Restorative Projects in Rhode Island

 

YRP works with diverse groups to resolve conflicts and build healthy relationships and community norms.

YRP’s major projects are listed here in reverse chronological order, apart from the Central Falls School District, our demonstration model for school-based Restorative Practices and our oldest and longest-running project.  We have also developed training programs for a number of other schools and social-service agencies operating in Rhode Island.

Central Falls School District (2009 – present)
YRP’s first large-scale project began in the Spring of 2009, when visionary Superintendent Dr. Frances Gallo asked Julia Steiny to adapt the Central Falls District’s school discipline system to a restorative model. Central Falls High School and Calcutt Middle School, located in the city that is the most densely populated and has the lowest family income in Rhode Island, had until that point been ruled by a harsh “kick-out culture” with high rates of suspension and detention. YRP replaced these ineffective and harmful practices with advisory, classroom, and accountability circles, after school restoration, and mediation; hired Restorative Specialists  from Family Services of Rhode Island trained in deescalating conflict and handling disruptive students to replace the schools’ “behavior specialists;” and implemented a conferencing program developed in conjunction with the schools as an alternative to involvement with the juvenile justice system.

In addition to providing training for teachers and administrators in Central Falls schools, YRP trained parents in using circles to hold their own children accountable and helped develop family involvement through parent advisory groups. The Central Falls schools have grown into a flagship project showing the power of Restorative Practices to build healthy and successful school communities, and some of the students have become our most vocal advocates for Restorative Practices, both at home and in school.

National Institute of Justice Grant (2014 – present)

In the Fall of 2014, YRP was awarded a $3.68 million dollar school safety restorative practices grant from the National Institute of Justice  to design and implement restorative programs in six public secondary schools. Within the scope of this project, YRP manages 9 Restorative Practices employees, providing training, presentations, coaching, and support in restorative tools and their implementation. This project is carried out with the partnership of the Urban InstituteProvidence Plan, and Central Falls Schools.

Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families (2014 – present)
DCYF is the State agency responsible for Rhode Island’s child welfare system, including child protective services and residential and juvenile correction facilities. YRP provides trainings for the DCYF staff, starting with the administrators and wellness teams, to develop a culture of Restorative Practices throughout the agency.

The Greene School (2014 – present)
Greene is a public charter high school in West Greenwich, RI, based on expeditionary learning, dedicated to the environment and social justice. They contracted with YRP to help build a Restorative culture, starting with three training sessions with a class that is developing their own strategies and materials for implementing Restorative Practices.

Village Green Virtual Charter School (2013 – present)
This school opened in Providence in 2013, using a “blended learning” model combining on-line curriculum with in-classroom teaching. YRP has provided training annually to make Restorative Practices the basis of school discipline.

Westerly School District (2012 – present)
In 2012, concerned about student discipline and its drop-out rate, the Westerly, RI district converted two administrative positions to “Restorative Deans” and hired two Restorative Specialists. YRP provided training for faculty and the implementation team, in an initiative that has significantly improved school climate and attendance.

In total, YRP has worked with over 450 parents, staff, teachers, and administers to support thousands of children.