Restorative Practices Foster Community at Chester County Schools

Technical College High Schools

DOWNINGTOWN, PA — The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) celebrates the continued success of its Restorative Practices initiative in the 2023-24 school year at the Technical College High Schools (TCHS).

Rachel Kutney, a Restorative Practitioner and IES Educational Consultant, has supported TCHS schools throughout the year. Kutney has focused on building positive relationships among students, staff, and families. Teachers had multiple opportunities to engage with Restorative Practices through professional development, in-class demonstrations, and dialogue sessions.

The initiative extended beyond the classroom. Instructional coaches from CCIU’s human resources division learned Restorative Practice circles and helped model them for teachers. This empowered teachers to foster dialogue, understanding, and mutual respect in their classrooms, tailoring support to meet their students’ unique needs.

Restorative Practices have strengthened relationships within the TCHS school community. “This work is an absolute gift,” said Kutney. “I am honored to come alongside students and staff to build relationships and embrace restorative approaches. Our schools have always valued relationship, respect, and accountability. Restorative Practices provide a clear framework for these values.”

When conflicts arose, teachers used restorative questions to refocus their classrooms on learning. Kutney facilitated some challenging conversations, but the focus remained on proactive, positive relationship building.

The IES division also held a restorative circle discussion on dignity. This session allowed students and adults to listen to each other and build connections. Savannah Perry, a TCHS junior in the animal science program, said, “I feel like at TCHS I’m part of a community that values each student on an individual level. I feel seen and supported.”

For more information about implementing Restorative Practices in your school, contact Rachel Kutney at RachelK@cciu.org or 484-237-5335.

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