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IIRP receives grant to improve climate in Philadelphia schools

Jul 02, 2013

From the article on the Restorative Works Learning Network:

The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School has received a multi-year grant from The Philadelphia Foundation’s Fund for Children to implement restorative practices in 10 Philadelphia School District high schools and middle schools.

The IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program will help the schools build relationships between students, staff and parents; create a sense of community; improve student behavior; reduce violence and bullying and establish school climates conducive to learning. Rather than just reacting to incidents after they occur, the program implements proactive techniques that foster relationships and a sense of belonging.

The IIRP’s Whole-School Change Program has been implemented at Bethlehem’s Freedom and Liberty high schools for two years and at Allentown’s William Allen and Louis E. Dieruff high schools for one year. The Bethlehem schools reported significant reductions in disciplinary incidents, particularly following the second year of implementation. In the Allentown schools, discipline referrals are being addressed in a restorative manner and the school climate is improving, due to the commitment of school leadership to restorative processes.

Dr. John Bailie, IIRP assistant professor and director of continuing education, says, “Lehigh Valley educators have been leaders in bringing restorative practices to Pennsylvania schools, and the children are benefiting from improved school culture. Now, the School District of Philadelphia and The Philadelphia Foundation are showing tremendous vision in their commitment to youth. Our children deserve safe school communities where they can learn, thrive and realize their potential to become productive citizens.”

The program will help school leadership and staff develop customized plans that include professional learning groups, on-site professional development and follow-up evaluation. Everyone on staff will have a say and a role in implementation, with several staff trained as professional development instructors to ensure program sustainability.

Read the full article.

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