“It’s the oldest new thing around! In other words, I’m grateful that such a powerful tradition is being brought (back) into the school system. A shift is needed, and this is definitely an integral part of it.” - ESL Instructor, ESI (English Studies Institute)

 

What People are Saying

Voice of SFUSD District Employees

SFUSD employee reflections offer an important guide for the implementation and strategic plan for the Restorative Practice district initiative.

At the end of each Restorative Practices training, participants are requested to complete an anonymous reflection sharing their thoughts and feelings about RP implementation in our schools.

 


Testimonials from Intro to Restorative Practices Training Reflections:

Question: What do you think and how do you feel about SFUSD’s commitment to bringing restorative practices into our district and school community?

  • “It’s the oldest new thing around! In other words, I’m grateful that such a powerful tradition is being brought (back) into the school system. A shift is needed, and this is definitely an integral part of it.” – ESL Instructor, ESI (English Studies Institute)
  • “I think it is a great way to offer an opportunity to students, staff, and parents to have chances to express themselves and find out solutions of how to get things improved.” – Family Liaison, Hillcrest ES
  • “It’s refreshing to see people coming together to help improve school’s climate, and students coming together and teaching each other how to better communicate.” – Behavior Coach, Daniel Webster ES
  • “This is a great way to bring a social justice focus to discipline practices.” –Gateway HS
  • “It’s about time! We needed to have a paradigm shift in our district to address the needs of our students, particularly those that experienced trauma in their lives (personal & school) and haven’t been given a voice.” – CWAL, PSP
  •  “I believe that everyone working in the district should be given the training. I’m all for it!” – Elementary School Advisory, Alamo ES
  • “Bringing restorative practices into our district and school community is a positive step in the right direction, and a necessary shift to change the way young people address conflict and self-awareness/consciousness.” – SSW, ER Taylor ES
  • “You can dislike the behavior, but that doesn’t mean you dislike the student.”
  • “This is a great paradigm shift for the whole district. It keeps the focus on the child and not on the problem.” – Sped Teacher, Bret Harte ES
  • “This is a great step forward to giving those who are not so often heard a voice. Resolution feels a lot closer with more than one voice.” – ASP Site Coordinator, Ida B. Wells HS
  • “Districts usually want test scores, not community. It’s good to know that SFUSD recognizes the need to establish community first.” – LSP/Counselor, Creative Arts Charter School
  • “This type of meeting is very important for us because it gives us the tools to deal with the school community. It makes the school a safe place to stay!” -  Elementary Advisor, John Yehall Chin ES
  • “I’m really glad that the board took the initiative and brought this to our school district.” – Teacher, Francisco MS
  • “It’s great to have a program that focuses on school climate and culture, not just academics.” – 5th Grade Teacher, West Portal Elementary
  • “I feel inspired by the equity of the Restorative process.” Teacher, Francisco MS
  • “I think it’s AWESOME and I’m excited to be working in a district that values this practice!” – Teacher, MLK
  • “I am so proud to be a part of a district that is moving in such a positive direction.” – Manager, Central Office
  • “Restorative Practices will allow the children to better understand how to resolve conflicts, as well as help them to better understand the results from cooperation.” – Teacher, Sunnyside Elementary
  • “It’s a great program to build community and solve conflicts. It helps students to build resiliency and self-confidence.” Teacher, Visitacion Valley ES
  • “Great idea! Love that it’s based on love and respect and not fear and intimidation.” – Teacher, George Washington HS
  • “I’m so excited that we have a positive way to deal with the many problems we encounter working with students on a daily basis. It will make everyone better human beings.” – Student Advisory, Daniel Webster ES
  • “I think it’s brilliant how it incorporates both vulnerability and empowerment for the students.” – Program Assistant, Bryant Elementary
  • “I think it’s necessary. It’s necessary for youth to feel respected, valued, and heard.” – Program Leader, Mission Beach/Everett MS
  • “It is a wonderful practice that will give staff, students, and parents the right tool to have a more safe, fun, and fulfilling experience.” – Site Coordinator, Rosa Parks
  • “I feel like SFUSD’s commitment to bringing Restorative Practices into our community is extremely helpful. Issues always arise and we do not always have the right tools to defuse the situation or move on in a positive manner. SFUSD’s Restorative Practices helps tremendously.” – Football Coach, Mission Beacon
  • “I would love a way to train our central office staff to use RP for conflict resolution among departmental staff. Crossing my fingers this can happen!” – HR Manager
  • “Restorative practices can be effective and should be encouraged to be used more. This is something to use in personal life as well as professional life.”
  • “I think this is an alternative approach to disciplining students. It can modify behavior through understanding and empathy.”
  • “Bringing restorative practices into our school and district community is very important in order to meet all students’ needs and ensure equitable treatment for all.”
  • “Student to student, teacher to student, and teacher to teacher conferences have brought about a greater understanding and made our community more understanding of each other.”
  • “I have used and appreciated RP at my school. It has helped to keep the suspension numbers down, but more importantly it has helped people to become more human, forgiving and understanding.”
  • “RP, as a way to approach learning is long overdue in SFUSD. It’s a wonderful approach that makes sense…and in the end can make all of us more effective in our work with children and
    families.”
  • “Restorative Practices allows for students to become active participants in school culture.”
  • “I have seen a culture of blame /shame reduced and our community strengthened.”
  • This is a great opportunity to create deep change.
  • I appreciate the fundamental belief that human beings are happier when those in positions of authority work with them.
  • The emphasis on being proactive rather than reactive.
  • The overview of the “practice” was helpful. I have a better understanding of the theory of practice. My take away is the ability to integrate this into the instructional day.
  • Promoting relationships through positive connections with students and staff.
  • This is very important work and I support it.




