Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Shannon Grave


A growing number of students are faced with significant social, emotional, and behavioral needs that translate into a variety of problem behaviors in schools. These behaviors often result in suspension or expulsion. Exclusionary discipline practices such as suspension and expulsion negatively impact student outcomes and achievement. Additionally, these practices are often disproportionately applied to specific student populations (i.e., students of color, students with disabilities, and boys). Schools across the United States are looking for alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices that remove students from classroom instruction. Restorative practice can be an alternative to traditional punitive discipline approaches by promoting strong interpersonal relationships while holding students accountable for their actions. School principals play a critical role in leading any school improvement efforts. This dissertation conducts a systematic review in order to summarize comprehensive research-based information to understand the key actions of school leaders that result in the effective implementation of restorative practice in schools. Twenty-three studies were examined. Overall, there were four findings that rose to the top as most important for school leaders to ensure effective implementation of restorative practice: 1) provide ongoing and sustained professional development, 2) establish staff buy-in and trust prior to implementation, 3) model restorative practice for staff, and 4) create a vision for the work. The researcher provides recommendations for restorative practice training considerations that can be useful to school district leaders in the development of positive school climates.