Teaching Peace in Schools – 10 week Virtual Course

Teach-Peace-course-logo-wide-vs4-600

You can still join this exciting 10-week overview course, by registering and listening to the audio. 

This course features inspiring wisdom and leadership from the field of Restorative Justice, Mindfulness, NVC and Social & Emotional Learning in schools. It will explore bringing these critical skills into school communities.

Register here to attend this course!

This practical online course is an overview, intended to provide those unfamiliar with Restorative Justice Practices and other related modalities a chance to learn more about how they work effectively in schools and their communities worldwide. If you are already familiar with restorative justice practices and other modalities we will cover here, this will be a rich opportunity to work directly with our faculty from around the world, in deepening skills as well as to sound off with others as to their unique approaches and challenges. While there will be a tremendous amount of useful information covered in this course, which will often be immediately useful, it is not an in-depth intensive on each area covered, but instead a thorough overview that will allow participants to move forward into the future better able to identify what is the best fit for them given their immediate system/s, and provide good information to continue to develop those skills.

This is a course for teachers, administrators, parents, interested community members and practitioners.  It’s for anyone interested in this topic or just generally living a more peaceful life and cultivating more peaceful communities.  There will be much to take away and further develop.

General Take-Aways:

  • Learn how schools have saved time in the long run by implementing peacebuilding and Restorative Justice Practices (RJP) systems in their classrooms. Step by step how to’s for your own school or related system.
  • Find out how it benefits staff morale and changes the climate of a school towards a compassionate and verdant environment for best learning possibilities.
  • Hear from Youth themselves in what works and seems viable in building a peaceful school community (and what doesn’t) plus how they’ve done it together.
  • Discover and/or build upon your own practices and find out key first steps for implementation and how to go about inquiring with those who may feel resistant to new things.
  • Learn how peacebuilding and RJP can strengthen the greater school community, which includes parents, school staff, related professional representatives such as resource officers and counselors, and the community at large where partnerships and programs interlink.
  • Learn or build upon areas such as: nonviolent communication skills and languaging; peace circle processes and how facilitation works; learn about key research done in the past twenty years surrounding RJ and schools; and more
  • Practice and experience useful tools with our faculty.
  • Receive directly recommended resources from each faculty.
  • Receive audio recordings of all live sessions.

Each session of the course will feature a leading edge expert teacher/guide with a global base of wisdom, including Dominic Barter, Kay Pranis, Camisha Fatimah Gentry and many others.

As a baseline for lasting success, focal areas in this summit include: 

  • Restorative Justice & Circle Practices
  • Mindfulness Practices in Schools
  • Social & Emotional Learning Skills and
  • Nonviolent Communication.

In our research over the past several years we’ve identified some of the top methods being used on the ground to turn around our education system. We know that our youth seed the future, and yet so many schools are struggling with overburdened and underappreciated teachers and staff. But in fact, there are schools across the nation and world finding that by implementing, for example, a short circle process and starting slowly to re-frame their agreements and slightly tweak their schedules, a surprising thing is occurring, the climate of the school begins to shift: conflict and violence drop substantially, bullying is reduced, truancy goes down and grade point averages rise. In a West Philadelphia High School, within two years of implementing a Restorative Discipline program, incidents of assault and disorderly conduct dropped more than 65%.

Each week participants will gain insights into how they can build upon or begin their own restorative communities within schools and beyond. This content is applicable world-wide, not just in the U.S. This course is modeled to provide viable tools for all of us, regardless of whether we have children in schools, because it is a way of living and interacting, of hearing and not just listening, of allowing understanding and walking towards conflict instead of running from it.

There are schools across the nation and world that find by implementing one or more of these practices, the climate of the school begins to significantly shift:

  • Conflict and violence drop substantially
  • Emotional well-being rises
  • Bullying is reduced
  • Truancy goes down and
  • Grade point averages rise.

