MS 131 believes that to prepare our students for high school and beyond, we must do more than teach content. We must help students understand themselves, how to thrive with those who are different, and how to constructively respond to conflict and discomfort. To achieve these ends, 131 uses Restorative Justice.
Our advisories consist of no more than 10 students who are led by a 131 staff member. In these weekly groups, students explore social and emotional topics in a structured way. We also take monthly trips with our advisories to get to know each other outside of school, and do community service projects around the city. Every student build a strong connection with his/her advisor, and the students in advisory.
Restorative Justice also provides the structure for our response to discipline. When a child does harm to the community, rather than taking a strictly punitive approach which can often become self defeating, we use Restorative Justice to uncover the root cause of the conflict to help keep it from happening again. This has shown to result in a decrease of disciplinary incident in school, and improved academic outcomes.