everything was done so the teachers bought it. I think if these practices are done consistently then eventually they will by in when they see it working
Ozan Selcuk09:43 [email protected] there is 20-60-20 model in schools. %20 of teachers support the new ideas whereas other %20 do not. We firstly try to find the first %20 then we implement a model. After they see the positive results, they buy-in in the end
Michael Kelly09:43 amgreat, thanks for confirming that Penny you can see Kenya’s comments here.
Ozan Selcuk09:43 amOf course we get official permissions.
Jennifer Clark09:43 amin the meantime our culture and climate is plummeting. a few years ago our school did my school my voice survey based out of University of Chicago consortium. many of our students complain about not being supported or feeling unsafe in our building. I hate we never delve into that data. I believe what we could have learn would inform better practices with our students staff and parents
Michael Kelly09:44 amYes, Jennifer when we ask kids if they feel safe or not and then don’t do “anything” with that data–that’s not a good message to send to them.
Penny Williams-Wolford09:45 [email protected], thank you for that information. I didn’t know the numbers, but when I read those numbers that I totally agree. Yes, that’s half the battle. Once you know the key player it’s easy to move forward.
Michael Kelly09:46 amPenny, isn’t it amazing how implementation and “buy-in” is similar here in the U.S. and in Turkey?
Michael Kelly09:47 amSo ok–we’re heading into the last 10 minutes or so of a very spirited chat, Pat and Kenya, any last things you want to share with the group?
Jennifer Clark09:49 amI’ve asked one of the staff members agreed with me however nothing came of it. I tried asking admin but get brushed off. Our school no longer does the study bc it was for a time period. I believe our school could great a survey a measure similar concerns as best practice moving forwardI would be interested in creating something but I could not do it alone
Jennifer Clark09:50 amI feel it’s an endless conversation about reviewing data to make more informed choices and decisions. Smh
Ozan Selcuk09:50 am%60 representing the teachers of persuadable..
Jennifer Clark09:52 amHow do you move here or there without looking at data? I keep saying there should be a first, middle, and end of the year review. We have so many resources in our building but do not understand how to make effective use of any of it.
Jennifer Clark09:53 amAgreed but apparently sw only see this
Patrick Wolf09:53 amTo pose a couple thoughts and questions to the group as far as RJ and Academics- As a Social Worker I think improving the Academics is important but should be NOTHING more than a secondary gain. The SEL/interpersonal skills should be the driver.
Penny Williams-Wolford09:53 [email protected], that’s unfortunate that they didn’t share the feedback with people within the schools and move forward with a plan. It makes me wonder if the University explored the data and shared suggestions?
Patrick Wolf09:53 amDoes anyone see academic gains when they use any pieces of RJ?
Michael Kelly09:53 amJennifer that comment is 100% where I’m at, without data this just becomes a way to pile things on top of other things the school is doing, without removing things that aren’t working…
Patrick Wolf09:54 amThanks for clarifying the 60% @Ozan, I should have infered that-not enough coffee yet!
Patrick Wolf09:55 amI also think that with better research the academic benefits should be measurable. There is so much darn data being collected it should just be a matter of setting up a system.
Michael Kelly09:55 amAgreed Pat–schools collect a lot of the data already that could be used to tailor RJ/RP to specific school needs and contexts.
Jennifer Clark09:58 amI have not but that’s bc RJ is being done wrong and inconsistent. I’m sure it does help academic achievement seeing as we know behavior in most cases is connected to academic
Lisa Baker09:58 [email protected] We aren’t really collecting that type of data, but we do have data that students are passing more classes and a higher graduation rate for the at-risk students we serve
Michael Kelly09:58 amSo on behalf of Pat and Kenya, I want to thank you all for joining us today for this chat, and especially Ozan for staying up with us all the way from Turkey! This will be a focus of a lot of work we do here, and on SSWN and within the projects being done as part of our SMHAPP certificate. I also want to give a shout-out to 2 of our SSWNetwork members who aren’t here today, Lisa Johnson-Haire and Steven Whitmore. Both have done a lot of training and work on RJ/RP and actually led a PLC on it through our SSWNetwork last Winter, maybe something to consider asking them to do again?
Patrick Wolf09:59 amI’d like to thank Dr Kelly and Kenya (my partner in this week’s adventure) and all of you for your input. I think we all got a little smarter and I learned alot!
Michael Kelly09:59 amThanks again to Pat and Kenya for putting this topic together–we will save the chat and make it available too for all of you. Have a great rest of the weekend!
Patrick Wolf10:00 amTHanks Lisa, I agree. Our alternative program helped many of the kids we served
Lisa Baker10:00 amThanks everyone!
Penny Williams-Wolford10:00 amFor example, I am the SSW at a preschool. There’s a pre-school girl who hits her peers and in her class. She’s hit them over 133 times in two months (per teacher data…some is student reported data). I am shadowing her for 60 minutes twice a week. This is done when the data states she has the most challenges..unstructured time. Yesterday, while in her class a student said she (student I am shadowing) hit me. She did not because I was with her at all times and she was never near her. We went to the art table to draw pictures and talk about how the student felt when she said that, RJ/RP questions (from SMHAPP Virtual PLC), etc. They left the art center holding hands walking down the hall to gym…I see huge gains and academic successes that could happen given an opportunity to do it effectively.
Ozan Selcuk10:01 amthank you all for having me in this great conversation
Jennifer Clark10:01 amThanks have a good weekend
Ozan Selcuk10:01 ami benefited from your experiences