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FAST FACTS

  • Accreditation and recognition by governments of France, Spain, and China

  • Curricula guided by educational standards and benchmarks of France, Spain, China, and the United States

  • Maximum class size of 20 students

  • 20% of the MYP is devoted to language acquisition

Lower School Director's Blog

Restorative Justice: An Inclusive Approach to Discipline

Restorative Justice (RJ) is a powerful approach to discipline that focuses on repairing harm through inclusive processes that engage all stakeholders. Implemented well, RJ shifts the focus of discipline from punishment to learning and from the individual to the community.

-Education Week Teacher, Feb 6, 2016

I grew up in a time where children were routinely punished both verbally and even physically for the smallest infraction – like a whisper to a friend at the drinking fountain.  Luckily, today’s educators realize punishment and shame aren’t effective tools to use with students. 

As the Director of the Lower School at the International School of Denver, one of my primary responsibilities is to enforce discipline.  ISDenver uses an approach known as Restorative Justice (RJ).  RJ was originally developed to use with adults that committed an offense requiring legal intervention.  RJ emphasizes the importance of the offender taking responsibility for his/her actions, and making restitution to the one harmed and the community. 

So, what does RJ look like in the Lower School?  When students are sent to me with a discipline issue, I interview each child about what happened, asking the following questions: 

  1. What happened, and what were you thinking at the time of the incident?
  2. What have you been thinking about since?
  3. Who has been affected by what happened, and how?
  4. What about this has been hardest for you?
  5. What do you think needs to be done to make things as right as possible?

Students must act on what they decide to do in their response to question 5.  I also contact each child’s parents/guardians about the incident, and send them a copy of questions 1 -5 with their child’s responses. 

If you would like to learn more about RJ, I suggest the following articles:

 

 

  • Restorative Justice

Lower School Director

Beth Cavanaugh

Beth Cavanaugh

Lower School Division Coordinator, English Teacher
Beth Cavanaugh holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Kansas State University, a Master of Arts in education from Washburn University and an Education Specialist degree in leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. She has taught elementary and middle school grades in Kansas, Illinois and Colorado since 1983. Before joining the ISDenver community in 2016, Beth was teaching in Idaho Springs, Colorado.