Research and Evaluations
Randomized controlled studies
Study of the IIRP SaferSanerSchools™ program in 22 Pittsburgh Public Schools by the RAND Corporation with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Initiative:
- Research brief: Restorative practices help reduce student suspensions (Full report)
- Pittsburgh Public Schools optimistic about reducing student suspensions (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Research shows restorative practices improves school climate, reduces student suspensions and discipline disparitiesResearch shows restorative practices improves school climate, reduces student suspensions and discipline disparities (IIRP News)
Other randomized controlled studies of SaferSanerSchools™:
- 14 Maine schools by the RAND Corporation with funding from the National Institutes of Health
- 15 urban schools nationwide by Johns Hopkins University with funding from Atlantic Philanthropies
The Lancet (UK)
- Effects of the Learning Together intervention on bullying and aggression in English secondary schools: A cluster randomised controlled trial (Chris Bonnell, Elizabeth Allen, et al., 2018)
Other key research and reviews
Research conducted by Anne Gregory, Ph.D., et al. (Rutgers University)
- Implementing restorative justice in schools: Lessons learned from restorative justice practitioners in four Brooklyn schools (2016, Brooklyn Community Foundation)
- The promise of restorative practices to transform teacher-student relationships and achieve equity in school discipline (2014): key findings
- Authoritative school discipline: High school practices associated with lower bullying and victimization (2010)
- Restorative interventions and school discipline sanctions in a large urban school district (Yolanda Anyon, Anne Gregory, et al., 2016)
- What further research is needed on restorative justice in schools? (May 2015)
- Restorative justice in U.S. schools: Summary findings from interviews with experts (October 2015)
- Restorative justice in U.S. schools: Practitioners’ perspectives (January 2016)
- Restorative justice in U.S. schools: An updated research review (March 2019)
Improving school climate: Promising outcomes across the country (The IIRP Graduate School)
- Download Improving school climate: Evidence from schools implementing restorative practices (2014)
- See also Findings from schools implementing restorative practices (2009)
Evaluation of a restorative milieu (Paul McCold, Ph.D., the IIRP Graduate School)
- Evaluation outcome technical report for 1999-2001
- Report for the 2001-2003 cohort
- Report for the 2003-2006 cohort
Reports and Recommendations
- Beyond suspensions: Examining school discipline policies and connections to the school-to-prison pipeline for students of color with disabilities (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights)
- Parent and educator guide to school climate resources (U.S. Department of Education)
- Guiding principles: A resource guide for improving school climate and discipline (U.S. Departments of Education and Justice)
- Civil Rights Data Collection for the 2015-16 School Year (Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education)
- School discipline consensus report (The Council of State Governments Justice Center) [Watch video]
- Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014 (National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics)
- Communication, relationships are keys to better discipline (American Federation of Teachers)
- More teachers adopting restorative discipline practices (National Education Association)
- Restorative practices: Fostering healthy relationships and promoting positive discipline in schools (Opportunity to Learn Campaign, Advancement Project, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association)
National institutions and organizations
- From a nation at risk to a nation at hope (The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development)
- Connecting communities of courage: Building inclusive, safe, and engaging schools (National School Climate Center)
- Applying an equity lens to social, emotional and academic development (Pennsylvania State University, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
- The brain basis for integrated social, emotional, and academic development: How emotions and social relationships drive learning (Aspen Institute)
- Do schools implementing SWPBIS have decreased racial and ethnic disproportionality in school discipline? (PBIS OSEP Technical Assistance Center)
- Law and order in school and society: How discipline and policing policies harm students of color, and what we can do about it (National Education Policy Center)
- Social emotional learning in elementary school: Preparation for success (Pennsylvania State University, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
- Social and emotional learning: Perspectives from America’s schools (Education Week Research Center)
- Ending the school-to-prison pipeline, a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights (ACLU)
- Are zero tolerance policies effective in the schools?: An evidentiary review and recommendations (American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force)
