The Grizzly Community Support Centers (GCSs) are a collaboration between the Ypsilanti Community Schools, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and volunteers from the faith community, the U of M and EMU social work programs, and the community in general. GCSCs help keep students in class, learning, and help enhance the learning environment at the schools. GCSCs support the students and teachers at the Ypsilanti Community High School and Middle School. A GCSC pilot began last March in the High School and because of the impressive positive impact, the program has been asked to expand to the middle school. The Grizzly Community Support Centers are part of the YCS Restorative Practices disciplinary continuum and enhance the school’s capacity to manage student behavior through increased individual student contact with caring volunteer adults who are trained to use restorative practice methods.
Restorative practices provide opportunities for students to share their feelings, build relationships, solve problems, accept responsibility for misbehavior, play an active role in addressing the consequences of their behavior and “make things right”. Restorative practices can prevent situations from occurring or escalating as well as resolving them after they happen. Desired outcomes include greater student buy-in to school processes, less lost class time by individual students, early on resolution of behavior issues resulting in decreased disruptions in classrooms and fewer suspensions caused by escalating problematic student behavior. Long term goals include improved academic achievement.