RESOLUTIONARIES, INC. IS ON THE FRONT LINE OF BRINGING RESTORATIVE APPROACHES TO SCHOOLS SO THAT Rule violation DOESN’T LEAD TO PERMANENT NEGATIVE OUTCOMES.
ReSolutionaries does not offer a new program for managing behavior. At the heart of the issue is that most of our schools are still operating with a foundation of retribution/punishment; one where administrators and teachers are in charge and students are told what to do and assigned consequences or punishments when they aren’t following the rules. What is needed instead is a new lens through which to operate that is restorative and focuses on relationships rather than control.
Our Approach to Discipline
- Solves problems at their roots
- Keeps kids in schools
- Builds positive relationships instead of casting children out
- Is equity driven
- Teaches valuable conflict resolution skills
IF WE CAN KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL AND HELP THEM LEARN ABOUT BOTH THEIR BEHAVIOR AND ACADEMICS, INSTEAD OF SUSPENDING THEM, IT BENEFITS EVERYONE.
ReSolutionaries does far more than just deliver training – we also provide coaching and mentoring as teachers, administrators, students, and parents develop restorative muscles and approaches to challenging behaviors.
We provide a wide-range of restorative tools addressing the entire continuum of prevention to intervention to create a thoroughly restorative culture.
What if we could stop the school to prison pipeline before it ever got started?
For nearly 20 years we have been pioneering and battle-testing restorative practices in the criminal justice system, where we had jaw-dropping success with 10% recidivism rates (compared to the national 60-70% national average) and 96% satisfaction rates reported by all participant groups, including victims, offenders, community members, parents, police officers and educators.
In 2009, our founders decided it was time to bring our expertise to schools to address this issue at the front end, and ReSolutionaries, Inc. was born.
Exclusionary school discipline tools like suspension and expulsion are antiquated, rooted in B.F. Skinner’s mid-20th-century philosophy that human behavior is determined by consequences and bad behavior must be punished.
This old approach is creating the “school-to-prison pipeline”, a term used to describe how:
- A first-grader with disruptive behavior can become
- The fifth-grader with several suspensions,
- The seventh-grader who self-medicates,
- The high school dropout,
- And the 17-year-old convict.
The work of ReSolutionaries is based in the fundamental belief that all young people deserve to thrive in schools that value and engage every student as a crucial member of the school community.
In the long run I see that using Restorative Practices will eventually eliminate the need for the behavior team; teachers will be equipped to handle issues in the classroom. Our students will take the skills with them on to Middle School and use their words and restorative tools to solve problems....they become problem solvers and a positive influence on others at school and in their homes.
One example of an amazing turn-around of a Restorative Practices 'naysayer' was with a seasoned teacher struggling with a student who questioned the teacher's integrity and had lied to get out of something. The teacher was fed up with this student and wanted him out of his class as far as possible. We slowed the teacher’s request down and convinced him to go through a Restorative Process. We came up with an agreement for the student and then checked-in with the teacher two weeks later. The teacher said, "I don't know how to say this, but this has changed my life." He went on to acknowledge that he has a closed mindset, and that he, the teacher, needs to change! The process used to address the conflict led to deeper engagement between student and teacher and a profound 'Ah-ha' for this teacher.
I often have new teachers to observe me who tell me they can't use Restorative Practices in their classes, because their kids are too difficult, disrespectful, or 'checked out'. I laugh because of course those were my students too before I started to use Restorative Practices. It takes work to establish the culture but it saves so much time. Ultimately, it creates a positive space and it feels good, not just for me but for the students. Initially getting Restorative Practices going can feel like a lot of work, but once it is part of the routine it saves so much time and energy when dealing with behavior and discipline challenges. For instance, writing up referrals — I have only done 1 or 2 this year, compared to my peers who may do that each week! I have noticed that teachers who don't use Restorative Practices are so unhappy, and they spend so much time dealing with behavior problems. If we want our kids to make positive healthy choices, they need positive role models. This is our chance!
What you hear from people when they come into the school is how calm the building is. It is a very calm environment as of this year. Last year, the principal and I were called in frequently by teachers for behavior issues in the classroom — 3 or 4 a day — this year I don't even carry my radio any more...behavior issues have gone way down.
The students and parents tell us how different our school is this year compared to last year. For example, one student who had really violent outbursts last year, such as throwing chairs and desks, this year we have not had one violent episode from him. And one time, this very same student even asked to have a Restorative Agreement Conversation with the gym teacher and myself!