- Power in partnerships: Building connections at the intersection of racial justice and LGBTQ movements to end the school-to-prison pipeline (Advancement Project, Equality Federation Institute, Gay Straight Alliance Network)
- Maryland Commission on the school-to-prison pipeline and restorative practices (Report to the Maryland Governor and General Assembly)
- Safe and supportive schools: A plan to improve school slimate and safety in NYC (New York City Comptroller)
- Programs such as restorative practices credited for California’s 13% drop in number of students suspended and expelled (EdSource)
- Closing the school discipline gap: Signs of progress in California (UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies)
- Suspending Chicago’s students: Differences in discipline practices across schools (The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research)
- Mission driven schools: Positive school climates (A+ Schools, Pittsburgh)
- Restoring justice in Buffalo Public Schools: Safe and supporting quality education for all (Citizen Action of New York, Alliance for Quality Education, Public Policy and Education Fund, Advancement Project)
- Restorative justice and health in Merced schools: Improving health impacts though school discipline policy in Merced, CA (Human Impact Partners, Building Healthy Communities Merced, Merced Organizing Project, The California Endowment)
Other academic reports
- Are achievement gaps related to discipline gaps? Evidence from national data (Francis A. Pearman, II, F. Chris Curran, et al., 2019)
Guides for Implementation
Quick guide on making school climate improvements (U.S. Department of Education)
Fostering healthy relationships and promoting positive discipline in schools (Schott Foundation's National Opportunity to Learn Campaign)
- Download a free restorative practices guide and visit the Opportunity to Learn website. This toolkit was developed in partnership with the Advancement Project, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
School climate planning and restorative practices implementation guide (San Francisco Unified School District)
- After the school district implemented the SaferSanerSchools™ program in several pilot projects, this this guide was designed so that the district could take responsibility for further implementation efforts. Visit the website about its program and download the implementation guide, written by Kerri Berkowitz.
How can we fix school discipline toolkit (Fix School Discipline)
- Visit the Fix School Discipline website and download resources for educators and the community, as well as the mini toolkit.
- The Model School Climate LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) helps California school districts meet requirements to reduce suspensions and improve school climate, and provides guidance on integrating various school climate reform efforts, including restorative practices.
Restorative practice resource project (Restorative Practice Consortium)
- Download the 255-page guide by a coalition of eductors from school districts across Ontario, Canada, many trained by IIRP Canada. The introduction to the report emphasizes the indigenous roots of restorative practices.
Toolkit for transformation (Transforming School Discipline Collaborative - TSDC)
- TSDC has created a toolkit with a range of resources, from implementation guides to model discipline codes, to ensure that Illinois schools are safe and supportive for all students.
Implementing restorative justice: A guide for schools (Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority)
- This guide introduces school personnel to the concepts of restorative justice and restorative discipline, offers new tools that can reduce the need for school exclusion and juvenile justice system involvement in school misconduct and offers ways to enhance the school environment to prevent conflict and restore relationships after conflict arises.
New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (The Dignity Act)
- The Dignity Act, which seeks to provide New York public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying, includes a section on restorative approaches in its associated Promising Practices Guide.
Model Code of Student Conduct
- Download Michigan State Board of Education’s Model student conduct code, which emphasize the use of restorative practices.
- Download the Dignity in School Campaign’s Model code on education and dignity. These recommended student-conduct policies feature restorative practices as a core component to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education and freedom from discrimination.
A Generation Later: What We’ve Learned about Zero Tolerance in Schools (The Vera Institute of Justice)
- Download the report, which concludes that neither schools nor young people have benefited from zero tolerance policies. It suggests instead promising alternatives, including restorative practices.
Authority, Discipline, and the Marginalization of Youth in Schools (Stanford University)
This annotated reading list, produced in the aftermath of the incident of violence against a young female student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina, on October 26, 2015, includes works in the public sphere that may not be visible to the general public.
