School Leaders, Parents and Community Partners Come Together to Learn an Innovative Process for Community Building

During the first week of October, more than 75 participants gathered at United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County for Restorative Practices trainings with Kerri Berkowitz, a national leader in school-based implementation of Restorative Practices
Restorative Practices are based on principles and processes that emphasize the importance of positive relationships as central to building community and restoring relationships when harm has occurred. Training participants included school administrators, teachers, school social workers and counselors, along with parents and community partners who work closely with the schools. 
Training participants examined the impact of strong student-teacher relationships and students’ perception of fair discipline on academic achievement and positive school behavior as well as the long-term negative effects of suspending students from school (American Psychological Association, 2006). Attendees also had the chance to participate in and lead community-building circles, which open the possibility for increased communication, collaboration and mutual understanding. 
Bruce Waller, Resource Coordinator at Asheville Middle, noted, “We are excited to get this started at Asheville Middle School! This will really help our students and teachers feel like more a part of our community and our school family.”
More information on Restorative Practices can be found here, as well as in this short video, 'A Brekathrough in Social and Emotional Learning" sharing a powerful look into the “why” behind Restorative Practices. 
Participants in the three-day intensive training included representatives from:
  • Asheville City Schools Foundation - In Real Life
  • Asheville Middle School
  • Asheville City Schools Student Support Services
  • Buncombe County Schools Student Support Services
  • Department of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
  • Family Preservation Services
  • Owen Middle School
  • United Way ABC
  • YMCA of WNC


Participants in the one-day introduction training included representatives from: 
  • Asheville High School
  • Asheville Middle School
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC
  • Boys and Girls Club of WNC
  • Buncombe County Health and Human Services
  • Children First/Communities In Schools
  • Delta House
  • Department of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
  • Eblen Intermediate School
  • Enka Intermediate School
  • Enka Middle School
  • Erwin Middle School
  • Owen High School
  • Owen Middle School
  • United Way ABC
  • YMCA of WNC