In the realm of education, it’s rare to find professionals who seamlessly amalgamate diverse disciplines to drive tangible change. Laura Mooiman, LCSW, with her extensive and varied background, is one such luminary. Her presentation, set against her rich career tapestry, elucidated the compelling convergence of two globally acclaimed school culture initiatives: Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Restorative Practices.
Having served the educational community for over two decades, Laura’s credentials range from being a school district administrator to a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with experience spanning various critical sectors such as special education, county mental health, and child protective services, among others. With a formidable role as the Director for the Wellness Program in Napa, California, overseeing a massive student populace, Laura has been at the forefront of implementing transformative initiatives like PBIS, Restorative Practices, and Student Wellbeing Programs. Her invaluable contributions have earned her two Congressional Recognitions for Outstanding Service to the Community.
However, the crux of Laura’s recent session was her focus on dispelling the common misconception among educators: the perception that PBIS and Restorative Practices are mutually exclusive. Laura posited that the two could harmoniously co-exist, providing schools with a robust framework for a more inclusive and supportive culture.
Starting with PBIS, Laura emphasized its foundational role in sculpting school environments. It’s an initiative that institutes systems and mechanisms to proactively counter problematic behavior. By instilling a sense of safety among students and staff and fostering a positive mindset shift among educators, PBIS paves the way for the subsequent integration of Restorative Practices. The latter, as Laura articulated, magnifies a school’s capability to address and rectify harm restoratively.
What was enlightening about Laura’s presentation was the synergy she highlighted between the two approaches. PBIS lays the groundwork, ensuring that the school environment is primed and receptive. Restorative Practices then steps in, providing the tools and techniques that enable educators to build strong communities and, crucially, work profoundly with students to mend harm and breaches in relationships. This dual strategy, as Laura suggested, offers schools the ability to not just manage, but genuinely transform, their cultural ethos.
The session was a clarion call for educators to step away from the limiting ‘either/or’ mindset. Instead, Laura provided an actionable roadmap, replete with practical “how-to’s”, encouraging the amalgamation of both PBIS and Restorative Practices. The idea was to enable schools to witness a cultural metamorphosis, transitioning from mere places of learning to nurturing environments that prioritize holistic wellbeing.
In retrospect, Laura Mooiman’s session was more than just a presentation; it was an experiential journey. Drawing from her vast reservoir of experience and insights, she painted a vivid picture of what schools can aspire to become. For the attendees, it was a masterclass in understanding that sometimes, the most transformative solutions arise from blending diverse approaches to create a cohesive, effective whole.