• PPS staffThis school year, Pittsburgh, PA, Public Schools (PPS) are set to launch the largest restorative practices Whole-School Change program ever undertaken, with 22 elementary, middle and high schools participating.

    The U.S. Department of Justice has provided $3 million of funding for the district’s Pursuing Equitable Restorative Communities (PERC) project. The grant will pay to implement the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change program, a comprehensive two-year school implementation model. It will also provide for the RAND Corporation to measure the effectiveness of restorative practices in the 22-school "treatment group" against a "control group" of 22 other schools in PPS that will not participate in the


  • Transformative-Practices-ConferenceCollege and high school students showed up to make their voices heard at a conference on restorative practices for New York City schools, in the Bronx, NY. Why? The students are hungry for learning. Mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds, they see their education as a way to liberty and freedom.

    The college students were invited to “Transformative Practices & Restorative Justice Conference: A Celebration and Call to Action,” by their education professor at Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY), David Fletcher, Ed.D. Together with 250 educators, school administrators and community representatives, Fletcher is building a community to implement restorative practices in NYC schools.

  • Students and teachers from Maine schools that are implementing the SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change program as part of a 5-year RAND study speak about the positive impact in the classroom of circles and other informal restorative practices. These practices give everyone a chance to be heard.

  • When civil unrest erupted in Baltimore, MD, during the last week of April 2015, schools that had been implementing restorative practices all year employed talking circles to help students feel safe, heard and restored. Unlike their counterparts in many other schools in the city, these schools felt prepared to respond in a way that strengthened their school communities.

    My Baltimore

    “It was a tense few days,” says Corey Basmajian, principal of Windsor Hills Elementary/Middle School, in West Baltimore, referring to the feeling not only in his school but throughout Baltimore.

    In West Baltimore, protests had begun April 18 over the police’s treatment of Freddie Gray, who would die on April 19 of spinal injuries sustained during an arrest April 12. By Friday April 25, some of the protests had turned


  • school climate reform "We're excited to bring together some of the country's most important leaders in school climate reform, to collaborate at the IIRP's first Presidential Symposium." - John Bailie, Ph.D., IIRP president

    The International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) presents a Symposium, Integrating School Climate Reform Efforts: Join the Conversation with National Leaders, July 20 –


  • Student Odessa Reid helps Grandma – Suzanne Ham, CLC's 'foster grandparent' – learn to program her new phone over lunch.Student Odessa Reid helps Grandma – Suzanne Ham, CLC's 'foster grandparent' – learn to program her new phone over lunch.

    Last school year, staff at Community Learning Center (CLC), a school in Winfield, Kansas, for students at risk of dropping out of high school, successfully managed a major move by employing restorative practices with students.

    “Our students loved that we had always been a separate off-site private school away from all the perceived problems of the


  • The IIRP hosted a symposium entitled, "Integrating School Climate Reform Efforts," on July 20-21, 2015, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA. The event featured a panel of national leaders in school climate reform. Below find presentations and recommended readings provided by each panelist.

    Read a day-by-day summary of the symposium and highlights of comments from panelists, "Hope for the future of school climate reform," by IIRP Assistant Director for Communications Laura Mirsky.

    Janet L. Fox Petersen, Ed.D., a school psychologist in Wichita, KS, Public Schools, talks about her experience at the Integrating School Climate Reform Efforts symposium:

  • Two allied events this summer will address the vital issue of school climate reform. Both are designed to help educators seeking answers on how best to engage young people in their education. They will also explore the best ways to address misbehavior, bullying, dropping out and the “racial discipline gap.”

    Jonathan CohenNSCC director Dr. Jonathan Cohen: NSCC Summer Institute host, an IIRP Symposium panelist and guest lecturer for the associated IIRP Graduate School hybrid graduate course.

    Guidance for educators implementing and assessing school-climate reform

    June 25 and 26, the National


  • Ayesha Brooks, Markham Middle School teacher & IIRP graduate studentAyesha Brooks, Markham Middle School teacher & IIRP graduate student

    Once, gang fights, suspensions and expulsions were the norm at Markham Middle School; students were dropping out, and there wasn’t much learning going on. With the introduction of restorative practices, a culture change has happened in this school, located in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

    “There’s nothing tougher than Watts,” says physical education teacher Ayesha Brooks. “Markham is surrounded by four of the roughest housing projects in L.A., with a


  • On April 22 Pittsburgh Public Schools officials announced their plan to implement the IIRP's SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change program in 23 schools "to improve learning and reduce suspensions," as reported in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The schools will be part of a research project funded by a $3 million [U.S.] Justice Department grant... ."

