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Building a Trauma-Informed Restorative School


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How to implement restorative practices in schools in a way that is also trauma-informed

About the Author

Joe Brummer has been the victim of two separate violent anti-gay related hate crimes and what began as a personal healing response to the trauma he has transformed into professional involvement in the field of community and restorative justice. Since 2006, Joe has actively been working with schools and NGOs in multiple states to share Nonviolent Communication, implement peer mediation programs, and school-wide restorative practices. In 2017, he completed a six-year term on the board of directors for the National Association for Community Mediation where he helped lead the overhaul of employee review strategies to be more restorative. He presented on Conflict and Peace Building in 2012 and 2013 for the Annual International Leadership Training Programme: A Global Intergenerational Forum sponsored by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut. Joe has been an invited presenter on trauma-informed restorative practices at the last three Annual Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Conferences hosted by the Trauma and Attachment Network. From 2010 until 2014, Joe was the associate director of a community mediation center in Connecticut where he provided school-based mediation programs, mediation for the Juvenile Review Boards, oversaw adolescent and adult criminal mediation/dialogue programs that involved victim/offender and offender/offender dialogues, and provided training in Nonviolent Communication, trauma-informed schools, and restorative justice. Since 2015, he has worked as an independent consultant to schools and school districts developing trauma-informed approaches to restorative practice in multiple locations throughout the United States.


This book scaffolds what is close to my heart - how to support schools to truly embed the restorative practices, processes and language with the values that underpin the philosophy. Understanding Restorative Practice through this trauma-informed lens promotes empathy, compassion and authentic accountability, one that honours community. I am grateful for all the gems this book offers. Its explicit integration of mindfulness and NVC supports practitioners to truly model this way of being and avoid 'co-opting' RP to promote conformity, misunderstanding it as 'do as I say but I'll ask you nicely'! Instead, the insights and practical supports that Joe shares light the way towards connection and growth - cultivating relational learning communities which is what our schools, and perhaps our lovely world, need now more than ever!
*Michelle Stowe, Director of Connect RP*

Brummer provides a uniquely rich, thought-provoking, and accessible resource for any educator. He brings a personal and authentic vulnerability, along with a wealth of knowledge and experience to school practices that remain more critical than ever before. I found myself making more personal notes while reading than almost any other book I've read in years.
*Eric Rossen, PhD, NCSP, Director, Professional Development and Standards, National Association of School Psychologists*

As an elementary school principal, I confidently say this book is a MUST READ for all educators. The combination of practical and applicable practices grounded in research is what is needed to move forward in becoming a restorative and trauma-informed school!
*Mathew Portell, Principal of Fall Hamilton Elementary School and Founder of the Trauma-informed Educators Network*

Joe Brummer has long been established as an expert in Restorative practices and a highly engaging and entertaining presenter. Now he has taken his deep knowledge of the topic of restorative practices and trauma informed education and combined it with his engaging and relational personality. This book is a MUST HAVE for anyone serving children in an education institution. His case study approach and shared stories make this an informational and inspirational read. The "Six Sources of Influence" provide a road map that a school in any geographic area with any demographic of students can follow with great success and outcome. Thank you, Joe, for your courage, your vulnerability, and your deep knowledge of students.
*Melissa Sadin, EdD., MEd., MAT, Ducks & Lions: Trauma Sensitive Resources www.traumasensitive.com*

Brummer's book, based on his own healing journey and years as a restorative practitioner, brings a truly cross-disciplinary perspective to restorative practice in schools. Brummer refuses to focus on "fixing broken kids" and instead helps teachers develop a trauma-informed relational pedagogy while answering this question: "Why should we do this?" His integrated approach gives educators a large toolbox from which to draw numerous practices that build positive relationships and create emotionally safe classrooms. If this book doesn't change educators' mindsets about how to best support struggling students, I don't know what will.
*Martha A. Brown, Author, Creating Restorative Schools: Setting Schools Up to Succeed*

Joe Brummer's book is coming out at the perfect time. The world is beginning to understand what is needed to help our students and schools heal. It is an easy to ready guide- explaining the why and then giving the reader the skills to do the what.
*Dennis Littky, co-founder and co-director of The Met School, co-founder of Big Picture Learning and founder and President of College Unbound*

Joe Brummer has written a personal yet dynamic manual for Trauma Informed Restorative Practices. Brummer has utilized both experience, culture, research and science to ensure a holistic perspective on Restorative Practices for schools. This book goes beyond a process for restorative justice and teaches you how to create safe spaces for every learner. Any educator looking for a comprehensive system to meet the unique needs of their school should begin with this book.
*Shatanna DeRosie, Assistant Principal, Windsor High School*

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