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Annual Rocky Mountain Restorative Practices Conference

Robert Burrs, JD Annual Rocky Mountain Restorative Practices Conference Empowers Restorative Conversations

District 49’s DoDEA grant-funded program, BRIGHT, hosted its annual Rocky Mountain Restorative Practices Conference, November 7-8, 2019 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs.

BRIGHT, Building Restorative Interventions Growing Honorable Traditions, is a training program designed to support student social and emotional well-being, by implementing a school-wide behavior program that emphasizes using restorative practices rather than punitive punishment.

District 49 Director of Communications, David Nancarrow, kicked off the conference with a warm welcome to keynote speaker, Robert Burrs, JD. Dr. Burrs is currently the Drug Court Manager for the 7th Judicial Circuit Courts of Florida. In his civic service, Burrs is a member of the Florida Restorative Justice Association and believes those in our criminal justice system are not all “bad people”, but good people who’ve made a bad decision.

“You are the bridge builders of where we want to go,” said Burrs. “Restorative practices is doing things with students and not doing things to them. It lets students be a part of the process by being active participants.”

Burrs used personal life experience examples in how to be proactive in giving students, including offenders and victims, a voice to help empower them.

“You are empowering people by putting the control to the powerless, creating accountability by building relationships and collective collaboration,” explained Burrs.

The conference had two-day options for multiple breakout sessions for participants to learn about restorative circles, victim and perpetrator confrontations, hosting restorative conversations and panel discussions that included professionals from different industries.

Sessions provided education and support on handling social and emotional issues that can arise in any industry. The experience and knowledge given to participants will help with conflict resolution.

“This year’s conference was so rejuvenating,” said Lea Holland, BRIGHT project manager. “Attendees were able to network and expand on their learning through team building." 

"What teachers, police officers, counselors, and other service jobs deal with on a day to day basis is emotionally draining and having this time together to learn best practices, and lift one another up, was incredible to see," said Holland.

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Samantha Dosen
sdosen-himelrick@d49.org