Restorative Practices

In 2017 Skinner celebrated our 10 year anniversary of implementing restorative practices!  We are fortunate to have two Restorative Practices Coordinators, Allison Horton and Peter Ventresca. Horton has been with the Skinner family since 2013 and Ventresca joined the family in 2018. 

At Skinner we aim to help students develop communication skills and guide them in learning how to resolve conflict through restorative means. Our focus on building these skills within our student body helps our students enter high school as well-rounded, active citizens in our community. 

We believe Skinner’s restorative school culture is what sets us apart from other middle schools. So what is restorative practices all about? Our restorative school culture means we focus on relationship building among our students and staff. Restorative is synonymous with accountability and opportunity. Through relationship building and through conflict we are given the chance to teach our students how to identify behaviors that cause harm, how to accept responsibility for that harm, and how to use creative solution-focused actions in order for the offender to make things right. The restorative process 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.

Restorative work comes in all forms

A restorative process at Skinner can come in many forms. From Learning Family to Socratic seminars, restorative is used as a preventative and inclusive tool in the classroom. Students may also be involved in circle work with an academic focus or in response to a class-wide issue. Mediations between students, between staff or between students and staff are used as well. 

Recognized for our work

Skinner has been recognized by the district for our work with restorative practices. We have been selected to be a part of several partnerships in order to promote sustainable restorative practices in schools.

We serve on the Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership, which is a coalition that includes Advancement Project, Denver Classroom Teachers Association, Denver Public Schools, National Education Association and Padres & Jóvenes Unidos. Through our involvement with the partnership we helped create a comprehensive implementation guide for schools to access how to effectively bring restorative practices into their own building. We also host full day site visits on our campus so that other educators, community members and families can get a comprehensive look at how Skinner has grown into the restorative school we are today. Throughout the day visitors hear from administration, teachers, support staff and students about the challenges and successes Skinner has faced in our never ending journey to be a truly restorative school. If you are interested in a visit please follow this link to register.

Want to learn more? Check out these resources

Check out the implementation guide as well as other restorative resources for families here

Click here  or an NBC News story on Restorative Practices.

Click here for Denver 7’s coverage of Skinner’s restorative work.

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.                                                                                                 

“I’m sorry is a statement. I won’t do it again is a promise. How do I make it up to you is a responsibility.” –Anonymous  

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