Restorative Coordinator to be hired to help foster positive climates at Wilmington schools

By Gary Huffenberger -

WILMINGTON — Following up on 2019 staff training in restorative practices and then later trying the approach in class, Wilmington City Schools (WCS) will be adding a position titled restorative coordinator.

The action was taken at this week’s virtual meeting of the board of education.

According to language in the board’s informational packet, the restorative coordinator will develop and put into effect “proactive and responsive restorative practices in order to foster a safe, supportive, and positive school culture with the adults and students in the district.”

Last spring WCS Director of Pupil Services Natalie Harmeling described restorative practices as a science of relationships and of building community — which also can have a positive effect on students’ learning. In addition, restorative practices are meant to help schools reduce student suspensions and discipline referrals.

One example of a restorative practice is what’s called circles sharing. Students and the teacher sit in a circle and, for instance, students can just say how they’re feeling. A Wilmington student last year said the circle builds relationships among students and makes for a more comfortable learning environment.

Qualified candidates for the job as restorative coordinator will have a school counseling license and at least three years of related experience in counseling. The position is to be paid through Wellness and Success Grant funds.

In other district news, local pharmaceutical manufacturer Alkermes donated $5,000 cash to the WCS Food Service Department to support efforts in providing lunches to students during the closure of school buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the board accepted a $125 cash donation to the WHS 1:1 Chromebook initiative in memory of Margaret Ann Rector.

There were a number of personnel announcements as the academic year enters its final weeks.

Middle School Assistant Principal Misty Ewry will resign, effective the end of July.

The following teachers are leaving after the school year ends: WMS math teacher Rebecca Haberlandt, East End 5th-grade teacher Justin Evans, WMS 6th-grade math teacher Jennifer Steinmetz, East End Elementary preschool teacher Kristin Wilson, East End Elementary 5th-grade teacher Alicia Goings, Holmes Elementary kindergarten teacher Laney Wilson, Holmes Elementary kindergarten teacher Katie Lowery, and Holmes Elementary kindergarten teacher Donna Adams.

Connor Rioch was employed as a WMS math teacher for the 2020-21 year. And former WCS principal Karen Long was hired as a tutor, for up to 10 hours per week, to support the students in Mrs. Wood’s 1st-grade class from April 6 through May 21.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger