The NICE Model applies the principles and practices through the three legs of the program: Circles, Interventions & Student Advocacy, and Professional Development. 

Circles

“The Circle is a process that brings together individuals who wish to engage in conflict resolution, healing, support, decision making or other activities in which honest communication, relationship development, and community building are core desired outcomes.” ~ Circle Keeper Manual 

Circles serve multiple purposes in multiple settings, the most common being: 

Introductory Circles: Designed to create a foundation of trust and familiarity to new group settings 

Health Class Circles: Supporting related content area subjects, e.g., self-management, responsible decision-making 

Restorative Circles: Requested by teachers/administrators to address and promote healing 

Teacher Requests: Tailored to classroom needs, community building, and collaborations

Summer Bridge Program Circles: Supporting the transition from Middle School to High School 

Club Circles: Boys, Girls, and Multicultural Club meet after school 

The Circles curriculum currently consists of 

  • examples from the training of Kay Pranis, national leader
    in restorative justice, specializing in Peacemaking Circles; 

  • lessons from Conflict Resolution programs; 

  • lessons designed by NICE staff in response to teacher requests; and 

  • lessons focused on special content and cohorts. 

Circles Curricula

Currently there are two Circle curricula being developed — the Girls’ Circles and the Health Circles. There are 12 Circle Plans for the Health Curriculum. Topics progress from an introduction to values, empathy, healthy relationships, expressing emotions, peer pressure, bias awareness, stereotypes, gender and sexuality, an SEL mystery, and a closing session. The facilitators will also focus on Conflict Resolution. 

Year 3 Goals 

During the third year of the program, our staff teaches peer mediation to identified or interested students. By the end of the third year, the goal is to reduce or eliminate suspension and expulsion. 

At least one NICE staff member will be available to organize and facilitate Restorative Practice Circles. All students are encouraged to learn from their mistakes. No student will “slip through the cracks” with isolation and punishment. Also during the third year, we’ll begin to expand our impact to parents and the broader community.