The 2017 IIRP World Conference, Learning in the 21st Century: A Restorative Vision, was held October 23-25 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at the Hotel Bethlehem and IIRP Campus. The conference created a vibrant community of learning and mutual support for more than 370 participants from 34 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and 11 other countries: Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Kingdom.
IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., welcomed all participants Monday morning at the Central Moravian Church with introductory remarks. "The 21st century presents new needs and challenges, and educational institutions must rapidly adapt. What’s needed is a fundamental re-visioning of what it means to learn and what it means to teach," he offered. "Our goal is to bring new voices into the field of restorative practices that can challenge all of us to develop, grow and think expansively about the future of learning."
Over the three days, conference participants chose among 70 high-quality breakout sessions with an emphasis on restorative practices in schools as well as community, justice, workplaces and families. Featured speakers presented on such important concerns as student equity, social and emotional learning and including students with disabilities. Topics included "Making School Optional," "Courageous Conversations about Inclusivity in Higher Education," "Beyond the Icebreaker: Proactive Circles and Student Voice" and "Why Restorative Practices Work in Any Context."
The following are some highlights from a sampling of sessions:
Author Mica Pollock, Ph.D., during her session, "Schooltalk: Transforming Communications That Feed Inequality in Our Schools," explored how educators talk about and to students in school. She emphasized the need to develop processes for discussions in a range of areas, including culture, data and inequality. She challenged participants to think about how we talk about race as well as what it means when we refuse to talk about race.
St. Claire Adriaan and Tommy Ramirez, directors of charter schools working with Latino pupils in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, respectively, explained "How Schools Can Meet the Needs of Immigrant Students and Families During a Trump Presidency." Restorative circles are used to let students share their fears with one another and get support, and the schools counsel students on how to speak with their families about their immigration status. These schools have developed countless methods to inspire and connect with students educationally and culturally, including hosting graffiti festivals near the Mexican border.
IIRP Alumnus Rev. Paul Langston-Daley (2008), talked about "Restoring Civic Society" by engaging in restorative practices-informed community organizing in marginalized communities. He advised engaging with people to ensure the impulse for change comes directly from the community itself and not the organizer. He warned, "Never do for another what they can do for themselves."
Current IIRP student David Fletcher, Ph.D., a professor at Lehman College, City University, in the Bronx, New York, presented on "Creating a College Restorative Practices/Restorative Justice Community-Based Program." His diverse activities include training future teachers as restorative practitioners, hosting an annual conference that attracts 300 participants from the New York City metro area and supporting students to develop community projects. Two of Dr. Fletcher’s students co-presented. Ocali Cantano spoke about his work teaching science to teens who have left school but are preparing to take the high school equivalency test. Tashika McBride spoke about Rebirth Your Soul, a program she started to create a supportive community for female and male sexual assault survivors, as well as a visit to a juvenile prison in South Africa for serious young offenders.
Allyson Lorimer Crews, Deputy Chief U.S. Probation Officer, and Maria D’Addieco, U.S. Probation Officer, shared about their "Restorative Work with Unlikely Players … the Feds." They have piloted a restorative program with young firearm and drug offenders in Boston, Massachusetts, who have been adjudicated in Federal District Court. The program invites participants to consider how their actions impact others and exposes them to the experience of victims of crimes similar to those they committed, as well as other community members. Crews explained that the sentencing statements written by participants in the program are more self-aware than any she has ever heard from offenders. Consequently, judges have largely not sentenced participants to prison; of 15 offenders who have completed the program to date, only one has been rearrested.
Throughout the conference, participants networked with colleagues old and new. Some took part in conversations on "Special Topics" facilitated by IIRP faculty and a current student. These included discussions related to self-care for professionals, including mindfulness; connecting with people when we disagree; planning a "restorative retreat; and being a "compassionate witnesses" to help heal trauma.
There were also sessions that looked at the serious business of play and creativity in restorative work, including "Learning Through Playing" (IIRP Lecturer Borbala Fellegi, Ph.D.), "Creative Interactive Activities for Training Adults in Restorative Practices (Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D.) and "Teambuilding for Everyone" (IIRP alumni Pam Thompson and Samantha H. White, of IIRP’s model programs, Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy).
Most of all, participants left recharged to carry on their efforts until the next conference. As one participant affirmed, "Hundreds of thousands of children are impacted by our work!"
