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Published on Oct 31, 2017
Charles Curtis is the psychologist at Ron Brown College Prep, a unique public high school in Washington, D.C. for young men of color. As a central member of the school's CARE team, Curtis is responsible for establishing and helping to carry out the school's unorthodox approach to student discipline: restorative justice. Curtis explains what restorative justice means in a school setting and why he believes it's essential for young black men, who disproportionately experience exclusion when they misbehave at school through suspensions and expulsions. Ron Brown--which has an intense focus on developing students' social-emotional skills and creating a culture where students feel safe physically and comfortable expressing themselves in the classroom--also emphasizes a college-preparatory curriculum. For the past year, Education Week's Kavitha Cardoza and NPR's Cory Turner visited Ron Brown weekly -- and some weeks, daily -- to witness the birth of this new school and to see how its staff tackles some of the toughest challenges in education. We spent hundreds of hours there, from the earliest days to the last bell.