Benjamin Franklin Elementary teachers in Meriden using restorative practices to create a strong community

Whats Right With Schools

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Some would say a classroom community helps enhance a child’s learning performance. At Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, they use restorative practices to create a strong community throughout the school. 

We talked with Diana Sakkos who’s a fifth-grade teacher. She incorporates restorative practices in her curriculum daily.

“I start every single day with a circle,” she says.

Sakkos gathers her students in a circle to check their emotional state at the start of every day. 

Sakkos says, “So, in a classroom we want our students to feel connected to have ownership and responsibility. We want our students to feel safe and nurtured not just from the teacher but the entire class community.” 

She says the goal of restorative practices is to make the children feel like the classroom is a safe space, “I’m okay here and I can learn here and this is a safe space for me.”

Principal Joanne Conte and Assistant Principal Dave Motemurro have worked to implement restorative practices over the past couple of years.

Conte says, “We not only use restorative justices and practices with students, we use it with our faculty and staff as well.” 

Montemurro says building a community is important when it comes to the development of the students, “There have been times where maybe something happens at recess, or on a field trip or at lunch and they help solve it as a community and move on whereas if I have to I’ll get involved and everything and parents too but it’s better when they solve as a community.”

Schools throughout the Meriden School District have implemented restorative practices in their classrooms. 

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