Restorative Practices: The Human Approach


Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to build, strengthen and repair relationships between individuals as well as establishing supportive social connections within communities.


Restorative practices is implemented within the following settings:

  • K-12 and Higher Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Community Health Organizations
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Counseling, Psychology and Social Work


The Educated Edge utilizes restoration as a supplementary response to less sever school-based infractions by providing proactive and reactive methods for educators and students to listen and empathize with others, express voice, and address harmful behaviors, together. Our continuum of supports collaborate with PBIS, Responsive Classroom, Ruler, and other culture-changing programs that might already exist within schools.


Our philosophy, adopted from the International Institute for Restorative Practices, is rooted in the essential belief that “people are happier, more cooperative, more productive and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.”



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between restorative justice and restorative practices?

Restorative justice, applied within the court and criminal system, gives victims who have been harmed by a particular crime or conflict the chance to communicate with their offenders to seek accountability and to make amends.


Deriving from restorative justice, restorative practices employs its principles, methods and philosophy in everyday practice, and can be used in various settings to build and restore relationships and prevent conflict through effective and positive communication between individuals and their communities.


Why is the need for restorative practices in schools important?

The school-to-prison pipeline is the disproportionate tendency of contact disadvantaged minors and young adults have with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, resulting from harsh zero tolerance policies implemented by school and municipal procedures (Heitzeg, 2009). Through restorative practices, schools utilize unique strategies for less severe infractions while holding youth accountable in school and out of the probationary system.


Heitzeg, N. A. (2009). Race, class and legal risk in the United States:
     Youth of color and colluding systems of social control. Forum on Public Policy. Winter.


What does restorative practices look like in schools?

A restorative school is one that works with youth and colleagues to develop a shared commitment to both education and social emotional enhancement. It provides a high support and high challenge environment with clear expectations for all. Schools with a restorative ethos choose belonging rather than exclusion, social engagement over control and meaningful accountability instead of punishment.


Should schools invest in a licensed IIRP instructor when considering training and implementation?

Yes. Restorative practitioners have earned a training license through IIRP, possessing the in-depth knowledge of philosophies and implementation systems. Restorative training is both intensive and on-going and should be provided by a professional who has held a school-based position. This empowers trust amongst stakeholders and properly ensures capacity development of educators and program sustainability.



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          I had the pleasure of working with Melissa in her role as consultant at a high school in Providence, RI. Melissa facilitated workshops focused on restorative practices for teachers and other staff. She also spent time in classrooms supporting teachers with implementing these practices. Melissa regularly took the time to meet with staff to discuss strategies that could be used to support the social emotional needs of our students. Throughout our time working together, Melissa displayed tremendous professionalism and a strong commitment to her work. Melissa’s ability to form strong bonds with students and staff contributed to her success in this role. As a classroom teacher, it was evident to me that Melissa’s work greatly helped to shape the culture of the school through her implementation of restorative practices.







Laura Dzialo
New Bedford, MA

Building & Restoring Educational Communities


The Educated Edge provides affordable, effective and evidenced-based training and consulting to educational practitioners throughout the U.S.


The Educated Edge, LLC

Melissa A. Ugarte

c/o East Bay Collaborative

317 Market Street

Warren, RI 02885

Phone: (401) 588-4210



©2018 The Educated Edge