West Fargo Public Schools implements a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade in academics as well as social-emotional learning. MTSS is a whole school, child-focused, preventative framework which supports and improves learning for all students by providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need. In the system, educators utilize continuous improvement processes for increasing the achievement and behavioral success of all learners by using research and/or evidence-based practices. Restorative practice is one powerful, research-based tool that schools utilize as a part of the MTSS program.
WHAT IS RESTORATIVE PRACTICE?
Restorative practice is a social science that focuses on building community and strengthening relationships. Research shows that when individuals feel connected to a community, such as a school, we are more inclined to respect others within the community as well as the community’s well-being. Unlike traditional disciplinary systems that utilize rewards and punishments to influence behavior, restorative practice investigates the underlying motives for learners’ disruptive and hurtful behavior and responds by further encouraging a sense of belonging, safety, and accountability.
Many of the district’s schools have implemented restorative practices within their disciplinary system. The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund allowed for three restorative practice leader positions to be created, with two at West Fargo High School and one at Heritage Middle School. A restorative practice leader aims to build stronger relationships among learners and educators in order to create a more positive school climate. As learners are referred to a restorative practice leader, interventions and supports are implemented to further strengthen their success. The district is gathering data on the efficacy of these positions to consider for ongoing funding.
Book Study: Positive Discipline for Teenagers
To further strengthen relationships between learners, educators, and the community and to further increase the positive impact of restorative practice, West Fargo Public Schools and the West Fargo Public Library are hosting a four-session book study on Jane Nelson’s and Lynn Lott’s Positive Discipline for Teenagers. The free opportunity aims at creating positive connections through discussions and real-life experiences. Sessions will be conducted in a group setting where families will gain tools for approaching challenging behaviors and learn new methods to discipline.
The four sessions are scheduled for 6:30PM – 7:30PM on March 29, April 5, April 12, and April 19. Those interested in participating in the book study are asked to register online by Tuesday, March 22. All four sessions offer free childcare with kid-friendly activities and are hosted at the West Fargo Public Library (Meeting Room #1), 215 3rd St E, West Fargo, ND. This opportunity is made possible by additional support from North Dakota State University Extension Service.