• Here's a response a week ago to a report issued by the Department of Education stating that:

    Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

    The LA Times (Mar 10) noted that "the difference is especially stark for African American students, who make up 18% of the student population but 35% of first-time suspensions. "

  • Miguel Tello, director of IIRP Central America, appeared on a radio podcast - This Is Wisdom - based, I believe in Canada.  Miguel is very articulate and talks about his own restorative journey, hitting on many key players who influenced his work and thinking. To hear the 30-minute program, click here.

  • Photo by rick at Flickr Creative Commons, some rights reservedI've noticed a continuing theme involving a growing awareness of systemic prejudice in schools toward minority students. This manifests in higher rates of suspension and expulsion – which the Dignity in Schools Campaign describes with the phrase "School Pushout." This also shows up in increased use of metal detectors in minority communities -


  • Lady Gaga and Oprah During the BTWF LaunchAs reported in a post last month, SaferSanerSchools Instructor Lee Rush was invited along with 80 other national leaders to Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society to help launch Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation (BTWF). Held on February 29th, the event was also sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation and drew high-profile names like Oprah Winfrey (who will broadcast part of the event on an upcoming television special), Deepak Chopra,


  • An upcoming issue of The Prevention Researcher will focus on Restorative Justice. They write:

    It has been our observation that many people are still unfamiliar with restorative justice or unsure what it means. Therefore, the goal of this issue is to introduce the topic, show what restorative justice looks likes in school and community environments, highlight the most recent research findings about its effectiveness (for the offender, victim, and community), and provide strategies for creating successful restorative justice programs and policies.

  • John Bailie, IIRP Director of Continuing Education

    The use of restorative practices “is a highly effective response to bullying” in schools. So said John Bailie in his keynote address to a conference on bullying held at Southern Connecticut State University.

    Restorative practices “builds a bullying-resistant school climate and teaches responses to bullying that hold children accountable while restoring social bonds,” said Bailie, Director of Continuing Education for the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), a graduate school in Bethlehem, PA.

    Bailie spoke at SCSU’s 14th



    The Baltimore Curriculum Project writes on their news blog:

    Thank you to Hampstead Hill Academy and the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) for an inspiring introduction to Restorative Practices this morning for over 40 Baltimore City Schools principals and teachers! Attendees visited classrooms and participated in restorative circles.

    IIRP professional development trainer Beverly Manigo writes in:

    The International Institute for Restorative Practices extends its appreciation to Hampstead Hill Academy and the principals, coordinators and directors from Baltimore City Public Schools who participated in the Open House.  With the help of the


  • SaferSanerSchools instructor Lee Rush has been invited along with 80 other national leaders to attend a Symposium on Youth Meanness and Cruelty at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday, February 29. This event coincides with the launch of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation. The Symposium is hosted by the


  • Monday, the SF Examiner posted this piece "There’s more than one way to stop bullying in school" by Carlos A. Garcia, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. Some excerpts of the short piece include:

    When students feel connected and safe at school, they learn better. Last year, 75 percent of students surveyed in high schools and 62 percent in middle schools reported “always feeling safe at school.” I would like to see this percentage


  • From Living Justice Press:

    In this, her first book, Nancy Riestenberg writes warmly and with long experience about the challenges facing school communities and how restorative measures­—specifically Circles­—create a safer space for learning and development for all.  Using stories direct “from the hallways,” she brings heart to subjects that are often divisive and controversial: bullying and other violence, suspension, drug use, staff conflicts, and more. Throughout the book, Nancy’s focus is on strategies that actually work for the whole school community:


  • Here are two brief excerpts from an article by Sara K. Satullo that appeared last Friday, February 3 in the Easton Express-Times:

    Bethlehem Area Social Studies teacher Joanne Widdersheim gathered 10th-graders in a circle Friday.

    She tasked them with revisiting a question she posed to them at the start of the semester: Where do you want to be in 30 years?

    Students had a few minutes to draft a Time magazine cover with a witty slogan. Widdersheim teased students, pressed them to work faster and knew when to lay off when a shy student needed more time. She also had them laughing hard.

  • IIRP affiliate Coordinated Educational Resources Group, LLC (Patrice Vossekuil, Executive Director), will be presenting during the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh 2012 "Opening the School Gates: Engaging the Community in Bullying Awareness and Prevention" Conference.

  • Here a portion of a story yesterday by columnist Robert Koehler at the Chicago Tribune:

    "I found myself running down the hall all the time because of fights," Rhonda Richetta told me, speaking of her early days as principal of Baltimore's City Springs School, a K-8 school in a tough inner-city neighborhood. "I would look at kids' faces. Everyone looked angry, like they didn't want to be here -- adults and children both."

    In poverty-wracked neighborhoods, this is the American school system. "Education" takes place in a context of anger, violence, intimidation and arrest. The kids are struggling not to learn but "just to survive," as Ted Wachtel, founder and


  • Here's news from IIRP's sister organization, Buxmont Academy, which has opened its first elementary school, which will operate with the use of restorative practices in a unique partnership with the local school district.


    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.

    Buxmont Academy executive director Craig Adamson expressed appreciation to the Pottstown


  • March 6 & 7, 2012, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

    Hosted by: Lancaster Catholic High School, 650 Juliette Avenue, Lancaster, PA

    Two in-service days offered in the SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program

    Introduction to Restorative Practices — $140 Tuesday, March 6, 2012 — Register here.
    Ideally paired with Using Circles Effectively

  • Last week I linked to a blog post by Photographer Matt Roth about City Springs Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore and their successful use of Restorative Practices for dealing with safety issues. Today I'm reposting a piece about the Baltimore Curriculum Project, which discusses the history and context of their adoption of Restorative Practices. The original post can be found here.


  • Photographer Matt Roth posted some lovely photos recently on his blog, part of a photo shoot for an article that appeared in Education Week last summer.

    The quote that stands out for me is this one, a candid impression of what it felt like to spend time in City Springs Elementary/Middle School, a school that is part of the Baltimore Curriculum


  • When challenging behavior:

    • What happened?
    • What were you thinking of at the time?
    • What have you thought about since?
    • Who has been affected by what you have done?
    • In what way have they been affected?
    • What do you think you need to do to make things right?


    To help those affected:

    • What did you think when you realized what had happened?
    • What impact has this incident had on you and others?
    • What has been the hardest thing for you?
    • What do you think needs to happen to make things

  • As a followup to Wednesday's post about the upcoming student-led initiative  in Philadelphia - "End Violence Through Restorative Justice" - organized by The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools on Martin Luther King Day January 16, here is a video that recaps last October's Week of Action Against School Pushout. This video highlights how students and members of the community across the country are increasingly speaking out to promote positive alternatives to zero-tolerance policies, including restorative practices. The first three minutes features many youth voices speaking about their experiences. At minute 6:15 mention is made of The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools' Youth Speakout Against Pushout which happened in Philadelphia that week.

    "Throughout the week of October 1-8, 2011, thousands of parents, youth, and educators took part in student-led actions and events in 28 cities to expose the school pushout crisis in our nation


  • In Philadelphia, The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools, a citywide, youth-led campaign, is planning an afternoon event titled Ending Violence Through Schools. Workshops include Implementing Restorative Practices, Interrupting Bias Violence, Creating Nonviolent Schools and Ending the School to Prison Pipeline.

    The event takes place on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 16th, from 1 to 4pm, at Arch St. Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St, Philadelphia.  Pre-register for the event here: