The Stories We Create

June 23, 2022

As we transition into summer, GCC has been busy facilitating summer planning retreats for the Restorative Culture Leadership Teams at the three schools we support. Our goal in these planning retreats is to review our goals and end-of-year reports from the previous school year, set new goals for the coming school year, and build community amongst our team. I had the pleasure of leading our Restorative Culture Leadership Team summer planning at Clarke Middle. During the CMS planning, we played a modified version of a game called “The Story Game.” The way this game is played is one person volunteers to be the “pointer,” and the other participants are “storytellers”. The group together comes up with three elements to start the story: a name, a location, and a problem. Then the pointer takes turns pointing at different storytellers who each have to come up with a sentence to continue the story. Our team enjoyed this game and got pretty creative in the stories we came up with together. 

The Story Game was fun but also powerful because it represents how we do most of our work as a Restorative Culture Leadership Team. When we’re working as a team, we can start in one direction, but we may end up in a completely different direction by the end of the year. We don’t know where the work will take us or where we’ll end up. The story we came up with would’ve been completely different if it was told by only one person. As would the RP work in schools if it was carried out by only one person. This is the process of transforming into a restorative school by building restorative practices systems and structures within the school. While we don’t know where the work will take us, we all start in the same place, with a hope for change and the determination to fight for the change we want to see in our school. Just like the Story Game, this work takes collaboration, time, and commitment to the process. We cannot be sure of exactly where the work will take us, but we can be assured that the place we end will be better than the place we started if we stay committed. Who knows what beautiful stories we will create in doing this work together?

other blogs and recommended reading

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Each time we choose to draw near, rather than to send away, we are actively building a new way to be in community together. As we model this way of being in schools, we are shining a light and showing a way for what can be possible in the community as a whole.

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Liberatory Consciousness

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Weaver School Embraces ‘Peacemaker Event’ on Campus

In collaboration with the Restorative Justice League of Merced, the “Weaver Peacemaker Event” is an all day event that focuses on educating students to “promote kindness and build a culture of peace on campus.”

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An Eighth Grade Class Just Exonerated The Last Witch Of The Salem Witch Trials

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Remembering How to Be Friends: After COVID, One School Uses Talking Circles to Help Kids Reconnect

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NJEA Officers, Community Tour Restorative Justice Montclair

“As a teacher in Wayne and a resident and mayor here in Montclair, I could not be prouder of the leadership that the Montclair Education Association, the Montclair Board of Education, and our students, teachers, educational support professionals, and administrators have taken in showing what restorative justice looks like in action,” [President] Spiller said.

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New Study: Black, Special Ed Students Punished at Greater Rate Through Pandemic

Despite a dramatic decline in suspensions as students moved to remote learning during the pandemic, Black children and those in special education were disciplined far more often than white students and those in general education, according to a recent New York University study.

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LTE: Restorative Justice in Schools

"We need programs and interventions that teach and model skills that will change behavior. Restorative practices are what can transform and guide the prosocial behaviors we want for our children and our communities."

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NYC's Push for Restorative Justice Was Put to the Test This School Year

Schools like Harvest Collegiate High School have embraced restorative justice and devoted resources to those programs.

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Restorative Practices for the Seven Generations to Come

“History is asking us to become healers. We are so good at causing harm, at every level. We are experts at that. So I want to thank you for answering history’s call so that we will have a future for the seven generations to come.” - Dr. Fania Davis

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At This Oakland High School, Restorative Justice Goes Far Beyond Discipline

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Valley State First HBCU to Offer Prison College Program in Mississippi

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Restorative Arlington Partners with Arlington Public Schools to Support Students and Strengthen Restorative Justice in Education

Restorative Arlington has partnered with Arlington Public Schools (APS) to support Restorative Justice in Education. Restorative Arlington has allocated over $140,000 to provide direct services to APS, including services for students who have experienced harm as well as restorative justice training for staff and additional resources.

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Praise for One-of-a-Kind Philly Diversion Program Rooted in 2020 Civil Unrest

Criminal justice reform advocates are applauding a diversion program created to resolve the hundreds of felony cases that came out of the civil unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.

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Suffolk District Attorney to Pilot Restorative Justice Program

Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden is piloting a restorative justice program in Chelsea District Court and the Charlestown and Roxbury divisions of Municipal Court.

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Cash From Criminal Wrong-Doing Will Now Help Coquitlam Kids

Two unique programs that support Tri-City students are getting nearly $60,000 combined, thanks to proceeds of criminal activity.

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Restorative Justice Resolves Alleged Assault at Indiana Lake

Restorative justice was successfully used for one of the first times in Indiana to remediate a legal confrontation.

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Social Change and Self Care

Letting Go of Myths, Embracing Truths

Shawn Ginwright writes in Yes! Magazine about Four Pivots to Reimagining Justice and Reimagining Ourselves.

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RJ and Gender-based Violence

Restorative Approaches for Gender-based Violence

This blog explores restorative approaches to gender-based violence and the relationship between the restorative justice and transformative justice movements.

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Danny's Journey with Restorative Justice

Danny Malec's Recent Interview on "This Restorative Justice Life" with David Ryan Castro-Harris

This Restorative Justice Life is a podcast series that highlights conversations and storytelling with Restorative Justice Practitioners, Circle Keepers, and others about how they bring Restorative Justice philosophy, practices, and values into their personal and professional lives. Hosted by Amplify RJ founder David Ryan Barcega Castro-Harris. Produced by Elyse Martin-Smith.

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School-based Restorative Practices

"I am happy to be with you today."

Feedback from our trainings helps us strengthen them and gives us valuable insights into the needs of the communities we serve.

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School-based Restorative Practices Implementation

COVID is making it harder for schools to practice restorative practices

This article, originally published in Fortune.com, explores a range of added challenges related to restorative practices implementation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Opinion

Where Is the Forgiveness and Grace in Cancel Culture?

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