Deciding which stream is best for you depends on where you are in the journey to whole-school transformation. Here’s an outline of each to help you choose. (Of course, you are free to enjoy our other streams to take in the vast wealth of wisdom amongst our speakers!)
1. INITIATING a relational school
Your school is beginning to think about the implementation of Relational/Restorative Practice. There may be different pressures on the school, either internal or external or both – data might problematic, there may be several initiatives that would be enhanced by implementing RP, you are clearer about the values and vision for the school. It’s very important at this stage that you understand the WHY you are thinking about the need for a culture change. You may have started the journey in some small way with some early adopters, and it is imperative that the school community understands this WHY.
You’re seeking advanced tools to evaluate your school’s readiness – and a timeline for a campus-wide initiative. You need good research and case studies to share with stakeholders and you need to build interest with everyone you meet. You’re gathering a core group and beginning serious planning to deploy restorative practices.
This stream will feature professionals who have successfully guided schools through this process. You will find out how to avoid the pitfalls of rushing your project by creating realistic goals. You will learn how to implement robust pilot initiatives that give people a taste of the potential of a relational pedagogy and build early momentum.
2. ESTABLISHING a relational school
Delegates entering this stream have completed a detailed strategic plan and assembled and trained a solid core group including principal and key senior and middle leadership, and other key staff. You have commenced RP strategies across your school community, including parents, students and staff. You are seeking to improve all of your programs with creativity, evidence-based effectiveness and cultural awareness. You are beginning to collect data to explore the effectiveness of new practices, and providing opportunities for case studies to be discussed in a variety of forums such as staff and welfare/pastoral meetings. School leadership has given their blessing to experiment, rather than a blanket “no we can’t do that”. It’s more about “how can we make this happened to see if it works?”
You are looking for insight from specialists in anti-bullying, staff PD, program assessment, trauma awareness and student leadership. Your initiative will need to compliment other behaviour initiatives and agencies. Hear from specialists who oversee initiatives across large school districts and who have turned their relational schools into a regional showcase for relational learning. Learn how to measure and communicate key data. Learn about resources to train incoming staff and transform school culture. Find out which challenges can undermine your transformation.
3. SUSTAINING a relational school
Your school has a school wide relational transformation that has been up and running for several years. Your stakeholders are engaged and your programs are in daily operation at all levels of the school community. You can see some ‘weak links’ though. There are threats that have been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic or maybe budgets are being reviewed. You’d like to know that your schoolwide transformation can withstand the exit of one or two of the key school leaders. There are unique challenges including special needs students, cultural conflict, disruptive parents. Relaxing at this point can be dangerous as the relational culture may not be part of the school’s DNA. Relational approaches need constant attention, and your school cannot take it for granted that this approach with sustain itself.
Hear the stories of leaders from three continents who have transformed schools in a variety of cultural and economic contexts. Hear from specialists who have created resources to add depth to your restorative initiatives including trauma awareness, parent engagement programs and empowerment strategies for students.
Learn the essentials for long-term sustainability and pass these skills on to emerging leaders.