RPIA Impact Report 22-23

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Restorative Practices In Action IGNITE YOUR SPARK Impact Report 2022-2023

Our Mission

Cultivate the leadership of students in urban schools by developing a community of top-performing educators on a mission to re-envision and restore all that is possible with student voice, ownership, and empowerment in the classroom.

2 Our Mission
SPARK INNOVATE CHANGE IMPACT 2 Our Mission 4 Our Year 6 Our Team 10 Our Theory 12 Our Model 16 Our Cohorts 18 Philadelphia Neubauer 20 Phoenixville 22 14 Our Sparkbook PAELC 24 Freire 26 30 Our Community 32 Our Goodbye National 28 34 What Now?


A Year in Review: Sparking Impact

We did something remarkable together. It’s time to step back, take in the story, and allow this story to spark innovation for our future work with students.

Over the past nine years, this organization has grown from 2 teachers collaborating in a coffee shop in 2014 to a teacher training nonprofit that worked with over 100 teachers across 26 schools this year. As we wind down our operations as an organization, we decided to come together as a community one last time to create an impact report you can use. It has been the honor of a lifetime to walk alongside all 247 teachers, 43 administrators, 16 team members, and 12 community partners over these years, and the pages you are about to read showcase the unbelievable work of everyone who has helped to write this incredible story.

Our story is about voice.

It puts students, teachers, and communities right in the middle of the most complex questions in education and shines a light on the power of partnership in the classroom to answer these questions. What can you learn from these voices?

Our story is about empowerment.

As partnerships grew between students and teachers, their classrooms became spaces of shared power that put students on different trajectories of leadership and teachers on new paths of growth. How can you empower others around you in similar ways?

Our story is about ownership

And this is where you come in. We built something that empowers others in such a way that this work can and will naturally

RPIA Founder Claire Miller and one of her high school students
4 Our Year

grow, evolve, and take root in new places. Where will our work take root in your world?

As you interact with this impact report, I urge you to deeply engage with this work rather than just read about it. As you learn about concrete restorative practices our teachers implemented, consider how you might make it your own. As you read about our early childhood restorative practices pilot, consider who you might know in your network who could benefit from this work. As you see how many people galvanized around the work this year, let it inspire you to build something like this in your own school.

This report is not just a report. It is an invitation to interact. It’s a call to action. It’s one last tool we can share as an RPIA team to all of you who believe, just like we do, that every student deserves the opportunity to lead.

To each of you who walked alongside me these past nine years: I hope you see your fingerprints on these pages in the ways that I do. To each of you reading this from wherever you may sit in this work, be encouraged. This work is not ending: it is just beginning.

Joyful in the work, Claire Miller
5 Our Year
RPIA Team Members Josh, Victoria, Kate, and RPIA Founder Claire Miller

Our Team Our Board

of Directors

Our Board of Directors bring diverse skills, perspectives, and life experiences to the table as we all work together to create and sustain excellence in our organization. This excellence includes the decision to always have an RPIA Student, currently represented by Mary, and an RPIA Teacher, currently represented by Andrew, as board members. We are proud to sit alongside each other in this work as we build Restorative Practices in Action.

Claire Miller Founder and CEO Mary Brooks Board Member John Paul Brennan Board Member Andrew Demuro Board Member HaMy Vu Board Member Sharifa Edwards Board Member
6 Our Team

RPIA Voices

We added 2 student staff members to our team this year, both students who engaged with one of our community partners in years past. Thayid and Mary worked collaboratively to create RPIA Voices Videos, which amplified the voices of our team, our students, and our communities in the form of videos that were designed to be used by teachers who want to spark dialogue with their students. Combined, Thayid and Mary invested over 150 hours of contracted media and community organizing work into our organization in a way that manifested our organizational mission in new ways and provided teachers a highly engaging resource they could use to enhance their restorative work with students.

Due to this portfolio work, Thayid was able to include this work on his resume and launched his career in digital marketing with another local nonprofit. As Thayid shared at our Community Partner Celebration this year, “RPIA is so special because none of you ever gave up on me. When the year got hard and it was tough for me to keep handling life and getting my work done for you all, you pushed me to get better rather than push me away. No one else has ever stuck with me like you have. Thank you for that.”

