Reimagining School Safety: A Guide for Schools and Communities
While school safety ideas and practices have evolved over the last several decades, the variety of school safety tools, policies, and degrees of success highlights a need for more conversation about the very concept of safety: what it is (and isn’t), who gets to define it, how it’s achieved, and at what cost.
In shifting how safety is defined so that it is not the absence of violence but the existence of systems and structures that support mutual care, belonging, and interconnection, schools’ policies, practices, and values shift towards creating strong communities and places of collaborative learning.
The purpose of this guide is to support education professionals reimagine and redefine school safety such that safety is not the absence of a negative but rather the existence of positive elements like interconnection, belonging, voice, and agency. Further, working from this paradigm of safety and centering the lived experiences of students and families—especially those who have been kept furthest from institutional power—can be a key component of designing systems that are more equitable and sustainable.
This interactive guide pulls from different frameworks and concepts, including complex adaptive systems, restorative justice, co-designing, and design thinking, to provide educators, school leaders, and district administrators with mindsets, strategies, and grounded examples of what is possible by reimagining school safety.
Can Restorative Practices Bridge Racial Disparities in Schools? Evidence from the California Healthy Kids Survey
In this brief, we investigate whether increasing student exposure to restorative practices could help reduce racial discipline and achievement gaps, drawing from a large sample of secondary students who completed the California Healthy Kids Survey between the 2013/14 and 2018/19 school years.
Leading Voices: Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments – Dr. Christina Pate in Conversation with State and District Leaders
This recorded session features Dr. Christina Pate, Director of Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SSLE) services at WestEd and Jenny Betz, Senior Program Associate at WestEd, in conversation with Regina Timms, Program Manager for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments at the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED), and Dr. Rose Prejean-Harris, Director of Social and Emotional Learning in Atlanta Public Schools (APS).
The Toolkit Before the Toolkit: Centering Adaptive and Relational Elements of Restorative Practices for Implementation Success
This guide highlights the mindsets, values, social capital, and structural supports that bind and hold together restorative practices.
- Safe and Supportive Learning EnvironmentsWestEd's Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SSLE) services support your school, district, or state to develop the knowledge and build the capacity needed to foster equitable learning conditions during everyday instruction and throughout school communities.
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