The NICE program is currently a pilot program in the high schools of Spring Valley, NY that costs approximately $250 per student. One individual and one family foundation are footing the bill so far. The NOVO Foundation has been funding the after-school program for girls.
The vision is for the state and federal governments to take over the expansion to every school, impacting every American student and teacher as equally as possible.
Until then, we need your help
- Cut violence in the United States of America by 50% by 2030.
- Prioritize PREVENTION over PUNISHMENT in most Americans’ everyday choices and U. S. Policy Making
- Ensure that every school has a full complement of NICE Staff
- EQUALIZE FUNDING in American K-12 schools by funding all schools as well as the most well funded U.S. private school. (The US Constitution declares that “all men are created equal”. Let’s prove it by treating all of our children equally.)
- Reduce jobs in the punitive sector by creating jobs in the preventative sector supporting teachers and students
- Gradually society should be able to replace punitive sector positions with preventative sector positions 1:1 as we gradually attain our goal of reduced violence
We are certified teachers, school counselors, social workers, and mediators who work to help build a positive learning environment.
The NICE Program assumes that improvement in the three combined areas — Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) factors with a focus on Conflict Resolution (CR) and Restorative Practice (RP) will positively affect change in school climate, student behaviors, and academic achievement.
“The combination of embedding the SEL Benchmarks and focusing on Conflict Resolution with the strong Restorative Justice Circles are essential unique features of the NICE Program and the NICE Model being developed.” – Diana Wege
The 12-week Health Curriculum topics are specific to high school girls and include connections with others, team building within the Circle group, building confidence, goal setting, self-talk, women’s health and women’s empowerment, bias and cultural awareness, family dynamics, and women’s role in dating.
Co-Planning & Observations
Co-planning Circles with teachers and aligning the content and format with the district-wide expectations is essential. Observations are a diagnostic tool to assess the classroom dynamics, student engagement, and behaviors prior to creating and implementing Circles in the classroom.
Interventions & Student Advocacy
The second leg in the three-part NICE Program is Intervention & Student Advocacy. Focusing on strengthening Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) throughout the student body and the school, the NICE staff advises and advocates for students, and works with school personnel through a variety of means.
Mediation – Mediation is hallmark and unique feature of the NICE Program. The staff provide mediation to students in one-to-one or small group sessions to address interpersonal situations.
The intent is to assist in quelling the tension and resolving the issue in a manner that increases student skills to address future issues. Staff also engage in related special events related to Conflict Resolution Day and Peace Day activities.
Friendship/Relationship Building – The staff meets with two or more students who wish to work toward a happier and healthier relationship given the complexities of teenage years.
Behavior Referral – Staff meets with students referred by a teacher/administrator or security personnel to address approaches to quelling negative classroom and common area behaviors through self-management skills.
Personal Safety/Wellness Concerns – Staff work with the building security personnel on individual cases with students, as well as engage in special events such as Wellness Week.
Family Issues/Crisis Resolution – NICE staff work with school personnel to provide support in situations involving family problems as well as issues that have come to crisis level. They are often called upon when translation is needed during these incidents. Staff also engage in PTA events in both schools, Wellness Expo for parents, and Parent Circles for incoming 9th graders.
Academic Improvement – NICE staff works with students (self-nominated or by teacher) who are at risk of academic failure or slippage. Staff work to help increase SEL skills that lead to perseverance and confidence building.
Translation Services – Staff provide translation services during in-class Circles, mediations, materials development, parent meetings, and on-demand for crisis situations.
General Support – The NICE leadership and staff provide a variety of on-going daily services to increase the SEL applied skills of students, to support the classroom instruction of teachers, and to enhance the general positive school culture.
This can range from a pat on the back or a reminder to a student in the hall, a kind word, to a few minutes with a teacher at lunch, as well as engaging in Welcome Back to School Breakfast with teachers, administrators, and security personnel.
Support could come in different forms. It could mean a bit of professional development to teachers on applying a particular intervention tool in the classroom or helping a student learn how to better attack a homework assignment.
Staff have been asked to meet with teachers who are having difficulty with classroom management or creating a culture conducive to student learning. Their collaborative, non-threatening approach helps teachers share concerns and accept suggestions for change.
What We Do
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Community - Building Circles
10 / 12
Students Attending Class
To reimagine public education by assuring that every person, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or socioeconomic status reach their full potential and to cultivate a safe and peaceful learning environment in partnership with the school and community.
- NICE supports schools to build a positive and safe school community where everyone is welcome and encouraged to be the best version of their self. We focus on the whole school community– students, teachers, administration, staff, parents, and the larger community.
- NICE uses restorative practices and community circles to emphasize nonviolence and social and emotional learning while promoting problem solving skills, empathy, self-esteem and self-efficacy within the school community.
- NICE works with all stakeholders to identify areas for growth in the school, and creates goals to address together while utilizing available resources within the school and community.
- NICE promotes and embraces diversity. We celebrate the successes of all students, teachers, staff, administration, and parents in the school community.
- NICE advocates and empowers students to use their voice and leadership skills. We also work to inform and train the school community on conflict resolution, social and emotional learning, and restorative practices.