Kari Baransky

Washington Middle School, Meriden CT

Research & analyze restorative practices that are used in schools in three European countries to optimize a preventative approach to behavior issues leading to the improved behavior systems and increased empathy among middle school students.

Where I've Been

  • Paris, France
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Swansea, United Kingdom

My Fellowship in Images

Meeting another part of the restorative practice puzzle while in Swansea. This is a police officer that goes from school to school and teaches a curriculum to the students. The police department trains officers to become teachers.
Learning about restorative practices at the secondary level.
With children sharing how they use restorative practices each day.
Restorative practices at the high school level at its best.
Learning about restorative practices from an award winning school.
Getting the royal treatment when everyone was sharing information with us and presenting restorative practices and how they use them.

Your Personal and Professional Growth

How have your knowledge, skills and capabilities grown?

I have learned how to implement restorative practices within the school setting. I was able to experience the children taking ownership of the entire process, I feel that after this experience I am better prepared to allow students to be more in charge of how restorative practices can be used inside of the individual classrooms as well as in the entire school.

As a result, in what ways will your instructional practice change?

I have already started to implement the circle process within my classroom. I have changed the way that I speak to students using more words like we and our when describing something that is going on within our classroom. I have started to consciously think about why students are acting the way they are rather than thinking that jumping to the conclusion that they are doing it on purpose,

What is the greatest personal accomplishment of your fellowship?

I made personal as well as professional connections that will last a lifetime. I have made connections that I feel will always be a resource for improving my practices. The police man that we met will be a great resource that I am in the process of trying to bring to our city or somewhere in our state to present his curriculum to the students that will help each of them to improve how they think about themselves as well as thinking about how their actions effect others.

Impact on Your Classroom, School and Community

How will your experiences positively impact student learning in new ways?

Students will have opportunities to share what is going on in their lives. The baggage that students come into our school with is heavy. I have integrated what I have learned into my classroom in order to allow my students the time that they need to share what is impacting them. This will allow my students to have a mindset that will allow them to be ready to learn and enjoy their time at school.

What are your plans for working collaboratively with colleagues?

I am working with my colleagues to create presentations about mindfulness and understanding trauma that our students are exposed to. We are creating lessons on circles and integrating the specific things that the students in Wales said were the most important pieces. We will present our staff and hopefully the district with our lessons in order to make our district a more empathetic place to learn and work.

Imagining the Future

How do you envision celebrating of your students’ new learning?

I envision my students being empathetic people not only in school but in life. The skills that I am now teaching will make my students great people. Celebrating the differences and helping friends when they are struggling is a concept that will be celebrated with Positive shout outs as well as classroom recognition.

Are there issues or challenges in your school, community or the greater world about which you and your students might try to make a difference?

The community where I work is an inner city community that has violence issues. I hope that my students will be able to take the skills that I am teaching and allowing them to practice into their daily lives outside of school. I hope that their understandings become something that they can share with their families and neighborhoods.

How would you describe to a friend or a grant funder the most fundamental ways in which your fellowship has changed your personal and/or professional perspective?

I would have to say that my perspective has changed dramatically by the fact that I am now thinking of where my students come from before I say anything. Prior to my experience I would jump to the conclusions that the children were doing things on purpose; now I know that their development as well as their experiences are driving their actions. I am more accepting of children's comments and criticisms. I realize that they do not know how to react to some situations.