As you walk through the halls of Davis Elementary, you’ll notice a few things. The students stand up a little bit straighter, the halls are a little bit quieter, and the staff…they are an impenetrable wall of firm but friendly faces. The Brighton Park school is indeed changing; and that, in part, is due to the work of Play with Potential Recess Coordinator, Nestor Rico.
Through the support of his administration, Nestor has taken initiative to learn more and more about restorative practices by attending countless professional developments and doing his own independent research to further create a safe space at Davis. He has begun to integrate these practices into Davis, and everyone is noticing the difference. The teachers are communicating more with one another so that every adult in the building are on a united front. Nestor bridges what he teaches in recess, respect for one another and respect for Davis, into the entire school to create consistency for each student.
He has spent many hours with individual and small groups of students, helping them to gain positive social skills so that they may interact with their peers in a constructive and proactive way. These restorative circles put each student on equal ground, fostering communication and ultimately respect. Nestor works directly with teachers to make sure they have a clear understanding of his methods and to create accountability across all boards. Davis is striving to become an atmosphere where misbehavior does not equal punishment but rather is recognized as a learning opportunity to everyone involved. By opening up the dialogue between student and REC Coordinator, Nestor is ultimately able to build positive and meaningful relationships that translate outside of the recess space and resonate throughout the entire school.
The UI team is extremely proud of the great work Nestor and the Davis staff are doing to help their students see the bigger picture as they shape everyone into future leaders.