Integrating Related Evidence-Based Strategies
- Principals' social and emotional competence: A key factor for creating caring schools - Penn State College of Health and Human Development Issue Brief
- "We shake hands at the door": How a focus on relationships is driving improvement in Chula Vista - WestEd
- Examples and tips to help you integrate and maximize the benefits of SEL and restorative practices - Committee for Children (CFC) Blog
- Establishing a restorative mindset: Considerations for adults in schools - The Center for Safe Schools in collaboration with the IIRP, the Mennonite Central Committee and Clemson University's Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, sponsored by the Highmark Foundation
- Restorative practices and social-emotional learning go hand in hand - Aligning IIRP SaferSanerSchools™ and Committee for Children Second Step Program (IIRP News)
- How learning happens: Supporting students' social, emotional, and academic development - The Aspen Institute
- School climate improvement toolkit - WestEd School Climate Alliance at REL West
- Resources for the systemic implementation of social and emotional learning by school districts - (CASEL)
- Creating healthy school climates by integrating reform efforts - Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (IIRP News)
- Restorative justice practices and bullying prevention - StopBullying.gov, a U.S. Government website
- Integrating bullying prevention and restorative practices in schools - Center for Safe Schools, Highmark Foundation and Clemson University’s Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life
- Learning by heart: The power of social-emotional learning in secondary schools - What Kids Can Do, Center for Youth Voice in Policy and Practice
- Preparing youth to thrive: Promising practices in social & emotional learning - Forum for Youth Investment
- How restorative practices work for students and educators (NEA Today)
- Punitive discipline makes school feel like a prison, not a community (Hechinger Report)
- A better approach to school discipline (Principal, a publication of the National Association of Elementary School Principals)
- The power of the circle (Educational Leadership)
- Restoring community and trust (Principal Leadership, a publication of the National Association of Secondary School Principals)
- Rethinking student discipline (American Educator, Journal of the American Federation of Teachers, p. 43)
- Building safer, saner schools (Educational Leadership)
- Restorative practices: Giving everyone a voice to create safer saner school communities (The Prevention Researcher)
- Restorative approach in schools: Systemic approaches to building positive school climates (Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism and Practice)
Articles and Videos
- In a Chicago public school, we've found a better way than guns to keep the peace: Magdalena Pagan, an educator in Chicago's West Side, writing in the Chicago Sun Times, makes the case for arming schools - with restorative practices.
- Restorative practices play a vital role in San Francisco classrooms: San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Vincent Matthews, writing in the San Francisco Examiner, explains how.
- Pinellas County schools try 'restorative' approach to deal with racial disparities: Using trainers trained by the IIRP, the Florida district aims to implement restorative practices district-wide.
- Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools replacing suspensions with ‘restorative’ conversations: Three years into the project, out-of-school suspensions have dropped 72%.
- How to practice restorative justice in schools: Education Week‘s Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo examines restorative practices and what it looks like in schools.
- New York City school suspensions fell 17% in 2014-15, officials say: The New York Times reports that the city plans to spend $3 million on restorative practices implementation to further reduce this figure.
- In school discipline, intervention may work better than punishment: The Seattle Times takes an in-depth look at the use of restorative practices in schools across the country.
- Making misbehavior a teachable moment: San Francisco United School District Superintendent Carlos A. Garcia describes restorative practices in a San Francisco Examiner opinion piece.
- A front page article in the Toronto Star looked at the success of restorative practices in Toronto public schools.
- “Voices in the Family” radio show features discussion on restorative practices in a Philadelphia middle school.
- Discipline infractions drop at Freedom and Liberty high schools (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania).
Read more in the IIRP News.
Schools resolve conflict by getting kids to talk things out - opens in new window (PBS News Hour)
In this 9-minute video, students, teachers and administrators from West Philadelphia High School explain the impact of restorative practices implementation.
Teachers and administrators at Pinellas County Public Schools in Florida share what they appreciate about restorative practices talking circles.
SaferSanerSchools™ Instructor Lee Rush talks about how restorative practices and bullying prevention may work together.
A Milwaukee school shares how they are working with students and staff to take responsibility for implementing talking circles.
Beyond Zero Tolerance documents the implementation of restorative practices in several schools in the U.S.A., the Netherlands, and Hull, England.
Voice of America looks at the impact of the SaferSanerSchools™ program at a school in Baltimore, Maryland.
SaferSanerSchools™ was launched in San Francisco Unified in a number of pilot schools after which the IIRP trained trainers who have continued to roll out restorative practices across the district. (Video by Mark Wieser of Treehouse Digital Video for SFUSD.)
Peel School District in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how restorative practices can be used as an integral part of teaching and learning.
- Years of reform efforts contribute to declining African-American suspension rates in California (EdSource)
- Are achievement gaps related to discipline gaps? Evidence from national data (Pearman et al.)
- Emotions help steer students’ learning, studies find (EdWeek)
- Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
- Effective classroom management strategies and classroom management programs for educational practice (GION onderwijs/onderzoek)
- Social emotional learning in high school: How three urban high schools engage, educate and empower youth (Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education)
- Colorado school discipline improves after state passes law emphasizing restorative practices.
- University of Minnesota research demonstrates the positive impact of restorative conferencing for students facing expulsion at Minneapolis Public Schools.
- San Francisco United School District cuts suspensions in half with restorative practices.
- A national report from New Zealand shows that restorative practices are key to student engagement and achievement.
- The social structure of criminalized and medicalized school discipline, an academic study of 60,000 schools in over 6,000 districts finds evidence of racial disparity in discipline (Sociology of Education)