The number of daily discipline referrals to principal NaTasha Crain’s office at Jones Elementary MST Academy has noticeably decreased thanks to a program called Restorative Discipline Practice. The practice engages students in interactive and relational approaches to decision making that ultimately equips them with making better behavioral choices.
“The goal of Restorative Discipline Practice at Jones Elementary is to foster positive relationships between teachers and students, build social and communication skills for students, and to help students understand how to be accountable for the decisions they make while moving toward the continuation of better choices,” Ms. Crain said.
Restorative Discipline Practice is a whole school relational approach to building a school climate and addressing student behavior that fosters belonging over exclusion, social engagement over control, and meaningful accountability over punishment. Restorative Discipline Practice began in the state of Texas in the fall of 2015. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) conducts special training sessions to certify trainers within school staff.
Positive parental engagement also plays a key role in helping reinforce the communication and behavioral skills learned at school while in the home. Jones recently hosted their annual Restorative Discipline Parent Night for fourth and fifth grade parents to introduce the elements of Restorative Discipline Practice, including the participation in Community Building Restorative Circles. Approximately 80 parents were in attendance, an increase from 20 parents in attendance for last year’s fall parent meeting.
“This year we had approximately 80 parents of fourth and fifth graders in attendance with very positive feedback,” Ms. Crain said. “Several parents felt that it was a great communication tool to use at home as well.”
Other Tyler ISD schools using Restorative Discipline Practice include the Early College High School, Austin Elementary School and Ramey Elementary School.
For more information on Restorative Discipline Practice, go to https://tea.texas.gov/Restorative_Discipline/.