At a glance sketch of the course week-by-week (all course sessions held at 5pm PST to 6:30pm PST and will feature interactives with session guides – they will be audio recorded to share with registrants):

  • Weds. February 10th  Session One: Nurturing strong roots for systemic change with Kay Pranis & Carolyn Boyes-Watson
  • Weds. February 17th: Session Two: Circling the Square with Nancy Riestenberg and Rita Alfred
  • Weds. February 24th: Session Three: Building Systems to Promote Dialogue: How Restorative Circles support Community Responses to Conflict with Dominic Barter
  • Weds. March 2nd: Session Four: Orange County, FL team with Mara Schiff and others
  • Weds. March 9th:  Session Five: From Conflict to Connection: Speaking Peace for the Next Generation with Jim and Jori Manske
  • Thurs. March 17th: Session Six: Mindfulness and Restorative Justice Practices (RJP): Working with The Developing Nervous System of Youth with Chris McKenna of Mindful Schools
  • Thurs. March 24th: Session Seven: Rocks Breeding Roses: How to Transform Challenges in Restorative Justice Implementation to Fertile Ground with CamishaFatimah Gentry and an Oakland Youth TBA
  • Tuesday March 29th BONUS SESSION Restorative Practices: Changing School Culture, Building Relationships and Transforming Discipline with Dr. Sandra Pavelka
  • Thurs. March 31st: Session Eight: Urban Schools: Evolution of Restorative Practice over Two Decades in Baltimore, with Lauren Abramson of the Baltimore Community Conferencing Center
  • Thurs. April 7th: Session Nine: Fania Davis, Co-Founder of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)
  • Thurs. April 14th: Jeffrey Weisberg of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding on SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and interweaving RJP and wholistic modalities to build strong school communities

Register here to attend this course!

 

Full Course Outline & Faculty Bios:


Fania Davis

Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era, the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing crystallized within Fania a passionate commitment to social transformation. For the next decades, she was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, anti-racial violence and anti-apartheid movements. After receiving her law degree from University of California , Berkeley in 1979, Fania practiced almost 27 years as a civil rights trial lawyer.

During the mid 1990’s, she entered a Ph.D. program in indigenous studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and apprenticed with traditional healers around the globe, particularly in Africa . Since receiving her Ph.D. in 2003, Fania has been engaged in a search for healing alternatives to adversarial justice. She has taught Restorative Justice at San Francisco ‘s New College Law School and Indigenous Peacemaking at Eastern Mennonite University ‘s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. She writes and speaks on these subjects.

The search for a healing justice also led Fania to bring restorative justice to Oakland . A founder and currently Director of RJOY, Fania also serves as counsel to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. She recently received the Ubuntu award for service to humanity. Fania’s research interests include exploring the indigenous roots, particularly the African indigenous roots, of restorative justice. Fania is also a mother of two children, a dancer, and practitioner of yoga.

Fania’s Session is on April 7th and promises to be an inspiring and insightful look into one of the nation’s wayshowing programs for youth.

RJOY Website


Carolyn Boyes-Watson is Director of Suffolk University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Associate Professor of Sociology at Suffolk University. Professor Boyes-Watson has been on the faculty since 1993.

Boyes-Watson has published in the area of restorative justice, criminal justice, technology and social control and drug policy. She is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, the prisoners’ rights organization of Massachusetts.

Her current research interests include restorative justice and criminal justice policy and she teaches in the areas of criminal justice, juvenile justice and restorative justice.

Her most recent book is Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community with Kay Pranis (2014), with whom she also co-authored Heart of Hope. Peacemaking Circles & Urban Youth: Bringing Justice Home (Living Justice Press, 2008).

Carolyn will co-teach with Kay Pranis for the opening session February 10th “Nurturing Strong Roots for Systemic Change”

A strong root system is essential for pursuing the vision of a restorative school community through the ups and downs of the challenges of implementation. Nurturing those roots has both personal and collective dimensions.Carolyn and Kay will offer an opportunity to reflect on our core beliefs about human nature and the meaning of teaching and learning. Our belief systems guide our hearts and minds in daily practice but are often unexamined.

This session will explore the deep conceptual framework that can support and energize the hard work of building a restorative culture in schools.When a vision is strongly rooted in values and principles there is expansive room for creativity and differentiation for local circumstances. There is no prescription – each community must find its own way through values and principles to the specific manifestation of the restorative vision for itself.

