RJUHSD implements restorative circles

Twice this year, students have come together with their second period class to speak with each other in a restorative circle – a method that aims to build community, trust and address issues within a group.

Roseville Joint Union High School District has implemented these new restorative circles across all high schools in the district as another tool in its focus on restorative practices.

According to superintendent Denise Herrmann, the time intervals between restorative circles may vary by site and circumstance.

For instance, if a contentious issue comes up on campus, the school may work in time for a circle to speak through it. 

As of now, RHS students gather in their second period once a month to talk about different topics to cope with stress and become more comfortable in class. 

Administrative staff and counselors were trained in the circles in 2018.

Over the last year, more site teachers have received training.

Though as of now they serve to build collaboration and communication in class, in the future, they will also be used to address conflicts.

Herrmann said that the circles are meant to help students learn how to deal with stress and conflict in a healthy and mature manner.

“Conflict is natural and likely to occur when people with diverse opinions and experiences unite,” Herrmann said. “Restorative practices view conflict as an opportunity to foster meaningful learning experiences and strengthen relationships.”

Restorative circles are part of a greater shift to restorative practices, which aim to focus on conversation and reform, rather than defaulting to suspension or other forms of punishment.

The conversations of circles aim to help people understand both others and themselves better.

“It allows for all people involved to identify their thoughts and feelings associated with particular actions,” Herrmann said.

Senior Ryan Szekula said the restorative circles are a nice way to bring the class together. 

“I think the circle time is pretty beneficial. It gets the class a little bit closer together,” Szekula said. “Some people are more open than others. I think being able to pass is nice, but for the people who do, they can share out into a comfortable space.”

Sophomore Riley Griffin said the time is a good relief from class. 

“If they don’t wanna take it seriously then that’s their choice,” Griffin said. “But I think it’s nice to be able to take a break from everything,”