In 2018, 15 Baltimore city public schools started implementing restorative practices to overcome discipline challenges and improve the surrounding community. The methods have been in place for over a year now, and we’re happy to report that they’ve created noticeable changes!
What are Restorative Practices?
As of June of this year, Maryland school systems were suspending roughly 1,200 students in pre-kindergarten through second grade every year. It is universally agreed that this is an issue, and new laws designed to reduce this number have failed.
The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners partnered with Open Society Institute-Baltimore to try to solve the problem with restorative practices. The idea behind restorative practices is to resolve conflicts and improve school climate with methods like restorative circles.
Restorative circles allow students to gather under expert supervision and express their thoughts freely without interruption. The hope here was that students would get to know each other and build a stronger community one conversation at a time. Thus far, restorative practices seem to be working! After using restorative practices as a conflict management tool for one year, a recent Johns Hopkins study reports that suspensions are down 44%, and the school climate has improved.
The Future of Restorative Practices in Schools
Restorative practices aren’t a new concept by any means. Many businesses and individuals have had success in implementing them in their own lives. Other school systems, including one in Pittsburgh, have also reported success.
Ultimately, we believe the city of Baltimore can have long term success with restorative practices as well. For that to happen, the biggest challenge will be securing funding to provide intensive training and follow-ups for teachers and administrators. If we can do that, the future will be brighter for our children and our community!
Get Stronger with MissionFit
MissionFit is dedicated to strengthening Baltimore youth through classes and an open gym. Our goal is to encourage positive traits, like respect and teamwork, and provide children with a place to gain self-confidence and enjoy some exercise. To learn more about our classes or donate to support our mission, visit our website. Want to Support? We’re making health a possibility and a priority for Baltimore’s youth. If you want to support us, here are three easy ways to do so:
- Donate here!
- Amazon Wishlist– buy something specific that will make it easier for youth to achieve their health goals.
- You can put your online shopping to good use by donating a percentage of your purchase with AmazonSmile! To get started, sign in here, search for “MissionFit” and select us as your charity of choice.