- A Restorative Approach to Student Advocacy – Jennifer L. Williams, M.Ed., M.S., Jennifer P. Moyer (slides)
- Aligning Components of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy – Megan Fuciarelli (slides)
- Andragogy: Education vs. Learning – Craig Adamson Ph.D. (powerpoint)
- Applying Restorative Practices in Student Staff Supervising and Team Development – Ethan Fields, M.S.Ed. (slides, handout)
- Beyond the Ice Breaker: Proactive Circles and Student Voice – Jody Emerson, Scott Harris (handout, slides)
- Beyond the Schoolhouse: Restorative Practices and a New Reality in Education – Ted Wachtel
- Building a Restorative Foundation for a New Citizenship – Vidia Negrea
- Building Supportive School Communities: The Impact of Social/Emotional Learning and Equity – Pamela Randall-Garner (powerpoint)
- Conversations about the Restorative Paradigm: Where Are We on the Journey?– Bruce Schenk
- Courageous Conversations about Inclusivity in Higher Education – Lisa A. Ratmansky, M.A., Alia Sheety, Ph.D.
- Creating a College Restorative Practices/Restorative Justice Community-Based Program – Patiently Removing Walls – Prof. David C. Fletcher, Tashika McBride, Ocali Cantano
- Creative Interactive Activities for Training Adults in Restorative Practices – Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. (handout 1, handout 2, handout 3)
- Don’t Be a Trigger: A Trauma-Informed Care Approach in Out-of-School Time Programs – Debralyn Woodberry-Shaw, M.S.W., L.S.W.
- Educating Students on the Judicial Process Using a Hands-on Approach and Restorative Practices – Quisha Brown, M.S.A., M.P.A.
- Effecting Change Through Dialogue within a Model of Self-Regulated Learning – Jodie Hemerda, Ph.D. (powerpoint)
- Fostering Digital Learning and Technologies in this Age of Challenging Behaviors – Dr. Sharon L. Burton
- Handling Forgiveness Issues While Facilitating Restorative Conferences – David Deal (paper, presentation outline)
- How Schools Can Meet the Needs of Immigrant Students and Families During a Trump Presidency – St Claire Adriaan, Tommy Ramirez
- How to Shift a School’s Culture from Traditional to Restorative – Victoria Marie Starr Soria, Jamie Berrien, Hugo R. Vázquez (powerpoint, handout)
- How Well Does Restorative Practices Work in Rural Middle Schools? Lessons Learned from a Randomized Control Trial – Joie Acosta, Ph.D., Andrea Phillips, MEd (slides)
- Implementing Teen Courts in Rural Schools: The Impact on Students’ Perceptions of School Climate, Individual Functioning and Interpersonal Relationships – Martica Bacallao, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., T.E.P., Meredith Bower, M.S.W., Caroline B. R. Evans, Ph.D.
- Improving School Climate and Academic Success through Restorative Practices and Technology Integration – Lauren Kowalczyk, M.Ed.
- Improving School Culture and Environment Through Understanding Stereotype Threat and Microaggression – Dr. Andrea Rodriguez, Dr. Sally King Shanahan (slides, powerpoint)
- Including Disability: Making Circles a Place for All – Heather Dalmage, Nancy Michaels
- Institutional Change for Developing Compassion Integrity – Dr. Angie Nastovska, David Trejo (powerpoint, article, handout 1, handout 2)
- Integrating Mindfulness, Restorative Practices and Social-Emotional Curriculum – Kerry Wiessmann
- Introducing Restorative Justice to Schools: A Capacity-Building Approach – Yaniyah Pearson, Stacey Alicea, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- It All Happened When We Learned To Be Explicit – Grace Moncrieff, Kerrie Sellen (slides)
- Learning Through Playing: Group Exercises Facilitating Our Communication and Conflict-Resolution Skills – Dr. Borbala Fellegi
- Leveraging Student Leadership Through the Change Agents Academy Using Restorative Circles – Dr. Kashina Bell, Dr. Grace Lee, Mrs.Nikki Goldfeder
- Making School Optional: Empowering and Respecting Teens and Families – Joshua Wachtel, Ken Danford (slides, slides part 1, slides part 2)
- Making Student-Directed Learning a Reality: Blended Learning and Restorative Practices at Buxmont Academy – Michael G. DeAntonio, Ph.D., Samantha H. White, M.R.P.E.
- More Voices, More Equity in Schools: Restorative Practices in Action – Suzanne Petersen, M.A., Mitchell Seipt, M.S. (powerpoint)
- Moving Systems Toward Restorative: Using the Leadership Compass to Steer Change – Lisa D. McCarty Ed.S., Cecilia-Ananya Belser-Patton (handout)
- One Middle School’s Journey to Restorative Practices – Wendy York, Stephen Rayfield-Bates, Robert Bales (handout, slides)
- One Thousand Plus: A Thousand Families Tell Their Stories of Learning – Then What? – Gregor F. Rae, Wanda B. Wilson (slides)
- Our Restorative Journey: Building a Restorative Foundation in a Large Suburban School District – Michael Barolak, M.S.W.
