Ramapo for Children Supports Whole School Restorative Justice
Restorative justice has emerged as an effective approach to interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. It is a response to failed “zero tolerance” policies characterized by punitive approaches that disproportionately impact students of color, and those with special needs. Whole school restorative justice is a system-wide approach that helps schools shift towards restoring relationships among all community members.
Ramapo provides training and coaching to equip school administrators, staff, students and parents with the tools to promote positive school culture based on safety and mutual respect. We also work with schools to establish a Restorative Justice Action Team that designs, implements, and monitors restorative processes throughout the school community. Ramapo uses a three tier approach adopted from restorative justice models in San Francisco and Oakland to guide this process. Community-building circle practices, based on the wisdom of indigenous peoples, are an integral component of each restorative tier:
- Tier One builds relationships and a sense of connection within the school
- Tier Two responds to harm and mediates conflicts
- Tier Three reintegrates returning students back into a welcoming school community with a plan to help the student succeed.
What Ramapo Offers:
A wealth of evidence supports our experience that restorative practices work best when they are implemented school-wide and integrated into the fabric of the school community. We understand that this process is necessarily gradual and takes place over time as staff, students and parents buy in to the approach. Ramapo provides a range of services in helping schools establish restorative practices. They include:
- Introductory workshops for school leaders and staff to help them better understand what restorative practices are and how their implementation can foster safe, inclusive learning environments. School communities learn about specific practices such as peer mediation, conflict resolution and restorative circles and are introduced to the wider concept of whole-school transformation.
- Capacity building with school partners to implement restorative practices school-wide. This process begins with a needs assessment to help inform Ramapo coaches as they work with school communities in developing an individualized action plan for restorative work that aligns with each school’s current efforts and needs. The Ramapo Restorative Justice Coach works with school leaders to identify core members for a restorative justice action team and introduces all stakeholders to the process of incorporating restorative practices into a strategic action plan.
- Longer-term partnership. In schools that undertake this intensive approach, a typical scope of work takes place over a year or more as Ramapo trainers provide workshops, coaching with staff and youth leaders, model restorative conferences and meditations, and help to design school-wide community building events in support of restorative practices.
Ramapo’s approach to restorative justice in schools can be customized to serve educators at all grade levels, particularly middle school and high school. Ramapo’s restorative justice program is led by Yaniyah Pearson, the Director of Youth and Community Development, who has over 35 years of experience working with adolescents over-aged and under-credited populations. Our staff is comprised of veteran teachers, deans, principals, restorative practice specialists, and other leading experts in education and youth development. Ramapo’s experience and expertise includes working across all developmental age groups from early childhood to emerging adulthood.
Director, Restorative Practices and Equity Initiatives
Director, Agency Relations
School Partnerships Coordinator
Ramapo and Restorative Justice—Alternatives to Exclusionary Discipline Practices in Schools
The Ramapo Times—Fall 2016
For more information on Ramapo Training, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212.754.7003.