Scales of justice
Flickr user DonkeyHotey

Restorative Resources has worked in Sonoma County for 18 years to suggest a better way to bring peace to a community in the face of wrongdoing. Maria Freebairn-Smith is the elementary schools training manager of the organization, and she dropped by the KRCB studios to talk with Steve Mencher about the difference between restorative justice and punitive justice.

Join Restorative Resources at its summer bash Friday, August 17 at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa.

When: Tuesday February 27th – 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm  

Where: KRCB-FM (91.1 & 90.9); online @; Comcast Cable channel 961; and with the FREE KRCB App in the App store and Google play 

There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better.

Listen to This American Life every Friday night at 7:00 pm; repeating Saturday morning @ 9:00 am - on KRCB-FM Radio 91! 

Arts Education Survey Highlights Disparities

May 23, 2017
Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Just about everyone involved agrees that arts education is important and valuable. But new survey data reveals that it is far from uniformly available to students in Sonoma County.

The results of the survey were made public at a “data reveal” event Tuesday evening at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. 

KRCB previously reported on the survey when it was launched last February. See below.

Assessing Sonoma County’s Arts Education Needs

Feb 14, 2017

As school budgets shrink and curriculum requirements tighten, are Sonoma County students still getting taught about the arts? Creative Sonoma is trying to assess the situation, with an eye toward boosting those efforts going forward.

Creative Sonoma Director Kristen Madsen says the plan to address shortcomings in local arts education will be as comprehensive as possible—and give priority to areas where the needs are greatest—but implementation will have to proceed in stages.

SSU’s Holocaust Grove as a Teaching Tool

Jun 14, 2016

  The Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove on the Sonoma State campus should be more than a reflective space for remembrance, its founders said at a gathering there Tuesday morning:  it can also be an educational resource for young people.

And in the North Bay Report archives, you can also see our 2009 report on the creation of the Memorial here.

The Toolbox Project Gains Momentum

Nov 8, 2015

  Beyond reading, math, and science, young school kids need to learn to navigate their emotional and social worlds. That’s where the Toolbox Project comes in.

Since Mark Collins defined the 12 tools in his Toolbox Project, they have remained essentially unchanged--basic actions, spelled out in simple terms, that carry powerful ideas.

Students who were introduced to the Toolbox Project early on were recently interviewed about how those lessons had carried forward with them. You can see that video here.

School Parcel Tax Tops Quiet November Election

Oct 28, 2015

  Next Tuesday is a quiet election day for most of Sonoma County, but voters in Rohnert Park are being asked to extend a parcel tax to fund local schools. 

    The student population attending the Cotati-Rohnert Park School District’s 11 schools now stands at 5900, well above the 4000 or so they were projecting just five years ago. Superintendent Robert Haley says most of that increase has come through intensified efforts to retain the students already living within the district’s boundaries—not from new residents arriving.

Life Behind the School Counselor’s Desk

Aug 17, 2015

  A high school guidance counselor juggles three overlapping roles:  sorting out class scheduled, guiding students toward college or into vocational training, and supporting kids in times of emotional crises. And all with an imposing caseload. 

Documenting Restorative Justice in Santa Rosa

Jul 1, 2015

  Restorative Justice isn’t a new concept. But it is a radical departure from “zero tolerance," one that is now making a difference in Santa Rosa schools. The results are detailed in a new documentary by a local filmmaker.

John Beck’s film "Restorative Justice: Changing Hearts and Minds,” will be shown on KRCB television Monday evening at 7:30. See a trailer for it below.

Eco2School Fun Energizes Students to Drive Less

Apr 14, 2015

 A primary goal of the Center for Climate Protection’s high school outreach program, called Eco2School, is encouraging students to drive less. But they’ve found some fun ways to make their serious point.

Focusing outreach toward high school students is a high-impact approach says Paola Alvarado,  program coordinator for the Center for Climate Protection’s Eco2School Challenge Program, because of the demographic middle ground they represent.

Forum to Offer 'Perspectives in Immigration'

Jan 14, 2015

  US immigration policy is a complex and fluid subject, affecting the entire north bay population, but in widely differing ways. A public forum Thursday night is out to educate those who may not think it has a bearing on them. 

The free public forum begins at 6:30 pm; it’s being held in the Glaser Center in downtown Santa Rosa. Part of the program is a showing of a short video profile of two Santa Rosa youths (see it below) which was co-produced by Santa Rosa immigration lawyer Christopher Kerosky. He offers this summary of it.

