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About

Human Restoration Project is informing, guiding, and growing a movement toward a progressive, human-centered education system. We are bringing together a network of radical educators who are transforming classrooms across the world.

An infographic showing HRP values in a solar system formation, with the HRP logo at the center and four quadrants: I: Learning is rooted in purpose-finding and community relevance with map a path to purpose; create cross-disciplinary, multi-age classrooms; learn experientially; promote literacy; connect to the community. II: Social justice is the cornerstone to educational success with demand anti-racist, inclusive spaces; authenticate student voice; reimagine spaces & promote free play; adopt critical pedagogy & build democratic schools; utilize restorative justice. III: Dehumanizing practices do not belong in school with eliminate grading; redefine assessment & end testing; build strong relationships; reform food systems; radically reduce homework. IV: Learners are respectful toward each other's innate human worth with self-direct learning; support & elevate teachers; cooperate, don't force competition; prioritize mental health & social-emotional learning; ensure a thriving public education.

Actions Toward Systemic Change

HRP has identified twenty systems, summarized within 4 values statements, that must be changed for a human-centric, equitable system that creates a better future for all.
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Grassroots, Systems-Based Thinking

We believe that young people, families, educators, administrators, and community members must take control of their schools to push for change. Top-down reforms from governmental organizations uphold traditional standards and often lead to more problems than they attempt to solve.

When one system changes, each other system changes in-turn. All depend on each other. Change will only occur when we change underlying systems rather than attempting to make human-centered practice work in inherently inhumane spaces.

staff

Lia Garcia Berrido

International Relations Coordinator - Español
she/her

Lia, a passionate advocate for education and human rights, specializes in children's rights pedagogy. With a global perspective gained from experiences in New York, Connecticut, Montpellier, Vienna, and Santo Domingo, she believes in the transformative power of education for a brighter and just future. As both a human rights professional and an artist, she creatively fosters connections with children and adults, constantly seeking impactful changes within existing systems.

Vaughan Cleary

International Relations Coordinator: Australia
he/him

Vaughan has had a career in education spanning over 3 decades. He is the current Senior Deputy Principal at a large co-educational school in Victoria, Australia. Vaughan is a current doctoral candidate whose thesis is primarily focused on student motivation and engagement, curriculum reform and progressive education. He is committed to promoting education experiences that promote self-determination for students, teachers, and schools.

Nick Covington

Creative Director
he/him

Nick is a former high school Social Studies in Iowa public schools, who promotes progressive education across the board. Nick aims to reestablish the idea of what school could be to one of student-centered success that relies on their ideas and knowledge, instead of a dictated “future ready” curriculum.

Farimah Khavari

Artist
she/her

Farimah is a dedicated children's illustrator, who brings vibrant characters and illustrations to life through her artistic endeavors. With a love for creating visually engaging content tailored for young minds, she aims to spark imagination and curiosity in the hearts of children. Through her work, she aspires to contribute joy and inspiration to the child's colorful imagination.

Dr. Jen Lucas

Teacher Action Research Coordinator
she/her

Jen is an Assistant Principal in a Texas public school in the greater Houston area. She is passionate about arts advocacy, and it is her hope that students will come to see art not simply as a reflection of culture but rather as a powerful tool to create it. Having grown up in rural Montana, she appreciates Houston’s scarcity of snow and enjoys exploring the city with her family.

Chris McNutt

Executive Director
he/him

Chris McNutt is the co-founder and executive director of Human Restoration Project, a nonprofit organization focused on student engagement, well-being, and motivation. His work centers on realizing systems-based change, examining how progressive pedagogical shifts (e.g. PBL, ungrading) reimagine school to best suit the needs of students and teachers alike. He was a public high school digital media & design educator who focused on experiential learning, portfolio-driven assessment, and community involvement.

Cassie Nastase

Third Coast Learning Collaborative Coordinator
she/her

Cassie, a former school counselor from West Michigan, believes in providing students with educational experiences that which cultivate curiosity, creativity and meaningful connection to self and community. She is passionate about integrating SEL standards and therapeutic approaches into everyday teaching practices to create nurturing learning environments that support the holistic development of students. Outside of her professional life, you may find her at one of Michigan’s beaches or exploring the Montana mountains with her husband and two daughters.

Naoya Okamoto

International Relations Coordinator: Japan
he/him

Naoya is a college student near Tokyo, Japan who's excited about creating schools that are truly driven by the needs of every student. He's especially interested in connecting students with experiential learning experiences that help them develop the self-efficacy they need to impact their communities.

Kevin Pettinger

Digital Systems Lead
he/him

Kevin is a passionate edtech advocate and former fraud analyst, known for his ability to merge technical acumen with an interest in creating secure, engaging learning platforms. His background reflects a strong commitment to leveraging technology for educational innovation, aiming to make learning accessible and effective for diverse communities.

