Imagine an alternative to suspensions, expulsions and other forms of exclusionary punishment. A school where relationships are built, strengthened and repaired with restorative practices and inclusionary approaches to discipline.
Your school Could Be a Restorative School
Get the Facts
What are Restorative Practices?
At their core, restorative practices are based in the philosophy of Restorative Justice. In other words - When in conflict, considering the circumstances that created the precondition for harm, and solving problems in a way that takes into consideration both the victim's needs AND those of the offender. In this light, restorative practices seek to build and maintain relationships, and to repair relationships when they have been harmed.
By approaching conflict in this relationship-based manner we build healthier communities, decrease antisocial behavior, and repair harm that is caused both within, and out of, the classroom.
Restorative practices are by no means a new school of thought or approach to building and repairing community. In fact, the philosophy of restorative justice practices pre-dates modern justice systems. Indigenous cultures have been employing these methods of resolving conflict and reintegrating members of the community back into everyday society for generations.
For a one-year Restorative Justice pilot (2003-2004), Denver Public Schools chose the school with the highest number of tickets, arrests and suspensions in the district; Cole Middle School (CMS). It was even said to be stereotyped as a 'gang factory' where teachers avoided fighting students instead of intervening. After a successful pilot year, and improvement on school culture, "restorative justice was integrated into the CMS discipline protocols in fall 2004 and used as an alternative to suspensions and police citations in specific cases.
In one year's time, integrated restorative justices practices were found to:
Reduce dropout rates
11.1% to 6.4%
Police citations declined by 86%
1. Specific students are being left out or picked on.
2. Consistent challenging classroom behaviors need to be addressed but the usual tools and tactics aren't working.
3. A new student isn't connecting with others.
4. A conflict has taken place and needs to be resolved.
5. You feel that a stronger sense of community would help your students succeed personally, socially, emotionally and academically.
Students Could Benefit from Restorative Practices
But Maybe You...
Aren't sure how to get started?
Feel like you don’t have the resources you need?
Feel alone in your efforts to bring change to your classroom and school?
Does This Sound Familiar?
You're not alone. Educators across the country are noticing that the antiquated disciplines of the past don't work in today's classrooms. Many are trying to move away from exclusionary forms of punishment such as suspension and expulsion that have been proven to push students out of school and closer to the justice system.
You have a vision for change in your classroom, school, and community and I believe that you can make that change. Perhaps it's a change toward a culture of care, safety and reduced violence and suspensions. Perhaps it's a change that includes students feeling more empowered by the conflict resolution skills you've given them. Perhaps it's you, feeling in control of the culture of community and support in your classroom. You can have all of this—and guess what?
I'M HERE TO HELP YOU MAKE THAT VISION A REALITY!
Meet your Mentor!
Emma Green has been a restorative practices practitioner and consultant for over 3 years. She holds a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution with a focus on Peace Education from Portland State University. Over her years as a practitioner, Emma has developed, tested and refined a mindfulness-based curricula, anchored in social-emotional learning, consensus building and creativity that can work in any classroom.
She brings this curriculum into the classroom, or workplace, to help groups and individuals become less reactive, and more skilled at navigating the natural conflicts that arise in our daily lives. Emma travels to education conferences throughout the state advocating for the use of restorative practices and teaching their implementation.
She currently resides in Raton New Mexico, where she works with the City of Raton and Children, Youth and Families Department implementing restorative practices with juvenile first-time offenders. Her work with the juvenile justice department has proven so successful that Children, Youth and Families Department has begun allowing referrals from School Principles, School Counselors and entities other than law enforcement to participate in her programming. In addition, she works in elementary, middle and high schools, teaching restorative practices and conducting talking circles, and most importantly training educators how to implement these practices in their own classrooms.
When not running talking circles, Emma can be found playing her guitar, taking photos and hanging out with her two kitties, Story and Love.
How Did This Become My Life?
The road to Peace Through Education has been a windy one. I set out originally to be a teacher, just like you. I began my studies in education with a focus in special education. Despite knowing how passionate I was about teaching, I soon found myself disappointed, and became ultimately depressed, at how bureaucratic Education felt, and how little room that left for me to flourish as a creative, problem-solving, solution-oriented teacher. If I was already feeling this way in my undergraduate degree, how would I feel when I was actually in the classroom as a teacher? This is when I changed gears to a “build my own degree in Liberal Arts” and I found courses in Conflict Resolution—"Intro to Conflict Resolution", "Non Violent Communication" and "Intro to Non Violence". In these classes I felt like I was home… I was in the camp I belonged in all along; so I applied for a spot in the Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies Graduate program at Portland State University.
