Community Spaces | Bond 2020

Safe, Caring, and Resourceful Spaces for

Students, Staff, and Community

Maintaining Safety

Ensuring a safe environment isn't exciting; it's expected. Controlling access to our schools while providing community gathering space is vitally important. In this plan, Bloomfield Hills Schools would continue to maintain a safe learning environment by adding:

  • New safe and secure entries

  • More security cameras

  • Safety film on select windows (safety film helps to fortify the glass)

  • New bus and carpool loops to minimize traffic and pedestrian safety concerns

  • Digital attendance methods to rapidly take attendance and free up more time for instruction

  • Technology infrastructure that better supports a safe and secure digital experience for all learners

  • Technology devices to support safe and secure digital learning for all students

We believe Restorative Practices supports a culture of trust and respect. We believe Restorative Practices help students and staff feel a sense of belonging. And we believe when we feel a sense of belonging, we are safer. 

 

Restorative Practices are designed to be 80% proactive and 20% reactive. As a district, we have worked on the reactive pieces, ensuring our disciplinary measures align with the culture we want to maintain in our schools. We continue to grow in our use of the proactive pieces of Restorative Practices: conducting circles in our classrooms, using affective language (being able to openly express the way something made someone feel in a way that the other person can hear and respond to), and asking questions or inquiring in a way that allows students ownership and voice.

 

When students have ownership and voice, they are more likely to trust their adults and peers and co-create environments of sharing and caring. “While the Whole Child indicators for safe schools include ensuring that buildings and grounds are secure and meet safety standards, they also highlight the importance of students’ emotional safety, developmental well-being, and sense of belonging and self-worth,” says Anthony Rebora in a recent article in Educational Leadership. “[There is an] urgent need to ensure students are physically safe in schools (particularly in light of recent events and ongoing legislative inaction), but [to also] also look at students' broader security needs. Indeed...attending to students’ emotional and developmental needs is what creates truly safe places for teaching and learning.”

 

While we’ve come so far in this work, we still have so much farther to go and we recognize our physical spaces are limiting in our efforts. The schools that were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s were not constructed with Restorative Practices in mind. “In the aftermath of school shootings, shoring up the physical safety of schools makes sense - as does consistent enforcement of disciplinary codes yet studies suggest the most effective approaches to school safety also address students’ emotional and psychological safety,” says Bryan Goodwin, president and CEO of McREL International. “Creating school environments where students feel emotionally safe and valued as individuals not only helps with mental health issues and preventing violence and bullying, but also supports better student achievement.”

 

Why circles?

  • Equality - everyone is equal - they have equal seating and can fully see one another without barriers (such as tables or other furniture)

  • Safety & trust - nothing is hidden in a circle and the equal feeling of vulnerability lends to open dialogue

  • Responsibility - everyone has a chance to play a role in the outcome

  • Leadership - the facilitator leads the circle rather than lectures in the circle

  • Ownership - collectively, the participants feel the circle is theirs

  • Connections - connections are built as participants take turns talking and listening (there are a remarkable number of students who make it through a whole day of school without talking and we believe this should change)

 

When teachers facilitate Restorative Practices in environments not originally constructed to support this work, they encounter challenges. Usually, participants will sit either in chairs in a circle, sit on the floor in a circle, or stand. With some individuals facing physical limitations, it’s best for the group to sit comfortably in chairs (as some individuals would find it difficult to be seated on the floor or stand). In order for the physical environment to support the configuration of a circle, students and teachers must rearrange furniture (something that is sometimes impossible if the furniture is fixed in its location or too bulky to move). 


This proposal would provide flexible spaces and furniture, enabling teachers to more frequently facilitate circles and other elements of Restorative Practices. Ideally, this work isn’t something we add to the school day, but rather it is embedded in the school day, every day.

community

spaces

Bond 2020 includes additions & renovations for the following community spaces:

  • Middle School/Community Education Pool at the North Middle School
     

  • District Career Exploration Center (STEM, Robotics, etc.) location to be determined
     

  • Farm expansion for new community experiences
     

  • Nature Center enhancements for new community experiences
     

  • Grass/park space possibilities
     

  • Enhanced spaces for family recreation and performances in schools

 

Bowers School Farm Master Plan