Amplifying Voices Empowering Youth RPIA

Thayid Wilson RPIA Intern
7 Our Team
Voices Video

Our Team


35 200+

10 RPIA Sessions Coaching Meetings

Coach Blogs

The Statistical Revolution

“This exercise struck a chord with Dan, and his goal for his next monthly culture plan became clear: to enable students with various leadership styles to contribute more to class discussions.”

Discomfort as a Catalyst for Leadership

“I get the pleasure to share in their moments of success: students turning around from being behaviorally and emotionally challenged to positive leaders and influencers in their classroom.”

Read Ryan’s Story Here

Read Karen’s Story Here

8 Our Team
Ryan Donovan RPIA Coach
8 Our Team

Our RPIA Coaches are previous RPIA Teachers who were selected by their peers as teacher-leaders who go above and beyond to empower their students and embody our organization’s core values. RPIA Coaches continue their work as teachers and co-facilitate our monthly cohort sessions, serving as examples of what it looks like to bring our mission to life in the classroom.

Our Team
Amy Didona RPIA Coach Sarah Waslow-Washington RPIA Coach Joshua Chaney RPIA Coach RPIA Coach Kate Webb RPIA Coach Robyn Joyce RPIA Coach Dan Kessler RPIA Coach Victoria Rodriguez RPIA Director of Program Design and Implementation
I have worked with so many amazing teachers that just think differently than I do. With each session I am able to take a little bit back with me and make it a part of what I want to be as an educator

Our Theory RPIA restored my joy “ “

10 Our Theory
Current RPIA Teacher

of Change

Redefine the Vision of a Transformative Classroom Culture

Restorative Practices in Action challenges high performing urban educators to redefine the vision of a transformative classroom culture by providing community-based learning experiences that allow teachers to create a space that cultivates student voice, ownership and empowerment.

Implement Empowering Theories of Classroom Management

As our teachers reorient their mindsets around the role of student leadership in the classroom, they implement empowering theories of classroom management that transform efficient discipline structures into authentic learning experiences for both students and teachers.

Achieve Full Leadership Potential

As a result of this development, our teachers create classroom cultures that ensure students can see and achieve their full leadership potential.

Current RPIA Teacher

Our 3C Cycle of Teacher Learning ©

Our model of teacher development integrates research-based best practices in adult learning and community organizing at every level. From the design of our monthly teacher cohort sessions to the facilitation of our 1-on1 coaching sessions to the content that guides Monthly Classroom Culture Plan development, we believe in learning from what works well and strategically applying it to our work with our cohort.

I see students in a different way now. I see them as partners now, people who have good ideas that can make our class better. I need to listen to them and I do that now
12 Our Model

Our Model

Reflect with Coalition

Re-envision with Community

Restore with Coaching

RPIA Teachers engage in this cycle every month for a total of 25+ hours of high quality professional development in one school year. Our cycle of learning aligns with research about professional learning communities from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the practice-based teacher learning methods spearheaded by the University of Washington.

13 Our Model
Restorative Practices In Action Sparkbook A Restorative Practices In Action Guide © Love and Logic Beyond Discipline Restorative Practices & Special Needs Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain The Sparkbook is an invaluable guide that features practical solutions to common challenges teachers may face as they cultivate student leaders in their classroom. Introducing Our RPIA Sparkbook What better way to provide teachers with new and different strategies aligned with restorative practices than by sharing a “spark” of brilliant innovation across classrooms? View Our Entire Sparkbook 45+ Restorative Practices 30+ Educator Contributions Read RPIA Coach Janae’s Blog about creating the Sparkbook My Journey as a Collaborator, Coach, and Creator 14 Our Sparkbook


Look for this symbol throughout our Impact Report highlighting a Sparkbook Strategy

Sparkbook Strategies Include:

Student Led Stations

Affirmation Mirror

Strengths-Based Scoring

Peer Partner Check In

Student Led Questioning

Sarah, Amy, Claire, and Janae

Sparkbook Contributors

Daily Social Goals

Self Reflection Flashcards

Surveying Strengths

Peace Path

Who Wants to Teach?


Our Cohorts

“I loved being able to collaborate with colleagues and learn strategies for empowering students” Current RPIA Teacher

26 Schools

105 Teachers

4000 Students

Philadelphia Neubauer 5
Teachers 550 Students
Teachers 1120 Students
16 Our Cohorts
EMPOWERING TEACHERS. EMPOWERING STUDENTS. Freire Phoenixville National 4 Schools 17 Teachers 920 Students 6 Schools 40 Teachers 1200 Students 2 Schools 7 Teachers 210 Students 17 Our Cohorts

Philadelphia Classroom Impact

5 Schools 11 Teachers 550 Students

The Philly cohort showed many different ways of carrying out RPIA in their classroom. Over the books we had, with the main focus of them bringing voice into their classroom for their scholars. This focus was important for the teachers to have as they all noticed an increase in negative talk with peer interactions, as well as self talk and wanted to find ways to diminish this. One person used the theory based strategy “Students’ self-doubt leads to a negative academic mindset.” The teacher expressed that students often shut down and have negative things to say about themselves. So the teacher focused on introducing positive ways to talk during the morning meeting. The end goal would be the teacher seeing an increase in confidence and positive talk when needed.

18 Philadelphia

Sparkbook Strategy Impact

Increase student to student relationship building

Enhance student ownership of their own actions

Increase student positive self talk

“Leggo of Negatives” page 26 SPARKBOOK



to Negative Thoughts” page 26

Sparkbook Strategy Impact

Students can use the tool to challenge their negative thoughts about learning

Increased confidence in self-efficacy as learners

Students are able to celebrate their smaller successes as steps toward greater success

21 Our Stories
IGNITE YOUR SPARK View Our Entire Sparkbook Here 19 Philadelphia
Neubauer Classroom Impact 16 Our Stories - Philadelphia 9 Schools 30 Teachers 1120 Students 9 Neubauer Teachers are featured in our Sparkbook 20 Neubauer

Amanda Miner, RPIA Teacher New Foundations Charter School

“My students LOVE when I hand out a new choice menu. It gives them freedom to choose how and when they want to complete each assignment and holds them responsible for managing their class time”

Students feel included in deciding how and when they learn

Students become more invested in their learning

Classroom Focus
I have a say about what and how we learn in class 45% 52% I am a valuable member of our class community 57% 76%
SPARKBOOK HIGHLIGHT “Student Choice Menus” page 37 Student
Students responding with “strongly agree” to the following statements increased over the course of RPIA
19 Our Stories 21 Neubauer
Sparkbook Strategy Impact


Classroom Impact


“Peer Partner Check In” page


“RPIA changed my teaching by helping me to shift my perspective and focus when it comes to classroom management and relationships. It helped me to consider each learning opportunity as a way to also build community. This year was challenging with lots of behaviors and social situations among my students that were new and unexpected, but it helped to be able to directly teach students about accountability and their influence on the classroom and school community.”

6 Schools 40 Teachers 1200 Students 22 Phoenixville

“Restorative Practices asks you to empower your students more often, whether it be through giant projects like the ones I referenced, or through smaller in-class activities. This was something, I thought, that I could see working.”


Ian’s Full Blog Post

RPIA Teacher
Read 23
The Ones That Stay With You

Phoenixville Area Early Learning Center (PAELC)

Can restorative practices be implemented in preschool?

This is an essential question we were asked during our partnership with Phoenixville School District. Our work was going so well in 1st-12th grade classrooms across the district that we were approached by the principal of PAELC (Phoenixville Area Early Learning Center) to see if we could answer this question with 5 of their early learning educators. After just one meeting with them the collaborative enthusiasm was electric, and we tapped into that energy all year as the teachers piloted a new book, The Why Behind Classroom Behaviors Pre-K through 5, with research tailored to 3-5 year olds, designed differentiated restorative practices, and achieved outcomes in student leadership that showed the power of sharing control of the classroom with our littlest learners. Next year, one of these teachers will become a restorative practices coach in the school to spread the impact of this work across all PAELC classrooms.

24 Phoenixville (PAELC)

Classroom Focus

I help my classmates and my classmates help me 8% 73% Rachel Lovelidge, RPIA Teacher

Phoenixville Area Early Learning Center Student Data

Students responding with “strongly agree” to these statements increased over the course of RPIA

RPIA has allowed my classroom to flourish in so many ways this school year. As a kindergarten teacher it can be tempting to want to be control of everything in the classroom and difficult to release control to the students because of their age. RPIA has encouraged me to trust my students’ abilities to take ownership of their own learning. This process started gradually with allowing students to make small choices about their daily learning and now has grown into allowing students to make bigger decisions such as what assignments will most benefit their learning and leading daily class reviews at the beginning of each subject. Students have learned to use their voice to speak up for themselves to their peers and work through disagreements. RPIA has helped create an even more welcoming, joyous classroom culture this year where each student knows that they are loved and valued, not only by me but also by their peers.

Gen Finley, RPIA Teacher

100% Student Data

Students who grew 4+ levels in standardized reading assessments

SPARKBOOK HIGHLIGHT “Fist to Five” page 48 Read PAELC Teacher Gen’s Blog Post A Glimpse at My School Year: Positive Vibes and “Fist to Five” 17 Our Impact
25 Phoenixville (PAELC)
Phoenixville Area Early Learning Center


Classroom Impact

4 Schools

17 Teachers 920 Students


“PODCASTING” page 44

Sparkbook Strategy Impact

Students develop skills connecting their formal written and analytical skills with their verbal skills which are much more informal and underdeveloped in comparison Students will demonstrate maximum student voice by literally scripting and recording their own podcast episodes

Students who have struggled to stay engaged or be successful in reading and writing based assignments will have the opportunity to show off

26 Freire

Current RPIA Teacher

Liza Meiris, RPIA Teacher TECH Freire Charter High School Student Data

“I’m excited for next year and all the other ways I will explore what else I can learn and enact through RPIA. I’ve always considered myself a revolutionary – but RPIA has revolutionized my revolution!”

Revolutionizing Restorative Practices

Read the Rest Liza’s Story here

I am a valuable member of our classroom community 12% 56% I use my voice to help others in class 10% 42%
Classroom Focus
Students responding with “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” to the following statements increased over the course of RPIA
“I am more mindful about getting out of the way as a teacher and providing more opportunities for students to be leaders, speakers, teachers, helpers and experts in the classroom.”
27 Freire

National Classroom Impact

Before incorporating Math Buddies, we felt that math confidence for discussing mathematical ideas or strategies was pretty low. As a staff, we realized that our school community was very high in problem solving skills, but seemed to lack basic math fluency skills. The teachers then began to make a concerted effort to practice math fluency across all grade levels. We also saw a “want” for more collaboration building and fostering a strong community within our K-8 program. Ms. Sheree used the idea of a reading buddy method that we had used as a community in the past to foster reading and community among grade levels, and the idea of Math Buddies was born.

Math Buddies involves older scholars and younger scholars working together to practice math facts by using a math game format. To pilot the program we had Middle School scholars teach a math game to an elementary grade (5th), who then taught that same game

Chris Mitchell, RPIA Teacher School Honors Academy of Literature Reno, NV 28 National

to primary grades (1-2). We wanted Math Buddies to be meaningful but not time consuming for planning or implementation. It was wonderful to hear the scholars teaching the game, learning the game, and discussing strategies and ideas with one another.

