This document reports on a study of schools that implemented restorative practices as part of the SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change program, assessing program implementation and outcomes.
This report provides an overview and analysis of how schools implement disciplinary measures, such as suspension, and the effects that those measures have on students. The evaluation study discussed, focused on the implementation and outcomes in schools that were selected in the Pittsburgh Public School (PPS) system for the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) program, SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change (PERC schools). The study had three central research questions: how was the PERC model implemented and what challenged and facilitated use of restorative practices; what were the impacts of PERC; and how likely is it that PERC will be sustained in participating schools. The study examined the specific restorative practices program called SaferSanerSchools™ Whole-School Change, comparing participating PPS schools with other schools in the same district that offered additional support on restorative practices beyond those of the program. Key findings on implementation and outcomes suggested that implementation strategies to build capacity were successful; PERC improved the overall school climate, as rated by teachers; PERC reduced the average suspension rate for participating schools, as well as the disparities in rates by race and income; and not all PERC impacts were positive, including lack of improvement of academic outcomes, and middle school students actually worsened their academic outcomes in treatment schools and had no fewer suspensions. The report also provides recommendations for school districts, noting that practices for elementary schools in particular showed positive results.