Anna Becker

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 West Belden? 

We sat down with our CICS West Belden Dean, Ms. Becker 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 West Belden 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: What does a Dean do?

This will be my first full school year as Dean of Students at West Belden, and my 6th year with Distinctive Schools. I have over 10 years of teaching experience, all in public education. Having been the P.E. teacher at WB for several years prior, and building from previously built relationships with students, staff and families, moving into the Dean role seemed like a natural next step. As Dean, I leverage strong relationships within the school community to repair harm and create safer opportunities for learning. 


Restorative Justice works because it allows for a more supportive and collaborative approach to accountability, and it is accessible for ALL students. Everybody makes mistakes, and oftentimes, those who make the mistake are made to feel excluded and/or shamed by the process of "fixing" it.  Restorative Justice allows students the grace and empathy to feel safe while making mistakes, and to know that they have a voice in taking responsibility for their actions through self-reflection. 

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

Restorative practices show up everywhere throughout the school day. Relationship-building is fostered through deliberate community time, restorative conversations, utilizing questioning to help guide students who have caused harm, and restorative circles that bring stakeholders together to resolve conflict.  

Relationships are EVERYTHING to us at West Belden. We work tirelessly, and with deep passion, to ensure that these connections are at the heart of the restorative work in our school.