Seattle Public Schools


Restorative Practices Program

Restorative Practices at SPS

This page is for students, families, and staff who seek more information about restorative practices and how these practices are contributing to the culture of Seattle Public Schools and the greater Seattle community.

This digital mural by local artist Mari Shibuya reflects an early Restorative Program Team session from the 2021-2022 school year.
This digital mural by local artist Mari Shibuya reflects an early Restorative Program Team session from the 2021-2022 school year.


Seattle Public Schools are at the heart of the city. SPS Restorative Practices empowers school communities and centers students’ wellness and joy in learning and in life. We engage in a relational and healing-centered process to foster community connectedness, combat the harms of systemic racism, and cultivate racially just, equitable, and inclusive schools. We are a community that celebrates our individual and shared humanity.

Restorative Spotlight

A space to share stories, successes, and learnings from across the district! If you have a story we should spotlight, send it to Polo DeCano

Franklin HS – A Model for the Implementation of Restorative Practices

Thank you to Chelsea Gallegos for sharing this story!!

The implementation of Restorative Practices at Franklin High School began during the 2022-2023 school year using Tier-One Community Building Circles/Activities and Professional Development opportunities for staff.

Feedback coming from both students and staff reflected a desire for more connection and belonging within the school culture. At the beginning of the year the school-based therapist, levy-coordinator, school counselor and Assistant Principal formed a small but mighty Restorative Practices Team and engaged in a series of monthly deep-dive PD sessions led by Dalisha Phillips, an Art Therapist, Abolitionist, and respected Restorative Practitioner from South Seattle.

This team created a broad vision and plan for RJ Implementation at FHS with action steps identified over the next two school years. Simultaneously, a small cohort of staff who wanted to learn more about Restorative Practices were invited to an introductory series of monthly PDs that provided a foundational understanding of how to use these tools within their educational practice.

Invested Educators – The RP Team offered optional monthly Community Building Circles for staff to provide them with the experience of bonding in a meaningful way that showcased who they are not just as educators but as whole human beings. The Race & Equity Team also understood that more connection and trust among staff was needed before Franklin staff would be able to do Anti-Racist work effectively. The RET used several green day PDs to hold Staff Community Building Circles and bonding experiences to lay a solid foundation for the kind of critical conversations necessary to the work of RET.

Invested Students – During second semester the school-based therapist started a monthly “Student Circle Keeper Group” that provided students with the opportunity experience sitting in Circle with their peers. Teachers were asked to nominate students who were interested in learning more about Restorative Justice and/or Circle-Keeping and those students were invited to the monthly Student Circles.  By the end of the year a group of 11 students had become very committed to the power of Circle and wanted to become Circle-Keepers themselves. Students were trained and wrote their own Community Building Circle, then they were matched with a staff member who was open to having a Student-Led Circle during their class.  We are very proud of our Student Circle Keepers who held 18 Community Building Circles for their peers by the end of June. Both students and staff had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the joyful impact of their Circles and the chance to learn about their students in a new way.

Invested School Community – Next year FHS will have a Restorative Practices Coordinator who will lead our team and hold the scope of this important work.  Securing funding for this position was vital to the sustainability of Restorative Practices; however, it is possible to begin this work even if you do not yet have a coordinator. We encourage other schools to form their own RP Team with the people in their building who believe in this transformational work while advocating for funding for a coordinator.  During the 2023-2024 school year we plan to hold at least one Community Building Circle every month in all advisory classes, along with other community bonding activities. Student Circle Keepers are scheduled to lead Circles for staff during August TRI-days as a way to model the process of being a Circle-Keeper for their teachers.  We are very hopeful that as staff and students become more bonded with one another through the use of Restorative Practices, we will cultivate an overall feeling of joy, belonging and interconnectedness here at Franklin High School!

Growing Restorative Practices Throughout SPS

Restorative Practices in Seattle Public Schools reached a new collective audience this summer. During the second week of August, SPS building leaders attended the annual School Leader Institute (SLI). Among the range of topics pertinent to the scope of building leaders’ responsibilities, there was a specific day-long theme centering Restorative Practices. Included in this day were community-building activities, breakout sessions and an overall orientation about Restorative Practices and their place throughout our district.

