Harmonizing PBIS and Restorative Practices: Laura Mooiman’s Vision for a Resilient School Culture

The educational landscape is dotted with a plethora of methodologies, each promising to be the elixir for the challenges faced by modern-day institutions. Yet, few presenters have made as compelling a case as Laura Mooiman, LCSW, when she stepped on stage to unravel the synergies between Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Restorative Practices — two titans of school climate initiatives.

Laura, an esteemed professional development trainer, offered attendees a panoramic view of her vast experiences. Having served in multiple capacities in the US educational system, from being a social worker to heading the Wellness Program in Napa, California, her words were steeped in practicality and a deep understanding of ground realities. Her global perspective, amplified by her stint in The Netherlands and her association with international restorative justice entities, added a unique flavor to her presentation.

The primary essence of Laura’s discourse was the perceived dichotomy between PBIS and Restorative Practices. With many educators often feeling the pressure to choose between the two, Mooiman’s insights came as a revelation. She meticulously demonstrated how PBIS, with its focus on preemptive measures to curtail problematic behaviors, serves as the bedrock. It’s the foundational structure that ensures a safe environment and positively reshapes the staff’s mindset towards student behavior management.

However, building on this base is where Restorative Practices come into play. They introduce tools and methodologies that empower staff to foster a sense of community and, more importantly, engage deeply with students to mend and heal the fissures caused by harm. This, Laura emphasized, is the true magic of integrating both — where one sets the stage, the other elevates the performance.

Yet, perhaps the most pivotal moment in Laura’s presentation was her call to abandon the ‘either/or’ paradigm. She urged educators to transcend this binary mindset, underscoring the transformative potential of a unified approach. To aid in this journey, Mooiman didn’t just dwell on theories but provided a treasure trove of practical steps — the ‘how-to’s’ that would serve as a beacon for institutions striving for change.

A distinct aspect of Laura’s talk was her ability to interweave her own experiences, especially her significant contributions in Napa, California. Overseeing a large school district, she had been at the forefront of implementing Restorative Practices, PBIS, and Student Wellbeing Programs. The tangible results she achieved there stood as a testament to her advocacy.

In reflecting upon the session, one couldn’t help but be awed by the accolades that Laura has garnered over the years, particularly the Congressional Recognitions which speak volumes about her dedication to the community. Yet, beyond the accolades, it was her passion and unyielding commitment to transforming school culture that left an indelible mark on the audience.

In conclusion, Laura Mooiman’s enlightening presentation did more than just present a case for the harmonization of PBIS and Restorative Practices. It was an invitation — a call to educators worldwide to envision and work towards a school culture that’s robust, positive, and, above all, restorative.