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Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices are based on principles that emphasize the importance of positive relationships as central to building community and involve processes that restore relationships when harm has occurred.

Restorative Practices, when broadly and consistently implemented, will promote and strengthen positive school culture and enhance pro-social relationships within the school community.

Directly supporting SFUSD Beyond the Talk 2.0 strategic plan, Restorative Practices contributes to our district’s commitment in making social justice a reality in our schools; engaging high achievers and joyful learners while keeping our promise to our students and families. With Restorative Practices, all members of the school community share the responsibility of building and sustaining a positive school environment based on strong relationships and recognizes their role as a positive contributing member of the school community.

What Are Restorative Practices?

Now a common practice in many schools across the nation and world, Restorative Practices promote building respectful and trusting relationships as the foundation for teaching and learning while providing meaningful opportunities for students to develop self-discipline and positive behaviors in a caring, supportive environment. It views conflict primarily through the lens of the harm caused to people and relationships, and emphasizes the priority to meet the needs of those affected by this harm.

A restorative approach sees conflict or misbehavior as an opportunity for students to learn about the consequences of their actions, to develop empathy with others, and experience how to make amends in such a way as to strengthen the community bonds that may have been damaged.

Restorative Practices Principles at a Glance

The following principles reflect the values and concepts for implementing restorative practices in the school setting.

  • Acknowledges that relationships are central to building community.
  • Ensures equity of voice amongst all members of the community. Everyone is valued, everyone is heard.
  • Sets high expectations while offering supports, emphasizing doing things “with,” not “to” or “for”.
  • Builds systems that address misbehavior and harm in a way that strengthens relationships and focuses on the harm done rather than only rule-breaking.
  • Engages in collaborative problem solving.
  • Enhances responsibility and empowers change and growth in all members of the community.

Restorative Questions

When responding to conflict, a restorative approach consists in asking the people involved these key questions:

  1. What happened, and what were you thinking at the time of the incident?
  2. What have you thought about since?
  3. Who has been affected by what happened, and how?
  4. What about this has been the hardest for you?
  5. What do you think needs to be done to make things as right as possible?

Further Resources