Five years ago, a principal came to the Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) because he was consistently seeing fights, low attendance, and disengaged students in his school. Suspending students wasn’t working and he needed help. SWCOS had been involved in grassroots organizing, running Community Schools, and training social workers in Baltimore communities for more than 20 years. Building off of this expertise and educational best practices, SWCOS designed a strategy to provide schools, leaders, and teachers with the skills and mindset to proactively and restoratively transform school climate. The Director of SWCOS set out to find someone to fund this important work. Open Society Institute-Baltimore answered the call and provided the resources to expand our scope to all PreK-12 schools throughout Maryland. And so, the Positive Schools Center was created.
Our schools are environments where students, adults, and community members feel safe and can flourish. School teams have the expertise and training to build strong, dynamic relationships and sustain high student and staff attendance, continually decrease suspension rates and office referrals, and boost academic achievement.
The PSC creates positive, supportive, and mindful learning communities where students and school staff connect, develop, and grow. We partner with schools and districts to address punitive discipline and dysfunctional school climates.
The foundation of our work is built on a strong racial justice understanding and equity focus. Together we approach school change through embedding restorative approaches, trauma-responsive strategies, social-emotional learning, and community voice into their routines, policies, and culture.