Applying Restorative Justice at School

Dec 16, 2014

  To cut down on student suspensions and expulsions, two Santa Rosa schools have introduced restorative justice programs as an alternative. Today,  the second half of our two-part report explores how that diversionary program works.

While the Santa Rosa City Schools administration is moving to expand the Restorative Justice program to additional campuses, students at Santa Rosa High have already embraced the concept, creating both a Facebook page and the video below to promote it.

Restorative Justice Comes to Santa Rosa Schools

Dec 15, 2014


   Santa Rosa City Schools are experimenting with restorative justice, as a disciplinary alternative to widespread suspensions. This first part of a two-day report looks at why the change was made, and how it is being introduced.

The new approach to discipline within the Santa Rosa City School District is being led by Restorative Resources of Santa Rosa. You can find out much more about it on their website

Questioning the 'Common Core Standards'

Nov 6, 2014

  The new set of public education benchmarks known as the Common Core Standards are being implemented across the county, including here in California.  But Common Core is also being met with some questions and criticisms, some of which is being organized by a group called “Unveiling Common Core.” They are hosting a panel discussion on the education standards tonight, and in today’s segment we hear from one of the participants.

Implementing the FAIR Education Act

Oct 1, 2014

  A recent state law requires history, as taught in public K-12 schools, to incorporate the roles of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or disabled. A Sonoma State professor is leading the effort to suggest just how that could be done.

  For many students in California today, says Don Romesburg, a professor of Women and Gender Studies at SSU, a wider teaching of inclusion may simply reflect their world back to them, even at a young age.

An American Graduate from Roseland

Sep 23, 2014

  Ten years ago, the first freshmen entered Roseland University Prep, a charter high school to boost academic achievement for youth from a disadvantaged Santa Rosa neighborhood. Now the school has a wealth of success stories to point to. On the next North Bay Report, we examine one of them.

KRCB Television has also created video profiles of three local education champions, associated with Roseland University Prep as part of American Graduate Day. You can see them here.

Working to Help Student Athletes Dodge Concussions

Sep 2, 2014
Flickr user Keegan McGuire

Early September means the start of football season ... a time for tailgate parties and fantasy leagues. On today's North Bay Report we examine what is being done locally and nationally to protect young athletes--football players especially--from brain injuries caused by concussions.  

During an expert panel held at Santa Rosa Junior College last week Ben Lynch, former 49ers offensive lineman, spoke of his history with concussions and why he feels a need to change the culture of sports. Listen here: 

Concussion resources: 

Dental Sealant Program Begins

Oct 25, 2013

  It’s hard to learn with a toothache. So a new preventative program, beginning Monday in Santa Rosa, is offering low-income kids a free and painless way to ward off cavities.

The Benefits of Community Schools

Oct 24, 2013

  The key to successful schools--and students—in America today lies in fully integrated partnerships with other community organizations and funders. But it’s easier said than done.

The  annual community Dialogue on Poverty, held Oct. 24 in  Santa Rosa,  was convened by Community Action Partnership of  Sonoma County and the county’s new Cradle to Career educational initiative.

Reviving the Walk to School Habit

Oct 9, 2013

Oct. 9 was International Walk and Roll to School Day -- a day when kids around the world get to school by foot, bike, scooter, skateboard, roller blade or unicycle. The day encourages students and families to leave the car at home.

A Move to Amend Proposition 13

Oct 6, 2013

A campaign to exclude commercial properties from the property tax protection of Prop 13 is getting underway, with one local school signing on early.

When the West Sonoma County Union High School District’s Board of Directors took up the issue last month, it passed, 4-0, with minimal discussion. Superintendent Keller McDonalds says that’s because it had been talked about extensively well before their Sept. 11 meeting.

Credo High School Struggles to Survive

Sep 24, 2013


   Two years after opening with a core group of 50 students Credo High has now just reached 100 students, significantly below their projections. That has left the Waldorf-styled charter school struggling to remain open, after surviving cash flow problems so severe they weren’t able to meet payroll six times last year. But there’s still hope, as Bruce Robinson reports.

August to June

Sep 9, 2013

August to June, a documentary portrait of an open classroom grade school in west Marin, is both a showcase of contemporary alternative education, and an inspiration for public schools elsewhere.

August to June is being shown tonight on  KRCB Television, at 9 pm. You can see a trailer below: