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Pennsylvania Restorative Practices Project

PARPP logo - Pennsylvania Restorative Practices Project

In these challenging economic times, we can’t afford to neglect our most precious resource: our children.

Join the restorative practices movement in Pennsylvania.

Restorative practices have been to shown to be the most effective way to hold young people accountable for their actions while supporting them to make positive changes in behavior. PARPP is a Pennsylvania-wide alliance of organizations working to improve education, criminal justice and social services and provide reports of restorative practices news, events, initiatives and programs throughout the commonwealth.

The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School and its consortium of organizations (Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy programs for delinquent and at-risk youth), has been advocating for Pennsylvania youth and restorative practices for decades and conceived PARPP as a communication and resource hub for practitioners and families.

PA updates

WHYY Radio (NPR) on Restorative Practices in Philadelphia Schools
Voices in the Family, on WHYY (a National Public Radio affiliate) hosted by Dr. Dan Gottlieb, featured IIRP president and founder Ted Wachtel and Harding Middle School (Philadelphia) assistant principal Betasaida Ortiz, speaking about how restorative practices are building relationships and community in the school.
Listen to the program »

Educational Leadership Magazine on Restorative Practices in Philadelphia Schools
In this article, teachers and administrators discuss how restorative practices are creating a vibrant learning community at a Philadelphia middle school.
Read the article »

Susquehanna County Elementary School Committed to Restorative Practices
Holtzman Elementary School is one school in the Susquehanna County School District implementing restorative practices. In this story, Holtzman principal Mike Selvenis talks about using the practices to engage students in academics and respond to harm.
Read the article »

Speakers Share How Behaviors Can Change at Celebrating Restorative Works, a Fundraising Breakfast
Schools administrators implementing restorative practices in their Pennsylvania district or school, IIRP graduates employing the practices in their work with young people and students who improved their lives attending Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy, and their parents told stories of restorative practices impact at the breakfast at the Hotel Bethlehem. The breakfast was an opportunity for 130 guests to learn about the impact restorative practices can have on children and families.
Read a report with photos »

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, High School Student Wins Yes I Can Award with Help from Restorative Practices
Freedom High School senior Manny Zayas made such progress in school and at his after-school job, thanks to circles and other restorative practices that he was singled out for an award from the international organization, the Council for Exceptional Children.
Watch a video and read about Manny and his teachers »

Allentown "RIPPLE" Church Takes Restorative Practices to the Community
At RIPPLE, circles and restorative practices build relationships and community with parishioners. Pastor Tom Albright, who is studying for his master’s degree at the International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School, talks about RIPPLE as part of a panel on Restorative Practices in Faith Communities at the 16th IIRP World Conference in Bethlehem.
Watch the video »

Pennsylvania School Administrators Discuss the Benefits Restorative Practices in their Schools and Districts
School administrators from Philadelphia, Bethlehem and Allentown, speak about the impact of restorative practices on school culture and community in their schools and districts at the 16th IIRP World Conference in Bethlehem.
Watch the video »

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Author Publishes First "Restorative Mystery"
Forging Justice, by IIRP Graduate School 2013 graduate and IIRP librarian Margaret Murray, a Bethlehem resident, is a story about a police detective in Bethlehem who learns about restorative practices when dealing with youth crime.
Read an interview with Murray »

Philadelphia Foundation Provides Grant to Implement Restorative Practices in Philadelphia School District
The multi-year grant provides funds to implement restorative practices in 10 Philadelphia School District high schools and middle schools. The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School's SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program will help the schools build relationships between students, staff and parents; create a sense of community; improve student behavior; reduce violence and bullying and establish school climates conducive to learning. Schools receiving services under the grant, which begins with the 2013-2014 school year, were selected because they will receive new students as the result of the district school-closing plan.
Read the announcement »

Lehigh Valley Restorative Zone Initiative Has First Community Meeting
Twenty community members from across the Lehigh Valley met March 26 to hear about creating a “restorative zone.” Participants included a Pennsylvania state police officer, Allentown Mayor’s Office and the Lehigh Valley District Attorney’s Office representatives, Allentown and Bethlehem school district administrators, a Lehigh University professor, an attorney, several pastors, community center leaders and social services providers.
Read a report here »

Lehigh Valley PBS TV Station Broadcasts Bullying Program Including Restorative Practices at Bethlehem's Liberty High School
The WLVT PBS 39 show, Tempo InDepth, ran a story about the school bullying problem. Part of the show covers restorative practices as implemented at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, which has been implementing the practices since fall 2011 to improve school culture and respond to harm and misbehavior. The Tempo piece shows classroom circles, which builds student relationships (thereby preventing bullying), a circle in response to bullying and interviews with Liberty principal, Dr. Harrison Bailey III and IIRP instructor and IIRP Graduate School lecturer Mary Jo Hebling. Watch the video »

