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New report indicates impact of restorative practices in Baltimore City Schools

Posted at 3:24 PM, Sep 28, 2020

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Schools that have adopted restorative practices since 2018 have seen dramatic drops in suspensions, improved school climate, and better relationships between students and teachers, according to a new report.

The report, Restorative Practices in Baltimore City Schools: A Research Update and Implementation Guide, gives indication that implementation of restorative practices in Baltimore City Schools is having a definitive, positive impact for students, teachers, and administrators.

The study found that, in schools where restorative practices had been implemented:

  • School suspensions dropped by 44% in one year
  • 72% of school staff reported improved school climate
  • 69% of school staff reported improved student respect for one another
  • 64% of school staff reported improved student respect for staff

The report highlights how restorative practices are being used in schools, including restorative circles (84%), restorative conferences to respond to student misconduct and conflicts (60%), and restorative circles and conferences with families (39%).

The report also identifies challenges to implementation, including lack of support from students’ families (38%), the need for additional training (31.9%), and student resistance to the process (26.6%).

Baltimore City Schools have been at the forefront of integrating restorative practices since about 2008, when OSI began supporting schools like City Springs Elementary/Middle and Hampstead Hill Academy to train staff in restorative approaches.

In 2016, Baltimore City Schools’ Board and CEO made a pledge to implement restorative practices in the daily workings of all of its schools and programs over a five-year period.

In 2018, the district designated its first cohort of 14 schools as “intensive learning sites” that would receive training and coaching in restorative practices. The data in this report comes from those schools.