Restorative Practices

IMG_3125Hampstead Hill Academy is committed to building a caring school community where all members are accountable for their actions, resolve conflicts, create positive relationships, and build an inclusive, respectful school culture. In an effort to accomplish this, Hampstead Hill Academy has embraced Restorative Practices, which is a comprehensive, whole-school approach to building community and reducing conflict.

Restorative Practices include: using Circle Time for relationship-building and problem-solving; affective language and restorative dialogue between staff and students to teach empathy and address misbehavior; conflict resolution and social and emotional learning programs, as well as, formal, facilitated restorative conferences which may include administrators, offenders, individuals they have harmed and their parents in order to develop an agreement to repair the harm and change future behavior. A restorative school has a school-wide emphasis on building a culture of respect and care and a focus on doing things “with” children rather than “to” or “for” children.

Restorative Practices and Circles are structured practices guided by a series of questions. Administrators, restorative practice facilitators, teachers and all school staff members have been trained in Restorative Practices. When a student is sent to the principal or the restorative practices office due to a disciplinary infraction, it may appear from the outside that the student is simply spoken to and sent back to class with no consequence. In reality, the administration and restorative team are using their training in handling these situations. Students are being asked restorative questions that will over time affect permanent change in the students’ attitude and behavior.

The list below outlines the proactive measures we take to ensure relationships are built between staff, students and the wider community. It also outlines the measures taken in order to repair relationships when harm has occurred.

  1. Friendly Community Building Proactive Circles conducted by homeroom teachers three or more times each week
  2. Informal Lunch Bunches and Girls’ and Boys’ Groups – address social skills, peer interactions, conflict resolution
  3. Restorative Conferences, after school detention and Saturday detention with a focus on service to the community are often offered as an alternative to suspension.
  4. Responsive Circles – any staff member may facilitate a conflict resolution circle any time a harm has occurred. Questions typically asked during Responsive Circles include:
    1. What happened?
    2. What were you thinking/feeling at the time?
    3. What have you thought about/felt since?
    4. Who was affected by what happened? How?
    5. What needs to happen to make things right?
  5. Teachers may also access Restorative Think Times/Reflections which are completed independently in class then sent home to be signed by a parent/guardian
  6. Middle School – In addition to the strategies listed above, the middle school also features the Leaders Go Places program and the Class DoJo Behavior Management System