Restorative Practices in Schools

Achieve lasting school climate change with our intensive, cost-effective two-year implementation program. The SaferSanerSchools™ program achieves 100% staff participation in restorative practices and reliably produces positive outcomes, which start to occur at the very outset of implementation.  Built-in assessment mechanisms and a solid sustainability program achieves organizational change.


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of West Philadelphia High School

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Beyond Zero Tolerance


Program OverviewProgram ActivitiesRelated Events

SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program

A cost-effective way to achieve lasting change that enhances and builds relationships between students, staff and parents, improves student behavior, reduces violence and bullying and creates a sense of community.

Comprehensive Two-Year School Implementation Program

Unlike piecemeal efforts using varied approaches that lack an explicit focus, IIRP helps school leadership and staff develop a customized plan based on their own needs and goals. Everyone on the school staff has a say and a role in implementation. Several staff are selected and trained as professional development instructors to ensure program sustainability. Activities include:

  • On-site professional development
  • Organizing staff “professional learning groups”
  • Regular follow-up phone meetings
  • Assistance with evaluation
11 Essential Elements

The Whole-School Change Program involves 11 Essential Elements, including affective statements, restorative questions, fair process, small impromptu conferences, proactive circles, responsive circles and restorative conferences. Staff teams, working in small professional learning groups, focus on understanding and using these elements.

Apply Professional Development Toward Graduate Credit

Another unique feature of this program is that all of our professional development days can be applied to graduate coursework at the IIRP Graduate school. This is an attractive benefit to your staff who can chose to supplement the in-school instruction with 12 hours of online coursework to earn graduate school credit.

Notice for Baltimore, MD, Newark, NJ, & New York, NY, Educators:

The SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program is pre-approved in your school district. This greatly simplifies the contracting and budget approval process for bringing this program to your school. Contact IIRP for more information.

Experienced IIRP instructors help the school leadership and staff develop a customized plan based on its own needs that include the following activities.

Implementation: Year 1 Activities

Distance Preparatory Activities
  • Create customized online web space to support staff implementation and learning activities.
  • Collect baseline data from school discipline records and other relevant information.
Four Days of Onsite Professional Development for Staff
  • Introduction to Restorative Practices — Basic restorative concepts and skills.
  • Using Circles Effectively — How to use circles for a broad range of behavioral and academic purposes.
  • Facilitating Restorative Conferences — How to facilitate structured meetings that effectively respond to wrongdoing.
  • Family Engagement — How to effectively engage and empower families using restorative practices.
Implementation Startup Session
  • Staff members form professional learning groups (PLGs).
  • PLGs provide ongoing collaboration between the administration and staff in achieving effective implementation.
Follow-up Activities
  • Hold monthly in-depth phone calls with leadership, also with staff groups as needed.
  • Schedule onsite consulting days in consultation with school.

Implementation: Year 2 Activities

Continuing Calls with Leadership and Staff Groups
  • Scheduled as needed to sustain implementation momentum.
  • Will focus on deepening implementation of restorative practices to 100% of staff.
Onsite Professional Development and Consulting Days
  • Schedule the remainder of the four professional development days not completed in first year.
  • Focus on skills refinement, increased sustainability and self-management.
  • Use ongoing evaluation to update criteria and inform consultation.
Sustainability Plan
  • Support explicit planning for sustained implementation.
  • Institutionalize and embed restorative practices as part of school staff’s vocabulary and daily life.
Training of Trainers
  • Select staff to be trained to provide restorative practices professional development for new hires.
  • License and train those staff to utilize IIRP’s proprietary materials, presentations, “scripts” and videos.

In addition to the SaferSanerSchools program, the IIRP offers a range of other services, including:

Professional Development and Graduate Education
  • The IIRP is an accredited graduate school providing professional development designed for educators and youth-serving professionals. Each learning experience is a module in a larger framework that builds toward a comprehensive understanding of restorative practices. Professional development events paired with online coursework with our experienced faculty can build toward your professional development to earn a graduate certificate or master’s degree. Learn about upcoming educational events »
  • Professional development events can also be brought to your school as a cost-effective way to train your staff.

The IIRP offers consulting to teachers and administrators on a variety of topics. Our instructors have experience in numerous and diverse school settings. They are skilled at managing change and resolving conflicts and understand the issues you face. Since every school is different, we listen to you and collaboratively design professional development to help you reach your goals. We will help you build a positive culture in your school by directly engaging you and your staff in implementation.

Restorative Services for Schools

Our experienced restorative practitioners will come to your school and work with your students and staff on a wide range of issues which could include:

  • Reintegration Counseling helps students returning from out-of-school placements achieve success
  • Restorative Circles in classrooms enhance relationships among students and staff and resolve problems
  • Individual and Family Counseling, including drug and alcohol counseling
  • Restorative Conferences involve those affected by serious incidents in repairing harm, restoring relationships and changing future behavior
  • Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Conferences involve teenage students and families in developing plans to address recurring behavior and other problems
  • Student Workshops are a fun and engaging way to introduce restorative practices to students and help them become invested in improving their school culture
  • Parent Workshops help parents understand the school’s initiative