Recognizing the need to build relationships and maintain positive connections to students and their families, Austin ISD has embarked on the development of a districtwide Culturally Responsive Restorative Practices Model. This student-focused model will frame the school-level climate and culture, ultimately preparing all students for college, career and life.
Restorative practices in Austin ISD builds on the foundation set out below:
Seven Core Assumptions About Human Beings
These are basic ideas that we believe to be true about human nature and our relationships to the world. It is important to be aware of one's core assumptions, because what we believe to be true shapes what we see. Our beliefs form the prism through which we see ourselves and others in the world.
- The true self in everyone is good, wise and powerful.
- The world is profoundly interconnected.
- All human beings have a deep desire to be in a good relationship.
- All humans have gifts, and everyone is needed for what they bring.
- Everything we need to make positive change is already here.
- Human beings are holistic.
- We need practices to build habits of living from the core self.
Source: 'Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community' by Boyes-Watson & Pranis
Education Innovation Research Grant
The U.S. Department of Education awarded a five-year, $3.5 million grant to Austin ISD in October of 2017 for school years' 2017 (Fall)–2022 (Fall). The Education Innovation and Research Grant is designed to support whole school implementation of culturally responsive restorative practices at six elementary schools (Barrington, Becker, Blazier, Blanton, Cook and Pickle) and four middle schools (Dobie, Mendez, Garcia YMLA and Burnet).
Angela Ward, Administrative Supervisor of Race Equity, is the EIR Grant Project Director. The grant provides one grant coordinator and seven Restorative Practices Associates. Four RPAs support the middle schools, and three elementary RPAs support two elementary schools. The RPAs are closely aligned to support SEL, No Place for Hate, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and Mental Health Centers.
Cook's Restorative Practices Associate is Amber Watts.