District 65 Curriculum and Policy Committee discusses de-escalation, restorative practices


Ilana Arougheti/Daily Senior Staffer

Attendees at the April 18 Board of Education meeting hold signs encouraging people to trust teachers and staff following fights at Haven Middle School. The Curriculum and Policy Committee discussed de-escalation and restorative practices Monday.

Aviva Bechky, Assistant City Editor

The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Curriculum and Policy Committee discussed conflict mediation and de-escalation training at a Monday meeting.

Following recent physical altercations at Haven Middle School, parents and teachers demanded more widespread use of restorative practices and de-escalation education at an April District 65 Board of Education meeting. 

Dean of Culture and Climate Elijah Palmer said the district is working with the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy to bring restorative justice practices to District 65.

Superintendent Devon Horton said Director of Multi-Tiered System of Supports and Social-Emotional Learning Donna Cross and Palmer are working closely with staff on trainings at four schools. The schools’ leadership and climate teams will attend a two-day intensive workshop before the school year starts, Horton said, and the entire staff will attend four workshops and three asynchronous sessions throughout the year.

The district is working to provide trauma-informed de-escalation training every trimester for 80 or more staff members, according to Director of Special Services Anna Marie Candelario. She said administrators would be trained in June and all crisis teams would receive the training in July.

Committee member Elisabeth “Biz” Lindsay-Ryan and Palmer discussed the merits of training school staff to lead restorative relationship-building activities. Though this makes the practice more widely accessible, Lindsay-Ryan said an outsider could also offer a more impartial perspective.

It’s also important for adults and students to have access to this mediation, she said.

“This year has still been a challenge to try to get everything our community members need in place coming off the pandemic,” Lindsay-Ryan said. “So really thinking about moving into next year, how do we make sure everybody has all the supports necessary?”

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Twitter: @avivabechky

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