November 24, 2015 | by Amy Navvab
A Day In the Life of a Restorative Justice Specialist
Meet Amy Navvab, Umoja Restorative Justice Specialist at South Shore International College Preparatory High School. Here is a look at a typical day for Amy...
7:30am This is the time I arrive to South Shore International. I use the time before 1st period to catch up on emails, paperwork for cases, and finalize my plan for the day. A student who I have a good relationship comes by the Peace Room to say hi, she tells me about how her job has been going after school and what she is looking forward to this week.
8am I’m in the hallway greeting teachers and students as they head to class. A student comes up to me and I can tell he is upset, he asks if he can come to the Peace Room. After he checks in with his teacher, we sit down in together and I begin a Restorative Conversation (restorative practice that is inquiry based and supports reflection around a specific issue with a goal towards creating next steps). He tells me that his mom has kicked him out of the house over a misunderstanding about his sexuality. I first support him in processing his feelings and then move towards helping him identify what support he needs moving forward; he has a place to stay, and support from other family members. We talk about what a conversation can look like with his mom when she is ready to talk to him. He expresses that he is glad to have talked about it and feels better to go back to class. We will check in tomorrow about how things are.
9am A student yesterday expressed she was angry and needed to talk with me. I head to her class to see if it is okay to check in with her. She lets me know that she has been feeling bullied in her art class by two other girls. They have made fun of how she looks and she is concerned they were Snapchatting a picture of her in class. She says she would like to have a peace circle to get to the bottom of things.
I head to the Dean’s office and let him know about the situation. He agrees it would be important to bring the girls together ASAP. We call the girls down to his office who were accused of bullying and hear their side of the story. Then we invite the other girls into his office. Together the dean and I co-facilitate a peace circle where each person explains their understanding of the situation and what they need. The girls apologize for making fun of the other student’s appearance and clarify the Snapchat was not about her. Everyone leaves the circle feeling like tension was cleared up.
10:15am I head to the Art teacher’s room and let her know about the peace circle that just happened. She is grateful to know about the dynamics that have been taking place in her class, especially that phones were used inappropriately. She feels prepared to support the students moving forward.
10:30am During the next period, I meet with Ms. Taylor. We debrief the community building circle that took place in her class the day before. We discuss what went well and what she can do to improve her facilitation next time.
11:30pm Five students come to the Peace Room for a Peace Circle. I have talked to each student individually before the circle and prepared them to share their feelings about a conflict in their friend group and ideas for how they can resolve the conflict. Each student takes a turn with the talking piece expressing their frustrations about the gossip that has been going around. The friends apologize for how their actions have hurt one another and share how to be more direct with their communication in the future.
1pm Another student comes in during their lunch period and expresses they have been dealing with a lot of grief since their grandparent passed away this summer. I listen to the student share about what has been hard about losing someone they love, and happy memories they had together. The student leaves the Peace Room feeling relieved to have gotten some of this off their chest. I recommend they connect with a counselor who is starting a grief group for students.
2pm In the hallway I run into Ms. C. We start discussing the community building circles we did last week. She noticed that the goal setting activity we did helped students open up to her and are acting less intimidated. She says she would love to do another circle later in the year.
3:30 The final bell rings. I head to the Freshman Success Team meeting. The FST is a space for teachers to develop strategies to support freshman around behavior, academics and social & emotional needs. Today I’m co-facilitating the meeting with the Freshman Success Team lead in a circle format. We build out some great ideas about how to be a supportive and productive team. I leave the meeting feeling excited about the collaboration that takes place at SSICP and ready to take on another day of Restorative Practices in the Peace Room tomorrow.