This session will take a pause from ‘doing’ to focus on ‘being’.

  • How do we bring our individual internal power to the collective effort of creating schools where everyone belongs and everyone is valued?
  • How do we want to show up to do this work?
  • What mind-set and heart-set will help us achieve our vision?
  • How do we hold ourselves in relationship to those we work with – young people, parents and colleagues?
  • What beliefs guide those relationships? What beliefs help us hold steady when it is confusing?
  • How do we bring out the best in ourselves and those around us?
  • What deep convictions keep us going forward when we are exhausted and discouraged?
  • What aspects of human nature are organically oriented toward restorative relationships?

Becoming conscious of those beliefs and aware of their power can enhance the depth and momentum of our work. Carolyn and Kay will share their thoughts on core assumptions and beliefs that give life to a restorative vision and invite participants to share their core assumptions and beliefs.

Carolyn’s Chatauqua Institute Presentaion-YouTube


CamishaFatimah Gentry is currently a restorative practices consultant and can be reached at camishafatimah@gmail.com.

In the recent past she served as the RJOY (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth) School Coordinator at West Oakland Middle School in Oakland, CA. Raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, then the heart of the Black community in Northern California, CamishaFatimah as a teen was caught up in the street life. After conversion to Islam and other experiences which helped to get her life back on track, CamishaFatimah enrolled in Bennett College, the first African-American women’s college in the nation’s history, where she earned a Bachelor’s in Communications. Travel to South Africa and Saudi Arabia during this time broadened her horizons even further. She later pursued graduate studies at Mills College and received her Masters’ in Educational Leadership in 2009. While a graduate student, CamishaFatimah facilitated a self-help course for San Quentin inmates with ‘Keepin’ It Real’, a self-development training group.

CamishaFatimah has also worked as a counselor and facilitator for the Oakland Parks and Recreation Office’s Radical Roving Recreation program, an initiative that focuses on Oakland’s most at-risk street youth. Since the fall of 2009, CamishaFatimah has been employed by RJOY as a School Coordinator, assigned to Street Academy , a continuation high school in Oakland . She is responsible for implementing restorative processes at the school site, both in response to conflict and as a means of creating a stronger, healthier, and more caring school community. She demonstrates by example that it is possible for youth to turn their lives around and become effective and powerful forces of positive change in their communities. Camisha is the mother of three girls.

She was accepted to a PhD program in 2013 where her focus was Depth Psychology concentration in Community, Liberation and Eco Psychology. CamishaFatimah has also worked with such groups as ESSIE Justice Group, All of Us or None, IMPACT (Incarcerated Men Putting Away Childish Things), WISE (Women Incarcerated Still Enduring), and California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), to name a few.

CamishaFatimah will lead our session on March 24th: Rocks Breeding Roses: How to Transform Challenges in Restorative Justice Implementation to Fertile Ground

This session will cover challenges in implementing RJ in schools from the context of structural racism, power struggles between traumatized youth and burned out adults and the time that it takes to build sustainable healthy school communities that repair multigenerational harms of genocide and Gentrification…from an African American womans perspective.


Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as ‘peacemaking circles.’ Kay learned about peacemaking circles in her work in restorative justice in the mid-90s Her initial teachers in the circle work were Barry Stuart, a judge in Yukon, Canada, and Mark Wedge and Harold Gatensby, First Nations people of Yukon. Since that initial exposure to the use of peacemaking circles in the justice system Kay has been involved in developing the use of peacemaking circles in schools, social services, churches, families, museums, universities, municipal planning and workplaces.

Kay has authored or co-authored several books about circles: Peacemaking Circles – From Crime to Community; The Little Book of Circle Processes – A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking; Doing Democracy with Circles – Engaging Communities in Public Planning; Heart of Hope – A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships; Circle Forward – Building a Restorative School Community.

Kay works primarily as a trainer in the peacemaking circle process. She is a Senior Associate at the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University in Boston. She is also an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University, Eastern Mennonite University and Southwest Minnesota State University.