SFUSD End of 2010-2011 Year Restorative Practices Success Stories and Reflections         

              
  •  “Many of the impromptu sessions with students have led to improved friendships among peers, and more respect with peers.  Several students continue to ask for conflict resolution sessions to solve their problems!!”
  • “Student to Student, Teacher to Student, and Teacher to Teacher conferences have brought about a greater understanding and made our community more understanding of each other.”
  • “We did a restorative circle for a group of 7 students that cut school and their parents, counselor, principal, teachers. It was very effective for 99% of the students in terms of them not repeating the behavior, listening not only to their own parents' feelings and emotion about what happened, but also each others' parents. I think the parents also felt validated by the hearing the other parents in the room say they feel the same disappointment and worry about their own children.”
  • “The training made me aware of shame within students, and the small spectrum of positive feelings.  Motivated me to continue to notice slight successes and make students aware of where they improve.  It also gave me language to use with teachers.  I noticed more and more where our team uses For, To, and With training practices.  Our administration is motivated to implement this, evidenced by Task Force weekly meetings to prepare rollout to staff.”
  • “I have used and appreciate the RP used at my school and the results are always positive.  It has helped to keep the suspension numbers down, but more importantly it has helped people to become more human, forgiving and understanding.”
  • “RP, as a way to approach learning is long overdue in SFUSD, it's a wonderful approach that makes sense...and in the end can make all of us more effective in our work with children and families.”
  •   “Restorative conference for 2 students who insulted a teacher under their breath; classroom circle focused on 2 students who got into an intense verbal argument over anti-gay slurs. Both had positive outcomes, with students reporting they understood better the impact of their actions.”
  • “I have started using reflective worksheets with students when they come to me with referrals. Having the student fill out these worksheets gives them some time to cool down and also sets up a positive framework for our conversation. After completing the sheet and reviewing it with me, the student brings it to the staff that wrote the referral and they can discuss the answers. This has given teachers an opportunity to see what was going through the student's mind at the time of the behavior and the student a chance to explore how their behavior has affected others around them (teachers, other students, etc.). It also allows the student an immediate opportunity to make up for the behavior.”
  •  “We attempt to ask all the questions when students come back from a suspension or if there have been conflicts.  We have had teachers sit in on these meetings to model the process when possible.”
  • “At Aptos, we have created a team of teacher and counselor leaders who meet weekly to study the Restorative Practices Handbook and plan implementation school-wide. Personally, I have used Restorative Practices to increase the effectiveness of my infractions with students, parents and faculty.”
  • “Using the Restorative Questions is an excellent way to get a student to open up and expand on what he/she was thinking at the time of the incident.  Each question naturally leads into the next question, and to ultimately lead to a positive resolution to what occurred.”
  •  “The questioning technique is great.”
  •  “The staff at our school is very supportive and are willing to work closely with us in the dean's office.  Since implementing Restorative practices, we have continued with our conferences with teachers/students, & parents, and our suspensions have gone down.  When the need arises, we have instituted "in house" suspension as one of the consequences.  Students are warned way in advance that if behavior doesn't improve, in-house is a consequence. It has been an effective tool so far.”
  • “We have been inspired to use data to analyze practices, revamp our school wide discipline plan, and generally think about our entire system differently.”
  •  “I have been intentionally using affective statements. When students have "acted out" by trashing an area I try to have them take responsibility for repairing or cleaning up the mess that they have made before talking about how things could have gone differently, etc.”
