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Our Promise Council Approach

TREE Academy employs a restorative approach to most behavioral issues that arise during the school day. Students are taught to respect the rights of others, school property, others’ property, as well as the emotional well-being of others. Behavioral matters are most often handled by the classroom teacher, and, as needed, or may be referred to our Human Development Team which may further address behavioral issues, conflict resolution and facilitate restorative discussions with all parties involved.


These are the general steps of the Promise Council process; however, should circumstances warrant in our judgement a change in procedures, we may adjust our approach or processes.

At TREE Academy, Promise Councils are our way of addressing students who are not turning in their work, or whose behavior has become a cause for concern. The Promise Councils will employ restorative practices, and will be comprised of a member of the Human Development team, the teacher involved, and a teacher of the student’s choosing, our School Counselor, and/or the Dean of Students may also be in attendance. In the case of academic concerns, the Promise Council will first seek to understand why a student hasn't completed the work on time, then consider supportive ways to assist the student with doing their work. They are designed to support the student in addressing the issue(s) at hand.

The Promise Council will then create an agreement with the student as to how and when the work will be completed and turned into the teacher(s). A summary of the meeting will be provided by the Human Development Team to the family. Any new agreements forged as a result of the Promise Council will be shared with the family, the student, all concerned faculty, the Human Development Team and the Dean of Students to confirm the new agreement or plan.

The agreement will involve a follow-up meeting a week or two later to see if the issues raised by the Promise Council have been adequately addressed by the student. In the rare event a student declines to meet his or her agreements forged in a Promise Council, the Council members will convey that to not only the Dean of Students, but the Director of School, and may result in further disciplinary action(s), including, but not limited to, Days of Reflection or expulsion.

It is our view that any student who declines to make a good faith effort to engage work with the Promise Council, and to act on the agreements made through that process, is, by their actions, indicating that they no longer wish to be at TREE. While our approach will work for most students, we also understand that no approach can, or will, work for every student. Should we discover in the course of a Promise Council process that a student is not making a good faith effort, we will work with the family to find a more suitable environment for the student other than at TREE.


Teachers will email any student who did not complete assigned work for that week. The email will identify the missing or incomplete assignments, and will be copied to the student’s family, Human Development, and the Dean of Students. Should there be any special circumstances to consider as to why the student is late or behind in their work, the student and/or family can contact and confer with the teacher, making sure to include Human Development and the Dean of Students on any emails, noting any new understandings or plans made during those discussions regarding the student’s work and when it will be completed.

Should, however, a student amass several missing or incomplete work assignments, a similar email will go out to the student, their family, Human Development, and the Dean of Students, and a Promise Council will be formed. Please bear in mind that all work assigned at TREE is for the student’s benefit and development, as well as to prepare them for the likely workloads to come, whether at college or in their careers.


A student referred to the Human Development Team more than one time for any behavioral reason, including disrupting a class, will initiate a Promise Council.

The Promise Council will work with the student to understand the cause(s) of the behavior(s), and then seek to forge a restorative path forward with the student, including whatever additional steps the Council thinks most helpful to the student and anyone else affected.

Depending on the severity of the behavior(s), and/or the outcomes of the Promise Council process, the Council will share its decisions and/or make recommendations to the administration. Although most students will likely enter a Promise Council with understandable concerns, they may discover that the Council members are all dedicated to finding a restorative path forward with the student. While certain behaviors may lead to a determination that the student can no longer continue at TREE, wherever possible, the emphasis of our Promise Councils will not be on rule-breaking, but rather on supporting a learning opportunity through which a student can grow. The Promise Council will address any relational harm done, making amends and renewing our TREE Promise to one another. School administration will rely extensively on the decisions reached and/or the recommendations made by our Promise Councils.

To give you a sense of how we are approaching the Promise Councils, here is an excerpt from our Promise Council guidelines, created and developed with our faculty and staff:

Roles of the Promise Council at TREE are to address both homework issues as well as behavioral issues. Their goal is to:

  • Address the needs of those harmed (relational issues)

  • Empower everyone involved to learn, grow and change

  • Focus on harm done rather than solely on rule-breaking

  • Invite and encourage accountability, or those behind on their work

  • Seek to heal, and/or forge new agreements to move forward productively and

  • responsibly

  • Foster community building through the development of authentic

  • relationships because we see relationships as central to building community

  • Seek to recognize the root causes of behaviors in forging restorative

  • agreements

  • Use inclusive, collaborative processes to address and restore circumstances

  • and/or make amends


Skills and Values we seek to develop through the Promise Council:

  • Compassion

  • Creativity

  • Empathy

  • Flexibility

  • Honesty

  • Listening

  • Self-awareness

  • Open-mindedness

  • Patience

  • Respect

  • Responsibility/Accountability

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