WeAreCaliber #19: The Restorative Justice Room + Family Partnerships @Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy!
Learn more about the amazing work restorative work that the clinicians at CMA are doing!
A recent interview with Angelica Maulucci (Associate Clinical Social Worker @ CMA)
Tell me more about the work you do in the RJ room and with families?
“ I certainly don't do it alone! It is a team effort. The process starts when staff send their RJ referrals via DeansList. There is a collaborative process (Leadership, SEL, and teachers) to create a project based on the nature of the referral. The student then completes the project during their recess time. Working with families is a key part of the process, they know their students best. There is also a foundation of SEL, which helps to foster the opportunity for Restorative Practices to be implemented daily. This looks like asking ourselves throughout the day: “What narratives are we creating for our students? How do our students leave school each day? How will our students navigate in this world in 5 years, in 10, in 15? How can we work to create the world as it should be within our campus?"
The CMA community also works together to:
-Be proactive with Restorative Practices in building community and relationships (ie. fostering authentic relationships with students and families, building trust & psychological safety, etc.)
-Validate and affirm students ethnic/racial identities (ie. affirming & celebrating the student/family and their culture, understanding the school to prison pipeline and how racism impacts our community, and putting explicit attention into equitable practices)
-Social-Emotional Development via Toolbox and activities (ie. clinical work with individual students, implementation & modeling of SEL curriculum)
Thanks to all of the foundational work of the CMA team, I am able to support the students' work on their project in the RJ room. The RJ process adapts each year based on feedback to better support the community.
If you could relate this to one of our pillars, which one (s) would they be?
“ I would relate this to HEART!”
How does this impact the students?
“My goal is for the students to graduate from CMA with a framework for building community connection and interpersonal social-emotional competence. I hope that students feel that we still care for them and believe in them despite their mistakes, because we expect kids to make mistakes! My work in the RJ room is to support students in learning from them. I want to help students change the narrative of themselves from "a bad kid" to feeling empowered to repair harm.”
What has surprised you?
“When a student comes to CMA from another school with a history of expulsion/suspension and engages in/internalizes the Restorative Process so quickly. It reminds me that behavior is a form of communication. The RJ room is a way of listening, validating, and helping them take accountability.”
Learn all about student led IEP's and how these are empowering students!
A recent interview with Audrey Hernandez (Education Specialist @CMA)
Tell me more about student-led IEP’s ?
“ So I had originally gotten the actual template from an online platform called Teachers Pay Teachers. A teacher posted on their IG and I had been wanting to do it for a long time. This allows students to be aware of their own SEL needs and I want them to know exactly what supports they need, so when they aren't receiving these they can advocate for themselves. I really want our staff and families to recognize that at this age student’s are realizing the areas that they are strong in and the areas that they are struggling in including academic, executive functioning, and social emotional. When students are at a place where they can recognize the great things that they are doing and good at they are more likely to want to work on the areas that they are struggling in. Although this my first time implementing direct student involvement in the IEP process, I plan to start this with students and their future IEP meetings. Research supports that students who are more involved in this process are more likely to succeed and learn leadership skills that will benefit them in all academic areas in and out of an educational setting.”
What do students get to learn from this?
“ This allows them to advocate for themselves and have and have access to resources that support their academic needs. I ask them to think about what they feel about their own strengths and areas for growth in the meeting. They develop a lot of self reflection- they identify what they are struggling with when they are in the classroom, etc. The student that led their own IEP talked about what these were for her and they aligned very closely to the data that we had already taken. This is allowing her to collaborate with us and meet her where she is at! The student was able to do this in front of her parents and they felt so much pride and joy for their daughter leading her own meeting. She wasn’t shy and this was very powerful!”
If you could relate this to one of our pillars, which one (s) would they be?
“ I would say ACT and HEART because it allows our students to take an action plan that they have. Recognize that they have goals and with these goals, in collaboration with their team, they are clearly able to understand their action plan for the next year. The meetings are about looking at the student holistically and looking at their strengths and being able to collaborate and share the love we have with the student. We recognize the gaps, but we really focus on the things that they can do.”
Has anything surprised you?
“ I think what surprised me the most was the willingness the student had. Her willingness to create a presentation about her areas of strength and growth and present it to her team with such maturity allowed me to feel a lot of pride for her.”
Learn all about how Mr. Payne has supported our 8th graders at Beta Upper School through the high school application process!
A recent interview with Derek Payne:
Tell me more about the work you are doing with the transitioning 8th graders?
“The real formal work is helping them learn about the options that are available. I don’t want them to default to going to a place that doesn’t meet their social and academic needs. This created a sense of urgency for a lot of them. They all took the time to learn about their options. I want to say all of our kids are applying to parochial and charter schools. The kids are really taking the lead on their work, they are the ones taking the initiative to do their research.”
What has surprised you about the process?
“Seeing them take responsibility and ownership of taking on the process. They are making a choice about where they will be the next four years of their lives! They are taking it upon them to make informed decisions.”
If you can relate the work you do to one of our pillars, which would it be?
“ I think ACT is a big one and I know they are still working for themselves in this case. I am seeing them step up and take initiative, doing research on where they want to go can mean 4 years of change. They also influence each other to make great choices about where they want to go. THINK as well because I started the year doing a life plan project with them and it’s the cutest thing in the world. They look on Zillow to look at mortgage prices, car payments, what they want their families to look like. We go through all their dreams and we bring it down from macro to micro. They think about what they are doing now, to have the life that they want. Middle school is all about developing habits, which will hugely impact their trajectory.”
What is the most memorable thing about going through this process with them?
“ I love seeing what their dreams and aspirations are and taking them through to see very real steps. I know all teachers do this everyday, but it makes it real when we talk about their dreams and they document these on their life plan. When you connect getting good grades and doing assignments to their dream, it’s more meaningful.”