Update - Restorative Justice Program at LaSalle

Update - Restorative Justice Program at LaSalle

Good morning all,

As you know, after a very successful pilot at the 5th and 6th grade levels, last week LaSalle implemented our new restorative justice program school wide. I'm thrilled to share the results of this program with you this week as we have already seen a big improvement to student behavior and school culture as a result!

In grades K-8, a total of 24 students (out of 559!) were asked to participate in our Reflection Friday activity after school. This is equal to 4.3% of our total student population. If you remember from my State of the School presentation, this is down from roughly 28% of our students who had received multiple behavior referrals using our prior system. From 28% to 4.3% is a staggering improvement and I hope you are all as thrilled as we are by this positive change!

Anecdotally, teachers report that they had an easier time teaching and were able to get through more content last week. Additionally, very few students were sent down to the office last week, a dramatic change for administration and office staff.

As with any program or policy change, there are small adjustments that may need to be made over time but in the short term, I hope you all see this change for the positive improvement that it is.

Many thanks (as always) to our incredible staff for their hard work and willingness to take on new programs and procedures. Thanks also for their willingness to stay after school, on their own time, to help our students reflect, improve, and build stronger relationships.

Finally....thanks to the students who have embraced our program and the parents who have been so supportive.

All good news lately :) Go Leopards!!!
Grades K-2 Restorative Justice

In grades K-2, we are using a slightly different system. The focus for our youngest students is on mindfulness and reflection, working directly with teachers to improve relationships and a sense of calm. Please see the description from Ms. Peretz below of last Friday's K-2 Reflection Friday.

"We started in my classroom with all the lights off aside from some lamps that Ms. Venegas and I brought in for the occasion. Ms. Venegas led the students through a mindfulness activity that included expressing their feelings about their choices that week and a strategy for balling up negative feelings/bad thoughts and letting them go. They practiced imagining those feelings as a red ball, squeezing the ball, and letting it go. She also led them through a belly breathing lesson where they inhaled the negative thoughts/feelings and exhaled to let them go. Students then took turns sharing how they felt after letting go of negative thoughts/feelings and relaxed with meditation music and breathing. Ms. Gonzalez sat in on the mindfulness portion of the evening and she said it was so beautiful that she almost cried!

Students then transitioned into Ms. Broecker's room to reflect and practice mindful coloring. We had 5 teachers in the room to circulate and have one-on-one conversations with students. I introduced students to mindful coloring by teaching them the word "mandala" and explaining how we can focus our minds on coloring and let everything else float away. Students colored slowly and quietly while teachers had those quiet conversations. We all felt that it was really nice to be able to help students in different grades or classrooms with their reflections because it took away any feelings of judgment about their behavior.

All in all, it was a very calm and restorative experience. When parents came to pick up their children, we were able to share with them the wonderful strategies they learned for self-regulation and managing their feelings. I've already had great conversations with my students about the strategies they learned and how they plan to use them this week."

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