All humans are hardwired to connect. Just as we need food, shelter and clothing, human beings also need strong and meaningful relationships to thrive. Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities.
Using a restorative approach to support students behaviorally and socially-emotionally is a key component of Rhode Island’s MTSS framework. With restorative practices, staff are building cohesive communities in school buildings and environments. Inevitably, mistakes will be made within the community when individuals behave in ways that harm others and/or the school community. We can leverage this strong community connection to provide structures to repair the harm done.
In a restorative approach, decisions are made with, rather than for or to, students. Restorative practices offer a continuum of supports, including:
- Affective statements
- Restorative questions
- Brief impromptu conversations
Restorative practices are implemented across the tiers in a MTSS framework. The same teams that support school-wide, Tier 2, and Tier 3 systems also support restorative practices. These teams use data on behavior, engagement, belonging, and safety as well as fidelity of implementation to address questions about the effectiveness of restorative practices.