Kay has a particular interest in the use of circles to support social justice efforts addressing racial, economic, class and gender inequities. That interest includes the use of peacemaking circles to understand and respond to historical harms to groups of people. The peacemaking circle process has been a source of energy, inspiration and continuous learning for Kay for the past 20 years.

Kay will co-teach with Carolyn Boyes-Watson for the opening session February 10th “Nurturing Strong Roots for Systemic Change”

A strong root system is essential for pursuing the vision of a restorative school community through the ups and downs of the challenges of implementation. Nurturing those roots has both personal and collective dimensions.

Carolyn and Kay will offer an opportunity to reflect on our core beliefs about human nature and the meaning of teaching and learning. Our belief systems guide our hearts and minds in daily practice but are often unexamined. This session will explore the deep conceptual framework that can support and energize the hard work of building a restorative culture in schools.

A strong root system is essential for pursuing the vision of a restorative school community through the ups and downs of the challenges of implementation. Nurturing those roots has both personal and collective dimensions.

This session will explore the deep conceptual framework that can support and energize the hard work of building a restorative culture in schools.When a vision is strongly rooted in values and principles there is expansive room for creativity and differentiation for local circumstances. There is no prescription – each community must find its own way through values and principles to the specific manifestation of the restorative vision for itself.

This session will take a pause from ‘doing’ to focus on ‘being’.

  • How do we bring our individual internal power to the collective effort of creating schools where everyone belongs and everyone is valued?
  • How do we want to show up to do this work?
  • What mind-set and heart-set will help us achieve our vision?
  • How do we hold ourselves in relationship to those we work with – young people, parents and colleagues?
  • What beliefs guide those relationships? What beliefs help us hold steady when it is confusing?
  • How do we bring out the best in ourselves and those around us?
  • What deep convictions keep us going forward when we are exhausted and discouraged?
  • What aspects of human nature are organically oriented toward restorative relationships?

Becoming conscious of those beliefs and aware of their power can enhance the depth and momentum of our work. Carolyn and Kay will share their thoughts on core assumptions and beliefs that give life to a restorative vision and invite participants to share their core assumptions and beliefs.


Chris McKenna is Program Director at Mindful Schools, one of the leading organizations in the U.S. integrating mindfulness into education and youth mental health. Mindful Schools has trained educators in all 50 U.S. states and 80+ countries, impacting over 300,000 children and adolescents.

Previously, Chris was the Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project, a nonprofit that pioneered the development of mindfulness-based interventions for high-risk adolescents with complex trauma. During his tenure, MBA published the first formal research on the impact of mindfulness programming on youth in the U.S. juvenile probation system. Chris is on the Curriculum Advisory Committee of Dalai Lama Fellows and the Advisory Councils of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, Mindful Muslims, the Mind Body Awareness Project and Veterans PATH.

Chris will lead our March 17th class on Mindfulness and Restorative Justice Practices (RJP): Working with The Developing Nervous System of Youth with Chris McKenna of Mindful Schools

Over the past decade, mindfulness training in U.S. primary and secondary education has become increasingly commonplace. From developing self-care and stress management skills in teachers to developing attention, compassion and empathy in students, a growing body of clinical and neuroscientific research supports the value of mindfulness practice in both education and youth mental health contexts. This session will provide a theoretical overview as well as a practical introduction to mindfulness in the general context of education and the specific context of restorative justice practices. We’ll focus both on the relationship between mindfulness exercises and the developing brain in children, as well as well as how mindfulness is used to work with toxic stress and secondary trauma in adult educators and caregivers.

Takeaways: For Teachers: Understand what mindfulness looks like in the classroom context and what your role is in facilitating it. For Administrators: Understand how mindfulness effects the culture of a school and how it relates to other social and emotional learning initiatives. For Parents: Understand the central importance of stable adult presence and healthy attunement in your child’s development.

Mindful Schools Website


Nancy Riestenberg has over twenty-five years of experience in the fields of violence prevention education, child sexual abuse prevention and restorative measures in schools. She has worked with school districts in Minnesota and 20 other states, and speaks nationally on restorative measures at conferences and through trainings. She provides technical assistance on violence and bullying prevention, school connectedness, school climate, disproportionate minority representation in suspensions and expulsions dropout prevention, cultural relevance of prevention education, crisis prevention and recovery and restorative measures.