  • “We were able to change the behavior of a student who was cheating.  We discussed remedies that the student, parent and teacher agreed upon.  The parent was grateful for the agreement and the way we handled the situation.”
  • “A 1st grade teacher informed me that she was concerned about a student in her class who she suspected was bullying other students. During play, she would insist on being "mother" and would proceed to give others chores, threaten to punish them if they didn't do what they were told, etc. I facilitated a lunchtime RP circle to which the student, 6 friends and the teacher were invited. The outcome was surprising because the friends all were very open about describing the play (how fun it was) and that they did not feel made to do anything they didn't want to do. I suggested though that threatening to "punish" for not doing what another student tells them to do was bullying. The student in question then initiated some suggestions for alternatives. Agreement was obtained and the circle ended.”
  • “We have one of our counselors responsible for workshop; a student or a small group of students meets with the counselor for one period or more, up to an entire day to work out conflicts. We use this workshop time as well to replace a day of suspension. Our suspension rate has fallen significantly.”
  • “I was able to use RP information in a weekly News letter that went out to teachers and parents. I discussed the different facets of RP practices including Affective Statements, Questions, Small Impromptu Conferences, Circles and Formal Conferences.”
  • “We find small impromptu conferences to be beneficial at the elementary level as are the circles.  When youngsters find themselves defacing school property it seems we work on solutions together and when youngsters are having any concerns they alert the teacher to a need for a circle unless the teacher of course already knows.  Some people have the cards, but we need more.”
  • “I have 16 staff members who have been meeting twice monthly to discuss and present the topics included in the IIRP publication, "The Restorative Practices Handbook". We will invite the participants to meetings during the summer to discuss next steps at Aptos. It would be easier as a "pilot" school with commensurate support.”
  • “Restorative practices allows for students to become active participants in school culture.”
  • “We utilize Restorative Practices daily at Civic Center to repair damaged relationships.”
  • “The counselors and Deans have attended the meetings.  I think with this training we have lowered our suspension rate.”
  • “We do circles almost daily at Everett in classrooms, in the Wellness Center, in the Counseling Office. We have circles with the students, parents, teachers and anyone else affected. Most of the circles are successful and students leave feeling better.”
  • “We have incorporated the Peer Resources program in to the Deans' office to resolve conflicts, and have changed policies around first-time offenders, have consulted families to include them in developing consequences and have built a community service program as an alternate to suspension.’
  • “Used circles in a group of girls and guardians, during their enrollment into the school, to facilitate their integration into the school.  Restorative Questions were used to address the issues around the reasons they were assigned to us.  They were able to be truthful in their statements and were also able to give alternatives to actions they can take in the future to maintain peace and safety for all.  For the most part, it was a successful session.”
  • “I am very excited that this program is being implemented at SFUSD.  I anticipate a lot of positive outcomes as a result.”
  • “I am glad to be on this journey with many thoughtful leaders in our district.”
  • “I am looking forward to the process to be implemented at my school.  From what I hear parents will be included in the process and I think that is great.  Too often parents are left out of the discipline process until it is too late and their child needs to be sent home.”
  • I believe in restorative practices, and I think it will be excellent in SFUSD starts using it.
  • I think it is a great idea. However, we (SFUSD) needs to give this restorative practices a chance. Meaning, give some time to develop. In years past if it did not work one year, the following year it was something else.
  • Good investment in our future.
  • It’s a great idea, but I am concerned about the ability to execute if effectively without appropriate support.
  • We need to practice what is being preached. This needs to be practiced at the top leadership, in, between and among ourselves first, and then with others. There is too much hypocrisy among department and district staff. If we get the adults on board, the students will follow!
