Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award

12-2019

Department

Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

John Kellmayer

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Linnea Rademaker

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Bruce Scott

Abstract

Exclusionary suspensions have been used extensively to handle student discipline and promote a perception of a safer environment in schools. However, an increasing number of school administrators have begun seeking alternative methods, such as restorative practices, in an effort to change the approach towards handling misbehaviors, conflict, and damaged relationships. This study occurred in a Grade 9 campus in northern Texas. The goal of the researcher was to better understand the challenges and successes of implementing restorative practices at the school during the 2018–2019 school year from multiple perspectives. Utilizing the principles of a program evaluation approach—deliberatively democratic evaluation—the researcher sought feedback from all power levels—parents, faculty members, and students. A mixed methods sequential explanatory design was utilized whereby quantitative data was collected first using ex-post facto analysis and faculty survey results. Next, the researcher used qualitative measures—parent surveys, open-ended faculty survey questions, and student focus groups—to ascertain perceptions related to implementing restorative practices during the school year. During the implementation year, there was a significant decline in referrals, exclusionary suspensions, and recidivism rates. In addition, the researcher received many positive responses from stakeholders related to a growing culture of trust, empathy, and forgiveness. Finally, results from this study suggest administrators would be prudent to communicate reasons for the shift to restorative practices, provide professional development for teachers, engage all stakeholders, celebrate early successes, and explore methods to build sustainability and an environment where faculty work with students rather than administering discipline to students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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