One of the highlights of the day was hearing from the collective wisdom offered by building leaders. Keyunda Wilson from Emerson Elementary, John Houston from Whitman Middle School, Ray Garcia-Morales from Chief Sealth International High School and Katie Virga, an experienced building leader from the Oakland Unified School District (and currently a Principal Leadership Coach for SPS) shared challenges, successes, considerations, relevant anecdotes and general wisdom related to cultivating a restorative culture in their school communities.

Breakout sessions included topics such as considerations in Student-centered Discipline, Practical Tools and Strategies for Implementing Restorative Practices and Restorative Conferences. These sessions were offered by leaders in Seattle Public Schools from school buildings, who are community partners and who work in SPS Central Office.

Overall, the day was full of hope, connection and wisdom about how Seattle Public Schools can be one that centers students’ wellness and joy in learning and in life.

Thank you Wa-BLoC Team for sharing this story!!!!

WA-BLOC Supports Seattle Schools and Families

We are WA-BLOC, an organization working at the intersection of education and social justice in South Seattle’s Black and brown communities with a mission to build and nurture intergenerational leaders through transformative education and revolutionary social action. Working with multiple schools across South Seattle/SPS, we provide space for healing and joy among black and brown youth and help schools cultivate and sustain school-wide restorative practices. Students and staff are equipped through our Restorative Justice programs with tools to build community, help resolve conflicts, and address school policies and systems that perpetuate trauma and harm.

Restorative Practice for Schools – Emerson Elementary

At Emerson Elementary School, over 80 3rd-5th graders have learned about the practice of Circle Keeping, its Indigenous roots, and how to have intentional dialogue and practice peacemaking during conflicts as peer “Peacekeepers.” With our support, every classroom also participates in weekly community-building circles, creating a school culture that accelerates social-emotional connection and skill building, student voice, and academic learning. For AAPI month, we equipped teachers with weekly themed community building circles to give their scholars additional opportunities to reflect on, learn about, and celebrate Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage, leadership, and social action. Circle themes included AAPI heroes in history like Grace Lee Boggs, Wing Luke, and Aki Kurose, who have led for change, community, solidarity, and justice.

School administrators and staff have also participated in aligned professional development training opportunities for Tier 1-2 restorative practices throughout the school year. These combined efforts and deep collaboration with Emerson staff has led to increased feelings of connection and belonging among students and staff, a 90% reduction in student suspensions and decreased instances of harm throughout the school year since 2018 through the use of Restorative Justice practices

Restorative Practices for Families

Restorative practices aren’t just to support healthy school communities but can also be adopted into our home and family cultures! This past month, WA-BLOC hosted our second Restorative Justice Family Night for Emerson Elementary scholars and families. Lena Nguyen, our Restorative Justice Practitioner reflected:

“With the endless support of Emerson teachers, staff, and students, we held a space filled with joy, love, and appreciation for the community that has grown at Emerson Elementary. The night started with a grounding in the Restorative work that happens at Emerson through student peacekeepers: three scholars shared about their leadership experiences and wisdom they’ve gleaned from supporting their peers. Their families beamed with pride witnessing their children share about their important roles in the Emerson community. Families created their own centerpieces with the guidance of their children. Words and themes that were prevalent in all centerpieces were “play, gratitude, love, and celebration with family”! We witnessed a few parents hold onto emotional reactions witnessing their children fill their centerpieces with symbols that represented their family with love and care. After completing their centerpieces, families took them into circles- which were held in six different home languages- and shared their experiences around their child(ren)’s growth this year. They shared that their children have experienced growth in confidence, happiness and friendship because of the Emerson community. Families expressed their sense of belonging at the school, personally and for their children. It was a powerful experience that spoke to the dedication and work teachers at Emerson are doing every day to create a safe and welcoming school experience for scholars.”

