restorative circlePhoto by Tup Wanders at Flickr Creative Commons.The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education to conduct a three-year randomized field trial evaluation of the IIRP’s SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program. The study will establish the impact of school-wide restorative practices on reducing disparities in discipline and overall rates of suspensions, arrests and expulsions in high poverty-area middle and high schools that also have significant proportions of students of color.

This study, supported by a million-dollar grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies, aims to build the evidence base of restorative practices as an effective alternative to zero tolerance. During the three-year study period, 15 middle and high schools in Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn, New York; San Antonio, Texas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will receive school-wide restorative practices training and consultation. Uniquely, the study will evaluate the combined and value-added impacts of instituting restorative practices in schools along with Diplomas Now, an ongoing whole-school reform effort that strengthens learning environments and enhances student supports, guided by an early warning system.

The study of restorative practices is part of a larger longitudinal study that follows students through four years of their school careers (e.g., following sixth graders through to successful completion of ninth grade and following ninth graders through to successful graduation from high school) to find out what factors and interventions help and hinder their success in school.

Dr. Doug MacIver, co-director of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins commented, “One of the pillars of Diplomas Now is creating a can-do culture and climate through practices drawn both from the science of learning and motivation and from the science of human relationships. Restorative practices’ insightful and systematic approach to building community, fostering relationships and high expectations, and providing supports to students and staff, will greatly aid Diplomas Now schools in becoming safe, nurturing and can-do communities.”

“We’re really excited to have restorative practices included in such an important study,”’ said Dr. John Bailie, IIRP assistant professor and director of continuing education. “The size of the treatment cohort is such that we should learn some very valuable things about the contribution of restorative practices for creating a healthier school climate.


Founded more than 45 years ago at Johns Hopkins University, the Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS), now part of the Hopkins’ School of Education, concentrates its considerable research and development resources on improving low-performing schools and the education they offer their students. To learn more, please visit:

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic is a limited life foundation that makes grants through its five program areas: Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, Reconciliation & Human Rights, and Founding Chairman. Atlantic is active in Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit:

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