Restorative circles have transformative power: They can create community where none existed before. They can connect students to each other and to the rest of the school community in meaningful ways. They can create safe, welcoming spaces to build trust and hone our skills. They can help us take on thorny issues, from discipline problems and conflict to implicit bias and inequity.
See our 28-page pdf booklet GETTING TO KNOW YOU for a wide range of activities will help you use social and emotional learning strategies to get the year off to a good start. Also check out the stand-alone introductory and community-building activities below from the TeachableMoment section of our website.
We hope you and your students have a great year!
Summer camp is in session at our PAZ after-school program at PS 214 in the Bronx. And our campers are on a mission to change the world!
The news of the police shootings in Dallas on July 6 was still unfolding Friday morning, as I was getting ready to co-facilitate a restorative circle with colleagues at Morningside Center. The circle was to prepare us for the 5-day professional development training we’d be doing with educators over the summer — a new version of our training that includes material on “celebrating identity” and “standing up to oppression.” Extremely relevant, it turned out, in the context of the week’s events.
It was the first time we’d be together after wrapping up a busy school year, in which we’d expanded our restorative practices work exponentially. And it was the last time we’d be together before starting down this path of introducing restorative circles materials that help to celebrate the richness of identities in our school communities while addressing prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, and exploring ways to stand up to oppression. Facilitating a session on implicit bias and interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline would be another first for us at this summer’s training. We had our work cut out for us.
We are seeking to fill a data entry position for our PAZ (Peace from A-Z) After-School Programs. Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility operates three after-school programs that strengthen the social and emotional competencies of some 560 students from grades K-8.
Morningside Center is looking for talented educators to help us carry out our work in NYC schools! If you are an experienced educator with a commitment to social and emotional learning, we urge you to apply.
Bronx high school students in a community-building circle.
Photo © Carolina Kroon
Dear Morningside Center friends,
Our staff developers have been working intensively all year with tens of thousands of students, teachers, and principals. And do they have stories to tell! Stories of young people who, given the chance, seize the opportunity to open up, to connect, to learn. Stories of dedicated teachers and principals who, amid all the pressures and deadlines, are willing to try something new and difficult (like restorative circles) if it will help their students and improve their schools.
I’m writing to share some stories from our schools, and to thank you for helping to make this work possible through your support for Morningside Center. Please donate now so that you can make more good things happen in the year to come! Your contribution will help us strengthen our programs and create new ones to meet the needs of young people and their schools.
Leaders of a network of after-school programs in Nashville wanted to find out what it would take to get kids engaged in STEM. They believe they've found an answer after making a site visit - all the way to our PAZ After-School Program at PS 214 elementary school in the Bronx.
- A kindergartner in Tennessee who is Latino was told by classmates that he would be deported and trapped behind a wall. Now he asks his teacher every day, “Is the wall here yet?”
This piece originally appeared in Education Week.
A few weeks ago the New York Times ran a story I found so disturbing that I had to use some of the cool-down strategies from my organization's "social and emotional learning" curricula before I could think clearly about it. (My organization, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, works with public schools to foster SEL.)
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