WA-BLOC is honored to be able to co-create and share spaces like this with the Emerson community and so grateful for all the amazing teachers who showed their support that night! We cannot wait to keep building this work alongside families at Emerson!

Cultivating and Nurturing a Restorative Justice Community Across SPS

As a continuation of the RJ Kickoff events that took place earlier this school year, we were excited to gather educators and building leaders in two community practice sessions on April 26 and May 17 at Nova High School. Seattle Public Schools’ Restorative Practices team, Huayruro, and WA-BLOC facilitated 6 circles for elementary and secondary school staff and administrators. Sessions focused on skill-building around the Peacemaking Circle Process and addressing questions from educators and building leaders about implementing classroom and school-wide Restorative Practices in their respective communities.

Get involved with WA-BLOC

Sign up for the WA-BLOC newsletter or follow us on Instragram to stay up to date on our work and opportunities to collaborate with and support us! For other information or inquiries, email us at

Centerpiece element; a circle with personal values written  on them in colorful marker.

Community Partner and Seattle Public Schools Visioning Event at Garfield High School

Following a landscape analysis at the end of the ’21-’22 school year that sought to learn about restorative practices around the SPS District, the Restorative Team partnered with Wa-Bloc, Huayruro, Solutions by Cadenas, CCS Unlimited, The Roots of Us, DEEL and others to host a community gathering of restorative practitioners from the Seattle area. The hope for this gathering was to connect, to strengthen the restorative community supporting the students and families in SPS and to form a collective understanding of restorative practices so that students throughout the city have a cohesive experience related to restorative practices and community harmony.

Community Organizations and Partners

Digital art with various quotes throughout the design. Some of the quotes are: "what is bringing you peace?", "the work of addressing resistance happens before the circle"
This digital mural by local artist Mari Shibuya reflects community voice about restorative practices in the Spring of the 2021-2022 school year.

The SPS Restorative Team recognizes that while the school district has a meaningful footprint and reach, this work is inherently about community-building and partnership. Further, there are others who have been leading this body of work in the Seattle area and in Seattle schools with whom, only in partnership, will the SPS Restorative Team achieve its aims to foster a restorative culture throughout Seattle Public Schools.

Learn more about the community organizations and how they are showing up for SPS.

Events & Training Opportunities

women sitting next to candles in the shape of a heart

Homicide Healing Circles

Second Friday of the month at 6-7:30 p.m.

Meeting Info:
Zoom Meeting ID: 827 5412 1737
Passcode: 416054

Angela M. Davis

Huayruro logo

Community Circles

Held monthly

Community Circles are a place to sit with others and explore a topic using the Circle process. It is a great opportunity to experience Circle, whether it is your first time or you are revisiting after many times.

The Root of Us logo

Sisterhood Self Care Series

Saturdays at 3:30-5 p.m.

Weekly Community Event for Black and Brown Sisterhood and their family and friends.

Hosted by The Root Of Us

The Root of Us logo

Brotherhood Self Care Series

Thursdays at 6-7:30 p.m.

This series is designed for Black identifying Youth, Young Adults and Men of Color to build community and heal together.

Hosted by The Root Of Us

The Root of Us logo

Racial Healing Circles

Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

Brave space for intentional conversations about race with folks of all races! Join the full 6 week Series of Racial Healing.

Cost: $10-100

Hosted by The Root Of Us

Resolutions Northwest

Self-Guided Online Courses

Online modules to learn at your own pace and alleviate scheduling conflicts.

Cost: Varies

Hosted by Resolutions Northwest

Collective Wisdom: Restorative Practices Resources

tier i, tier ii, and tier iii
Tiered Restorative Practice Supports (OUSD Implementation Manual, pg. 12)

The resources below are intended to provide you with a range of tools and strategies to support your use or restorative practices and efforts toward furthering the restorative presence at your school.

Gradually, with perseverance, Seattle Public Schools will become a restorative district where all young people may experience community harmony at the center of their learning endeavor and each school will foster a restorative culture in their school community.

