Restoring Community

These articles were formerly posted on our Restorative Works website.

new professors 2017 2In the past year, the IIRP Graduate School has welcomed four new faculty members, enhancing our geographic diversity and expertise in the areas of research and education. Meet (clockwise) Fernanda Fonseca-Rosenblatt, Ph.D., A. Migue Tello, Gina Baral Abrams, Dr.P.H., and Michael DeAntonio, Ph.D.

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In Joseph Campbell’s seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he discusses how life’s tragedies remind us of that which is fragile and life’s comedies remind us of that which is invincible within us and around us. It is only by grasping the reality of both aspects of our personal story that we come to know ourselves and to fully understand others. Even in restorative conferences held in the wake of serious offenses such as murder, victims who choose to participate commonly report that they came to see the offender as an imperfect and broken human being, instead of an all-powerful monster. More than any other method, humans use storytelling and voice to make sense of emotionally powerful experiences. A dignified life is one in which we feel that our story is heard, understood and matters to those around us.

IMG 2724The 2017 IIRP World Conference, Learning in the 21st Century: A Restorative Vision, was held October 23-25 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at the Hotel Bethlehem and IIRP Campus. The conference created a vibrant community of learning and mutual support for more than 370 participants from 34 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and 11 other countries: Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Kingdom.

IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., welcomed all participants Monday morning at the Central Moravian Church with introductory remarks. "The 21st century presents new needs and challenges, and educational institutions must rapidly adapt. What’s needed is a fundamental re-visioning of what it means to learn and what it means to teach," he offered. "Our goal is to bring new voices into the field of restorative practices that can challenge all of us to develop, grow and think expansively about the future of learning."

Pittsburgh students globePittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) brought the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program to 22 schools, from 2014 to 2017, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The RAND Corporation has been studying the project — a randomized controlled trial of restorative practices implementation — and will be producing a final report in spring 2018. Meanwhile, PPS has announced it is making a commitment to continuing the use of restorative practices in the 22 schools, as well as expanding their use to all district schools over the next two school years.

IIRP Canada300x200The International Institute for Restorative Practices Canada (IIRP Canada) is pleased to welcome two new members to the team, Gayle Desmeules, who will serve as the Regional Representative for Western Canada, and Peggy Barrette, who joins the team as a bilingual trainer and consultant providing learning opportunities in French as well as in English.

Columbia Teachers CollegeVia Boston Public Library.Columbia Teachers College has made a commitment to offering restorative conflict resolution practices to master's-level students at its New York City Summer Principals Academy (SPA). For the past two summers, IIRP President John Bailie, Ph.D., and Provost Craig Adamson, Ph.D., who are now adjunct faculty at Columbia, have co-taught “Basic Practicum in Conflict Resolution.” This three-credit course is geared to help aspiring school administrators primarily serving diverse urban populations communicate effectively, build relationships and meet the needs of their constituencies’ competing demands.

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IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., provides a brief overview of how restorative practices could provide a framework for responding to extermism.

refugeesImage by Trocaire via Wikimedia CommonsAcross Europe, communities are struggling to deal with the consequences of Syrian immigrants arriving, settling and attempting to integrate into society. In the Romanian port town of Brăila, Vidia Negrea, IIRP Europe’s Regional Representative for Eastern Europe and IIRP Trustee, recently ran a restorative circle to begin to address issues that have strained relationships in a local school.

Pamela Randall Garner 200x200As the pendulum in U.S. schools continues to swing away from punitive discipline policies toward a more holistic approach to improving school climate, a host of presentations at the 23rd IIRP World Conference, Learning in the 21st Century: A Restorative Vision, will explore elements of this development.

Featured speaker Pamela Randall-Garner, Ed.D., Senior Staff Advisor for the Collaborating Districts Initiative of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning), will focus on several important aspects of these efforts in her presentation, “Building Supportive School Communities,” including social and emotional learning (SEL) for students and staff, equity for students of diverse backgrounds and the role of restorative practices to support those efforts.

Two candidates for the IIRP Graduate School Master of Science in Restorative Practices, Claire Sinclair and Melissa Ash, have been awarded the first Shawn Szuch Scholarship.

Melissa Ash crop copyMelissa AshClaire Fall16 LR 1cropped CropClaire Sinclair

The IIRP faculty choose the scholarships recipients on the basis of their answers to these questions: How have you demonstrated persistence in the face of adversity? How are you applying what you’re learning to help make the world a better place? and How would a $1,000 scholarship help you in the pursuit of your studies?

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Proficiency in giving constructive and effective feedback is a core skill for anyone in a senior leadership position, but what about those times when you need to challenge a superior?