    During a press conference held at Minadeo PreK-5 in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, officials focused on how restorative practices can help end the school-to-prison pipeline.

    David Hickton, U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, said, "If we don’t do this, if we only have a hammer, suspended students go from at-risk to drop outs and can quickly wind up on my desk. We need to produce students


  • Circle about standardized testsStandardized testing causes stress for many students. But at Buxmont Academy Elementary Program at Pottstown, in Pennsylvania, the staff takes a restorative approach to these tests, which not only reduces students’ anxiety, but can actually integrate standardized testing into a restorative environment.

    “The first time we had to administer the PSSAs [Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests], we just did it, without thinking about it, says Jessica Petrolati, coordinator of Pottstown Elementary. “But the students got so upset! Many of our students have learning difficulties, so the tests


  • STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand) Nashville has been making a difference with young people, families and communities since it began helping students with drug and alcohol issues in 1984. Today a large nonprofit organization with 80 employees, STARS provides prevention, intervention and treatment services to address bullying, substance abuse and violence in schools, and with youth, families and communities across central Tennessee.

    STARS has been incorporating restorative practices into its programs since 2000. “We’ve been committed to these processes since our first training with the IIRP 15 years ago,” says STARS CEO Rodger Dinwiddie, adding, “We’ve seen great success with these practices, with families, schools and community programs.” Long licensed by the IIRP to provide restorative practices training, STARS also sponsors IIRP professional development events in Nashville


  • Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 10.17.59 AMA serious cyber-threat closed down a middle school in Maine for three days. How would students and staff be able to come back to school and feel safe again? Thanks to their preliminary training in “restorative practices,” the school community found a way, not only to return and help each other feel safe, but to turn the incident into an opportunity to build a stronger school community.

    Charles Haddock, principal of Windham Middle School, in the small town of Windham, Maine, received an anonymous email threat on Monday, December 15, 2014. The threat raised urgent concerns because it implied violence. Within seven minutes, Windham Middle School’s students were loaded onto buses and on their way home, and Windham-Raymond School District’s



    Miguel Tello, Representative for IIRP Latinoamérica, who was recently elected to the IIRP Board of Trustees, discusses how circles make sincere conversations possible and illustrates his point with an anecdote from a school in El Salvador.

  • IIRP Lecturer Elizabeth Smull, who presented on restorative practice at the International Bullying Prevention Association's annual conference, says she left feeling excited about how people from around the world are beginning to speak a common language about creating safety and community in schools.

  • bullying preventionTeachers, parents, students, administrators and the public agree that bullying is a serious problem, both within and outside the school community. Organizations like Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) have been working for decades to address this issue.

    Working in parallel, approaches like restorative practices, bullying prevention, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), social and emotional learning (SEL) and various school climate initiatives address the need for safer and healthier school environments as a prerequisite for quality learning.

  • csfbuxmont-computersGiving students voice and choice is essential to creating engaged learners. It’s vital that teachers value students’ life experiences and incorporate them into the learning process, enabling them to internalize what is being taught. Additionally, in a restorative classroom, learning is a shared responsibility between the students and the teacher — a natural extension of CSF Buxmont’s restorative culture.

    “We have high expectations for students. We put them in the driver’s seat to take responsibility for their education, engaging them and having them be a part of the process,” explains Pam Thompson, Assistant Director of School/Day Treatment.

  • Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools welcomes families back to school.Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, Dr. Linda S. Lane, welcomes families back to school.One in five students was suspended from Pittsburgh Public Schools last year. One school suspended 79 percent of its students. What’s more, many students say they feel they have to fight to defend themselves in school.

    To make their schools safer, the leadership of Pittsburgh Public Schools, like those in several other school districts across the country, is embarking on a


  • Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest district in the U.S., is collaborating with more than two dozen Chicago-based organizations to end the school-to-prison pipeline by implementing restorative practices.

    Chicago restorative practices Student explains the use of a talking piece during a circle at Umoja's 2013 Community Builders "Safe Spaces" summer internship.Ten years of grassroots organizing and practice has raised community awareness and helped demonstrate the effectiveness of


  • Bullying is a great area of concern, especially in schools. In this video, IIRP Instructor Lee Rush talks about the way restorative practices dovetails with bullying prevention.