Stories & Voices
During 2016 (winter-spring of the 2015-16 school year and throughout 2016-17), Morningside Center supported 13 NYC expanded-day programs in piloting our C Squad curriculum – which was t
The other day I was asked about a situation that an advisor and her group of 10th graders had been struggling with all year.
While the advisor was relatively new to the school, the students had been there for years and were familiar with the expectation of weekly circles. Yet whenever it was time for circle, students pushed back, insisting on doing their homework instead. As one student argued: "Colleges only look at our core classes, so we have to work on getting our GPA up instead."
When I was in Ohio a few weeks back, I visited four different middle schools that recently started implementing circles. I had been asked to do some modeling, so that teachers and counselors who were expected to run circles with their students could get a sense of what a well facilitated circle process looks like. I wasn't making any promises about what these circles would achieve, because I didn't have a relationship with any of the students and there's only so much that's possible in a first-time circle.
Morningside Center staff developer Dionne Grayman was asked by her daughter's school to facilitate a post-election circle for parents and staff. Many who came were upset about the election. Here's what happened.
Dionne Grayman, a Morningside Center staff developer, shares a brief moment in an NYC classroom where she is introducing community-building circles through our Restore 360 Program. One first step for each circle group is to come up with a "community agreement" about how everyone will treat each other.
I was in a circle with a group of young men, one of whom was a struggling reader.
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.
In a survey, 4Rs students were asked about the most important thing they learned, and about situations where they were able to use their new skills. Here are some of their responses:
In a survey, 4Rs students were asked what they do when they get upset. Here are some of their responses:
When I was in college, I practically lived in the painting studio. But I didn't keep it up after I graduated. When I tried to get back into it I discarded canvas after canvas, thinking the next project would surely be easier. After a while, I convinced myself that I had forgotten how to paint. Maybe I just wasn't good at it anymore.
Introducing mindfulness into the middle school classroom has been an interesting endeavor for me this year. Mindful awareness (attending to the here and now, being fully present, with intention an
I was working in Warren recently, a city hard hit by layoffs and shutdowns in the Ohio Rust Belt. One of the 8th grade teachers asked me if I could model a circle in her classroom.
I've been complimented on my English about as often as I've been asked why I don't speak Spanish. In high school and college I was frequently labeled "exotic." My curly hair is mystifying to people everywhere, it seems, as I am constantly asked a stream of questions about it. Is it really just like that? How do I control it? Why don't I straighten it?
I recently heard the educator and writer Parker Palmer talking about silences with Courtney Martin on NPR’s On Being. Palmer said that we need to "learn to listen deeply to each other...a
To say I've had powerful experiences using restorative circles in schools is an understatement. Circles are radically changing the way staff and students interact with each other at some of my schools.
If you are a dreamer, come in
If you’re a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic bean buyer ...
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
- The Invitation by Shel Silverstein
Four lessons on partnering with researchers
Lupe, a 12th grader from Brooklyn, talks about why she decided to become a Circle Keeper and the impact it has had on her interactions with other students.
I know that we are all exhaling a huge sigh of relief because June is within our reach, but I encourage you to press on; keep teaching how you know is right, every day that you have kids sitting in front of you.
Maya, Peer Mediator, PS 116
Caryn, 12th grader, on Restorative Circles
Joseph, 12th grader, on restorative circles
We encouraged students at our PAZ After-School Program in Brooklyn (grades 2-5) to write poems about their community, their dreams, what they love, what angers them, and other things they are passi
The students in Mr. Van Nort's senior English class had their last Circle in mid-June. Mr. Van Nort asked everyone to reflect on their experience together at the Green School, a public high school in Brooklyn. Then he passed the group's talking piece (a pink and purple stuffed dog) around the Circle.