  • Restorative practices can be effective and should be encouraged to be used more. This is something to use in personal life as well as professional life.
  • I think it is long overdue. It is intuitive and a great way to build community and bridges.
  • Very happy that it is being extended down to elementary levels, looking forward to seeing a time line of how it will be rolled out consistently to all sites.
  • The change from punitive practices to a prevention practices that are respectful is a positive change.
  • Great idea, but how will everyone buy into the idea.
  • Important to bringing positive change to our schools, children and staff.
  • It’s time. Thank you!
  • I think it’s a great idea as long as SFUSD is committed to it, and provides consistent and proper training for all teachers.
  • I like that there is a plan to roll this out and I’m hoping that there will be continual support over several years to bring this to implementation.
  • Restorative practices addresses the issue and not just pushes students aside by “punishing” them. It is collaborative; time consuming but effective.
  • I care for this 100%.
  • Not sure there is a commitment, apart from hearing and seeing at SSC, I knew nothing.
  • I hope that resources will be put in place not only in schools but district wide.
  • I think it’s a great idea!
  • I think this is an alternative approach to disciplining students. It can modify behavior through understanding and empathy.
  • Great. The central office and policy makers need to practice and learn this.
  • It seems to tie in with Tribes and Circles.
  • I support and encourage SFUSD to offer more training on RP and include the teachers and parents.
  • Very happy the district is focusing on Restorative Practices. Having the language to name it!
  • Great idea! But will the commitment be supported over time?
  • I feel that this is necessary for the entire district to be trained but especially administrators.
  • Bring restorative practices into our school and district community is very important in order to touch every student with his/her needs and ensure equitable treatment for all.
  • I question if it will be brought in the correct way.
  • I am in favor of learning as much as I can about RP.
  • I support the rationale behind this initiative.
  • Excellent idea, but need to be careful about not rolling out too many initiatives at the same time.
  • This is a great tool with a lot of strategies to use.
  • Moving toward the right direction.
  • Feel good about it. Elementary schools have so many programs, but all support restorative practices.
  • Very positive. I think it could have profound and far-reaching implications.
  • I support the program philosophies. It would make a great difference as a district-wide plan. I strongly feel that schools with the greatest existing problems will require more support staff to implement effectively, ie. classroom aides, and parent educators.
  • I think it is a good idea because there is a lot of leniency to make it your own and not expected to all follow the same thing.
  • I think it is great in theory and would love to see it implemented both in schools and district-wide. I am just interested to see how to carry it out.
  • I’m excited about restorative practices and feel hopeful to have the shift of perspective.
  • I feel all the schools need to be on the same page. It needs to be district-wide, elementary through high school.
  • This is a great opportunity to create deep change.
  • This is very important work and I support it.
  • We need to develop a better sense of community.
  • It’s always nice to get support from our administration-all the time!
  • I want to be held accountable by others to implement restorative practices at my school but I have to have support to do that. We need school-wide training, $$ and expert help/coaching.
  • I love it all. I really would love to have students and teachers understand each other on a deeper scale. Sometimes teachers never have the chance to talk “real” with the students.
  • We need to overcome cynicism and develop empathy as it is the children we are here for.
  • Restorative practices  it is completely applicable to work I do.
  • Restorative practices helps us think about how we view discipline.
  • It’s great that the district is investing in this.
  • I would love for our school to receive more training as an entire site. This is the only way I really see to make an impact. Top down and bottom up!
  • I look forward to learning more about restorative practices.
  • This is great.

