Thursday, November 20, 2014

Today: Teachers Unite Brooklyn Restorative Justice Meetup + Workshop

I'm going to this event today with Mike Schirtzer from Leon Goldstein HS, though I have to leave early because we are doing a tuneup rehearsal at the RTC for this weekend's Damn Yankees shows. Mike has been totally captivated by the work of Teachers Unite. (I am a proud original member and supporter since its inception.) There is another one in Manhattan on Monday. See below.

Why restorative justice? I rarely had a child suspended and in fact used my own version of RJ to keep peace in my classroom. I think my approach to most kids helped keep me in the classroom for so long.  I felt suspension and or removal made me feel like a weak teacher. I wanted to have the attitude that I could deal with every child - even if not perfect I wanted that sense of confidence in myself.

Teachers Unite, founded by Sally Lee, has done amazing work in this area. Imagine a teacher and a child have a major conflict. I heard a story on NPR today about a battle between a librarian at Lincoln HS and a student who ended up suspended for 30 days. From what she said she did I can understand how a teacher would get crazy. But imagine if they could sit down with each other in some sort of setting to deescalate things. Now we know some students have such serious issues that things may never get resolved. In my one year as a special ed cluster (1979-80) working with in an emotionally and neurologically impaired unit in my school, kids were so off the wall, after over a dozen years of teaching I was still shocked. One of the great teachers in that unit told me there is a reason for why kids sometimes go nuts and as a teacher, being attuned and sensitive to the WHY of behavior is important.

Here are the Brooklyn and Manhattan announcements sent by Anna Bean who works with Sally. (Anna and her husband stopped by our house during Sandy recovery to offer a hand and that was how we got our dead - even though a month old - washing machine and dryer out to the curb.) Note the Dec. 13 fundraiser.

Brooklyn Restorative Justice Meetup + Workshop
***With Math & Science Breakout Group!***

Thursday, November 20th
4:30 to 6pm

Hosted by Brooklyn Frontiers High School
112 Schermerhorn Street
2/3/4/5 to Borough Hall |A/C/F/N/R to Jay St. MetroTech | G to Hoyt Schermerhorn
All are welcome—school staff, students, parents, community members—& food will be provided!
Flyer attached.

Manhattan Restorative Justice Meetup + Workshop

***NEW DATE!***
Monday, November 24th 
4:30 to 6pm
Hosted by Lower Manhattan Community Middle School
26 Broadway, 7th Floor Library (entrance at 81 New St.)
4/5 to Bowling Green | N/R to Whitehall | J/Z to Broad | 2/3 to Wall St.

  Please RSVP:
All are welcome—school staff, students, parents, community members—& food will be provided!
Flyer attached.
Join the FULL COURT PRESS against #SchoolPushout! 

Help us raise $10,000 to help 50 schools practice transformative justice this year and decrease the suspensions that lead young people to the School to Prison Pipeline. 

In a series of 3-on-3 half-court games, teams of educators and supporters will be dribbling, jumping, fast breaking champions in the pursuit of transformed public schools and empowered student voices. 

Saturday, December 13th
Manny Cantor Center

197 East Broadway in Manhattan

Donate at

Spread the word on social media
Bring your friends and family on December 13th
Volunteer at the event – email for information

Thank you!!!

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