Nancy was a member of the design team for the National Institute of Corrections’ restorative conferencing curriculum, Facilitating Restorative Group Conferences. She presented at the Restorative Approaches to Conflict in Schools Seminar at the University of Edinburgh.

Prior to coming to the Minnesota Department of Education, Nancy worked for twelve years with the Illusion Theater’s Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, which created and toured educational plays on child sexual abuse, domestic violence and HIV/AIDS prevention education. She coordinated the adaptation of Touch, the child sexual abuse prevention play, for the Red Lake People, and trained high school students in twenty different school districts in eight states to present social issue prevention plays to their peers.

Nancy co-teaches with Rita Alfred on February 17th: Circling the Square

Rita Renjitham Alfred consults with schools and trains district personnel, school site staff, students, parents and community members in school districts in the Bay Area in Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Circles. She initiated Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Circles at Cole Middle School in West Oakland initially as the expulsion case manager for Oakland Unified School District, then as the Restorative Justice Coordinator for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). The pilot program at Cole was effective in significantly transforming the school culture to one that was more caring, and centered on relationships. This culture change was instrumental in the dramatic decrease in referrals for expulsions, suspensions, and violence on campus. These statistics encouraged staff at approximately 20 additional schools within the District to embrace Restorative Justice, and they are currently implementing restorative practices at their sites. She also served as lead trainer at the Castlemont campus of 4 schools which is a ‘Building Healthy Communities’ site, an initiative funded through The California Endowment.

Rita assisted in the writing of the Restorative Justice Resolution that was adopted and passed by the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education in January 2010. In the last 6 years, Rita and others have trained over 3000 certificated, classified and support staff at 4 school districts, and is now guiding them through the implementation phase. Rita and Ina co-founded the Restorative Justice Training Institute in 2011 with the goal to build capacity in communities to transform into greater health, vibrancy and accountability. Rita raised two sons as a single parent and now is a grandmother to a granddaughter and grandson.

Website http://rjtica.org/home


Dominic Barter plays with dialogue and partnership, focusing primarily in the fields of education, justice, culture and social change. In the mid-90s he collaborated in the development of Restorative Circles, a community-based and -owned practice for dynamic engagement with conflict that grew from conversations with residents in gang-controlled shantytown favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

He adapted the practice for the Brazilian Ministry of Justice’s award-winning national projects in Restorative Justice and supports its application in a further 25 countries. In recent years he has supervised the mediation program for the Police Pacification Units in Rio, served as invited professor at the Standing Group for Consensual Methods of Conflict Resolution, at the High Court of Rio, with a focus on school mediation and bullying, and focused on the development of restorative community. Currently Dominic directs the Dialogue Restoration project for the State Education Department of Rio de Janeiro and partners with the Centre for the Study of Public Security and Citizenship at Candido Mendes University.

Dom will be with us February 24th for: Building Systems to Promote Dialogue: How Restorative Circles support Community Responses to Conflict

In the most challenging of circumstances there is still possibility of restoration and understanding. With a heart and practice of inquiry and courage, learn how one person teamed with many over the past decades to cultivate restorative community and built a school based in those values.

An awareness of how a community of poverty and violence (the Favelas) has walked towards conflict of the most brutal kind. Insights and building blocks on existing knowledge that lead to wholistic systems based in relationship and commonly accepted and honored values.

Circulos Restorativos/Restorative Circles Website


Rita Alfred

consults with schools and trains district personnel, school site staff, students, parents and community members in school districts in the Bay Area in Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Circles. She initiated Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Circles at Cole Middle School in West Oakland initially as the expulsion case manager for Oakland Unified School District, then as the Restorative Justice Coordinator for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). The pilot program at Cole was effective in significantly transforming the school culture to one that was more caring, and centered on relationships. This culture change was instrumental in the dramatic decrease in referrals for expulsions, suspensions, and violence on campus.   These statistics encouraged staff at approximately 20 additional schools within the District to embrace Restorative Justice, and they are currently implementing restorative practices at their sites. She also served as lead trainer at the Castlemont campus of 4 schools which is a ‘Building Healthy Communities’ site, an initiative funded through The California Endowment.

