Skinner Middle School Restorative Practices In National Spotlight

Collaboration between Denver Public Schools (DPS), advocacy group Padres y Jovenes Unidos, the national Advancement Project and others is keeping more kids on track to graduate, according to a new report that’s receiving national attention.See the NBC News report.

The report, titled Taking Restorative Practices SchoolWide: Insight from Three Schools in Denver, takes a closer look at how restorative practices – which provide alternatives to traditional student discipline such as suspensions and expulsions – are working in three schools: North High School, Skinner Middle School and Hallett Fundamental Academy. Restorative practices include dialogues, peace circles, conferencing and peer-led mediation, which seek to get to the root cause of student behavior.

DPS, in partnership with Padres y Jovenes Unidos, began changing its discipline policies in 2015. Since then, the number of out-of-school suspensions has dropped 64 percent districtwide, from more than 12,000 out-of-school suspensions annually to about 5,000 annually. The number of expulsions has declined to about 55 annually. At the same time, student enrollment in DPS – the fastest-growing urban school district in the country – has grown from 72,000 to more than 90,000 students.

DPS Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova and Padres y Jovenes Unidos co-executive director Ricardo Martinez discussed their collaboration on Feb. 11, 2016, at a gathering of the nation’s school superintendents in Phoenix.

Additional members of the Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership include the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, the National Education Association and the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work.

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