Restorative Specialists in Schools
Together, Family Services of RI (FSRI) and the Youth Restoration Project developed job descriptions and training for Restorative Specialists. They serve as the behavioral staff, on-site restorative-practices trainers, and the links to outside social-service resources through Family Services’ extensive network. The Specialists are restraint certified and trained in trauma and recovery and other skills offered through FSRI. They can and have served as teacher aides, workers in the “focus” room, and home-school liaisons.
Restorative Specialists are trained –
* To teach kids and adults how to use restorative practices, circling up with one another to resolve their own conflicts.
* To run after-school Restoration sessions as well as ad hoc circles to handle any crises that may come up during the day.
* To walk and talk with students thrown out of class or having personal issues, to get to the root of the problem and help students handle situations constructively.
* To be “eyes on the street” and playworkers in the parks during the summer, to make the outdoors safer.
* To know their limits and refer students to appropriate professionals either within the school from outside social services providers.
* To participate in the restorative data meetings, providing information and brainstorming about how to manage certain students.
Over the years some Specialists have grown into Coach roles. Coaches head discipline teams at schools, supervise the other Specialists, and help to develop the District’s in-house capacity among talented volunteers and stipended staff, often parents of students.