Susquehanna Township School District Implementing Restorative Practices, Reaches Out to Community About Them
The Susquehanna Township School District is implementing restorative practices districtwide. To reach out to the wider community district administrators held a breakfast meeting, attended by local faith community leaders. IIRP instructor Steve Korr, who is helping the district implement the practices, presented about the initiative at the meeting, as reported in the Harrisburg Patriot News. Read more »

Boys from Liberty High School in Bethlehem Take Restorative Practices to the Streets
Two Liberty High School kids were on the verge of a serious fight on the basketball court, at the Boys and Girls Club in South Bethlehem, but they decided to talk it out instead. They weren’t afraid to use their words instead of their fists. They’d learned about restorative practices at Liberty High School, in Bethlehem, and took it with them out into the world. And there was nobody standing over them and telling them to do this; it was their own idea. Read the story and see photos on the Restorative Practices eForum. Read more »

York's Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School to Implement Restorative Practices
The York Dispatch reports that Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School will begin training staff in restorative practices, in order to reduce "incidents of misbehaviors, expulsions, bullying and student absenteeism," according to principal Melissa Bupp. The initiative is funded by a state grant intended to prevent and reduce incidents of violence. Read more »

Discipline Infractions Drop at Bethlehem, PA, High Schools Due to Implementation of Restorative Practices
The Allentown Morning Call reports that documents show suspensions, fights, bullying and other forms of poor student behavior dropped at Freedom and Liberty high schools during the 2011-12 school year, in a reversal of trends shown in 2009-10 and 2010-11. The decline in Code of Conduct violations coincided with the implementation of restorative practices at the two high schools last school year. Read more »

Haverford School District Implements Restorative Practices
The Delaware County Daily Times reports that the school district, concerned about a bullying problem, began staff training in restorative practices over the summer, with plans to train all district staff. Teachers are already using the practices to resolve conflicts and build community in their classrooms. Read more »

Philadelphia students launch “Safe to Count on Me” campaign
Philadelphia public school students have launched the “Safe to Count on Me” campaign, which advocates for restorative practices as an alternative to ineffective zero-tolerance policies. Their kickoff rally was held on April 25, 2012, at Norris Square Park in Philadelphia. Guests speakers included Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, State Representative Tony Payton and student advocates from Youth United For Change. Visit their Facebook page »

Youth United for Change holds press conference calling for restorative practices in schools
The Philadelphia group Youth United for Change held a press conference March 12, 2012, calling for the support of City Council in promoting restorative practices in schools and rewriting the Memorandum of Understanding between Philadelphia schools and the Philadelphia Police Department. The press conference marked the release of new national data from the Office of Civil Rights showing huge racial disparities in suspension, expulsion, and school-based arrest rates at public school. Read more »

Restorative elementary school opens in Pottstown
The Buxmont Academy Elementary Program at Pottstown opened its doors January 30, 2012, to provide elementary-school children with essential education and special education services close to home. Read more »

Restorative practices a major theme at “End Violence Through Restorative Justice” event, in Philadelphia, Martin Luther King Day
The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools, a citywide, youth-led campaign, organized “End Violence Through Restorative Justice,” which featured workshops on "Implementing Restorative Practices," "Interrupting Bias Violence," "Creating Nonviolent Schools" and "Ending the School to Prison Pipeline." Watch a video shot at this event featuring interviews with students, teachers and restorative practices instructors. Learn more »

Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights supports restorative practices
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights published "Widening the Circle of Concern, Public Perceptions of the School District of Philadelphia's Response to Intergroup Conflicts" and calls for the use of restorative practices in Philadelphia's schools. Learn more »

Bethlehem Area School District implementing restorative practices district-wide, beginning fall 2011 at Freedom and Liberty high schools
From the Express-Times (Easton): “It’s all part of the district’s two-year roll out of a school culture change program aimed at building community and lowering discipline problems through the concept of restorative practices. … For Superintendent Joseph Roy, who is beginning his second school year at the district’s helm, it was the realization of a dream.” Read more »

Radio Times (WHYY Philadelphia) hosts program on safety in city schools, interviews IIRP director of continuing education John Bailie
Marty Moss-Coane speaks with Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham, IIRP director of continuing education John Bailie, and Barry McCurdy from the Devereux Foundation's Center for Effective Schools. Listen here »

"Restorative circle" addresses dissonance among state, county and private agencies that provide services to PA’s troubled children, youth and families
PaRPP held its first event on August 24, 2010, a "restorative circle" that brought together a representative group from state government, county agencies and private providers serving Pennsylvania's troubled children and youth and their families. PaRPP's goals are to restore a cooperative spirit among those serving young people and to develop a comprehensive statewide strategy to reduce the number of troubled children and youth in Pennsylvania.

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