Thanks to a federal grant in 2015, the Pittsburgh Public Schools contracted the RAND Corp. to study how using “restorative practices” in 22 schools could improve student-teacher communication, reduce out-of-school suspensions and narrow the gap between suspension rates for Black students vs. White students, compared to another 22 schools that did not use the practices.
“We’ve been moving in this direction for some time—not just applying a ‘recommended outcome,’ we have hearings, collect information and try to keep things consistent but still allow for equity in individual circumstances.”Though the final RAND analysis will not be completed until next spring, the district has announced that it is expanding the implementation of restorative practices to 10 more schools, and plans to deploy the program to all its schools by this time next year.
DARA WARE ALLEN, PhD
Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services
Following a district-wide training session Nov. 7, the new regimen will be implemented at Pittsburgh Crescent Early Childhood Center, Pittsburgh Lincoln PreK-5, Pittsburgh King PreK-8, Pittsburgh Manchester PreK-8, Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5, Pittsburgh Oliver Citywide Academy, Pittsburgh Perry High School, Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12, Pittsburgh Weil PreK-5, and Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Dara Ware Allen, PhD, who is overseeing the team that will roll out the expansion, said these 10 schools were chosen primarily, but not exclusively, because of existing feeder patterns.
“Faison was one of the original 22 schools in the study, so adding Lincoln and Westinghouse makes sure we have vertical alignment and a (programmatic) continuum from Kindergarten through 12th grade,” she told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “Some of the other schools asked to opt in early, and others we reached out to, based on data we have that indicated they would benefit from additional support.”