Collaborative Takes Restorative Practices to Schools Statewide
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and C-DRUM are collaborating to increase the capacity of school districts around the state to implement restorative approaches to discipline. In May 2019, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation directing MSDE to provide significant support to Maryland schools in the implementation of restorative approaches. This includes “technical assistance and training to county boards regarding the use of restorative approaches” as well as assistance to “each county board with the implementation of the guidelines.”
Restorative approaches to school discipline combine a relationship-focused mindset with distinctive communication techniques and remedial processes to address inappropriate behavior. Restorative approaches replace excessively punitive, exclusionary discipline with models that promote positive school climate and culture that is inherently just, racially equitable, and conducive to learning for all students.
For more than fifteen years, C-DRUM has provided school conflict resolution education training and consulting to schools throughout Maryland, including restorative practices. Recognizing the value of a collaborative approach, MSDE sought C-DRUM’s experience to fulfill its mission under the recent legislation. The new “Restorative Approaches Collaborative” combines the expertise of MSDE and C-DRUM to inform and support statewide efforts to implement restorative approaches.
The Collaborative’s comprehensive approach involves a series of programs, educational tools, and services aimed at supporting local school and school leaders as well as educators and staff. Starting in the 2020-2021 academic year, C-DRUM and MSDE will launch a series of initiatives:
- Restorative Approaches Landscape: Using surveys, interviews, and data analysis, the Restorative Approaches Landscape will provide a snapshot into the status of each local school system in their implementation of restorative approaches. Knowledge of the commonalities and differences in various districts will help inform state-wide efforts and identify opportunities for further growth.
- Virtual Professional Development: Starting in winter of 2020 and continuing into the next year, C-DRUM will host virtual online professional development workshops to provide school leaders and classroom educators with foundational instruction to the underlying restorative framework, as well as restorative tools and processes.
- Coordination with Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS): Participation in MSDE’s State Leadership Team Meeting and PBIS Coach meetings will allow C-DRUM to support MSDE’s coordination with respect to other key initiatives such as PBIS.
- Access to Relevant Restorative Approaches Materials and Research: C-DRUM's website provides extensive resources on restorative approaches and peer mediation. Through the Restorative Approaches Collaborative, C-DRUM will work with MSDE to develop a website featuring materials on restorative approaches in schools.