Rita assisted in the writing of the Restorative Justice Resolution that was adopted and passed by the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education in January 2010.
In the last 6 years, Rita and others have trained over 3000 certificated, classified and support staff at 4 school districts, and is now guiding them through the implementation phase. Rita and Ina co-founded the Restorative Justice Training Institute in 2011 with the goal to build capacity in communities to transform into greater health, vibrancy and accountability.
Rita raised two sons as a single parent and now is a grandmother to a granddaughter and grandson.

Rita co-teaches with Nancy Riestenberg on February 17th: Circling the Square


Jim and Jori Manske, married and working closely for over 37 years, share the intentions to cooperate together in the great adventure of life, to openly and honestly share their deepest thoughts and feelings, and to honor and accept each other with ever-increasing ability. These intentions continue to frame not only their relationship with one another, but also all their relationships and work.

As co-creators of peaceworks, they offer training, mediation, facilitation, organizational development, consulting and mentoring. They have been working with a variety of businesses, community groups, government, NGO’s, private groups and individuals since 1971. They each have certifications as Trainers, Mediators, and Facilitators, as well as certifications in Nonviolent Communication (CNVC Certified Trainers, since 2003) and Neuro-inguistic Programming (NLP), and have degrees in Communication (Jim) and Social Work (Jori).

In June 2008, they completed their year and a half term as inaugural leaders of the Global Community Circle (GCC) for The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), supporting the growth and well-being of communities in the worldwide CNVC network. They were founding members of the Network for Nonviolent Communication and have contributed directly to many emerging NVC communities worldwide. Jori also served as Interim Director of CNVC from January 2006 until May 2007, on the CNVC Board of Directors for 3 years. Both of them are actively engage with the New Future Process, focusing on a new organizational model for the NVC Organization and Global Community. They co-authored Pathways to Liberation, and remain eager to discover new ways of supporting leadership and compassion. Currently living in Haiku, Maui, Jim and Jori are contributing to Hawaii NVC and the Network for Nonviolent Communication, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, including NVC for the Next Generation in Maui. They offer weekly practice groups in Maui with and emphasis on supporting healthy relationships and families through nonviolent conflict transformation. They also support the emerging NVC communities of Taiwan and Japan. and this year they intend to expand their outreach to Singapore and China.

Jim and Jori will lead March 9th: From Conflict to Connection: Speaking Peace for the Next Generation

In this session we will focus on the simple, effective and practical tools of Nonviolent Communication and how they can be used by teachers, administrators, parents and peacemakers. With NVC, every moment can become an opportunity to move from conflict to connection

For Teachers:

  • Conflict is natural and normal in the classroom. With NVC, every moment is an opportunity to practice compassion through communication.
  • Every behavior is in the service of a universal need.
  • By modeling self-connection, empathy and authenticity, teachers can support the next generation in integrating nonviolence in the next generation from the inside out.
  • Warmth creates safety, and safety supports engaged learning.
  • Nonviolent Communication creates an atmosphere of shared power, thus contributing to a direct experience of democracy.

For Administrators:

  • Nonviolent Communication supports collaboration because it contributes to shared responsibility and shared power.
  • An empathic environment in the school community supports productivity because when the needs of teachers, kids and parents are met, everyone can more easily focus on fulfilling learning goals.
  • One key to creating an empathic environment is authentic gratitude.
  • Warmth creates safety, and safety supports peace in the school.
  • Nonviolent Communication creates an atmosphere of shared power, thus contributing to a direct experience of democracy.

For Parents:

  • By learning, practicing and living NVC, parents model emotional intelligence for their kids.
  • Kids are natural-born NVC practitioners.
  • Parents awaken kids’ natural capabilities for self-connection, empathy and honesty through modeling.
  • By focusing on universal needs, parents cultivate more ease, cooperation and respect.
  • Warmth creates safety, and safety supports peace in the home and in the heart.
  • Nonviolent Communication creates an atmosphere of shared power, thus contributing to a direct experience of democracy.

