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Understanding the Urgency for – and Hope around - Restorative Practices in AACPS

Restorative Practices in schools have two components: community-building and productively addressing harm to that community when needed.  AACPS began its Restorative journey in earnest in 2016, with a district level School Climate Specialist position that would be held by Kathy Rockefeller, J.D.

One of the first districts in the country (and the first in the state) to create such a position, AACPS was ahead of the curve.  Educators around the nation and the world are realizing that punitive sanctions in schools do not work to change student behavior. Worse, evidence about the School to Prison Pipeline demonstrated that each additional time a student experiences our traditional, punitive, sanctions exponentially increases the chance that student will not graduate, and will end up behind bars. The prevailing philosophy of “zero tolerance” was backfiring and making our students less safe, rather than more safe. Various forms of removal from community (suspension, detention, etc.) was the only tool we had to keep order, and it did not actually work to change behavior. Steadily, experts in Restorative Justice began applying ancient tools that they called Restorative Practices or Approaches. These tools promised to put educators back in the shoes of educators: teaching students using their behavior mistakes. They promised genuine accountability for wrongdoing. These promised hope to school communities struggling to keep their students safe and engaged in school.

But making Restorative Practices the prevailing discipline method in a large school system it is not for the faint of heart. District implementation requires determination, expertise, and recognition that it may not be a success-only journey. Hear from Ms. Rockefeller about the Restorative journey at AACPS. Where are we now? What challenges remain? What are the next steps? How can families help?

This course is open to the public and free to registered participants; and is part of CFAAC's Speaker Series on Becoming a Trauma Informed County.

About the Presentor:

Kathy Rockefeller, J.D.Kathy Rockefeller, J.D., is a conflict resolution professional with a passion around transforming traditional school discipline with effective and sustainable Restorative Practices (RP). In 2016, she joined Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) as a district-wide School Climate Specialist, working to design and implement RP systems for the 83,000 AACPS students. She is impressed by AACPS’s deep commitment to RP and its substantial progress over six years!  Before joining AACPS, Kathy directed the Mediation & Conflict Resolution Center (MCRC) for Howard County for 11 years. She has presented and/or testified in support of Restorative Practices in Education to various state legislative and education bodies, has published two articles in The National Association of Community and Restorative Justice’s Restorative Well, and is an active, founding member of the Circle of Restorative Practices (CRI) for Maryland. With husband, Rick, she raised three wonderful daughters and often jokes that the years with teen girls at home were her best training!

Register Here

January 26, 2022


Time | 12:00pm

January 26 - 12:00PM

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