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Spalding University summit March 13-14 to explore use of restorative practices in JCPS schools

First day of conference open to the public, will include panel discussion, awards ceremony

Spalding and JCPS staff

Spalding University, in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), will host the second annual Summit on Restorative Practices March 13-14, with the first day open to the public. The summit, to be held at Spalding’s College Street Center, 812 S. Second St., will showcase JCPS schools that have implemented restorative methods as an intervention strategy to manage student behavior and improve school safety, climate and culture.

Restorative practices, which are a social science designed to mediate conflict and ease tensions by repairing harm and restoring relationships, have contributed to a reduction in suspensions at many of the restorative practice-trained JCPS schools.

“Restorative practices have been a valuable tool in helping us improve the climate and culture inside our classrooms, which is one of the key pillars we’ve committed to for our district,” JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said.

Wednesday’s first day of the summit will be held 8:30-11 a.m. and is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to register at www.spalding.edu/rjsummit.

The event kicks off with remarks by Dr. Pollio and Spalding President Tori Murden McClure, followed by the showcase of restorative practice schools.

JCPS Chief Communications and Community Relations Officer Renee Murphy will then moderate a panel discussion on the impact of restorative practices in schools, and the university will present its inaugural Spalding Restorative Practices Awards, honoring individuals and community organizations that have advanced and promoted the use and understanding of restorative practices.

The award categories and recipients are:

Impact Award: Saundra Hensel, JCPS Behavior Support Systems Coordinator
Community Advocate Award: Judge Angela Bisig, Jefferson County Circuit Court
Collaboration Award: Restorative Justice Louisville
Innovation Award: Jefferson County Public Schools
Legacy Award: Ishmon Burks, former Kentucky State Police Commissioner, former Kentucky Justice Cabinet Secretary and former interim Louisville Metro Police Department Chief.

The conference will continue Thursday, March 14, with a closed session of training for JCPS faculty and staff.

By the start of the 2019-20 school year, there will be 33 JCPS schools implementing restorative practices, and the district will be accepting applications this spring for schools to be trained in restorative practices in the summer of 2020.  Schools that become JCPS restorative practices schools go through two days of training, attended by all adults in the building – from nutrition workers to administration.  They then receive ongoing training and support from the district during their implementation.

Spalding uses restorative techniques and methods, including talking circles, on its campus in a range of settings to help facilitate difficult, educational conversations and to find solutions. From an academic standpoint, the university will launch a criminal justice studies program this fall, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, that will include required introductory courses in restorative justice and criminal justice reform. The university also offers a minor in restorative justice studies.

“We look forward to hosting JCPS leaders on our campus to learn more about restorative practices, and we thank the award recipients for all they’ve done to support thoughtful, innovative methods of conflict mediation and relationship-building,” McClure said. “At Spalding, we’ve made restorative practices a priority and believe they are a powerful, compassionate tool.”

Spalding and JCPS Summit on Restorative Practices

When: March 13-14; open to public on first day, 8:30-11 a.m.
Where: Spalding’s College Street Center, 812 S. Second St.
Registration: Free at www.spalding.edu/rjsummit