Restorative Practices in Stockton Unified

    In 2015, Stockton Unified began our restorative journey by adopting the Restorative Practices training model from the International Institute of Restorative Practices (www.IIRP.edu ).  IIRP considers Restorative Practices “the science of relationships and community.” The educators at IIRP developed the research based framework building on research across fields. IIRP explains that the practice came first and led to the research on how to be most effective. “The practice came before the theory, and we aim to apply ancient wisdom to 21st century issues that arise in our communities… The concepts developed over time through experience. Some of the concepts have been influenced and inspired by Indigenous Communities throughout the world. For example, the Restorative Conference was inspired by the Maori People of New Zealand and much of the circle work that we will discuss comes from several Indigenous Communities throughout North America.”

    So far, more than 750 SUSD staff have completed training in Restorative Practices and Classroom Circles and we have 11 staff who are licensed as trainers by IIRP.  

    Stockton Unified’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) includes Restorative Practices in the Equitable Learning Environments goal. The district will provide ongoing professional development and support to schools and staff in community building, creating safe spaces for students, creating opportunities for student ownership, and taking affirmative steps to support our school-site leadership, teachers, staff and parents to support trauma-informed practices in the classroom.


    Jennifer Robles
    School Counseling Program Specialist

    District 504 Coordinator
    (209) 933-7130 ext. 2617

    What is Restorative Practices?

    Restorative Practices (RP) is a set of strategies educators use WITH students to:

    • Develop supportive relationships (proactive)
    • Build community (proactive)
    • Respond to challenging behavior (responsive)

    Restorative Practices (RP) is a holistic approach grown from the Restorative Justice (RJ) movement (see below for information about RJ). Educators designed RP to provide equitable and proactive strategies that focus on supportive relationships that build strong communities and strengthen the responsiveness of RJ work to respond to harm and restore relationships and safety.

    Restorative Practices are more than a set of practices to implement. RP is a mindset and belief that human beings are: happier, more cooperative, productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things WITH them, rather than TO them or FOR them (from IIRP research based curriculum). Restorative Practices recognize that we need to intentionally work to increase positive experiences in our classrooms and schools. The continuum of Restorative Practices includes strategies that make space for youth development, student voice, and social emotional learning.

    “To be “restorative” means to believe that decisions are best made and conflicts are best resolved by those most directly involved in them. The restorative practices movement seeks to develop good relationships and restore a sense of community in an increasingly disconnected world.”  ~ IIRP, from The Restorative Practices Handbook for Teachers, Disciplinarians, and Administrators 



    What is Restorative Justice?

    Restorative Justice (RJ) offers an alternative approach to traditional punitive school discipline. RJ is the shift of mind and heart that focuses on the harm that has occurred rather than the rule that was broken.

    The RJ approach responds to misbehavior by:

    • asking Restorative Questions to give students a voice
    • asking “what happened?” instead of “why did you do that?” and looking at areas of need
    • addressing the needs of all people involved
    • seeking to to repair the harm for all involved
    • restoring trust, safety, and relationships needed for a strong community

    History of Restorative Practices and the Story of our SUSD Restorative Practices Symbol


    Restorative justice, although recently popularized in Western approaches to criminal justice reform, particularly in response to mass incarceration, has deep roots in indigenous peacemaking. Global indigenous communities have a long-standing history of living in alignment with what we now refer to as restorative justice. Talking circles is another approach rooted in restorative practices, which embodies hozhooji naat’aanii, a Navajo phrase meaning something more like ‘people talking together to re-form relationships with each other and the universe.’ Youth circles underscore youth’s interconnectedness with and responsibility for their community.”            -From the Center for the Study of Social Policy



    • We acknowledge that we are on indigenous land. Here in Stockton, we are on the indigenous land of the Miwok and Yokut Indians. (SUSD Native American Center)
    • Stockton Unified designed our Restorative Practices symbol to recognize the indigenous roots of RP and the cultural heritage of the Yokut and Miwok peoples. The diamond pattern was inspired by Yokut beadwork and basketry. The diamonds also symbolize the preciousness of our students. The hands symbolize community and support.

    Links coming soon...

    4 Pillars of RP

    WITH – Social Discipline Window

    Fair Process

    Affect and Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

    Continuum of Restorative Practices

    Affective Statements – I Statements

    Restorative Questions

    Classroom Community Circles

    Integration with PBIS/MTSS

    Aligned with Trauma Responsive and Resilient Classrooms and Schools