Ultimately our goal, as a teaching community, is to discuss implementation of math buddies next year to foster this sense of community throughout our grade levels. During our pilot, the collaboration between the grade levels, outside of math buddies, was incredible. Scholars were excited to see their buddies and say hi when they saw them throughout the school, promoting school community and fostering empathy toward others. One group of middle school scholars saw the elementary class teaching a game to the primary class and was super excited and asked the 5th grader if that was the game that they had taught them earlier. The 5th grader responded yes and now we get to teach it to the primary kids! School community accomplished.


page 52

Sparkbook Strategy Impact

Enhance academic empowerment across content areas and grade levels

Restores students’ relationship with the school system

Restores student to student relationships

“Who Wants to Teach?”
29 National

Our 22-23 SY Partner Schools

Philadelphia Schools

Lewis Cassidy Elementary

Overbook Educational Center

Memphis Street Academy

Blaine Elementary

Morrison Elementary

Overbrook School for the Blind

Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures School

Freire Middle School

Freire High School

Freire Tech High School

Freire Wilmington

Belmont Academy HS

Belmont Academy MS

Global Leadership Academy Southwest

Ad Prima Charter School

Independence Charter School

New Foundations Charter School

Phoenixville Schools

Phoenixville HS

Phoenixville MS

Barkley Elementary

Manavon Elementary

Schuylkill Elementary

Phoenixville Early Learning Center

National Cohort Schools

Honors Academy of Literature, NV, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, AL

Our Community

31 Our Community

Our Goodbye

Over the past 9 years, I partnered with some of the most inspiring leaders in classrooms and communities to build what is now RPIA. A hallmark of RPIA is its capacity to evolve: it is one of the fibers of RPIA’s fabric that makes it such a special program. We consistently evolve to respond to the needs and strengths of our communities, and now it is time to evolve as an organization one last time.

As the founder, I made the decision to step down as RPIA’s CEO at the end of this school year. I have a deep understanding of what it takes to do this work well, and I have reached a place in my personal and professional life where I am no longer able to dedicate the amount of time it takes to do right by the educators, students, and community partners I respect so deeply. To say this was a hard decision is an understatement: stepping down as CEO felt like stepping away from a huge part of myself. While difficult, I know in my heart that stepping away from this role is what I need to do to step forward in my own journey.

When I shared this decision with the RPIA board of directors, they were both supportive of my choice and thoughtful about the implications of this decision on the organization. After taking time and due diligence to consider all of the ways we could support RPIA schools and staff while still ensuring that I could make the necessary personal transition out of the CEO role, the RPIA board of directors reached a decision to dissolve RPIA as a nonprofit at the end of this school year. This decision was just as tough for them as it was for me, but I am proud of the way they thought through all options and reached the conclusion that is rooted in excellence for students and teachers.

Given this commitment to excellence in our work, our board of directors did not want to abruptly end our support of current schools given the strong partnerships we have built over the years. In the place of standard RPIA programming, we designed an RPIA Pathway Plan for the 23-24 SY that all current school partners can elect into in part or in full if they would like to have one more year of RPIAaligned development. This plan, designed with community in mind, is meant to respond responsibly to our needs and strengths as an evolving organization.

We are all as committed to this work as we have ever been, and our hope is that our investment in schools and communities for nearly a decade will continue creating impact in new ways across our city. Our end is not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new, powerful chapter of restorative work led by all those connected to Restorative Practices in Action.

Joyful in the work, Claire Miller


Thank You to Our Generous Supporters

We look back and acknowledge the incredible support of every person reading this impact report. Thank you for your commitment to our students. Together, we have begun the process of re-envisioning all that is possible with student leadership in Philadelphia.


What Now? What Next?

After reviewing this Impact Report and learning about our dissolution, you may be wondering what you can do next. We are glad you asked! Please see below for organizations and resources we are proud to promote as you keep this powerful work going in ways that matter to your communities and your schools.

Recommended Readings

These are books that were read by RPIA teachers and team members every year as part of their development.

Beyond Discipline by Alfie Kohn

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Love and Logic by David Funk

Restorative Practices & Special Needs by Margaret Thorsborne

Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks


Community Partners Doing the Work

These are all organizations in Philadelphia who are passionate about transformative teacher development and the power of student voice, ownership, and empowerment in schools.

Be on the lookout for newsletters from our founder throughout the 23-24 school year that will be full of concrete resources to support restorative practices in your schools.

27 Our Finances
Stay Tuned!
We Love Philly Philadelphia Young Playwrights Rock to the Future Center for Black Educator Development Restorative Practices @ Penn 35
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