Monday, November 9, 2015

Hinkley High School Principal Shared Video of Circle

Hinkley High School Principal Matthew Willis recently shared this video of a circle with me. This is the explanation he wrote accompanying the video.

This was an important Restorative Circle because we took the time to develop the ideals and values of community.  A community does not ignore things when they happen.  They address then to move forward.  Our community cannot accept violence, misconduct, or inadequate academic achievement as the standard.  We must develop a Culture of Care, based a relationships, that address our actions as a community.  Hook (2003) writes, "Community is the coming together of a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other; whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to rejoice together, morn together, and to delight in each other and make the conditions of others our own" (p. 196, emphasis added).  So often we forget the importance of developing community, relationships, and our commitments to each other.  Yet, without relationships built on the ideals of community, we miss the point. 

I have seen many of you beginning to use the Community Circle approach to develop STRONG relationships and develop a community within your classrooms.  Some circles address harm, as in this video, while others develop strong relationships, a Culture of Care, safe educational environment, shared learning, and even secret celebratory codes.  The evidence is mounting that schools that engage in Restorative Practices WILL change their disciplinary and academic outcomes.

Please continue to demonstrate the importance of community as we leverage our Culture of Care to maximize the potential of every student in our school.  If you are still unsure about the power of Restorative Practices (relationship building circles and conferences, co-created norms, ...) in the classroom then I would check out the following teachers:  Berberich, Bicknase, Thompson, Lebsack.  I've seen each of these teachers in action using restorative practices and circles to enhance their educational environment.

Also, if you use the community circle or restorative practices approach in your classroom, please invite me into see your intentional approach or even support you with approximation.  I'd love to document your initiative and add you to my list.

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