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How Does the Conflict Center Approach Restorative Practices?

The Conflict Center employs our unique Five Strategy approach to Restorative Practices which focuses on building Restorative Practices skills within a school and intentionally shaping the internal culture–shifting from traditional, punitive discipline to a restorative practice approach.


A consensus-based, focus-group style survey which examines the existing restorative practices included in the school’s infrastructure, leadership, and culture and protocols. This tool assesses the school’s readiness for RP implementation.


With insight from the assessment data, TCC works with the school to create a tailored road map, identifying the school’s assets, needs and priorities to move forward with successful restorative practices implementation.


TCC offers a robust menu of interactive workshops that are individualized to meet school needs as outlined by the Prioritization Road Map. Topics include (but are not limited to): foundations of RP, circle practice & facilitation, and implicit bias.


Through a process of creating a vision, overcoming roadblocks, and developing new skills, highly trained RP facilitators empower staff and administrators to connect RP to school goals and give them ownership of RP implementation.


By working with school leaders to institutionalize restorative practices in all aspects of school culture, from responding to conflicts in the classroom to school policies and overall school culture, TCC’s Five Strategy approach sets the foundation for sustainable restorative school culture.

Sample RP Process with Schools

  • Initial Connection and Planning

  • In-Person Facilitated Assessment

  • Prioritization and Planning

  • Facilitation of Tailored Training Workshops and Coaching

  • Feedback From RP Team Every Few Months

  • On-Going Evaluation for All Staff

Disruption of School-to-Prison Pipeline

The school-to-prison pipeline is a metaphor used to describe the increasing patterns of contact that students have with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems as a result of the traditional punitive practices implemented by educational institutions.

Restorative Practices reduce the disproportionality high disciplinary referrals, suspensions and expulsions of children of color and; therefore, reduce the odds that students will subsequently become involved in the juvenile justice system.

Restorative Practices
in Action

Building relationships that are central to community

Addressing misbehavior and harm in ways that strengthen relationships

Focusing on the harm done rather than the rule that is broken

Giving voice to the person harmed

Engaging in collaborative problem-solving

Has a dramatic personal effect on practitioners and others involved in the process

Core Conflict Center Trainings

Restorative Practices 101: Philosophy and Foundational Tenets of RP

Restorative Practices 201: Practical Skills for Community Building

Restorative Practices 301: Facilitating Formal Circles to Repair Harm

To schedule a training at your institution, or learn more about our 5 Strategies, please contact our Restorative Practices Program Manager at 303.865.5624 or amber.ford@conflictcenter.org

The restorative practice philosophy has been used to build community and resolve conflict in indigenous cultures for thousands of years, including the Maori people of New Zealand, Native American tribes in the U.S., the Mayan people of Guatemala, and many others. Modern Western communities have been calling on these age-old practices as an alternative process to build strong, safe communities, and to resolve conflict through face to face interactions since the 1970s. Most recently, the criminal justice system and K-12 schools in the United States have begun to use restorative practices to address conflicts in local communities and schools.

Restorative practices are rooted in the principle that everyone has the capacity to build relationships and resolve conflict restoratively with training, practice, support, and time. Therefore, anyone can benefit from learning about restorative practices. Restorative Practices are non–denominational and inclusive of all identities. Teachers, paraprofessionals, school administrators, and students can use restorative practices on campus. Off-campus, restorative practices can be employed by parents/guardians, sports coaches, mentors, and community members. A restorative approach can be used with families, neighbors, and colleagues.

Restorative Practices are about creating stronger communities and cultivating relationships. Within schools, restorative practices have been successful in helping youth and adults communicate more effectively, minimizing student truancy, reducing school conflict, and lowering suspension and expulsion rates. Lower rates of suspensions and expulsions have also been found to increase the academic scores of non-suspended students. Additionally, students that go to schools with lower suspension rates have higher end of year math and English scores.

The term community, as used in Restorative Practices, is not limited to a physical or geographic region. Rather, it is defined as members who have been directly or indirectly impacted by harm. In an education context, community may include:

  • Family members
  • Students
  • Key support staff (administrators, teachers, counselors, coaches, etc…)
  • Mentors
  • Support people for each party who have been impacted by the offense