“It’s the oldest new thing around! In other words, I’m grateful that such a powerful tradition is being brought (back) into the school system. A shift is needed, and this is definitely an integral part of it.” - ESL Instructor, ESI (English Studies Institute)


Values and Principles of Restorative Practices

The core of Restorative Practices is restoring and building

Values and Principles of A Restorative Approach in Our School Communities:

  • Equity of voice
  • High expectations and support = doing things “WITH” one another and not “TO” or “FOR” them
  • Building and sustaining positive relationships
  • Inclusive decision making
  • Community building and sustaining
  • All members of the community are valued
  • Authentic listening and sharing
  • Non-punitive response to wrong-doing
  • Shared responsibility

SFUSD Restorative Principles

The following principles reflect the values and concepts for implementing restorative practices in the school setting. Under each principle are some of its important implications.

Restorative Practices:

  •  Acknowledges that relationships are central to building community.
    • Considerable effort and time is spent on building and sustaining positive, trusting relationships among ALL members of the school community.
    • Every student, teacher, administrator, staff member, and parent/guardian is a valued member of the school community.
    • All members of the school community are involved in a process of naming the values and principles to live by within their school community.
  • Ensures equity of voice among all members of the community. All voices are valued, everyone is heard.
    • Systems and structures are established to ensure that all members of the school community have equal opportunities for meaningful participation.
    • A culture of non-judgmental, authentic listening and sharing is encouraged and reinforced.
    • Inclusive decision making practices are utilized to ensure that those impacted by decisions have a voice in the process by providing opportunities for input. Once decisions are made the reason for the decision and new expectations are clearly communicated.
    • Negotiation and cooperation are key components towards building a collaborative classroom and school environment.
  • Establishes a culture of high expectations with high support, emphasizing doing things “WITH” not “TO” or “FOR”.
    • Supports high standards and expectations for both learning and behavior in the school and classroom community, AND offers high levels of support to create positive change = Doing “WITH”.
  • Builds systems that address misbehavior and harm in a way that strengthens relationships and focuses on the harm done rather than only rule-breaking.
    • Schools establish policies to provide a safe place for learning. Real safety however comes from fostering and maintaining caring relationships.
    • Misbehavior is recognized as an offense against people and relationships, not just rule-breaking.
    • Policies need to address the root causes of discipline concerns rather than only the symptoms. The causes of misbehavior may be multiple and should be addressed by all members of the school community equally asserting high levels of expectation within a supportive environment.
      • The person/s harmed is the center of the primary relationship that needs to be addressed. Secondary relationships that may have been impacted might include other students, teachers, parents, the administration, and the surrounding community.
  • Engages in collaborative problem solving.
    • There is a shared responsibility and participation among all members of the school community to contribute to the sustainability of positive relationships by working together to identify potential problems and determine solutions.
    • Misbehavior can become a teachable moment and the community/relationships can be restored when all those impacted/harmed by an incident are involved in a collaborative process of determining unmet needs and solutions to make things as right as possible.  
    • Recognizes all of us act to satisfy our human needs (ex. belonging, freedom, power, and fun). Behaviors are chosen to meet these underlying needs.
  • Enhances accountability, responsibility and empowers change and growth for all members of the community.
    • All members of the school community are responsible for contributing to the establishment and sustaining of a positive school culture by taking personal responsibility to follow through and hold one another accountable to the collective values and principles that define the community.
    • Conflict presents opportunity for change if the process includes careful listening, reflecting, shared problem-solving, and trust.
    • High accountability occurs when systems and structures are in place that allow for one to take responsibility for their actions by providing them the opportunity to learn and understand the impact of their actions, determine how to make things as right as possible, AND follow through with the plan.
    • Consequences as part of the restorative process should be evaluated based on whether they are reasonable, related to the offense, and respectful.
    • Some students choose to resist participation in a process that will allow for change and may need adults to support and guide them in decision-making concerning their accountability.


Key Values:

Key Skills:

  • Create an ethos of respect
  • Inclusion
  • Accountability and taking responsibility
  • Commitment to relationships
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment and emotional articulacy

*Skill-based training is a vital component of Restorative Practices. Teaching a variety of communication skills, anger management techniques, and conflict management strategies will give students the capacity to deal with their conflicts productively.*

  • Active listening
  • Facilitating dialogue and problem-solving
  • Listening to and expressing emotion
  • Empowering others to take ownership of problems



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Restorative Practices
Student, Family, and Community Support Department
727 Golden Gate Avenue, Floor 2
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 241-3030
Fax: (415) 241-6213

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Student, Family and Community Support DepartmentSan Francisco Unified School District