Rand Corporation has conducted a randomized controlled study, sponsored by the National Institute for Justice, on the effectiveness of restorative practices on suspension rates and classroom atmosphere. The study took place in the Pittsburgh Public School District during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 school years.
The researchers sought to answer three key questions: 1) how the specific program used was implemented and what challenged or facilitated restorative practices; 2) what were the impacts of this program; and 3) how likely is it that the restorative practices will be sustained over time?
The key findings indicated an improvement in school and classroom climate, decrease in overall suspension rates, and fewer disparities between minority and low-income students when compared to white or high-income students. They did not find academic improvement or a reduction in arrest rates.
Recommendations following the report include emphasizing restorative practices that can be woven into the school day to conserve education time, making professional development in restorative practice mandatory and providing ample resources for staff, and making monthly time for staff to meet about implementation of restorative practice. Define expectations clearly, collect and record data on behavioral incidents and remedies, and ensure administrators have the resources needed to coordinate the program.
To read this report in full, follow the link below.
Report Title: Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions? An Evaluation of the Impact of Restorative Practices in a Mid-Sized Urban School District.
Authors: Augustine, Catherine H., John Engberg, Geoffrey E. Grimm, Emma Lee, Elaine Lin Wang, Karen Christianson, and Andrea A. Joseph, Can Restorative Practices Improve School Climate and Curb Suspensions?
Publication: Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2018.