District expands program proven to reduce number of disciplinary issues

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Dallas ISD is expanding a program that has proven to significantly reduce the number of disciplinary issues that happen in a classroom.

Restorative practices, which was formerly referred to as restorative discipline, is designed to proactively address disciplinary and behavioral issues before they escalate. Dallas ISD piloted restorative practices at six schools last year and is implementing the program at an additional 14 schools this year. The district has also added a restorative practices specialist to help implement the program at the schools.

Middle school classrooms that used restorative practices last year saw a 64-percent reduction in in-school suspensions and a 70-percent reduction in out-of-school suspensions.

“The results so far have just been phenomenal,” said Jay Sheets, the district’s restorative discipline coordinator. “We are thrilled to be able to expand the program this year.”

The restorative practices process has students gather in circles in their classrooms when a student is disruptive. Teachers ask questions, and then students – one at a time – have a chance to respond. The goal is to reduce the amount of time students must be disciplined outside the classroom, cutting into valuable instructional time.

“Restorative practices is a chance for the students to build a relationship with the teachers,” Sheets said. “And what we’re seeing is, if a student has a relationship with the teacher, a lot of the issues that come across as classroom management and classroom discipline can be solved with the teacher and student.”

The new schools piloting restorative practices this year are:

  • Sam Tasby Middle School
  • Sarah Zumwalt Middle School
  • William Hawley Atwell Law Academy
  • Edward H. Cary Middle School
  • Seagoville Middle School
  • Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center
  • L.V. Stockard Middle School
  • Elisha M. Pease Elementary School
  • Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School
  • Edward Titche Elementary School
  • George W. Carver Creative Arts Learning Center
  • Umphrey Lee Elementary School
  • Roger Q. Mills Elementary School
  • Jose “Joe” May Elementary School

The schools that piloted the program last year and are growing the program this year are:

  • Francisco “Pancho” Medrano Middle School
  • Boude Storey Middle School
  • Piedmont G.L.O.B.A.L. Academy
  • Gaston Middle School
  • Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center
  • Caillet Elementary School
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