CICS Prairie deans

As part of our mission to create diverse, joyful, welcoming communities rooted in social justice and rigorous learning, Distinctive Schools is designing more equitable schools through an intentional shift away from traditional or punitive disciplinary measures. We are proud to practice Restorative Justice, a method of conflict resolution that values relationships as the cornerstone of each student’s educational journey. When issues arise, we believe in creating a safe space for diverse perspectives to be heard, paving the way for healing and growth.

Relationship building is at the heart of Distinctive Culture. When we say All Means All, we mean educating the whole child, including supporting students when they make mistakes. Mistakes are part of life, and our goal is to help students learn through them. 

What is Restorative Justice? 

We recognize that when harm occurs in our community, that harm must be repaired. It is important to us that students take accountability for their actions and search for solutions to move forward. Consequences are not personal, but they are personalized. The consequence must make sense to the student based on the action for it to be effective.  Restorative practices are used in our schools to decrease disciplinary issues and disruptions and serve as an alternative to harmful, exclusionary practices such as suspension and expulsion. 

Restorative Justice values relationships at the center of school and community life. When harm happens, these relationships create space for multiple perspectives to be heard in order to repair harm.  We work to establish a strong foundation of trust, respect, and communication with our students.

You may be wondering, what exactly is Restorative Justice and what does it look like at CICS Prairie? 

We sat down with our CICS Prairie Dean , Mr. Fielder and Assistant Dean, Mr. Magana for a few questions about Restorative Justice at our school.

Read more about Restorative Practices here. We are so grateful to the incredible student support team at CICS Prairie for their commitment to restorative practices. We thank you for the care you bring to our schools, students, and communities every day! 

MEET YOUR DEAN TEAM: What does a Dean do?

Mr. Fielder: As Dean, I work to set a positive culture in our school. I create strong relationships with our students, families, and teachers to ensure all of our learners feel safe at school. I make sure all students have their voice heard and learn effective communication skills. My goal is to problem solve, to make our school the best it can be.

Mr. Magana: It’s our job to build a strong sense of belonging for our students; to create the best possible learning environment. 


Mr. Fielder: Restorative Justice is about finding creative ways to help students learn from their mistakes. We focus on helping students understand who is being harmed, and most importantly how to repair that harm. A very important part of this process is facilitating students’ return to the classroom following an incident. We ensure that students who make mistakes are given space to make amends and are still welcomed and supported in our school.

Mr. Magana: Relationships and culture are at the heart of what we do. Restorative Justice works because rather than giving out an arbitrary consequence, we tailor the consequences to fit the student’s actions. Everything is a learning experience and we want to make sure students don’t repeat their mistakes. We give our students the skills to be successful and achieve whatever they put their minds to. 

PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE: What does Restorative Justice look like in our classrooms day to day? 

Mr. Fielder: A strong example of our use of Restorative Justice at Prairie is the peace circle. Let’s say for example, two students have a conflict. Our team will speak to both students separately, giving space to both sides of the story. We will then bring the students together for a mediated conversation. We set parameters to make sure this conversation stays respectful and no one talks over each other. We work towards a common goal of teaching students to repair harm and to move forward. We facilitate students' return to the classroom and monitor the situation to make sure everything runs smoothly. The goal is to make every student feel heard and validated and to move through conflict as a team.

Mr. Magana: I’m really proud of our culture here. We pay close attention to student needs and interests. For example, our students love sports, so Mr. Fielder has created opportunities for students to play after school! We are always finding ways to grow and improve at CICS Prairie. We work hard every day to make sure all families and students know that their voices matter.

Mr. Fielder: The community at CICS Prairie is very strong, we are fully integrated into our local community, we know our families personally and have strong partnerships with local organizations. We listen to the needs of our families and adapt to meet them as best we can.