During my graduate work and at the prompting of my professors to find a community partner to work with, I became involved with Portland-based non-profit Peace in Schools. Peace in Schools provides courses, workshops and retreats for educators and youth on Mindfulness. They took me in and taught me lessons on mindfulness, meditation, breathing and contemplative practice. I saw first-hand the revolutionary impact that this education had on me and the youth and educators who engaged in it.
That's when it hit me…why isn’t this being taught in public schools? Why isn’t there a curriculum that teaches social-emotional learning based in self-awareness, problem-solving, mediation, communication and creativity, informed by neurobiology and child development science, mindfulness and gratitude practices. Why aren't we building empathy, sympathy, forgiveness and resilience in our youth—in a world where this is so desperately needed? I became consumed with the idea that when taught in an age-appropriate way, all of these concepts were absolutely NOT graduate-level work. There are no prerequisites to being kind, to being accountable, or from learning right from wrong.
This is where Peace Through Education started to take shape. I began building resources for those who wanted to teach these concepts too. I began offering these in the form of what is now the Peace Through Education Curriculum to anyone who had an interest, including and especially students; I felt a strong desire to advocate for youth, and to teach youth how to advocate for themselves and others. Subjects like media literacy seemed so important in today’s digital age. Cyber bullying alone was reason enough for me to engage this learning.
I realized in that journey that I was privileged to have; the opportunity to go to grad school and land on such a specific type of learning was something not many people get. I didn’t want others to have to travel the very narrow path that I did to get the specific type of learning that I did.
It has become my personal mission to use that privilege to make these practices available to all, and especially to the youngest and most vulnerable of our society.
How New Mexico Found Me
After seven years of working on my degrees, bartending, and being the best dog-mom I could be in Portland, a change of pace was long overdue - I needed a break! My family wanted me to visit them over the holidays of 2016 and offered to fly me, a broke college student, out to Colorado. That plane ticket turned into a couple tanks of gas and I loaded up my car with what I'd need JUST in-case my one-week travel plans were extended. Reflecting on what actually wound up in the trunk of my old Volkswagen, It seems that I had divine help choosing what to bring.
When I arrived at my moms house on Thanksgiving evening, I was very thankful to be with family, I was also battling pneumonia and nursing a grieving heart from the loss of my 14-year companion Kiya, a German Shepard-Husky- who knew me better than I knew myself. My mother took me in, helped me heal and sat patiently with me while I licked my own wounds for a while.
When I felt better, I made my way south to Des Moines, New Mexico to spend time with my brother and his family. When I got there, something inside me said, "Stay". I moved into a small cabin on my family's 15,000 acre ranch—the most unlikely balm to my healing and frazzled being. Every pillar of my identity had been left in Portland. It was time to rebuild.
I cooked my food and heated the cabin on an old cast iron wood-burning cook stove that had been in my sister-in-law's family for generations. I read by candlelight and old oil lamps and spent my days reading, writing, gathering firewood, and restoring my spirit with the love of my family. That aforementioned divine hand knew to pack my journal, books that I'd been meaning to read, one of every necessary kitchen item; along with a lot of materials from my thesis project—the curriculum that has been adapted and improved every day since, with the help amazing educators, like you, who welcome me in and allow me the opportunity every day, to learn while I teach. My one week vacation has turned into almost three years here in New Mexico, and I've yet to look back.
I'VE DEVELOPED AND TESTED CURRICULA THAT IS INFORMED BY THE MOST FOREFRONT RESEARCH IN RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND INTRODUCED RESTORATIVE PRACTICES IN MANY CLASSROOMS IN NEW MEXICO AND OREGON. ACROSS THE WORLD, THESE METHODS HAVE HAD TRANSFORMATIONAL RESULTS.
IN MY OWN PRACTICE, I'VE HELPED EDUCATORS CONNECT WITH THEIR STUDENTS, CHANGE THE WAY THAT STUDENTS ARE BEING DISCIPLINED, AND CREATE A POSITIVE CULTURE AND CLIMATE FOR THEIR CLASSROOMS AND SCHOOLS.
And NowI Help Educators
Across The U.S. Do TheSame!
So how can I help you? Firstly, feel free to treat this website as the home page for your journey into restorative practices. Visit my Toolbox, where you can find the latest in restorative justice research, stay up to date on changing legislation as it relates to social-emotional learning, discipline, and education. Subscribe to my blog, where I publish regularly on subjects ranging from activities for your classroom to accessible resources, case studies and so much more!
If you're ready to get your school on the right track, head to the contact page
to schedule a consultation. I offer discounts for large groups and can travel
anywhere for training.
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