- Project-Based Learning with High-Functioning Teenagers on the Autism Spectrum – Melissa Metzler, Lisa Buonora (slides)
- Pursuing Equitable Restorative Communities: Preliminary Survey Findings from Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Implementation of Restorative Practices – Keith Hickman, Geoff Grimm, Rodney Necciai, Ed.D., Christine Cray
- Researching Restorative: Mining for Information Gold in Muddy Online Waters – Zeau DuBois Modig, M.L.S. (handout)
- Restorative Circles: An Interdependent Approach to Accelerate School Reform – Glynis Williams-Jordan, M.Ed., Kevin Richardson, Sr. (handout 1, handout 2, form 1, form 2, form 3)
- Restorative First-Year Writing Practices – Cynthia Mwenja, Ph.D. (handout, powerpoint)
- Restorative Justice in Family Work in Singapore: A Tool for Reflective Learning – Kek Seow Ling (handout), slides)
- Restorative Justice Is Fundamental Justice – Jan Peter Dembinski, M.A., J.D. 9 (article)
- Restorative Leadership for Welcoming Diversity – Prof. Theophus “Thee” Smith (powerpoint)
- Restorative Practices and the Ministry of Education’s Anti-Violence Protocols in Costa Rica – Claire de Mézerville, M.Ed. (handout 1 (Spanish), handout 2 (Spanish), handout 3, handout 4 (Spanish))
- Restorative Practices and Theater – A. Miguel Tello, M.P.A., M.A.I.S. (handout)
- Restorative Practices Coaching: Helping Practitioners to SCORE! – Mary Jo Hebling, M.S.
- Restorative Practices with Inuit Communities in Canada’s Far North – Kevin Cutler (report)
- Restorative Response to Misbehavior – Nancy D. Charles, M.Ed. (slides)
- Restorative Work with Unlikely Players … the Feds: Restorative Options in the Federal Criminal Justice System – Maria V. D’Addieco, M.S.W., Allyson Lorimer Crews (slides, powerpoint)
- Restoring Civic Society: Restorative Organizing for Change – Rev. Paul Langston-Daley (slides)
- Restoring Ourselves: The Power of Circle – Shari Garn, Jeanna King-Ruppel, Lyndsey Rose Burcina
- RP, How Do I Teach Thee? Let Me Count the Ways: Classroom, Online, Blended … – Lea Holland, M.B.A., M.A.Ed., Louis Fletcher, Ph.D., Brian K. Green (powerpoint)
- Schooltalk: Transforming Communications That Feed Inequality in Our Schools – Mica Pollock, Ph.D.
- Shifting Educator Mindsets Toward Restorative Practices – George Sirrakos, Jr., Ph.D., Mark Wolfmeyer, Ph.D. (powerpoint, handout)
- Social Emotional Learning Through Restorative Practices: Insights from Four Diverse, Urban Middle and High Schools – Anne Gregory, Ph.D., Easton Gaines, M.S.Ed. (powerpoint, slides)
- “Stealing Conflicts” No More: Using the Law to Integrate Restorative Practices Throughout Criminal Justice Systems – Lynn S. Branham, J.D., M.S.
- Teaching Youth Restorative Practices Through Lessons on Accountability, Compassion and Forgiveness – Benita Page, Tasreen Khamisa (powerpoint, handout 1, handout 2)
- Teambuilding for Everyone – Pam Thompson, M.R.P.Y.C., Samantha H. White, M.R.P.E. (packet)
- The Art of Changing Neural Pathways to Enrich Teaching and Learning – Frida Rundell, Ph.D.
- The Critical Role of Youth in Building Restorative Cultures in Schools – Rick Phillips
- The Power of Restorative Circles: Successes and Challenges in Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline – Sue Jamback, Tyler Radtke
- To Learn or Unlearn … That Is the Question – Elizabeth Smull, M.S., C.A.D.C., Paul Karaman (slides)
- Toward a Restorative Organization: Organizations Providing Counseling Programs for Employees Who Witnessed Employee Discrimination – Shanel Lu, D.B.A.
- Using Restorative Circles Driven by Leadership Book Club Discussions as a Tool for Diversity Training – Darrell N. Burrell, Ezenwayi Amaechi Ph.D.
- Virtue-Based Restorative Discipline Model Can S.A.V.E. Parents and Beyond – Beth Gutzler, M.B.A., Nina Ashby
- Whose Life Matters? Using Restorative Approaches to “Unveil” the Impact of Social Power and Privilege – Alia Sheety, Ph.D., Rasheeda Ahmad, Ed.D.
- Why Restorative Practices Work in Any Context: The Importance of Explicit Practice – Terry O’Connel (slides)