Org Link/s: radicalcompassion.com; nvcforthenextgeneration.org; cnvc.org


Sandra Pavelka, Ph.D., serves as founding Director of the Institute for Youth and Justice Studies and as an Associate Professor of Public Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Pavelka previously served as the founding Director of the Center for Public and Social Policy at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Dr. Pavelka served as the Senior Research Associate with the Community Justice Institute at Florida Atlantic University. She was also the Project Administrator of the Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) Project funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. She continues to serve as a consultant on the BARJ Project.

Prior to her appointment at Florida Atlantic University, she served as the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Youth Policy at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center. In this position, she administered the Florida and National Juvenile Detention Initiatives funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and served as research director for the Center.

Dr. Pavelka received her Ph.D. in Public Administration (2000) with a specialization in Justice Policy from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida. Her dissertation, Practice to Policy to Management: A Restorative Justice Framework, focused on system reform and policy implementation of restorative justice nationally. She holds a Master of Public Administration (1989) from Florida International University in Miami, Florida and Bachelor of Arts (Political Science – 1985) from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Pavelka’s interests include: public policy, juvenile justice, community and restorative justice, and program evaluation. Dr. Pavelka serves as Editor and member of the Peer Review Board for the International Journal of Restorative Justice.


Dr. Mara Schiff is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University and President of PeaceWorks Consulting, Inc. Dr. Schiff has had over 30 years experience in criminal and juvenile justice research, planning, evaluation, training and teaching, focusing on restorative community justice.

She has completed two edited and one co-authored book on restorative justice, as well as numerous academic journal articles and book chapters. She has received evaluation and training grants from the National Institute of Justice and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as other national and local organizations. Dr. Schiff speaks and trains nationally and internationally on restorative justice, focusing specifically on restorative justice in schools, communities and the interection of racial and restorative justice. She works with school districts implementing restorative stratgies to shift disciplinary policy, climate and culture.

Recent invitations have included policy and academic events such as Closing the School Discipline Gap in Washington DC, the New York State Permanent Commission on Justice for Children’s School-Justice Partnership Summit in New York City, the First and Second International Symposiums on Restorative Justice held in Skopelos, Greece, First International Conference on Child Justice and Children’s Rights, Pretoria, South Africa, and the National Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnership in Washington, DC.

She served as the confernce host and lead organizer for the 5th National Confernce on Community and Restoraive Justice held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2015 and is an active board member for the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice.


Jeffrey Weisberg (pictured with Heart Phoenix) As the Executive Director of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Jeffrey has designed, developed and implemented a wide range of programs and services in Gainesville, Florida and throughout the United States. His work with youth includes peer mediation, juvenile diversion programs, youth empowerment and coming of age programs. Jeffrey serves as a Florida Certified State Mediator and mediates cases involving juvenile offenders, family disputes and small business conflicts.

In addition, Jeffrey is using Restorative Practices to support the Department of Juvenile Justice, the court system, schools and communities to bolster alternatives to the punishment model. He is a founding member of The Peace Alliance and has served on the Board for 8 years. He believes that by training and empowering both youth and adults to learn and practice vital communication skills, we not only create greater connections with others but we can de-escalate conflict for a safer and more productive outcome.

Thurs. April 14th: SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and interweaving RJP and wholistic modalities to build strong school communities


Lauren Abramson is a psychologist with 20 years of experience with Restorative Practices. She is currently Founder and Executive Director of the Community Conferencing Center (www.communityconferencing.org) in Baltimore, Maryland. Lauren brought Community Conferencing to Baltimore in 1995, and has been providing conferencing and other Restorative Practices services and training in Baltimore’s courts, schools, neighborhoods, and organizations.

The successes of the Community Conferencing Center over the past 18 years speak to the power and potential of this work in highly distressed communities in America’s large cities. With the increasing pressure for schools to use Restorative Practices, Lauren has been working to preserve RP as a values-based approach, as opposed to a “plug-and-play” set of “techniques.” Lauren has published articles which help elucidate both theoretical and practical aspects of Restorative Practices.

Thurs. March 31st: Urban Schools: Evolution of Restorative Practice over Two Decades in Baltimore


Register here to attend this course!