Skinner’s Restorative Practices Coordinator, Allison Horton, has been with the Skinner family since 2013. Ms. Horton has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Appalachian State University in NC in Peace, Conflict and Human Rights. She worked at North High in Restorative Practices prior to working at Skinner.
Ms. Horton’s aim is to help students develop communication skills and guide them in learning how to resolve conflict through restorative means.
A Restorative philosophy focuses on behaviors that cause harm, who is responsible for that harm, and what needs to happen to make things right. It seeks to identify everyone involved and provide opportunities for those most affected by the behavior to be heard and play an active role in deciding how the situation will be made right.
Click here for an NBC News story on Restorative Practices and click here for a report on Restorative Practices at Skinner entitled “Taking Restorative Practices School-wide: Insights from Three Schools in Denver” by Yolanda Anyon, MSW, Ph.D.
UNDERSTANDING RESTORATIVE APPROACHES at Skinner Middle School
A Restorative Process: Students involved in a Restorative Intervention partake in a process to help them identify their role in a situation/conflict and the extent to which they’re responsible for repairing or resolving the issue. This may take place in any number of forms, some of which are:
- Empathic Listening: A way of listening and responding to another person that encourages mutual respect and trust. It allows the listener to receive and accurately understand the speaker’s message and provide an appropriate response.
- Conferencing: Provides an opportunity to explore what happened, how the participants felt about it, what needs to happen to make things right and how the situation might be prevented in the future.
- Mediation: A voluntary and confidential process whereby a neutral third party assists those in conflict to resolve their problem collaboratively and peacefully. The parties in conflict have complete decision making power, therefore, providing a more vested interest in the outcome and encouraging more commitment to the final agreement.
- Circles: An inclusive opportunity for those directly and indirectly involved in a conflict to express feelings, concerns and personal values in an environment that promotes open and diverse perspective sharing. Circles are an effective tool for conflict prevention and de-escalation.
- Attendance Mediation Workshop: An opportunity for families and schools to come together to identify reasons for truancy and how to best support and encourage students to increase school attendance.
Here at Skinner we believe misbehavior and poor decision making are valuable learning opportunities and we use those opportunities to strengthen community bonds by working through the learning process together. Restorative practices are embedded in our school culture and all that we do to make Skinner an inclusive and successful learning environment.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. ~Mahatma Gandhi