Gilberto Aponte Prats

Education Technology Specialist
he/him

Gilberto has spent most of his career working as a software developer, but his passion lies in the intersection between education technology and human-computer interaction. He aims to use his technology skills to help develop tools to support the paradigm shift to progressive education. Having been born and raised in Puerto Rico has given him a strong commitment to ensure no marginalized communities are left behind and to give back to the people that shaped him.

Mal Radagast

Community Manager
he/they

Mal had intended to be English teacher, to share a love of stories but also a belief that stories are the building blocks of the universe! That’s what we are all made of, and it’s what we are doing every time we connect and interact with one another...telling stories, with every breath.  Which makes reading and understanding them so much more than academic!  We have to know what kinds of stories we mean to tell.  Having wandered out of a story that wasn’t his after all, he’s currently lost in exploring the study of media literacy through Dungeons and Dragons, or ELAD&D.

Noah Ranz-Lind

Content Strategist
he/him

Noah is a Junior at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst studying Mathematics as well as Social Thought & Political Economy (STPEC). Noah grew up as a third-culture kid, living most of his life abroad in Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Ireland, and India. He is passionate about math education, as well as learning for its own sake rather than as a means to an end. He is excited to intern with HRP and explore the world of radical pedagogy!

Sunil Singh

Advisor & Coordinator
he/him

Singh is a former mathematics and physics teacher, who has taught the basics to IB math in honors-level courses. From socioeconomically challenged environments in Toronto to the prestigious International School of Lausanne in Switzerland, Mr. Singh has become a leader in creative math education. He is an Adviser at Amplify and a Content Creator at Mathigon, and is author of Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics and Math Recess: Playful Learning in an Age of Disruption.

100 days of conversations

Olivia Chiang

she/her

Olivia is a student at Nueva High School in San Mateo, California. She enjoys dance, upcycling clothing, and Girl Scouts. Through her Girl Scout Silver Award project, she realized that teens today lack the core skill to discuss social issues, especially with people of different views. She joined this initiative to fight polarization, form connections through conversations, and improve education

Summer Freed

she/her

Summer is a social media professional based in Minnesota. Over the past six years she has worked with businesses, startups, nonprofit organizations, and student groups to create cohesive and effective social media and marketing strategies. She studied Media Culture and Leadership at the University of Minnesota, and is eager to employ the power of storytelling and conversation to amplify youth voices and create change with the 100 Days of Conversations project.

Léa Henaux

she/her

Léa is a university student at Minerva Schools at KGI currently studying in San Francisco. She is passionate about history, political science, and education. She is excited to hear from, interact and work with all the diverse and amazing people participating in these important discussions. Through the use of social platforms, she hopes to ensure that all youth voices have the opportunity to be heard and be supported.

Nontobeko Mdlalose

she/her

Nonto is a Business Management and Communications graduate from South Africa. She is passionate about sharing ideas and connecting with people, and loves to engage with people of different races, culture and to learn their ways of living. In her culture, she upholds the value of UBUNTU (I am because you are), which she believes has kept the world moving because of how life connects us. Further she believes that education is the backbone which shapes our understanding, hopes, dreams and how we view ourselves and those around us.

board of directors

Julia Fliss

Secretary
she/her

Julia is a social studies educator at Evergreen Middle School in Evergreen, Colorado. Ms. Fliss is an active supporter of progressive education, and encourages the use and exploration of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by connecting with educators around the world. She is incredibly passionate about supporting HRP’s message and finding ways to promote equitable, empowering environments.

Madeline Jester

Student Representative
she/her

Madeline Jester is a college student at Cornell who is an advocate of progressive pedagogy, specifically gradeless learning. She currently attends a nontraditional high school, Clark Street Community School, which uses interdisciplinary classes to teach a wide variety of subjects. Their model has inspired her advocacy. Jester’s voice and perspective is imperative for us creating a truly multifaceted organization, and offers a student voice to all of our resources and endeavors.

Hedreich Nichols

Board President
she/her

Hedreich Nichols is a dynamic figure in education, excelling as a speaker, adult educator, and tech integration specialist. Her expertise lies in guiding educators to create student-driven learning environments, and she is renowned for her impactful workshops and courses on teacher efficacy and cultural literacy, benefiting districts globally. Additionally, Hedreich's book, Finding Your Blind Spots: 8 Guiding Principles to Overcome Implicit Bias in Teaching, has garnered acclaim, combining her experiences with academic research to empower teachers and leaders in supporting diverse and interconnected students.

Skylar Primm

Treasurer
he/him

Mr. Primm is a science educator at High Marq Environmental Charter School in Montello, Wisconsin, a small public charter school centered on interdisciplinary experiential learning with a focus on the environment. Mr. Primm is involved in his school’s governance council and serves as treasurer of the board for the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education. Further, Mr. Primm was one of the earliest and steadfast supporters of HRP.

