The Gandhi Institute is currently serving five Rochester City Schools (RCSD) as part of our School Climate Transformation Program which strives to create healthy school climates for students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Our work draws from Restorative Practices and stands in contrast to traditional punitive models that directly contribute to high rates of student suspension, increased security and police presence in schools, and a lack of accountability and repair when harm occurs. Our programming is customized around the needs of each school in which we work. We recognize that every community has its own set of assets and obstacles to confronting individual and systemic violence and facilitating environments where the story of each individual (including their emotional and educational growth) is valued. Our School Climate Transformation programming is underway at Monroe Middle and High Schools, Wilson High School, Charles T Lunsford No. 19, Northwest College Preparatory, and Enrico Fermi No. 17. Our programming comes in the form of teaching Social Justice Classes and Push-ins, staffing Help Zones, and supporting school clubs during and after school.
Our goals are to:
- Create climates of peace in each school
- Collaborate to cause systematic change in buildings across the district
- Support staff and students in social-emotional development and conflict transformation
- Collect and analyze data in order to create and replicate best practices
Watch our Restorative Practices video below
Help Zone Support
The Gandhi Institute has partnered with Monroe, Wilson, Enrico Fermi
No. 17, North West College Preparatory, and James P.B. Duffy No. 12 schools in initiating and staffing “Help Zone” rooms. Help Zones are designed to triage the needs of students who may need: support with a conflict or personal issue, to see an adult, material items
Social Justice Classes for Middle School Students
Since 2014, we’ve been leading daily nonviolence education programming at Northwest College Preparatory School with the majority of 7-8 grade students attending our class by the end of the year. Our Help Zone staffing and Social Justice classes at Enrico Fermi No. 17 grew out of Kingian Nonviolence training’s students and staff attended with our partner, Jonathan Lewis.
Our curriculum has been crafted by Gandhi Institute nonviolence educators and incorporates many different nonviolence philosophies and techniques: mindfulness and meditation, Nonviolent Communication, Dr. King’s six principles of nonviolence, Civil Rights Movement history, Gandhi’s history and philosophy, and ideas from the Alternatives to Violence Project workshops.
We cover topics such as:
understanding violence on the internal, interpersonal, and structural levels,
understanding nonviolence as both a philosophy and practice,
transforming a negative situation into a positive one,
preventing and responding to bullying, and
creating healthy habits around self awareness, anger, and stress management.
We enhance this materially by drawing on icebreakers and games from The Yellow Book of Games and Energizers (Jayaraja and Tielemans, 2011), the Alternatives to Violence Project manuals (avpusa.org), and Teen Empowerment’s book Moving Beyond Icebreakers (Pollack and Fusoni, 2014).