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.)
Suspensions in NYC public schools dropped 17% in the 2014-15 school year, according to the latest Department of Education data. This continues the trend of the past four years, which has seen NYC suspensions drop 36% overall.
“Everyone is needed for what they bring” is one of the seven core assumptions of restorative circles. We all have stories, perspectives and ideas to enrich each other’s lives. In circles, we are all teachers and we are all learners.
As the talking piece goes around, everyone is invited to speak. The welcoming, equitable process in circles tends to empower students to bring their whole selves to the circle – including their wisdom when it comes to solving problems and “discipline.”
A message from the Executive Director, 2015 Annual Report.
Back in 2002, punishment was the big trend in education. But it went by other names, like “zero tolerance” and “No Child Left Behind.” NCLB ushered in a brutal new testing regime that was supposed to “hold schools accountable” for student academic success and close the “achievement gap” – yet failed to create the conditions that would make that possible. “Zero tolerance” was supposed to be the answer to school discipline. It led to soaring suspensions and a growing police presence in the schools.
Note: This is the final post in a 3-part series on Trusting the Process. The series describes a four-day training session on restorative circles with a group of around 20 school staff members, some of whom had reservations about the training and the circle process. We hope it will be useful for circle keepers, especially those who are encountering resistance from circle participants. See Part 1 and Part 2.
Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-part blogpost. The series describes a 4-day training session on restorative circles with a group of around 20 staff members from a school, some of whom had reservations about the training and the circle process. See Part 1 here.
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