Dr. Traci Nicole Smith

she/her

Dr. Smith has 26 years of experience as a public-school teacher, leader, and graduate school instructor. She resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is a nationally recognized city known for its school reforms in public education yet is plagued with challenges. Traci is the founder of The Institute for Conscious-Driven Living, which is a learning portal designed to assist helpers and healers navigate their personal and professional journeys.

John Warner

he/him

Mr. Warner is an English professor at the University of Charleston, the author of many works including So You Want to Be President? and The Funny Man, a weekly columnist for the Chicago Tribune, contributor to Inside Higher Ed. He has focused his recent work on writing pedagogy in Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and its companion work, The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing.

Dr. Yong Zhao

he/him

Dr. Zhao is the Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and advocate of self-directed, meaningful learning. Zhao is a well-established author and researcher that can help us navigate human-centered practice, including writing What Works May Hurt and An Education Crisis Is a Terrible Thing to Waste: How Radical Changes Can Spark Student Excitement and Success.

faq

What is Human Restoration Project?
Human Restoration Project
is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on listening to students, enacting systems-based change, and reimagining education. HRP centers its work on conducting focus groups with young people in schools across the country, analyzing their findings to help schools restructure their classrooms and schools to best serve students. Their ongoing work includes hosting a wide variety of free, open access education resources on everything from portfolio-based assessment to critically understanding AI.

What does Human Restoration Project do?
HRP focuses its attention on systems-based change in education through grassroots, teacher organized change. Despite decades of school reform (Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, A Nation at Risk), only 40% of students are engaged in high school and less than half of students feel their learning is relevant. And, despite our focus on improving math and reading scores - stressing about test results - the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists state we're "100 seconds from doomsday."

Our priorities in education have moved away from the obvious answer: we’re all human beings, we need to treat each other accordingly.Our work is based on three levels of change-making: 1) informing about the need for progressive education; 2) guiding educators through materials and PD on how to implement this practice in their classroom; and 3) growing the movement through coalition building, networking, and grassroots advocacy.

What are you selling?
Human Restoration Project is dedicated to releasing all of our materials for free. We offer PD services which sustain our operations.

How are you funded?
We are here due to generous supporters and grant partnerships. We’re committed to transparency; you can find our full financial statements released yearly in our impact report. We are actively seeking grants to further support educators.

Are your resources licensed?
Every resource we release is OER licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. You can freely modify and distribute our work non-commercially with accreditation. Further, we make an effort to gather as many ideas and activities from similarly licensed properties, allowing us to act as a “hub” for quality progressive educational resources. We strive to offer free versions of all of our paid offerings, such as open access conference presentations and self-paced PD.

What is “progressive education”? What does it mean to "restore humanity"?
Some strategies that are commonly marketed to educators do not fix the underlying problems in the school system. Progressive practices are differentiated because they’re not about acronyms or buzzwords, but are based on research-backed educational ideas that have existed for centuries. Progressive education involves engaging each student in complex, rich experiences that go beyond simple tasks. It treats students and teachers as deep individuals with something to offer. Progressive educators want school systems to change from standardized, rote-based systems to those that care about the innate worth of every individual and their connection and contribution to the community. This assumes that every individual is treated with dignity and respected - that social justice is advocated for. There is nothing inherently “Democratic” about “progressive” education.

We recognize the amazing work educators do throughout the world in helping young people realize their potential, while simultaneously recognizing the negative impact many standardized practices in school cause. We want to lessen and remove barriers that dehumanize the classroom, allowing young people (and educators!) to flourish.

Who is your audience? Who should listen?
Our work is primarily aimed at K-College educators, including unschoolers/homeschoolers. We want to persuade traditional educators to our line of thought, and recognize, discuss with, and validate progressive thinkers. Of course, young people and other professionals are welcome to engage as well.

Do you support public schools? What about "school choice"?
Human Restoration Project firmly stands with and supports public schooling and our organization is founded and operated by public school educators. It is imperative we build an education system that provides free, well-funded, equitable, and quality classrooms for all. We do not disparage other forms of schooling, but are skeptical of organizations that seek to profit off of student outcomes. Further, we support the idea of shrinking school sizes and developing "schools within schools", as proposed by Deborah Meier.

How do I submit an article? Are there any restrictions?
We openly welcome unsolicited articles and allow for cross-posting. Our goal is to promote progressive education to as many educators as possible. Therefore, if you are writing an article and want to showcase it to our audience (and it promotes our pedagogy), then reach out! Writers for HRP maintain full control of their work, and can request edits or removal of their article(s) at any point.

How do I appear on the podcast?
Although we appreciate requests to appear on our podcast, we rarely can accommodate unsolicited guests. We typically schedule podcasts months in advance based on our readings, current events, and audience interest.