Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice at LaunchWe have a restorative justice approach to discipline, which is a community-based approach to build, repair, and restore relationships. RJ encourages stakeholders to reflect upon how their values and beliefs impact the greater community. It focuses on building trust and a sense of belonging.  We believe that in repairing the harm, students/community members can consider how their actions affect others as they continue to move forward in building positive relationships. 

We take a holistic view of each student and see their unique set of talents and experiences as assets. It is our responsibility as educators to develop a course of action that will ensure the highest student achievement outcomes and narrow the opportunity gap for each child we serve. We do this by creating the conditions for a trusting and supportive environment and by using culturally relevant practices that will develop students around their own cultural competence, academic success, and critical consciousness so that they can disrupt inequities in society.

Community is the foundation our restorative approach, it helps students (and adults) gain practice in talking with one another in a respectful and honest way. This work happens through Circle Protocols, Celebrations, parent engagement and Crew.

Restorative Practice VisionLaunch acknowledges we cannot create a school free from conflict. Conflict is a part of life! However, we as a school strive to create an environment that approaches conflict as an opportunity for healing.  Launch believes in engaging the whole community in resolving conflicts. We seek to promote a school where young people are empowered with the tools to navigate the challenging world around them and effectively change their communities through values of restorative practices. We commit to building and strengthening our community daily through restorative practices that incorporate Launch’s Habits of Heart and Mind: Integrity & Stewardship, Kindness & Collaboration, Imagination & Spirit, and Dedication & Practice. Launch strives to build community relationships and provide students the necessary support and tools to improve positive work skills and develop healthy relationship-building habits. 

For us to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline we must encourage and uplift our students to know their voice of advocacy.  We must also build our emotional intelligence and, at times, challenge our personal beliefs in order to better understand others as we continue to grow into a community where both our commonalities and our differences unite us rather than divide us. As we move forward in our school culture, we must acknowledge the influence of the larger community, cultures, and country. These models shape the attitudes, behaviors, and implicit biases we all struggle with.

We understand the damage caused by zero tolerance policies and the impact that suspensions and classroom removals have on a child’s chances of academic and life success.  We therefore seek positive solutions to harm done to the community in order to strengthen students’ sense of belonging to the Launch community and to reduce time out of class. The purpose of education is not only academic, but also to produce responsible citizens. Launch believes in creating an environment where every student is known well, where families and the community are integral partners, and where every student develops his or her intellect and character in order to achieve more than they thought possible. We strive to create an inclusive community and culture that allows students to grow, make mistakes, be heard, and communicate effectively. 

We will face many challenges together, and will draw upon the love and respect we have for one another. As a community, we will learn, grow and heal! With the great cultural enrichment of Launch, we hold various beliefs, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and races. Our goal as a Launch family is to embrace different beliefs and be supportive.

What are Circles?

A circle is a versatile restorative practice that can be used proactively, to develop relationships and build community or reactively, to respond to wrongdoing, conflicts and problems. Circles give people an opportunity to speak and listen to one another in an honest, supported and trusting way.  At Launch we use circles across our classes and crews.  Families have the opportunity to participate in parenting circles lead by our Parent Association, learning circles lead by our RJ Coordinator and if needed restorative circles to discuss a specific incident.  

Ongoing Socio-Emotional/Mental Health Support for Students Launch currently has 3 social workers and 1 school counselor, in addition to 2 interns, working with students who have mandated counseling as a part of their IEPs, as well as students who benefit from the added socio-emotional support. 

The supports for students throughout the school year will include:

  • Advisory Circles w/Social Emotional Learning component 
  • Needs Assessment (Pre/Post Assessment) 
  • Rotating Small Groups 6-8 weeks 
  • CPI Crisis Model for De-escalation 

For students requiring additional targeted support:

  • Anxiety, Coping with Change and Grief
  • Use of visual aids for psychoeducation 
  • Creation of calming space in each classroom
  • Promoting mind/body breaks in classrooms 
  • Mindful Mondays 
  • Music therapy at arrival
  • Counseling based web page with resources