As the restorative approach becomes more common in schools here in Vermont, across the country and around the world, more and more resources become available online and in book stores. Because finding the right resources for your school can be overwhelming, we offer a curated collection of high quality tools, articles, books, and videos. Please check back frequently as we build this page!

Quick Links:

Introductory Texts

Whole-School Restorative Approach Resource Guide by Jon Kidde for the Vermont Agency of Education – This guide is a must-read, first step for any school considering implementing the restorative approach! It includes everything you need to know to get started.

The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr – This short book written by one of the original pioneers in restorative justice provides important contextual knowledge of a movement that eventually made its way into schools.

NEW! Supporting Holistic Restorative Approaches to Learning During School Building Closure by J. Kidde, A. O’Shaughnessy, C. Koosmann, N. Curtis, L. Halman (UP for Learning), A. Wheeler-Sutton, and L. Bedinger – This document is an evolving resource for SU/SD/schools’ restorative approaches and leadership teams. It was initiated by the Vermont Restorative Approaches Collaborative (VTRAC) with additional support from a Vermont Department of Health, Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Programs grant. We invite you to compare your SU/SD/school’s approach and resources with what is offered here and make constructive suggestions to your leadership and colleagues.

The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education: Fostering Responsibility, Healing, and Hope in Schools in Schools by Katherine Evans and Dorothy Vaandering – Another “little book” that creates an excellent bridge of understanding between RJ in community justice and RJ in schools.

Circle in the Square:Building Community and Repairing Harm in School by Nancy Reistenberg – Beautifully written and full of stories from educators, this book provides a more thorough exploration of what restorative practices looks like in schools. One of our favorites for it’s readability and relevance!

Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community by Carolyn Boyes-Watson and Kay Pranis – This book has become the required text for schools looking to implement RP. A powerful, pithy, philosophical exploration is followed by script outlines for nearly every type of circle imaginable. It also offers a thorough set of appendices to support your work.

Implementation Guides and Books

How we implement is as important as what we implement in schools. These resources make successful implementation possible!

Whole-School Restorative Approach Resource Guide by Jon Kidde for the Vermont Agency of Education – This guide is a must-read and includes an important over view of “implementation science.”

Creating Restorative Schools: Setting Schools Up to Succeed by Martha Brown Ph.D. – Built upon her doctoral study of two middle schools in the Oakland Unified School District that are making the shift to a restorative model. This is a must read for any school leaders considering implementation.

Implementing Restorative Practice in Schools: A Practical Guide to Transforming School Communities by Margaret Thorsborne and Peta Blood – Tapping the experience and lessons learned in New Zealand’s and Australia’s successful implementation of RJ in schools, Thorsborne and Blood present a short, readable and supportive guide.

Implementation can look different for different schools and districts, read through a few of these site specific guides before reaching out to a consultant so you can begin envisioning what would work best for your site.

Oakland Unified School District Restorative Justice Implementation Guide –A Whole School Approach – The OUSD has led the nation in restorative justice implementation and their guide represents their experience and know-how.

School Wide Restorative Practices: Step by Step by the The Denver School-Based Restorative Practices Partnership – This guide, developed through the partnership of many different local and national stakeholders, including the wisdom gained through direct experience, is an excellent guide to compared to OUSD’s guide.

Educator Guides and Resources

Educators need easy to read and accessible resources to guide their practice once the trainer has left the building. Here are a few guides and resources that offer that support!

Chicago Public Schools: Restorative Practices Guide and Tool KitRepresenting the Chicago schools tremendous investment in the restorative approach, this guide offers educators a thorough and well-presented exploration of restorative practices in schools.

Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community by Carolyn Boyes-Watson and Kay Pranis – This book has become the required text/manual for schools looking to implement RP. A powerful, pithy, philosophical exploration is followed by script outlines for nearly every type of circle imaginable. It also offers a thorough set of appendices to support your work.

Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles by Amos Clifford, Center for Restorative Process for the San Francisco Unified School District – This 7-week curriculum provides some useful language, circle scripts, and tools to introduce circles in classrooms.

Circle Quotes List – Started during a teacher semester course on restorative practices, this is a living document holding some of the favorite quotes teachers use to start and end their circles. Email to add yours!

Circle Design Worksheet and Check-In Resource – The best circles arise out organically out of the needs and interests of the classroom. Here is a circle design worksheet that supports educators in creating their own circles.

Introducing and Running Restorative Circles in Middle or High School Advisory – A very short, concise guide to get teachers started with morning circles that includes scripts for the first 6 circles.

Going Deeper: Books and Articles

As schools explore the restorative approach questions and curiosities come up that cannot be answered through an introductory training or text. These books offer a deeper dive!


Getting More Out of Restorative Practice in Schools  – Edited by by Margaret Thorsborne, Nancy Riestenberg, Gillean McCluskey this is a powerful collection of essays that span a fascinating range of topics from how Trauma Informed Practices and Mindfulness intersect with RP to how RP works to rewire the brain!

The Psychology of Emotion in Restorative Practice: How Affect Script Psychology Explains How and Why Restorative Practice Works by Peta Blood – A collection of essays that lead the reader to a deep understanding of how restorative practices works to heal and transform behaviors.

Using Restorative Circles in Schools by Nina Wroldsen – This a short and supportive guide for educators looking for a deeper understanding of the use of circles in schools.


School Climate, the Brain and Connection to School by Chuck Saufler – An excellent introduction into the connection between how school climate effects our brains and impacts school safety and student success.

Understanding the “Why” of Restorative Practices by Annie O’Shaughnessy is a short informative read explaining some why the restorative approach is important beyond “building community” and “resolving conflict.”

Starting with a Pause: How Restorative Communication Transforms Schools by Annie O’Shaughnessy is a deeper dive into how restorative communication works to create accountability while building relationship and learning using the P.A.I.R. approach.

Empathy, Equity, Empowerment: Using Restorative Practices to Build Character and Community While Reducing Suspensions by Christopher Martin – This is an excellent first-person narrative of one middle school teacher’s journey with RP in his school.

Baby Steps Toward Restorative Justice by Linea King – This is a favorite among educators because the author is so honestly shares about the challenges of implementing this approach.

Reflections on the Inner Journey of Working in Restorative Justice, by Kay Pranis – In this deeply personal and powerful essay, Kay Pranis, author of Circle Forward and circle expert, writes about the importance of the inner work we do in order to BE restorative.

8 Tips for Schools Interested in Restorative Justice by Fania Davis – A major figure in the development of restorative justice in Oakland Unified Schools and beyond, Fania Davis shares 8 seminal points to increase success in implementation.

Discipline With Dignity: Oakland Classrooms Try Healing Instead of Punishment by Fania Davis – A more in depth exploration and sharing about her experience with restorative approach in schools. This is a must read to gain inspiration and insight!

A powerful and beautifully produced example of a student-led, tier 1 circle in high school.
A great 4-minute intro and endorsement of restorative practices from Maine. Note: Schools represented in this video are not racially diverse.
A creative use of circle to shift the role of in-school suspension.
A very moving view into the transformative power of the tier 3 re-entry circle.
Wonderful overview of restorative practices at work in primary school.
Skeptical Views and Challenges

The promise of ‘restorative justice’ starts to falter under rigorous research

​​​​​​​Is Discipline Reform Really Helping Decrease School Violence?

The Ins and Outs of ‘Restorative Justice’ in Schools

Restorative justice isn’t working, but that’s not what the media is reporting

5 Reasons Implementation of Restorative Practices Fails in Schools

How liberal discipline policies are making schools less safe


School Discipline Linked to Later Consequences