Alternatives Inc. has been a leader in Chicago’s Restorative Justice (RJ) field since 1996. The Restorative Practices (RP) Coach leads targeted coaching projects that support a school’s overall strategic plan to develop the mindsets, practices, and protocols to be a fully restorative. Each coach has two school placements at a given time and they work with the school to refine project objectives based on the school’s needs and capacity.
Our team coaching approach is based on the premise that Restorative Practices are more likely to be sustained with fidelity when school staff learn as a team, growing from each other’s experiences, feedback and support as they develop their skills and strategies over the year. The Restorative Practices Coach establishes systems and structures for a robust team meeting culture that supports ongoing growth after the coach is gone. We work with teacher teams, discipline teams, security, BHT and Culture and Climate teams. The coaching within team meetings is supplemented by coaching of staff in the spaces where they work with students, providing on-the-court observations, feedback and modeling. Our coaching employs a gradual release of responsibility- where coaches first model the skills and techniques, then co-facilitate and then observe as teachers practice on their own. Central to every step in this process is preparing and debriefing together with an eye toward skill-building. The RP Coach ongoingly communicates and collaborates with district and school leadership to highlight impact, troubleshoot roadblocks and determine next steps.
Build restorative mindsets and capacity for school staff, students, and community stakeholders, to implement the following Restorative Practices:
Facilitate various forms of professional development:
Thought-partnering, collaborative reflection, and planning
Modeling, co-facilitating, and observing Restorative Practices implementation
Small-group and whole-staff training and workshops
Consultation to school leadership and school teams on the development and implementation of systems and structures for Restorative Practices
Support the integration of Restorative Practices with other SEL strategies, including but not limited to:
SEL skills instruction
Classroom community building
School-wide systems and structures
Familiarize school staff with content and tools in the CPS RP Toolkit
Proactively address questions and concerns staff, students, and community stakeholders have about Restorative Practices and implement strategies to gain stakeholder buy-in
Conduct school-wide discipline diagnostic assessment and create reports and recommendations
Create and track project plans
Participate in orientation and monthly OSEL Restorative Practices Professional Learning Community
*Alternatives, Incorporated is an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer.
Required Skills and Experience
Deep understanding of Restorative Practices and restorative discipline models, and experience in using and coaching others to use restorative mindsets, restorative language, talking circles, restorative conversations, peace circles.
Experience working in schools (a background in social service, student support, or community organizing also considered)
Knowledge of adult learning principles and ability to deliver engaging and clear staff professional development
Ability to assess existing school structures and policies with a restorative lens and coach school teams in areas needing improvement
Ability to develop respectful professional relationships, build trust in a limited time, and engage and inform school leaders, staff and students around Restorative Practices
Ability to handle multiple projects and responsibilities and work in multiple school buildings
Ability to efficiently and strategically build school capacity within the constraints of limited resources
Cultural competency and ability to navigate and promote sensitivity to issues of race and equity
Competency with Google Drive and Microsoft Office
Professionalism in the areas of punctuality, documentation, organization, and phone/email responsiveness
Alternatives, Inc. is a 47 year old non-profit, community-based youth and family agency whose mission is to facilitate personal development, strengthen family relationships, and enhance the community’s well-being. Alternatives, Inc. is known for its innovative work with young people in providing behavioral health and youth development programs in Chicago. Alternatives has a long history of partnerships to make services accessible to youth and to include expertise beyond the scope or modality needed by young people. Our agency’s mission reflects a commitment to systematic change through work with individuals, families, and communities.