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Outcome Evaluation

The implementation of restorative practices in the school setting impacts both the relationships in the classroom and the number of students excluded from school. These evaluations discuss the impact of restorative practices on different measures.

Conflicts and in-school suspensions drop sharply at Middle School during second year of “restorative discipline” initiative
from the article on the University of Texas website: Truancy, bullying and other conflicts among students are down, and in-school suspensions have declined 75 percent at a San Antonio middle school two years after University of Texas at Austin researchers helped implement “restorative discipline” as an alternative to “zero tolerance” in dealing with these issues, according to second-year findings involving a three-year initiative. The marked improvement at Ed White Middle School in San Antonio’s North East Independent School District also was reflected by its being ranked in the top 25 percent statewide for improved progress this year, said Marilyn Armour, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work and director of the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue. She said the middle school made substantial gains in student school performance as measured by the number of students who passed the state exam’s math and reading components....
Restorative practices in schools and communities
rom the post by Oana on UFV Centre for Safe Schools" ….A growing international body of research demonstrates that restorative action-based practices in schools contribute to safer and more productive learning environments for both staff and students. In 2004, The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales evaluated a large-scale pilot restorative justice project designed to reduce unwanted behaviors (eg. bullying and victimization, poor attendance) and school suspensions. The comparison study utilized surveys and interviews with 5,000 students, 1,150 staff members, and 600 outside participants. Schools that used restorative action reported: Fewer students who felt that bullying was a problem in their school, and Fewer instances of racist name-calling and bullying, such as hitting, kicking, theft, verbal threats, and skipping class to avoid bullies.
Restorative justice: the evolution of an issue
from the entry by Colette Kimball for the Prevention Researcher blog: ....It was 2007 when I was first asked about doing an issue on restorative justice by our author, Sandra Pavelka. Although I was potentially interested, two things kept this issue from happening more quickly: First, I felt like the literature surrounding restorative justice needed to have a stronger research-base; and, second, restorative justice was a concept and approach I struggled to fully understand. There are so many types of interventions that fall under the rubric of “restorative justice” that seeing the connections was difficult for me.
Investigating the implementation of restorative justice practices through circle time
from the article at Student Wellbeing Action Partnership; This project was undertaken at a Catholic single sex school. The school has a strong emphasis on student wellbeing and is continually looking at ways to improve the various programs offered and strategies employed at the whole school through a preventative approach to student management. Using restorative justice as opposed to retributive justice has grown significantly in schools recently. The values that underpin restorative justice complement very well the underlying values of our school. The choice to focus on circle time was based on a personal interest fostered by research and something that was achievable within the context of the project. In my current leadership position I am also responsible for reviewing, developing and implementing student wellbeing policies so I found myself in the ideal position to develop and deliver a worthwhile project.
Study: Zero tolerance policies may have negative health implications for students
from the article by James Swift in Juvenile Justice Information Exchange: A new report based on research of three California school districts suggests that school children exposed to so called, “zero tolerance” policies may be taking a toll on their mental health and wellbeing.
Restorative Justice takes on West Oakland schools
from an article by Cassidy Friedman on New America Media: From 2005 to 2009, the city of Oakland backed a restorative justice pilot project at Cole Middle School, in West Oakland, which was already slated to be shut down for low test scores. It was among the first attempts to implement restorative justice circles at a U.S. school. By the final year, standardized test scores had risen by 74 points. The school, which had suffered from a high turnover of teachers, retained all of its faculty. And delinquency plummeted; suspensions fell 87 percent and expulsions dropped to zero.
'Restorative justice' school program reduces student delinquency
from the press release announcing the study: A pilot program to change how teachers and administrators respond to student misbehavior at an Oakland middle school led to a dramatic drop in suspensions and expulsions, according to a new study released today. During a one-year implementation of the alternative “restorative justice” program, suspensions dropped by 87 percent and expulsions dropped to zero.
Hong Kong research demonstrates effectiveness of the restorative whole-school approach
from the paper by Dennis S.W. Wong and T. Wing Lo: To evaluate the effectiveness of a restorative whole-school approach (RWsA), a pre-post study was undertaken. The sampling frame was based on the school list provided by the education authority. A total of 1480 Secondary 1 (equivalent to aged 12) to Secondary 3 (equivalent to aged 14) students from four different Hong Kong schools participated in the survey between September 2004 and August 2006. Due to practical constraints such as the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities, schools had the autonomy to implement the programmes to different degrees, which were then evaluated by the research team.
Video Review: An Introduction to Restorative Practices at Endeavour High School
This video describes the positive results of restorative practices implemented in a school with behavioral and performance problems in England.
Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools
This report examines six New York City public schools that are successfully maintaining safety while simultaneously promoting a nurturing school environment. This report explores the methods employed by these schools, including the tangible and intangible qualities that have contributed to their success. It concludes with practical recommendations to help the New York City Department of Education (DOE)—and urban school districts across the country—replicate their successful approaches to discipline and security. The report was prepared by The New York Civil Liberties Union, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and Make the Road New York.
