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Miles Elementary in Erlanger, KY, launches the Restorative Justice Tapestry Project to promote inclusion and belonging.

Miles Elementary in Erlanger, KY, launches the Restorative Justice Tapestry Project to promote inclusion and belonging.

Tapestry unveiled at Miles’ Spring Family Night

Miles Elementary recently held a Spring Family Night, with an emphasis on art and community, one of the school’s restorative practices. A highlight of the event was the unveiling of a collaborative tapestry project which has been a long time in the making.

The tapestry presentation was the culmination of a long-term artistic collaboration between Miles students and Ms. Ciara LeRoy, a Cincinnati-based independent artist specializing in hand lettering, illustration, murals, and embroidery. 

Staff members at Miles connected with Ciara to develop an idea of student-centered art piece that incorporated the restorative justice values they’ve been learning and practicing over the past year. 

Restorative justice philosophy, rooted in ancient traditions of indigenous peoples use of circles to resolve conflict, aims to build community in schools, resolve conflict, and engage in dialogue around difficult topics. The goal is the continued transformation of school culture to a place where everyone feels they belong.

To begin the project, Ciara came to Miles to meet students, talk about the project, and solicit input. Later, students selected swatches from the color scheme and shared things that inspired them to help inform the piece. On another visit, students were able to pick pieces of fabric that would later be sewn throughout the tapestries. Then came the painting; students got to spend blocks of time with classmates painting sections of the giant tapestries, leaving their own special mark on the project. After the students completed their pieces, Ciara added the finishing touches to the tapestries, which were then permanently installed in the school’s cafeteria. 

“This art project was a wonderful way to engage our entire student body as a community. The students and Ciara worked so incredibly hard for months to complete the project and ware proud to have these pieces displayed in our school,” said Ms. Abigail Roush, Miles’ school psychologist, who helped to coordinate the event. We hope it continues to inspire current and future students to build community, find their voice, reflect, relate to one another, and restore relationships. We are so proud of our students and love this permanent display of their creativity and connectedness!”

The tapestry was not the only feature at the special event! The Miles choir performed, the halls were decorated with student art, the book fair was under way and local businesses collaborated to offer nutrition and yoga classes. Better Blends provided information on nutrition and healthy lifestyle and some tasty samples of their menu, while Busy Being Kids yoga led students and families in yoga practice.

It was a wonderful evening for Miles families and staff, as well as the community partners who participated!

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