Miller’s Restorative Practices history
In January, 2016 Miller Middle School hosted a training paid for by a La Plata Youth Services grant funding restorative justice and the 6th judicial district attorney’s office. This was a joint effort to bring basic training and presentation on restorative practices as it relates to school-wide implementation and to begin the process of allowing schools to decide how to move forward with the skills and training.
Miller moved forward with a strong vision for more inclusive disciplinary processes, and strengthening our school climate and culture, in line with 9R action item #4. In March, 2016 we were offered a grant funded opportunity through La Plata Youth Services, Community in Schools Partnership Program, to fund implementation of restorative practices at Miller Middle School. La Plata Youth Services and Miller Middle School hired a full time contracted restorative practices facilitator in July, 2016.
Starting in August, 2016, Miller and LPYS began implementation, allowing students an opportunity to address conflict and discipline through dialogue that is inclusive of all parties in order to repair harm, reintegrate all those affected, and prevent similar incidents in the future. Most importantly we focus on building and maintaining strong relationships with our students and utilize restorative practices on a daily basis within the classroom and when conflict or incidents arise.
In January, 2017, Gabe Tate, a certified teacher with a background in Fine Arts and Place Based Education, was contracted as a full time Restorative Practices Facilitator at Miller Middle School. Mr. Tate, who is proud of being born in Durango, brings students together to talk about conflicts and harmful incidents. He has also been modeling restorative practices for teachers to understand the importance of these practices. Since joining MMS, Gabe has developed many positive relationships with Miller students and teachers and continues to host the student leadership team, aka the Justice League, focused on restorative practices.
2017-18 School Year In the upcoming year at Miller, we plan to:
1. Host a beginning of year parent forum for discussion and inquiry into Miller’s use of restorative practices, successes, challenges, and needs, and to establish a working understanding of what restorative practices are, their outcomes, and how parents can get involved. All parents and community members welcome.
2. Increase participation in the Justice League and starting restorative circles responding to discipline matters that will involve peer facilitated circles. Justice league students will be able to facilitate circles to address harm and will be supervised/co-facilitated by an adult facilitator or counselor.
3. Expand and formalize programs that support a healthy learning environment including restorative practices, brain-based learning, and mindfulness.
4. Continue to provide opportunity for dialogue with students through prevention and intervention methods. 5. Improve positive outcomes from incidents within the school, leading to fewer detentions, suspensions, and other punitive methods of discipline.