Restorative Practices and the Transformation at West Philadelphia High School
West Philadelphia High School has undergone a transformation. It has been on Pennsylvania’s “Persistently Dangerous Schools” list for six years, but the implementation of restorative practices and strong leadership, headed by principal Saliyah Cruz, have made a huge difference. The culture and climate of the school have improved significantly, violent and serious incidents have plummeted, and rates of discipline procedures such as suspensions and expulsions have decreased dramatically. (from the article written by Laura Mirsky for the Restorative Practices E-Forum).
Improving School Climate: Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices
From the International Institute for Restorative Practices e-Forum: The International Institute for Restorative Practices has compiled a 36-page booklet of findings from schools in the United States, England and Canada that are implementing restorative practices.
Introducing Restorative Practices into Scottish Schools
In 2004, the Scottish Executive allocated funding for a 30-month pilot project to introduce restorative practices into schools in three Local Authorities. An August 2007 evaluation report outlines the implementation process for the different areas and the progress made in establishing restorative practices in the school.
Pranis, Kay. Restorative practices show promise in Minnesota schools. On-the-Map: Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Kay Pranis asserts that the use of restorative justice principles and practices shows promise in reducing behavioral referrals to the school office and suspensions. She also claims the use of restorative justice improves teacher satisfaction. In making these statements, she is drawing from findings detailed in "In-school Behavior Intervention Grants," a report evaluating the use of restorative measures by four Minnesota school districts at the elementary and secondary levels. As background, Pranis notes that Minnesota embarked in 1998 on an initiative to apply and evaluate alternative approaches to suspensions and expulsions from school, with those alternative approaches being based in restorative principles and practices. Pranis summarizes the findings of the evaluation as measured in key areas: suspensions, expulsions, attendance, academics, and school climate.
Ivker, Carin and Ierley, Alice. Restoring School Communities ~ Restorative Justice in Schools Program: Spring 2002 Report Card .
This study focuses on a Restorative Justice in Schools Program in Broomfield and Boulder, Colorado, for the spring of 2002. Twenty-two cases were referred to the program, including incidents of harassment, fighting, theft, vandalism, arson, drugs, and truancy. Of the 20 conferences held, 100 percent reached an agreement on how to repair the harm caused by the particular incident.(excerpt)
Knight, Lorrie. Creating Safe Schools with Classroom Meetings
Lorrie Knight is Dean of Students for Albion Central School District in Orleans County. Her primary responsibility is the discipline of 1200 students. Here is her story about the use of circles with children in public schools. (author's abstract)
Warren, Cathy. Evaluative Review: Lewisham Restorative Approaches Partnership.
This report examines the progress of Lewisham’s Restorative Approaches Partnership in its work in schools and attempts to identify: 1) Evidence that restorative approaches are having an impact on behaviour in schools; 2) Lessons learnt from those who have made most progress in implementing the approaches; and 3)Future needs to support continued development of restorative work in schools. (excerpt)
Bitel, Mark. Preliminary Findings from the Evaluation of Restorative Justice in Schools.
The preliminary evidence from the pupil surveys does not show clear effects between the schools which are in the pilot (programme schools) and the comparator schools (nonprogramme schools). However, when comparing the pre- and post-intervention surveys in schools that have implemented restorative practices to a significant degree, there are clear trends that suggest that restorative practices are having a significant effect. (excerpt)
Edgar, Kimmett and Bowen, Gillian and Thurlow, Jane and Bitel, Mark. The evaluation of the Lambeth Restorative Justice Conference Pilot Project in Schools.
In May 2000, the Youth Justice Board in England initiated a plan to test, in two schools in Lambeth, restorative justice approaches in response to robbery and bullying in school settings. This was part of the Board’s overall exploration of interventions that might reduce youth crime. The project was devised in partnership with the Metropolitan Police in Lambeth. To evaluate the project, the Youth Justice Board engaged Partners in Evaluation and the Oxford Centre for Criminological Research. The evaluation, reported in this document, reviewed a number of key areas: levels of victimization, bullying, and robbery in the two schools; means for introducing restorative justice approaches in the schools; satisfaction of participants (victims and offenders) in the schools’ restorative justice conferences; short-term and long-term effects of the conferences on participants; and the larger effects of conferences, if any, on the nature and frequency of acts of victimization in the two schools. This paper presents research findings and analysis in these key areas, as well as a number of recommendations to enhance the use of restorative justice conferences in school settings. Additionally, several appendices provide further information on the study methodology, data-gathering, and research instruments.
Chmelynski, Carol. Schools find 'restorative justice' more effective than expulsion.
School administrators, who until now have used expulsion as a last disciplinary option, have begun to employ restorative justice as an effective alternative solution. Central to the restorative justice method, students who have disciplinary problems learn about the impact their behavior has on others in an environment focused on healing and learning. School staff members, who have been trained in these methods, facilitate these programs through peer mediation, classroom circles to discuss problems, and family group counseling. More school districts, including six in Wisconsin, are now implementing these programs, encouraged by the successful results of schools like PEASE Academy. PEASE, a Minneapolis/St. Paul school for students recovering from chemical addiction, experienced a decrease in disciplinary issues since beginning these programs. Because restorative justice focuses on community involvement, students who have felt neglected or misunderstood are now learning that their community wants to understand their problems and help them improve their lives. Abstract courtesy of the Marquette University Law School-Restorative Justice Initiative http://law.marquette.edu/cgi-bin/site.pl?2130&pageID=1831

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