2.  What do you know now about Restorative Practices that you did not know prior to this training, and what would you feel comfortable infusing into your practice and interactions with students and staff at your school site at this time?

  • I have gained a deeper foundational knowledge of the practice.
  • The ways in which it expands/ broadens/ extends our regularly practiced peer/ conflict mediation.
  • I appreciate the fundamental belief that human beings are happier when those in positions of authority work with them.
  • I appreciated the explanation of the social window and org. change window through the lens of restorative practices: very thought provoking.
  • You can dislike the behavior, but that doesn’t mean you dislike the student.
  • The emphasis on being proactive rather than reactive.
  • I liked the critical matrix. I see how it is a very deep process that requires full process.
  • Leadership rather than behavioral plan.
  • The overview of the “practice” was helpful. I have a better understanding of the theory of practice. My take away is the ability to integrate this into the instructional day.
  • District believes that counselors should be counselors not just “punishers”
  • Acceptance of RJ or RP is a process.
  • I found out restorative practices is more than one practice but is formed with various components
  • The focus on proactive approaches, positive ways to deal with shame/identifying shame and common ways people deal with shame.
  • I continue to hear the phrase RP or RJ thrown around pretty often in my position as dean. It was good to sit in a room with others and see what it should look like in practice.
  • I was familiar with RJ practices, I already had the handbook but I have deeper knowledge and can visualize this more completely. I have greater confidence in trying circles.
  • Promoting relationships through positive connections with students and staff.
  • Social discipline window, restorative practice continuum restorative questions.
  • Info. about circles
  • Formats one can follow
  • I was not aware of the continuum (RP)
  • About the organizational change window and where I or colleagues fit in.
  • I found the “Affective” models highly informative and case studies.
  • Better overall practice of restorative practices - also, this is not justice it is Practice.
  • The presentation taught me about the 9 affects and our learned responses
  • Cards and questions- try to circles in Anaya’s classrooms. Check in- check out cards.
  • All of it.
  • Involving students into the solution process. Giving both sides (victim and offender) time and a chance to reflect.
  • Affective statements and questions, informal small group conferences, proactive and reactive circles in support group settings.
  • Affective statement, restorative questions, working with families who do no necessarily get along.
  • Small circles with students for conflict management.
  • The three E’s
  • All of it, but need more training/ practice. Book should have been given out before the workshop so that we have some included in the workshop.
  • Restorative questions, affective statement, have my staff self evaluate on the social discipline window and then bring that to our staff meeting.
  • Starting circles in classrooms, guided questions, compass of shame with teachers
  • Restorative questions 1 and 2
  • I feel comfortable in moving forward with using the scripts. We already have some in place.
  • I have been implementing RJ circles on a responsive level and feel I should/could change that to preventative. I can help change mindsets in all situations I also will try to have those conversations with staff.
  • Using practice in my interactions with students and families. Sharing the information with teachers. Making sure that our support staff is able to attend.
  • The Restorative questions I & II
  • Restorative questions I & II. Form a group of interested teachers who are willing to meet to discuss RP.
  • It was nice to go through the fair process and the shame chart. Although it makes sense and is very logical, we don’t always think about situations that way. It’s a great reminder.
  • I will definitely go through each of the questions when dealing with both the victims and the offender.
  • Concrete steps and tools to utilize at the school site.
  • The questions to ask victims and offenders when meeting with them to effective use the RP approach.
  • I received clarification o how to maintain accountability.
  • I want to start using circles as a structure for staff meetings.
  • Introducing the questions to staff to help get at the root of students behavior.
  • Specific practices that support the paradigm (questions, conferences, circles).
  • I want to operate in the zone “with” and “for”.
  • I feel comfortable talking with others about developing relationships.
  • I will use the questions that we were given when interviewing students after incidents. I will share the social discipline window with teachers.
  • I really understand the purpose of restorative practices now. We’ve been talking about it at Pupil Services for years and now we’re getting trained and it is wonderful. I am excited!

 

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Restorative Practices
Student, Family, and Community Support Department
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