The following resources are organized for:

  • Tier 1: Community Building
  • Tier 2: Conflict Resolution & Repair, Systems-Level Development, and General Education related to Restorative Practices.

*Note: These resources are intended to supplement training and ongoing practices that reflect a restorative culture (or aspiring culture) in your school community. They are not intended to be used as “restorative” responses to a situation in a culture that lacks community connection and belonging.

Without a sense of community connection and belonging, then what are we restoring to? The following resources are to support practices that focus on community building, establishing trust, and foster relationships in general. These include samples of circles that can be modeled after, practices that can be used spontaneously and games or activities that build a sense of belonging and connection.

Scholar Community Building Brainstorm K-5 – Collection of resources activities, games and questions to build community in K-5 settings. (Generated by Wa-Bloc)

Helpful Hints Circle Prep Form

A tremendous resource to guide the planning of a restorative practice circle that includes important pieces, considerations, a worksheet to guide thinking and some history to inform a deeper understanding. Created by RJOY

Potential Classroom Examples of Tier 1 Community Building Practices – below is a list of potential classroom community-building practices that can foster the foundation for restoration and community harmony. (Generated by WA-BLOC):

  • Community building games
  • Greeting scholars
  • Saying student’s names correctly
  • Affirmations/recognitions
  • Creating check-in time for standing meetings
  • Co-crafted community agreements/class charter/staff charter
  • Calling families (positive things as well)
  • Showing up for family night/curriculum nights
  • Incorporating student interests/culture in classroom
  • Mindfulness/breathing exercises
  • Using talking piece for class discussion/incorporating circle elements during class time
  • Soliciting student feedback on assignments/having them self evaluate
  • Modeling accountability/normalizing mistakes/humility
  • Using intentional questions to discuss personal and shared values
  • Staff appreciation activities/gestures
  • Follow through
  • Creating structure for kids who need to learn there is consistency/predictability
  • Schedule and class expectations and revisiting those regularly
  • Calm down corners/regulation spaces

When the community has been disrupted or there has been an instance of conflict in need of a restorative resolution and/or repair, there are resources that can support that effort. Here are some materials that can be modeled after or applied to support resolution and repair to a conflict you may be working through.

Cleveland HS STEM Discipline Flowchart – This example comes from Cleveland High School identifies considerations that could inform how to respond to behaviors that have caused harm to the community in order to reach a restorative focused outcome.

Beacon Hill International Restorative Questions Card – This example from Beacon Hill International of a tool from and questions that support engaging with individuals in your school community from a restorative stance.

John Hay Peace Path – This example from John Hay is a worksheet to support students’ efforts to solve conflicts and recognize each other for kind actions.

John Hay Blue Reflection Sheet – This example from John Hay is a worksheet aims to prompt students to reflect on what happened, their feelings and the feelings of others and to find a positive way forward.

In addition to practices at Tier 1 and Tier 2, attention should be given to thinking and practices that exist across the school community as a system. Such systems-level thinking can best ensure there is consistency in the practices and experiences that show up throughout a school community.

Oakland Unified School District Restorative Justice Implementation Guide – This is a resource to support a Restorative Practice facilitator/coordinator in implementing a school-wide Restorative program at their site. It comes with broader, higher level questions related to principles of RJ and general steps to follow; down to more granular elements that include templates and reflective questions.

San Francisco Unified School District Restorative Practice Principles– A set of principles that reflect the values for implementing restorative practices in SFUSD.

There is so much to learn about Restorative Practices, its history, its application and what the most essential elements are that can ensure the work is done with integrity and honoring its spirit. To better understand the general philosophy inherent to a restorative approach there are collection of resources below and recommendations for further reading.

SPS Restorative Training from TRI-Days – This is a collection of videos that captured many layers of restorative activity from all-district training days from 2016.

Mindful Schools: Restorative Justice in Schools video – an example of a restorative circle

Feedback, Suggestions, and Requests

We recognize that we are only our best when our collective wisdom informs what we all experience.

Please fill out this form to share feedback, suggestions and/or requests.

Your information will not be shared unless you decide to share it yourself.