Yesterday, OSI-Baltimore hosted a train-the-trainer session on restorative practices for English Learner (EL) students, organized with the City Schools’ Office of Differentiation. On October 19th, the trainers will offer a half-day training on restorative practices for all 150 EL teachers in the district. Restorative practices, in particular restorative circles, help lift up student voices and build positive relationships. OSI and city schools are working together to integrate restorative practices into all city schools over the next three to five years.
The goal of restorative practices training for the 150 EL teachers in Baltimore City School district is to provide immigrant students with safe spaces in schools. These safe spaces will help these students cope with the animosity and resulting fear that many experience in their schools and/or communities–which has risen precipitously since the 2016 election season. Restorative practices can also help EL students increase language proficiency and form meaningful relationships with teachers and classmates.
It is interesting to note that while the populations of all other other student groups have decreased over the past three years, the numbers of immigrant children have risen steadily. Latinx students now surpass white students in City Schools. The needs of Baltimore City’s immigrant students must begin to be addressed so that they will succeed in school and in life in America.
The October 19th training will include an introduction to restorative circles and discussion of their application in EL classrooms and in general education classrooms with EL students. Once teachers have piloted restorative practices in their classrooms, they will return for a more in-depth training in January.