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Kellogg Middle School greatly reduces student offense recidivism through restoration program
Post-Bulletin - 3/1/2023
Mar. 1—ROCHESTER — In the time span of a year, the number of students repeatedly racking up offenses at Kellogg Middle School plummeted.
During a discussion about bullying at the Rochester School Board on Tuesday, Kellogg Principal Angi McAndrews spoke about the restoration program the school has started using, called the Common Academy for Restoration and Empathy. The program is an alternative to suspension.
"From 70% of our kids re-offending somehow to 23% of our kids re-offending — that has been a pretty substantial improvement for us," McAndrews said. "It includes restoration first and foremost, then some sort of reflection, and then a plan for moving forward."
Prior to starting the program, McAndrews said the level of recidivism among students with a level 2, or suspendable, offense was 70%. In the first semester of having the CARE program last year, the school reduced that figure to 33%. Then in the first semester of this year, the school reduced it again to 23%.
She said that when a student is in the program, they spend two days with school social workers and counselors to see how their actions harmed others. Whereas, when students are suspended, they're detached from the impact of their actions, she said.
Although Kellogg may have shown the most drastic decrease, other schools have started working toward similar initiatives.
"We are implementing restorative practice within our high school walls," John Marshall High School Principal Matt Ruzek said. "I think it's essential to the success of our community, not just JM itself."
He said that process includes bringing all parties to the table, not just the students but the parents as well. Echoing McAndrews, Ruzek said the process forces students and their parents to see the impact of the offender's actions not just on the victim but on those near the victim.
During the study session, several other Rochester principals spoke about efforts in their buildings to curb unwanted behaviors as well. Bamber Valley Elementary Principal Martine Haglund said her school has "counselor classes" so that the counselors see the whole student body on a cycle. Haglund said the current cycle is focused on empathy.
Aside from the work the schools are doing, Ruzek said there has been a cultural shift in students willing to speak up about things that need to be addressed.
"It is a vast difference even from 10/15 years ago," Ruzek said. "This is a shift ... our younger generation, our current generation are not idle bystanders in regard to their voice."
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