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How to know when you’ve won

I spoke with a handful of School Leaders on the restorative journey last week who had a similar tale to tell.  They said they’ve been delighted with the progress their school has made this year but that “There’s still a lot to do before they can call theirs a restorative school”.


I disagree.


You see, both had a story to report about students who are self-reporting their poor choices when they didn’t need to.


In one such tale, Assistant Principals had been dispatched with the bribe of wine to find the perpetrator responsible for some large and gratuitous graffiti.  Despite the right bait, they’d failed miserably.


And yet, two days later the student walked into the Principal’s office and confessed on conscience, asking to make things right.  Given the choice to negotiate the number of days suspension or the route to the janitor’s closet where the cleaning supplies are stored with her accomplice – she chose the latter and removed the genital inspired “art” entirely.


In my view, when this kind of thing happens in your school … you’ve won.  Your school really is a restorative school.  Sure, there might be more to improve, adjust or implement but there always is.


If you’ve got students self-reporting on conscience, you’ve changed the game for everyone.  The game in your school no longer centres on preventing the likelihood of a negative sanction and has become a game of supported personal responsibility.  You won that game.  And it’s a significant game too.


If you’ve won the game in 2023, based purely on my metric for winning, there’s only one thing left to do.  Celebrate it.


Don’t let that wine go to waste!


Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. There are only five spots left for The Inner Circle. As we say on the website:


“This program is for School Leaders that have identified, in their schools, there is some distance between the ambition for a strong, relational, productive School Culture and their current reality.”


If you think you might be up for 12 months working directly with me and 11 other extraordinary school leaders, hit reply and say “I’m in” and we’ll make it happen.

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