Restoring Community

EFRJ Summer School 2017Our friends at the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) are organizing their seventh biannual summer school July 24-28, 2017 at the monastery of St. Abbondio in Como, Italy, in partnership with the University of Insubria. This year’s theme is "Restorative justice in serious crime: Good quality standards and effective services." The topic has been chosen for its alignment with the EFRJ’s agenda in the coming years to ensure that every person in Europe has a right to access restorative justice services in any criminal case at any stage of the criminal process.

The Summer School 2017 will provide a safe and inspiring space for participants to gain knowledge and practice advanced skills to benefit victims and offenders. Events include presentations and practical exercises on the use of restorative justice in cases of homicide, sexual abuse, political crime and offenders with mental disabilities.

The early bird registration fee closes April 30. The whole training will be held in English (with informal translation provided in Italian/French/Spanish). The entire program, along with biographies of the presenters, can be found on the EFRJ website.

law and order

In his latest post, IIRP President Dr. John W. Bailie challenges educators to remember that the power of restorative practices for school climate change rests in providing both support and discipline, love and limits.

Students at Carbondale Middle SchoolIn this 20-minute video, staff, students and administrators at Carbondale Middle School, Carbondale, Illinois, share the restorative approach they are taking to improving school climate.

kids pic wide

In the "President's Blog," IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., shares his thoughts on a variety of topics relevant to leadership, social innovation and education. In this piece, Dr. Bailie offers some advice for teachers and administrators implementing restorative practices in schools.

Tim Chapman2016 was a watershed year for world politics, says Tim Chapman, a member of the board of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, a teacher for the Master in Restorative Practices at Ulster University (Northern Ireland) and a featured presenter at the upcoming IIRP Europe conference. Between the U.K.’s Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump in the U.S., as well as the threat of terrorism and the international refugee crisis, Chapman believes this is a critical moment for society. He will invite attendees at the IIRP Europe conference, Conflict in Europe: Meeting the Challenge, in Dublin, May 9-10, 2017, to reflect critically on their own values, principles and practice, and ask themselves if they are truly meeting the needs of the moment.

Jeff-Sprague-Jane-Riese.pngThe International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Graduate School has encouraged national leaders to collaborate to improve school climate in schools. Pilot projects and research studies have begun to examine the effectiveness of initiatives to integrate an array of programs. The first article in this series looks at a National Institutes of Justice-funded research study on the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) with Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP).

 

Indigenous Circle Crop2With over 400 restorative justice programs across the country, IIRP Canada aims to bring together leading practitioners to envision a new justice paradigm.

Jo BerryIn this short video excerpt, IIRP Europe conference featured presenter Jo Berry briefly describes the importance of her 14-year friendship with Patrick Magee, a former member of the Irish Republican Army who claimed responsibility for planting a bomb that killed her father, a British Member of Parliament.

Rick PhillipsIn this guest post, Rick Phillips, Founder and Executive Director of Community Matters, talks about the importance of getting the support of parents and families when instituting restorative practices using a wide range of communication channels. This article originally appeared on the Community Matters web page.


The successful implementation of restorative practices requires the involvement and commitment of the entire school-community. Stakeholders include district and site administrators, both classified and non-classified staff, students, families and youth-serving community partners.

However, many educators do not engage families as stakeholders when introducing their restorative practices initiatives and plans. Since restorative practices is not a program or a curriculum, but rather a philosophy and a way of thinking and acting, introducing restorative practices to the students’ families in an inclusive, collaborative and culturally sensitive manner is critical for success.

One of the cornerstones of restorative practices is the use of “fair process” which recognizes that people are most likely to support change when they’re engaged and included in the process. According to Ted Wachtel of the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP), “Human beings are happiest, healthiest and most likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in authority do things with them rather than to them or and to  them”. 

In the case of families, it is critical they’re involved early in the process, and that the administration is working with them. It’s also important that families understand the reasoning for the schools moving away from a more traditional and punitive approach towards the restorative practices approach.

When school administrators fail to recognize the importance of building family engagement early in the process they run the risk of families feeling uniformed, confused and ultimately defensive - outcomes that can have negative consequences on the program’s full adoption and ultimate success.

So, what are the keys for building and gaining family and parent support? Consider doing the following:

  1. Host a series of introductory information meetings at a variety of times of day so that working parents have options for attending. These are opportunities for families to learn about restorative practices and to contribute their ideas in the early stages of implementation;
  2. Conduct webinars and social media campaigns to provide on-going opportunities for learning and additional input;
  3. Identify and invite parent leaders to be a part of the leadership group responsible for the restorative practices planning and implementation;
  4. Create information packets for students to take home that inform parents of the many benefits of restorative practices; also coach students regarding the importance of their parents being well informed;
  5. Secure the services of a consultant to provide expertise, support, technical assistance and planning; there are many best practices that a consultant can help you incorporate into your planning so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

In addition, we recommend using existing platforms of communication with families that you have found work well. School websites and newsletters, open houses, student activities, sporting events and other activities that parents typically attend, local news outlets and parent teacher conferences are some examples of effective methods of communication.

When families are seen as a key stakeholder group and then invited to participate early on in the process, implementation and ongoing sustainability of the restorative practices approach is much more likely to succeed.

The successful implementation of restorative practices requires the involvement and commitment of the entire school-community. Stakeholders include district and site administrators, both classified and non-classified staff, students, families and youth-serving community partners.

However, many educators do not engage families as stakeholders when introducing their restorative practices initiatives and plans. Since restorative practices is not a program or a curriculum, but rather a philosophy and a way of thinking and acting, introducing restorative practices to the students’ families in an inclusive, collaborative and culturally sensitive manner is critical for success.

One of the cornerstones of restorative practices is the use of “fair process” which recognizes that people are most likely to support change when they’re engaged and included in the process. According to Ted Wachtel of the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP), “Human beings are happiest, healthiest and most likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in authority do things with them rather than to them or for them”. 

In the case of families, it is critical they’re involved early in the process, and that the administration is working with them. It’s also important that families understand the reasoning for the schools moving away from a more traditional and punitive approach towards the restorative practices approach.

When school administrators fail to recognize the importance of building family engagement early in the process they run the risk of families feeling uniformed, confused and ultimately defensive - outcomes that can have negative consequences on the program’s full adoption and ultimate success.

So, what are the keys for building and gaining family and parent support? Consider doing the following:

  1. Host a series of introductory information meetings at a variety of times of day so that working parents have options for attending. These are opportunities for families to learn about restorative practices, and to contribute their ideas in the early stages of implementation;
  2. Conduct webinars and social media campaigns to provide on-going opportunities for learning and additional input;
  3. Identify and invite parent leaders to be a part of the leadership group responsible for the restorative practices planning and implementation;
  4. Create information packets for students to take home that inform parents of the many benefits of restorative practices; also coach students regarding the importance of their parents being well informed;
  5. Secure the services of a consultant to provide expertise, support, technical assistance and planning; there are many best practices that a consultant can help you incorporate into your planning so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

In addition, we recommend using existing platforms of communication with families that you have found work well. School websites and newsletters, open houses, student activities, sporting events and other activities that parents typically attend, local news outlets, and parent teacher conferences are some examples of effective methods of communication.

When families are seen as a key stakeholder group and then invited to participate early on in the process, implementation and ongoing sustainability of the restorative practices approach is much more likely to succeed.

newspapers1As tensions across Europe heighten around the association of Muslims with terrorism, the RecoRa Institute works directly with youth at risk of becoming extremists to reduce violence and transform lives.

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