Community Conferencing

Community Conferencing is a process that brings together communities and individuals so they can effectively prevent and resolve conflicts.  The Conference structure allows for communities to collectively address harm in such a manner that individuals are less likely to re-offend and wholeness is possible for the community - including those who were harmed and those who committed the harm.  The Community Conference allows everyone affected by the incident to be part of resolving it.

I offer Community Conferencing to organizations such as: 

  • Schools
  • Law Enforcement
  • Workplaces
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Neighborhoods

 

Restorative Practices in Schools

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars (or bullies) needs restructuring.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In light of tragedies such as Columbine and Newtown, individuals in the United States are desperate for a solution and a way of ensuring our children’s safety. Putting the gun debate aside for the moment, Restorative Practices in Schools is one strategy that most all can agree upon and which has been shown to reliably reduce misbehavior, bullying, violence and crime among students and improve the overall climate for learning. 

Furthermore, recent research by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), has shown that teaching social emotional skills in school environments not only improves social interactions among individuals, but helps to improve academic achievement. 

My work in program evaluation for the past 25 years has provided me keen insight that the missing component in our educational systems is the social emotional component. I’m excited to offer training in Restorative Practices as a way of plugging that void. 

Restorative Practices is a new field of study that has huge implications for positively improving human behavior at the individual and organizational level.  It is based on the fundamental premise that people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them. (International Institute for Restorative Practices)

I offer this strategy with the outcome of whole school reform that ultimately leaves individuals at all levels of the school community more connected, and more able to speak in a way to get their emotional and academic needs met. Restorative Practices give administrators and teachers a way of handling violence and other difficult behaviors that help students understand the affect their behavior has on others. Rather than the usual punishment or consequence, the school community gains tools to restore the classroom and/or school community back to wholeness after an offense has occurred and, in a way, that allows the “offender” to learn from his/her behavior.

This is a whole-systems approach, sensitive to the needs of teachers and administrators who are constantly barraged with “flavor of the week” solutions to improve school environments and improve academic achievement. I understand the need for across the board buy-in and have adopted a training process which minimizes new work procedures for teachers and targets intensive learning to a handful of key players/leaders/disciplinarians at the school site.