This year, Thunder Hill Elementary School will begin working towards developing a restorative justice culture.
Restorative Justice is an indigenous philosophy that emphasizes building relationships.
In the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), this philosophy is used as a school climate and culture shift that includes intentional community building with staff, families, and students; examining and transforming pedagogical practices; and engaging in conversations about racism and the way it impacts our education system.
In schools, restorative justice can be used to:
Build healthy relationships between all members of the school community, including staff, students, and families;
Identify areas of need to focus supports;
Support healthy social and emotional development and interactions;
Create safe spaces for difficult conversations, deep emotions, and healing;
Shift the focus from intervention to prevention of disciplinary infractions by examining the root cause of adult and student behavior; and
Shift the paradigm from a culture focused on punishment to one that focuses on identifying and meeting the needs of all stakeholders.
Thunder Hill ES is part of the Howard County Education Association’s (HCEA) Restorative Justice Cohort, which means we work in collaboration with and receive support from the Restorative Justice Partnership through a HCEA grant from the National Education Association to implement whole-school restorative justice and establish an implementation process for other schools throughout HCPSS. We work closely with administrators and staff in the other cohort schools - Ilchester Elementary School, Laurel Woods Elementary School, Longfellow Elementary School, Swansfield Elementary School, Mayfield Woods Middle School, LongReach High School, Wilde Lake High School, and High School #13.