October Restorative Practice Update
Each month, we are going to be sending out an email to leaders highlighting some of the restorative practice work happening in our school district. Below you will find snippets of amazing, relational work happening across the district. Please forward this email on to members in your building.
If you have something you would like us to feature in this email or if you simply have questions about restorative practices, contact Becky McCammon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
At the American Federation of Teacher’s Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Conference in early October, activists from different movements came together to strengthen the struggle for racial justice. SPFT members and Restorative Practice Site Leads Kurt Blomberg, Fallon Henderson, and Jim Yang attended, representing SPFT.
“This was my first time at an AFT conference. As a Restorative Practices advocate… we advocate a way of being that works with people. There were numerous stories from around the country where people were working with one another through challenges and hardships, and what often emerged was a profound sense of belonging and relevance.”
– Kurt Blomberg, Johnson High School
“The AFT Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Conference was a great opportunity to for me to learn about DACA and how we are all affected by our families that are undocumented and facing trying times. This issue lit the fire inside of me to be part of positive change in our country, and not just be an ally. I joined others from across the world in brave conversations about our union and how far we’ve come. AFT members are uniting to push the envelope and stand up for fellow members in times of need and support. As I sat present and open in my self-being, soaking up information and making connections with others made me feel like i was sitting in one big restorative circle.”
– Fallon Henderson, Maxfield Elementary
At bargaining on October 26, , SPFT proposed additional supports for the restorative practice program we first negotiated in 2015. Presented by Becky McCammon, the district’s Restorative Practice Coordinator, Sharon Goens-Bradley, a community partner, and U of M researcher Kara Beckman, these proposals seek to build on the successful implementation of restorative practices since 2015.
Becky’s words to the school district are printed below. You can find our proposal here.
Behind us are many values linked to our restorative journey and I want to highlight four values of significance.
The first, is that of growth. And I want to trace the origin of how growth begins, with a seed, an idea and healthy soil. The model of restorative practice pilot sites is founded on growth within healthy soil — spaces where communities agree to explore, become curious and consider a way of being that lives in all of us, but is often challenged within our school structures and routines. Growth occurs with tender care where there isn’t over-watering, too much sun or the rush to yield a harvest before it’s ready. This value guides our belief in continuing to grow restorative practices via the incubator of pilot site inclusion and support and to honor that growth takes time.
The second value I would like to speak to is that of relationships. Our scholars and educators grow and learn through relationship. The role of program coordinator currently envelops that of trainer, coach, ally, creator and carrier of relationship between our community partners, allies, leaders, school communities, district leaders and more . The introduction of a restorative practice trainer and coach, as well as evaluative support, means that our restorative family and story is in expansive relationship together with radical, constant support of good and dimension.
Next, the value of equity. Restorative Practices actualizes our racial equity and gender inclusion policies. Restorative Practices lives out a dynamic, flexible and critical means to be in relationship with one another- school to family, family to educator, student to teacher, everyone to content and beyond. Restorative Practices hold space and voice and place for multiple perspectives, grounds us in our personal, local and immediate truth and creates constructs and understandings to guide courageous conversations that transform persons, classrooms and communities.
Finally, the value of gratitude. The spaciousness and openness, the innovation, heart and radical support of this collaboration has been unlike anything I have ever experienced as a professional woman of color. So, I am more grateful than I can say for this work, this emerging story of good and the opportunity to speak in support of our restorative practices proposals.