Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Marie Cianca, Ed.D.

Second Supervisor

Susan M. Schultz, Ed.D.


In recent years, restorative justice (RJ) has been used by the criminal justice system to provide an alternative to punishment and retribution in response to crime. Restorative justice’s response to crime requires all parties affected or involved in the crime to come together to repair the harm done to the victim. The parties involved or affected include victim, offender, family, and community. Many schools have considered restorative justice as alternative to suspension and a way to build school community. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of school faculty participating in professional development on restorative practices (RP). Data were collected from the staff making up four focus group teams. The staff were selected from four school teams. The school level represented were Pre-k-2, Pre-k-6 & 8 and Grades 9-12. Several interrelated findings were identified as result of this study. The goals of RP are not in alignment with the primary goals and structure of schools. Misalignment of goals and purpose creates implementation challenges. The research participants acknowledged pockets of RP success within and between schools. However, success was mired with perceived barriers such as the frustrations of absent leadership, competing priorities, voluntary professional development, buy-in challenges, inconsistent implementation and school grade level configuration. These interrelated challenges informed the formulation of several recommendations regarding the implementation of RP. Restorative practices requires the support and participation of leadership at the highest possible level. Staff need to be reassured that academics/ assessment and social emotional growth are equally important school goals. Leadership reassurance needs to be demonstrated through a commitment of time and resources for professional development. Successful implementation requires more than the use of common language. Success implementation requires a common understanding.

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