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Monday, July 22, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Kamala Harris rapidly picks up Democratic Support - including vast majority of state party leaders; National rent-cap proposal could benefit NY renters; Carter's adoption support: Empowering families, strengthening workplaces.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Restorative Practices Strengthening Relationships with PA Students, Communities

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Monday, June 26, 2023   

Restorative practices have gained a foothold in Pennsylvania schools as districts look for ways to reduce suspensions and improve their school climate.

Craig Adamson, president of the model programs for the International Institute for Restorative Practices, said his organization works with more than 60 school districts, along with at-risk youths through the juvenile justice and child welfare systems in eastern Pennsylvania.

He explained restorative practices are used as an alternative to suspension, and their peer-mediated small groups give students an opportunity to talk, ask questions and air grievances.

"A lot of our work is about relationships, and working in groups and circles, and working through different issues," Adamson outlined. "The students can return back to their home schools as soon as they can make those transitions."

Adamson pointed out at their Restorative Reporting Center in Bucks County, students participate six days a week in a 20-week program which is an alternative to detention and placement. He added it is an intense program with structured homework time and behavioral interventions resulting in grades improving along with enhancing their social and emotional skills.

Applying restorative practices in Pennsylvania schools is not without its challenges. Proper training and ongoing support for educators are critical for successful implementation.

Keith Hickman, executive director of the institute wears many hats, including building relationships with state education departments and national collaboratives in the education and civic-engagement space. He works closely with school district leaders and school administrators on creating a climate of trust within the school.

"I help them use restorative practices as a way to problem-solve complex issues relevant to the climate and culture of their schools," Hickman noted. "This includes using restorative practices to improve their work climate for staff and learning environment for students."

Hickman argued Pennsylvania schools should become less reliant on punitive discipline because data show disproportionate suspension rates impact mostly Black and brown students.

He emphasized the institute and other organizations in the Pittsburgh area are helping educators, principals and superintendents develop valuable relationships to prevent the overreliance on punitive measures such as suspensions.


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