Restorative Justice and Mindfulness

Fix School Discipline – a project of Public Counsel – is a comprehensive resource for school superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, students, community leaders, organizations, advocates, and anyone interested in learning how to eliminate harsh discipline practices that push students out of school, and instead enact solutions that work for all students. This Toolkit can help you implement or advocate for supportive, inclusive discipline policies that hold students accountable and improve school climate and safety for all members of the school community.

The New York City School Code of Conduct booklet: This code provides a progressive outlook regarding policy and how to incorporate restorative practices.

Michael Fullan on “Change Theory: A Force for School Improvement”:
For a more in-depth read on why systemic change often does not work, and how it needs to be introduced in order to be effective, you might consider this 2006 article by Fullan.  It is pretty readable, though difficult to implement the ideas.

The Oakland Unified School District Discipline Policies:
You may feel like looking through some of the main documents that lay out the philosophy of the Oakland Unified School District regarding discipline, the whole child approach, and positive school climate. 

An article that gives 8 charts that show inequity by race.  Useful as a reference:

Cuban Teacher Perspectives on Race and Racism: The Pedagogy of Home-School Relations by Arlo Kempf 

A research article about how Cuban teachers address racism with families. “I have visited the homes of all of my students . . . I have talked with many of them about racism, in their own houses.” Xiomara, a Mestizo-Cuban woman

Following incidents of student racism in school, Cuban teachers regularly visit the homes of students to speak with parents or guardians whom, based on the child’s behavior, they presume to be racist. As part of the Cuban nation-building ethos, teachers on the island are deeply invested in influencing the way parents raise their children. From basic nutrition courses and child care in the prekindergarten years to parent education programs during the K–10 years, parent and guardian interaction with the education system in Cuba is part of a broader pattern of expected participation in a national program of citizen engagement. Teachers act as a bridge between school and home, and, indeed, between the values taught at school and those promoted at home. This element of teachers’ work is itself understood by teachers as an exercise and requirement of citizenship.

A learning circle is a highly interactive, participatory structure for organizing group work.  The goal is to build, share, and express knowledge though a process of open dialogue and deep reflection around issues or problems with a focus on a shared outcome.  Online learning circles take advantage of social networking tools to manage collaborative work over distances following a timeline from the open to close of the circle.  Circles have a final project which collects the shared knowledge generated during the interactions.  Learning circles is great way to organize learning in massively open online course (MOOCs).

There is nothing new about the presence of traumatized children in our schools; often without realizing it, teachers have been dealing with trauma’s impact for generations. What is new is that trauma researchers can now explain the hidden story behind many classroom difficulties that hamper our educational systems. The idea that school can moderate the effects of trauma is supported by research from both developmental psychologists and trauma experts.