The Restorative Justice Project offers training and programs in Restorative Justice Practices designed to support CURes' vision to advance urban health and resilience. Our goal is to offer tools the community can use to help cultivate knowledgeable, responsible, and civically engaged citizens.
Restorative Practices (RP)
RP is a philosophy that grew from Restorative Justice (RJ) that aims to provide school communities with safe, inclusive, and effective tools to develop relationships to create a healthy school environment.
We partner with schools and corporations to offer program components including:
- Education and Marketing
- School Environment Assessment
- Implementation Coordination
- Restorative Language Integration
- Community Building Circles
- Community Conferencing
- Facilitation Skill-building and Coaching
- Program Evaluation
Program Evaluation is a method of studying the effectiveness, efficiency, and fidelity of projects and programs. Our approach may be tailored to a range of contexts, from public to private sectors. Program evaluation is particularly salient to our school and community-based partners, as it behooves public and private institutions to understand project and program effectiveness. Furthermore, this process provides a mode for improving projects and programs that benefit schools and broader communities. As such, we offer program evaluation in an effort to aid in the process of producing healthy schools and neighborhoods.
These case studies illustrate how Community Building Circles and Community Conference work. Names have been changed for privacy.
Josh misplaced his phone. His teacher assured Josh that she would ask her students to help look for the phone. At the beginning of the school year she implemented Community Building Circles and got to know these students pretty well. Having built strong bonds she said, "I just want to talk with you because a student's phone has gone missing. So if any of you know where it is or who took it – the right thing to do would be to give the phone back."
Right after class, Shawn, Taylor, and Mike approached the teacher and asked, "What does it say about a person's character if a person stole something and then brought it back?" The teacher responded, "That would say a lot about the person's character. And it wouldn't say much about their character if they didn't return it." The teacher could see the boys were really thinking about what she said. The boys answered, "Oh, we found this phone."
Foreign Language Made Fun
A foreign language teacher, reports: "I found out that one of my students who is failing my class is an avid reader. During one of our Community Building Circles, I asked everyone to name their favorite storybook from childhood. You can imagine their surprise when I brought those books written in Italian to them. They see that I'm paying attention to what interests them, so during class they pay more attention to me. In my opinion, this process makes a big difference in the class; the key is to continue doing it on a regular basis."
A math instructor who teaches class right after lunch notices that students have difficulty concentrating. Most of the students in this class are repeating the course and there are at least eight young people who have problems controlling their behavior. When the teacher first introduced Community Building Circles, there were sidebar conversations, despite the use of a "talking piece" that serves as a reminder that only one person may speak at a time. After conducting the circles a few times, the young people have started to settle down and seem to take a real interest in the process by asking their own sets of questions.
One time, a student brought up the social media application called Instagram because someone had posted a page of photos of girls and implied they were promiscuous. A student asked, "Why is it that girls get called horrible names and boys don't? The boys are doing the same things the girls are doing but they aren't being called names." Many of the students passed the talking piece without speaking and then one student who hadn't spoken before added, "I think it's really terrible, because one of my friends is on that page and she doesn't deserve to be." Another male student talked about how not all boys call the girls those names and noted that girls are responsible for the name-calling too. Right before the bell rang to dismiss the class, another student yelled out, "We need to stop calling each other names!"
Our Partners represent some of the most progressive organizations in the judicial, educational, governmental, and private sectors. These collaborations help lead the way in providing RJ resources in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
- Alice M. Baxter High School
- Middle School #12
Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic Schools
Aspire Public Schools
- Centennial Academy
- Inskeep Academy
- Pacific Academy
- Slauson Academy
- Tate Academy
Centinela Valley Union High School District
- Lawndale High School
- Lloyde High School
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)
- Academic Leadership Community
- Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School
- Westchester Enriched Sciences and Magnets
New York City Charter School Center
Riverside Unified School District (RUSD)
- Arlington High School
- Castle View Elementary
- Educational Options High School
- Emerson Elementary
- Franklin Elementary
- Gage Middle School
- Hawthorne Elementary
- Highgrove Elementary
- John North High School
- Lake Matthews Elementary
- Lincoln High School
- Martin Luther King High School
- Mountain View Elementary
- Ramona High School
- Rivera Elementary
- University Middle School
- Washington Elementary
- Woodcrest Elementary School
St. Bernard’s High School, Playa Del Rey
St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Long Beach
- Collins Foundation
- Kerri Berkowitz, Restorative Justice Practices Trainer and Implementation Specialist
- Public Counsel
- LMU Psychology Applied Research Center (PARC)
- LMU School of Education
- Restorative Justice Network of Catholic Campuses
Restorative Practices Testimonials
The process showed the teacher a different side of the student and it showed the humanity of the teacher. A lot of our kids don't realize that teachers are humans, too. Everything is going well with this student and teacher now. They established and built a foundation for a relationship. Both the student and the teacher were both adament about not being removed from the classroom. She sees a different side of him and sees him as a whole child - not just the side that was causing the friction in the classroom.
- Kendra Peterson, Asst. Principal at Lawndale
Thanks for being here this morning. As you know, things went great. I want to thank you for helping facilitiate this problem and breaking through with [student]. Him opening up and identifying his needs help is a HUGE step. I have referred him to Richstone. Thanks for all you do.
- Ben Wardrop, Asst. Principal at Lawndale
I wish they had had this [Restorative Practices] when I was in high school. This is a much better way of handling things.
- Parent of a student at Lawndale
I don't care if the teacher has a Master's Degree, I just want the teacher to connect with my child.
- Parent of a student at Lawndale
During the Community Building Circle, the process opened up the students to better interact with each other so they can talk in front of the entire class without having to stand up. In the circle, students sit next to people who they are comfortable with and can talk with people who they aren't so comfortable with. They're able to share feelings and ask questions about things that they weren't normally used to talking about with each other. It also builds empathy and hearing each other in a way that allows them to understand, "Oh, he felt good or bad about that situation, too."
- Teacher at Lloyde High School
Additional Comments from Teachers about implementing Restorative Practices
- Fewer classroom arguments
- Students begin to respond to minimal instruction
- Able to "buy-back" instruction time
- Improves interpersonal skills
- Better relationships
To find ways to collaborate with the RJ Project, please contact Schoene.Mahmood@lmu.edu.