The Killeen ISD school board voted this week to require a district-wide restorative practices training for teachers in an effort to curtail excessive disciplinary measures and boost academic performance.
The board on Tuesday unanimously approved the district’s proposed agreement with National Educators for Restorative Practices, LLC, for the district-wide training.
The company will “provide a framework of processes for the implementation of a district-wide discipline management system that has proven to have positive impacts on improved student discipline and academic success, campus and district-wide,” according to KISD.
Beginning next school year, and possibly as early as this summer, all Killeen ISD educators will be required to complete a one-day restorative practices training. When the training will take place, and whether teachers will be given supplemental pay for the training, will be addressed at the May 11 board meeting.
The summer training dates up for consideration are June 2, 7, 16, 21, 28, or July 12, 19, 26 or 27, according to the district’s agenda.
KISD Executive Director of Student Services Sandra Forsythe said she witnessed the training’s positive effect after district administrators were trained in March.
“I think probably the greatest result have been relationships with each other,” Forsythe told the board Tuesday. “This is not a training in a classroom that is going to take time away from teaching; this is training and practices that occurs as we are teaching.”
KISD Superintendent John Craft clarified that students will still have to follow the district’s code of conduct.
“I think that sometimes restorative practices are correlated with no consequences for misbehavior, and that’s a little bit of a misconception to say the least,” Craft said Tuesday. “That’s not going to be the approach as much as it is the relational piece before we get to having to implement a discipline consequence on a graduated scale.”
Restorative practice training encourages teachers to build trusting relationships with their students, Forsythe said.
“Restorative practices is about building and sustaining relationships, and choosing the hill to die on,” Forsythe explained Tuesday. “When you build those relationships with students, students get it and they respect you for it. When you’re in a classroom where those relationships are built, they are sustained, and it is practiced, nine times out of 10 you’re not going to have those (discipline) issues with those students, because of that respect, that trust, and that relationship is in place. That’s our goal district-wide, to build relationships, to have the respect, and to have the trust in place.”
Forsythe said she recognized “it won’t happen overnight.”
The cost to train approximately 2,400 KISD teachers in restorative practices will be about $240,000, according to the district.
Board member Marvin Rainwater asked Forsythe her thoughts on those KISD employees who may be “rigid” in their ways, and not open to the training.
“I think the most challenging role will be re-teaching teachers,” Forsythe said. “Heart is what we bring as educators. We can’t teach heart, but we can practice with them and work with them and show them examples of what heart looks like in the classroom.”
Further information about the training, including the possibility of supplemental pay for teachers, will be addressed during the May 11 board meeting.