Principal's Message, March 1, 2019

Dear Bolinas-Stinson School Families,


Congratulations to our Golden Bell Recipients - Gohar Yervandyan (7th/8th Grade Teacher), Colin Schlitt (Instructional Aide), and Steve Aikenhead and the Bolinas-Stinson Book Fair!  The Golden Bell Awards are a countywide annual recognition of local outstanding educators, school advocates and programs. We are so thankful for their amazing work and dedication to our kids.


As we approach the end of the 2nd trimester, teachers will be finishing up student assessments and begin the process of completing report cards. Your child’s report card will be sent home on Friday, March 22nd.  Please contact your child’s teacher if you would like to schedule a second trimester Parent Teacher Conference or if you have questions about your child’s report card. I encourage parents to keep the lines of communication open with their child’s teacher all year long - not just at the end of each trimester. Teachers are always available to meet with parents at any time during the school year.


Most of our work with restorative practices is focused on proactive community building. Below is an overview of how we are using restorative practices at our school to promote a healthy culture of care and respect for ourselves and each other.

As part of our school wide Restorative Practices Program, homeroom teachers will be conducting Proactive Restorative Circles with their students to build positive relationships and establish a supportive environment that is fair, consistent, and democratic. This daily practice helps to prevent harm and conflict by promoting a sense of belonging, safety, and social responsibility within the school community.

Staff and students will also participate in Restorative Circles to help address daily conflicts that may occur. This helps students and teachers to connect with one another and provides a safe place to discuss issues as they emerge.

Staff will also be using Impromptu Restorative Dialogue when conflict arises, to help students develop empathy, foster healthy peer relationships, and build a more effective teaching and learning environment.

If problematic behavior continues after a student has participated in the above restorative process, they may be asked to participate in a more formal Restorative Session. These sessions will be conducted on Wednesdays from 2:15-3:00 PM. The homeroom teacher will contact parents/guardian if a student is asked to participate in this process after school. Parents may also be invited to participate if needed.

During this process, students will be guided through restorative questions that allow for deeper exploration of the impact of their actions. This process enables students to become active participants by helping them to recognize the harm they may have caused and take responsibility to make things as right as possible by following through with the agreements they make with the other participants.


FROM OLD (Traditional Model)

TO NEW (Restorative Model)

OLD - Efforts to suppress misbehavior based on the view that misbehavior is evidence of failing students or classrooms.

NEW - Recognizing and using the inherent value of misbehavior as an opportunity for social and emotional learning.

OLD - Authority-driven disciplinary actions that focus only on the identified misbehaving students.

NEW - Restorative circles bring together everyone who is most immediately affected by the incident.

OLD - Punishment and exclusion is used to control misbehavior and motivate positive behavior changes.

NEW - Dialogue leading to understanding and action to set things right and repair and restore relationships.

Institute of Restorative Practices. Building A Community and Enhancing Learning: A practical Guide for Educators

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Michelle Stephens

Bolinas-Stinson School Principal