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Note: All comments included here are done so with the explicit written permission of those giving feedback.
1. How was the subject level of the keynote presentation? (out of 54 respondents)
___Too Elementary __X__ Just Right (100% of respondents) ___Too Advanced
2. How effective was the keynote presentation?
__X__ Effective (100% of respondents) ___Somewhat Effective ___Not Effective
3. Do you have any comments about the keynote presentation?
Mikhail Lyubansky – my partner in life and this work – did a break-out session on restorative conversations at the same conference and we got positive feedback on that as well:
“Preparing for Difficult Conversation was great – because it helps you think through feelings and what you are hoping for”
“It was helpful to understand the pros and cons of each conflict style – what needs are being met”
“Practicing listening underneath was helpful because it helped me understand how to move beyond the obvious interpretation”
“Useful to have reminders that there are sometimes issues underneath and it is worthwhile to explore that”
“Most helpful was acceptance of ideas and encouragement to participate with positive feedback. Enjoyed the presentation – biggest takeaway was the underlying values and conflict styles. Great presentation with really helpful ideas to try out.”
“Love the sheet with pictures to use with students who struggle with reading.”
“The visuals like the iceberg and quadrant helped me frame the ideas. Seeing the modeling of dialogue also! Great content, attitude.”
“Thank you! Lots of great examples and moments of humor :)”
“I feel like this is worth the work and also fully applicable in our school.”
“Thank you! I appreciate the diverse representation in your slides”
“It was very informative and I learned how to utilize my Restorative skills more effectively.”
“It taught me how to get the root of things vs. automatically going off actions and feelings… The way you presented yourself was wonderful.”
“It was great. Very educational.”
“It was very helpful because it took the situation or circumstances a little deeper, provided space for better understanding.”
(2nd year of engagement with our team)
One month into the school year, Urbana Middle School principal Scott Woods was “excited” to report that:
This time last year we had 22 out of school suspensions. On average, we were suspending students for 2.3 days, with 5 days being common. This year, during the same time period, we have had one suspension – for one day – long enough for the kids to cool down so we can have a restorative process after they return to school. Our out-of-class referrals are also at 60% of what they were this time last year.
In my 13 years as an administrator in Urbana, I have not seen a first month that was this peaceful.
I think several things are going on. First, we are continuing to improve our Advisory activities [connecting, team-building activities during the first 20 minutes of school]. Second, we have been committed to Restorative Practices and asking critical questions about our discipline and responses to conflict… We have also been focusing on listening more – listening to parents and students, because there is usually an explanation we may not know about. Sometimes, we need a restorative circle. Sometimes, having a restorative conversation with a teacher or administrator is all a student needs to go forward and do better.