First Annual Rocky Mountain Restorative Practices Conference is a Wrap
District 49’s DoDEA grant funded program, BRIGHT, hosted its first annual Rocky Mountain Restorative Practices Conference, November 8-9, 2018 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.
Local television personality and emcee Matt Meister, kicked off the conference with a warm welcome to John Register, keynote speaker. Register, a Paralympic Silver Medalist, and two-time TEDx speaker. Register’s inspirational message of “tolerance and acceptance does not teach us value and appreciation” captured the audience.
“I did not overcome the loss of my limb, to overcome the loss would mean I’d have to grow it back. What I overcame were the limits I placed on myself that others placed on me. This is what is universal for all of us to overcome,” said Register.
A U.S. Army veteran, Register spoke about the limits others place on young military children and the need to move towards appreciation and understanding to create better relationships with these students to help them succeed in their futures.
The conference had multiple breakout sessions for participants to learn about restorative circles, victim and perpetrator confrontations, hosting restorative conversations and panel discussions that included the El Paso County Police Department. 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 resolutions.
“The RMRP conference empowered educators with restorative practices, principles, and tools necessary to transform schools and communities into places that proactively address students social emotional needs by repairing relationships and holding students accountable for their actions, rather than focusing on blame and punishment,” said Jennifer Daily-Perkins, DoDEA grant program manager. “DoDEA is proud to provide grant funding to implement this work in military-connected schools in District 49. We look forward to seeing the results of this work not only be sustained in the district but grow throughout the nation.”
The BRIGHT program plans to continue an annual training for restorative practices to provide trainings for individuals and organizations interested in implementing restorative practices.
“I could not be more pleased that so many members of our community are as dedicated to restorative practices and supporting our children and each other as we are in District 49,” said Lea Holland, BRIGHT program manager. “I appreciate the great lengths some attendees made to be present with us and all the help from our D49 family.”
District 49 team members and restorative practices trainers worked hard planning and hosting the conference. “I have big visions, but they would only be dreams without the people who joined my vision and made it happen. There is no conference without the will of the people,” said Lou Fletcher, director of culture and services.