BALTIMORE—On Wednesday, Baltimore City Schools and Open Society Institute-Baltimore will officially release the comprehensive Restorative Practices Report, which outlines the necessary steps to implement restorative practices in all city schools and make Baltimore City Public Schools a Restorative District over the next five years.
Karen Webber, director of Open Society Institute’s Education and Youth Development program, will officially release the report at the Tenth Annual Urban Child Symposium at University of Baltimore’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center Moot Court Room (1401 N. Charles St.) on Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The subject is Restorative Practices and the Urban Child: Rethinking School Discipline. Rep. John Sarbanes will give the keynote address in the morning, followed by a panel on “The Problem: Disciplinary Practices in Schools.” After lunch, Webber, will officially release the report before she moderates a second panel: “The Solution: Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice.” (full agenda).
In January, Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises officially announced 55 “intensive learning sites” as part of her Blueprint for Success initiative, including 15 to focus on restorative practices. Restorative practices are a set of tools and strategies drawing on the belief that open, respectful communication helps reduce conflict. And, when conflict does occur, restorative practices encourage students to focus on the harm caused and on ways to repair relationships.
“OSI-Baltimore has successfully partnered with Baltimore City Schools for 20 years, on issues ranging from student re-engagement and increasing high school graduation rates to improving school climates and reducing chronic absence and suspensions,” says OSI Director Diana Morris. “We’re delighted to continue this partnership by helping to implement restorative practices, which we know create positive relationships in school communities, increase attendance, decrease the need for suspensions, and generally create improved conditions for teaching and learning, and student success.”