Circle Ways facilitates restorative conferences and mediates disputes for schools, families, and communities
Incidents of wrongdoing and harm are inevitable in a school community. A restorative conference is a circle convened to address serious incidents that brings together those directly involved in an incident, others in the community most affected by the incident, and the parents (or other supporters) of the involved parties. Those directly involved speak to what occurred and everyone in the circle has an opportunity to share how they have been affected, and to have a voice in deciding what needs to be done to make things better. The conference is facilitated by a trained facilitator, who functions as a neutral third-party without authority to make decisions for the circle. Schools can call on Circle Ways to provide a certified restorative conference facilitator when an incident occurs and the school doesn't have a facilitator on staff.
Conflict is an inevitable and pervasive aspect of life. It serves a vital function in our development, both as individuals and as a society. But confronting our conflicts—and those with whom we find ourselves in conflict—is hard. We're frequently challenged to be our best in getting through conflict. In the heat of the moment, we might even do something we regret or make an ill-informed or emotionally hijacked decision. Mediation is a process of settling disputes with the aid of a neutral third-party, called a "mediator." It is a voluntary and private process in which the mediator meets with the parties, together and individually, and helps them get clear on the facts, circumstances, and possible outcomes of their situation, and to come to agreement on what will be done by each to move forward from their conflict. Schools, families, and communities can call on Circle Ways to help resolve through mediation disputes that the parties are unable to resolve on their own.