August 22, 2017


Community Superintendents


High School Superintendents


Field Support Center Teams


School Principals



Raymond J. Orlando, Chief Financial Officer



City Council Restorative Justice Pilot Program


This memorandum funds the implementation of a pilot restorative justice program to change the culture of schools with high suspension rates. The pilot program began during the spring 2016 semester, continued during the 2016-2017 school year, and will continue in the same school locations during 2017-2018.


Restorative justice practices:

·         empower community members to take responsibility for the wellbeing of others;

·         prevent or deal with conflict before it escalates;

·         address underlying factors that lead youth to engage in inappropriate behavior;

·         build resiliency;

·         increase the pro-social skills of participants, particularly those who have harmed others; and

·         provide wrongdoers with the opportunity to be accountable to those they have harmed and enable them to repair the harm to the extent possible.


Understanding discipline as a “teachable moment” is fundamental to teaching pro-social behavior. A goal of the pilot program is to improve school-wide disciplinary policies and practices through an approach that seeks to reduce recurrences of negative behavior by helping students learn from their mistakes.


The pilot program provides resources to support the most vulnerable students of the participating schools with a focus on identifying and addressing current disparities in disciplinary and educational outcomes, including higher rates of suspensions experienced by Black and Hispanic students, pupils with IEPs, and other disproportionately impacted subgroups.


Three categories or levels of school participation

Beginner “Level 1” schools

Fifteen schools were selected through the initial application process that was open to 125 schools across the city with high suspension rates.  Each beginner school has been paired with a community-based organization that is providing a Restorative Justice Coordinator whose role is to:

·         Coordinate and facilitate a Restorative Justice Action Team (RJAT) that meets two times per month.  The RJAT should be a voluntary, multi-stakeholder team consisting of at least:

o   one teacher

o   one administrator

o   one DC-37 employee

o   one support staff employee

o   two students

o   two parents/student family members

·         Develop a strategic plan with the RJAT for developing and promoting a positive school culture and climate, working with school staff, administration, parents and members of the community to support students, etc.

·         Conduct a school climate and discipline overview and needs assessment, including a School-Wide Survey for all stakeholders

·         Attend Monthly RJ Initiative Professional Learning Community meetings that will be coordinated by the NYCDOE for all the schools participating in this initiative to learn and share lessons with one another

·         Facilitate staff professional development on restorative practices

·         Coordinate restorative practices training for 5 key staff members (Staff Team) who will then turnkey training to additional staff

·         Coordinate student orientation in restorative justice approaches and leadership opportunities

·         Coordinate parent workshops in restorative justice approaches and leadership opportunities

·         Coordinate inter-visitation with Mentor and Experienced Schools


Funding for the Restorative Justice Coordinator is being allocated to the S-district location under the categories TL CC Restorative Justice and TL Restorative Justice.  This SAM allocates funding for Restorative Justice Coordinators for nine of the fifteen schools. (The City Council has made separate awards to specific CBOs to provide Restorative Justice Coordinators at the remaining six beginner schools.  These allocations have been released under SAM No. 49 City Council Member Items.)


Experienced (“Level 2”) schools

Five schools have been implementing restorative practices for three or more years were initially selected from a larger pool of schools interested in advancing their efforts.  Level 2 schools have been paired with CBOs to receive onsite coaching and support. Funding for the CBO support is being allocated under the category TL CC Restorative Justice.


Funding for Level 1 and Level 2 schools is being distributed under the allocation category TL Restorative Justice for per diem substitute coverage for staff attending trainings, per session compensation for RJAT members working beyond their contractual work day, and for instructional supplies and materials to be utilized in above activities.


Mentor (“Level 3”) Schools

Five schools with a demonstrated track record of success in implementation of restorative practices were initially selected in collaboration with City Council staff and advocates, to coach and mentor Level 1 and Level 2 schools.  Level 3 schools’ role within the Professional Learning Community includes hosting site visits and workshops, sharing protocols, and offering support.  Level 3 schools will be engaging consultants to continue to build staff capacity to become effective mentors while simultaneously fostering best practices within their respective school buildings.


Level 3 schools are receiving funding under the allocation category TL CC Restorative Justice Mentor to cover the costs of consultants and any per session or per diem substitute coverage needed for mentoring activities.


Download a copy of the School Allocation Memorandum No. 69, FY 2018



Table 1 – City Council Restorative Justice Pilot Program Summary

Table 2 – City Council Restorative Justice Pilot Program Allocation

Table 3 – City Council Restorative Justice Pilot Program “S” District Allocation

RJO: df

C:        Kenyatte Reid

Lois Herrera

Robert J. Weiner