September 17, 2021
LINCOLN PARK, Mich. - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel spent part of the afternoon with Michigan Education Association (MEA) President Paula Herbart and National Education Association (NEA) President Becky Pringle at Raupp Elementary School to learn about Lincoln Park Public Schools' (LPPS) Resilient Schools Project.
The program is a shining example of restorative justice programs that reinforce equitable learning opportunities for students, which remains a focus for Nessel. In May, she led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in a letter urging the federal government to issue guidance addressing inequities in student discipline that contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.
Following that letter, the Department of Education (DOE) opened a public comment period requesting information regarding the nondiscriminatory administration of school discipline. Nessel again led a coalition of attorneys general in advocating for DOE to issue guidance addressing inequities in student discipline in July. The states are waiting on additional guidance and response from DOE.
"Current statistics prove more must be done to ensure every student has an equitable experience in our public school system," Nessel said. "I appreciate the hard work Lincoln Park educators are putting in to support that effort while also managing unprecedented times in the classroom. The Resilient Schools Project provides the tools and resources students need to thrive, and it's my hope other educators take note of its ability to address students' social and emotional needs."
Friday afternoon, Nessel, Herbart and Pringle heard directly from school officials about the effectiveness of the program and the opportunity to expand it, thanks to additional federal funding through the American Rescue Plan.
"The Resilient Schools Project has provided educators with the tools to successfully prioritize students' social and emotional needs and better equip them for success in the classroom and beyond," Herbart said. "I am proud of our members' dedication to student well-being and trauma-informed education and very pleased to help highlight an innovative program being offered in Michigan public schools."
As highlighted recently in the MEA Voice magazine, the Resilient Schools Project supports student recovery in the wake of trauma and adversity. Childhood trauma has been proven to have negative effects on the brain, which can impact the way students learn. Through LPPS' initiative, students learn resiliency and tools to counteract the negative effects of traumatic experiences.
"Every student deserves a quality education that harnesses their unique experiences and instills them with the confidence that their trauma does not define them or their potential for a bright future," Pringle said. "The needs for this kind of program have never been greater, which is why we're so appreciative to President Biden, Governor Whitmer and other policymakers who've shown the leadership necessary to get vital resources for programs like this - especially through passage of the American Rescue Plan."
You can learn more about the Resilient Schools Project on the district's YouTube.