For the past two years, CEDA has been working in partnership with Mediation Services and the Winnipeg School Division to explore how the staff in schools in the Winnipeg School Division could further expand their knowledge, skills and capacity regarding the use of restorative practices in a school setting. As one of the first action steps of this initiative, CEDA sponsored a series of Restorative Practice Workshops for educators, parents and community groups on December 1, 2009 at R. B. Russell School which featured Bruce Schenk and Maureen Moloney from the International Institute for Restorative Practices Canada.
Schenk and Moloney introduced the concept of a Restorative Practice Framework as a way of thinking, being and acting restoratively in a ‘community’. The aim of the framework is to focus on strengthening relationships and repairing harm as a way of building community. Restorative practice in schools is meant as an integrated and proactive approach where a major goal is the effective reintegration of students when addressing situations where harm has been done. The framework has direct application to teaching and learning and creating and maintaining safe schools.
The restorative practices framework incorporates explicit practice, being firm and fair, a continuum of restorative practice interventions, fair process, the use of restorative questions, and a restorative practices checklist. By engaging in this framework, schools build on existing practices that already work; it is not meant to replace what is deemed effective but rather to enhance it. Schools embracing the restorative practice framework report a safer, more connected environment with high levels of student achievement as existing and new practices are framed through the restorative lens.
CEDA looks forward to working in partnership with Mediation Services and the Winnipeg School Division to develop and implement an action plan that would expand the knowledge, skills and capacity for educators to promote a restorative practice framework within inner city schools. CEDA believes that this is one of the many concrete steps that can be undertaken to ensure inner city youth remain engaged in school and graduate from high school.
CEDA provides research services, strategic planning, workshop organizing and training, network development and leadership training supports for this initiative.