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

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

Massachusetts teacher Carrie LaPierre led her students through a restorative justice project over 300 years after the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

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Students Belong in Class, So This School Redesigned Discipline to Honor That

Angela Monell and Southwest Guilford High School are committed to restorative practices as a way to keep kids in class and out of trouble.

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Dream Big, Start Small

GCC Executive Director Danny Malec responds to the RP Implementation Pause in Gwinnett County.

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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, explores a range of added challenges related to restorative practices implementation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"Over Ruled" Contemplates the Upward Spiral of Restorative Justice

Taken at face value, the 12′ structure installed on playa will spell out a cheeky provocation, “NO DANCING,” clearly legible from afar. But as the viewer approaches, each of the large block letters will reveal a story, a testimonial from a real person about a personal experience with unjust rules. Smith sees the piece as a call to awareness of social injustice and the power of restorative justice.

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